Ok, so Friday night I started to wean her off the bute. I went from 2 grams 2x/ day to 1.5 grams 2x/ day-- only 1 gram less per day. Saturday night she was slow to eat, and on Sunday morning I got a call from the lady whose horse neighbors her saying she was breathing hard with nostrils flaring and not eating again.
So assuming it was the bute, I kicked her dose back up on Sunday morning and her appetite improved slightly, but she was still breathing rather rapidly. I didn't think much of it, though, because so was every other horse on the ranch--- it's been up to 113 degrees out here this past week.
Anyway, Sunday night she took her meds and I thought she had eaten most of her dinner, Monday morning she took her meds and seemed not great, but ok, but then I went out last night and I couldn't believe what I was seeing--- after all the improvement she's been making, she was standing in the corner with her head hanging, breathing super hard, moving like she's a 90 year old woman (not sore like she was before, just carefully, slowly), her back muscles twitching and a rasping in her throat. She wouldn't even touch her "treats" with the meds in them, but she's been eating them no problem the last two weeks. So I called the vet.
He came out this morning and is very concerned about her again. He has now diagnosed her with COPD--- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease--- on TOP of the laminitis/ founder! He said she was so dehydrated that she would not have made it another day like she was. I checked everything on her last night-- temp, resp rate, pulse, feet, etc--- trying to figure out what the problem was, because despite everything else she was still walking just fine! But I stupidly, stupidly forgot to check her hydration. He tubed her and gave her 2.5 gallons of water today, along with a prescription for Albuterol, and a single shot of dexamethasone, a steroid (more about that one later.)
So my poor horse now has TWO chronic, debilitating, and life-threatening diseases. I am at the end of my rope here... I of course will continue to do whatever I can for her, but if she doesn't improve, or this goes away and comes back... I may have to make that hard decision again.
She's now getting 40 mg of albuterol 2x daily on top of the 2 grams of bute and 7 pills of ranitidine for her feet. She's supposed to show improvement today or tomorrow with the breathing and if she doesn't... well... yeah.
The even better news? The most aggressive and assured treatment for COPD is steroids--- which cause founder.
I am firmly right back where I was two weeks ago...