No, no, no, not YOURS yers (MINE yers). *sigh* After much internal debate (read wrestling), discussions with our vets (first one then the other one), debates with DH and a couple of our horse loving friends - not to mention a boatload of research - we have come to the inevitable (and crushing) conclusion: Sara's not going to get any better. Ever. For those of you new to the blog, our Sarabear was diagnosed with Heaves/COPD last year and in spite of everything, has gone from bad to worse to awful. So awful, in fact, that I keep expecting to see someone from the Sheriff's office appear on our doorstep to investigate a starving animal report (although the rest of the horses are pretty much on the tubby side of life). In a way, Sara's troubles seem an awful lot like my own health hiccups; the disease and its symptoms just didn't follow those "classic signs". Added to that were things like heavy smoke from people burning somewhere nearby, crazy winter weather (80 degrees in January? Seriously?) and a stubborn girl who just won't let us help. PHOTO:This is one of my favorite pictures of Sara taken last year. We had just put out a new roll of hay, and the rest of the girls had already gone thundering by. Sarabear has never been one to hurry, although she does look awfully cute prancing her way up the hill.
Heaves symptoms generally appear around age 8, although I have no idea if she exhibited any signs at that time. She came here at age 14, and had a very slight cough, but only once in a great while. Since this area does quite a number on the sinuses (I never had allergy issues until I moved here), and her cough followed the same pattern we didn't really think much of it as it never got worse. I had little knowledge of heaves, because it was generally an issue that effected stabled horses (ours are on 24/7 turnout with shelter available). Besides, surely her owner would have told us if she had a serious condition, right? Betting that one got a laugh or ten out of one of you out there. (insert eye roll here). Ignorance may be bliss, but it sure can cost you a pretty penny. Not to mention drag you heart first through the emotional wringer. Sara is eating more feed per day than all eight other horses combined; and she is still skin and bones. She will not eat more than what we're giving her now, although I've also been giving her treats in between feeding. PHOTO: This was also just last year. Funny how her coat looks so different; it was taken very early in the morning (her little white markings were a funky blue until I corrected the color cast).
The sad thing is, I can't even sit here and say it's been a long road because it really hasn't been long at all. Tough? Oh, most definitely so. Frustrating. Disappointing. Maddening. Infuriating even. And very, very, depressing. The past several months have been a roller coaster ride of high expectations, dead ends and false hope that something (anything) would change. Smack in the middle of it all was Sarabear who, if I am going to be honest, is her own worst enemy. She refuses to eat any of the medicines or herbal supplements no matter how I try to disguise them/hide them (although she has always been okay with eating worm paste in increments hidden in small handfuls of sweet feed). Anything else though? Nope, not having it; she just knocks it right out of my hand and walks off. Certainly she won't let me put anything in her mouth that comes in a tube or syringe. Nosiree Bob; that's not happenin' either, she'll rear straight up. Funny thing is, she's the only one we have that I can't schmooze into eating or even forcibly dose if I have to (not to mention the only one that rears up). How's that for irony? PHOTO: Sara catching a few zzz's by the stalls (I woke her up trying to get a shot of her snoozing; had to settle for a sleepy expression instead ;o)
The short version is this: Sara's appetite is extremely unpredictable, and as a result she is pretty much skin and bones. Sometimes she'll gobble her feed right up, sometimes she'll take a bite and won't eat any more and sometimes she'll dump it all out. Just yesterday she opted to flip her bucket over and waste all the feed instead of eating it (again). If I put the bucket "up" (which is better for her breathing than on the ground), she won't touch it at all. She is furious with me for separating her from her pasture pals, and has now taken to chewing up all of the wood in protest. Up until about 3 weeks ago, we thought she would make another rally. Appetite had stayed fairly consistent and she was starting to put on a little weight. It was probably when I started feeling a little too hopeful that she reversed direction and has been going downhill since. Because horses under stress (and heaves definitely qualifies as stress) can lose up to 50 pounds in one night, you can imagine what she looks like now. Wit's end here. I opted not to post a photo of her current condition for the simple reason that I am afraid someone will misinterpret it. I'm sure many of you will find this quite shocking, *tucks tongue in cheek*, but there are an alarming number of people out there that would take something like that and run with it; without bothering to get the whole story. Even though I can back up everything I've posted about Sara, I just don't want to go through all that. It's hard enough as it is, you know?
Another epic fail (almost) was the Etsy shop, which was supposed to have been closed for a "brief" period while I re-shot photos for my listings. Let me just throw in a ha-ha-HA. *cough* Umm...hmmm. It's been more months that I wish to count since I've even given it a passing thought (and that was a couple of months after I stuck it on vacation mode). Yikes. It was only after I got a friendly reminder from the Etsy for Animals team about the membership rules (resulting in a holy cow *slap to the forehead* jumpstart) that I realized just how long it had been. Ruh-Roh. Bad Jen. Very bad Jen. *wince* After some frantic scrambling - and a few repentable words - I am happy to say that the shop is now back open. Of course I've only manage to retake about five photos, but I must say I really like the way they turned out. That was probably tacky of me to say out loud, wasn't it? Sorry. Anyhoo, it's another nod to irony the way that went, too, as the proceeds from the shop would have definitely come in handy towards Sara's expenses. *sigh* Oh well, going for better late than never yet again, eh?
So there you have it (or most of it, anyway - I actually skipped some of the Sarabear stuff as I was beginning to feel a tad maudlin). Meh ;o/ Since I hate to end on an icky note, how about something to give you a giggle? (although for me, it was more like a much needed gut-busting laugh). As most of you know, DD is deaf and there is a lot of misinformation out there when it comes to lipreading as a form of communication. Believe it or not, only 30% of the words we use are clearly visible on the lips; the rest is guesswork (and if you don't believe me, stand in front of the mirror and watch your lips as you say "bay, pay, may" ;o) This came through one of my interpreting lists the other day, and I thought I'd share it with you. It's from badlipreading.com and just boggles the mind how well the wrong words fit:
Have a blessed week everyone, and hug those furballs!