The Golden Carrot Newsletter's Archive
The Golden Carrot
April 27, 2016 Newletter
Well, I don't think I've ever gone so long without putting a newsletter out! You all may recall that 2015 was just an awful year for us - we lost 10 friends. And with the new arrivals, there was a LOT going on! And this period of relative quiet has been much needed. But some things good, and some bad, have happened - here we go!
At the request of Animal Services, TGC took in Apollo's Star ("Polly"), a 19 year old OTTB chestnut mare. Polly never raced, and looking at her right knee and low back, we suspect a training accident. She was immediately put out as a broodmare, and produced 4 foals, three of whom raced (we believe there's a good chance her last foal, born 8 years ago, might be one of the "16 stallions" who were NOT seized). Polly and her 23 other broodmare buddies were seized from the breeding operation, many with body scores of 2. Please click on her name to see her page, including pics when she arrived, and with a picture near the bottom of her improvement in only 5 weeks!
We didn't have an open stall for Polly, but the need was great so I ousted the donkeys from the pen they never used, expanded it a bit for this long legged mare, and that's where she's been living. With Polly, we are at our maximum limit of 44 horses.... Without the land we keep begging for, TGC can't help anymore horses....until we lose someone (which is nothing I ever hope for!)
You may recall our Lucy, who came in end of November last year. (click on her name to see her page, including the 'before' pics!) This was by far the skinniest horse I've ever brought in - and about 4 weeks after she came in, she gushed a massive stinking discharge from her right nostril! The doc thought it might be an infected tooth - but was unable to find anything loose he could pull. It could still have been a bad tooth, but would require specialized x-rays, and a really gnarly sounding surgery to punch it out if that was indeed the problem. But the doc also felt it could be a very resistant pulmonary infection. We put her on antibios twice a day, and in only 4 days the stink was gone, but the discharge continued. She also continued to pick up weight, so the doc could sedate and float the one very long tooth she had which we felt was inhibiting her ability to eat. So we continued the antibiotics as well. Dr. Z said we could safely give her medication for up to 4 months. I admit that freaked me out - I always worry about other problems with antibio therapy - but as it turned out, at around 3.5 months I realized she had no discharge from her right nostril, at all. I continued the antibios for another 10 days and then stopped. Now the doc had said that if it was a tooth, she'd improve, but start discharging again after antibio therapy was stopped. So each morning, I approached and saw a clean nostril, day after day, until we have to admit that with that therapy, 4 months of plenty of good food, and the company of her friends, Lucy is well! Now, she's old. Really old. But she's filled out nicely, shed her thick haircoat easily, and except for an abscess in the right fore that is healing slowly, she is just great! Maybe she won't have long here, due to her age, but she'll live more comfortably and happily than she's been in a long time! Your general donations made that possible - but would someone consider a small monthly donation to sponsor her? Only 16 people, at only $10 a month, could cover all of her feed expenses.....
Our fellow Rescuer at Polo Pony Rescue, Cathy, contacted me to see if I could take in a mare being retired from the Stanford University polo program. (Yes, Cathy was taking one from them as well, and an additional one was being given to yet another rescue). Gamut (I pronounce it GaMoot, thus making her Gamootus-patootus) arrived and is just lovely. She's a shorter backed version of our dear Tolly, also a polo pony mare, and the two gave each other instant attitude! Gamut suffered an injury to (we think) her left hind, which was all the information we could get from Stanford - but Dr. Z says that hock is severely arthritic, and the right hock just slightly less so. So Gamut needs ongoing medication for this or like our Summer, will have problems getting up after laying down, and so forth. What a sweet girl tho. She has one former student helping a little with her expenses, so could really use some help - can you make a small monthly donation for this gentle mare?
Butters' PSSM debacle
In the midst of the only mud we had this year, I suddenly realized that Butters was walking very oddly indeed - between the heavy feathering on her feet, and her hooves being completely hidden in the thick mud, it took me too long to realize that she was walking literally on the tip of her toes!! Struggling like this, and slipping in the mud, she also bowed her left front tendon - a disaster in a horse who already had an almost useless left hind leg due to a prior stifle injury. I got the vet out and he diagnosed her as having PSSM (polysaccharide storage myopathy). This is another one of those rotten metabolic disorders, it's hereditary (she's half Percheron and this is a problem many of them have), and what it boils down to is this: Every kind of non-structured carbohydrate she eats is stored, as her body doesn't seem to know how to use it for energy. This includes any kind of grain, carrots, and even alfalfa. This explains why she came in so heavy, as I'm sure the people who were breeding her were giving her lots of alfalfa for the babies.
The muscles, getting no energy from her feed, eventually begin to contract. Thus pulling her up on her toes, making it almost impossible for her to set her heels down. Our farrier worked hard to build special shoes for her, to provide some support if her heel could come down even a little. Travis put those shoes on her as she laid on the ground!
Ultimately, the only treatment is to remove all nonstructured carbs, and add oil to the diet for the muscles to use for energy, and time has to pass while the muscles learn to use it. And her having reached a crisis before the diet change greatly reduces her chances in this regard, and adding the pain of the bowed tendon, to the already painful and useless stifle, poor Butters has really been afflicted.
At first, we were having some success - she ate her oiled pellets well, and little by little at least the right side feet were starting to bear weight on the heels, suggesting that the muscles were getting some energy and being able to extend. At five weeks, the boys were able to re-do her shoes, and bring the stacks down some. While she was able to have the reshoeing done while on her feet, it took a lot out of her. So a couple of days later when the vet was here for someone else and I had him check on her, he felt she wasn't doing well. He wanted me to take her bermuda blend pellets away (they are part alfalfa) and feed a strictly grass pellet. That IS the protocol for this disorder, and I tried. But Butters was filled with dismay and despair - she would NOT eat the grass pellets (tried timothy, tried orchard). I stuck it out for 3 weeks, hoping hunger would persuade her to eat them, but no. And this means she was not only not getting her oil, but she really just wasn't getting enough to eat at all. I could see her weakening, and her sadness, and I begged the vet to let me bring her previous pellets back into the equation. He agreed, but I think it may have been too late.
She is in a lot of pain, and I'm using different medications in an effort to deal with that. If I could bring the pain down, she may eat better. She goes up and down -seems better one morning, worse the next. But we are way past the time frame the doctor gave us for her to start using the oil which she will need lifelong .... and she's worse. Thin. Tired. Still bright and perky when I approach, loves her massages, and grooming, but maybe, between this problem which has been wearing at her for so many years, and her melanomas, her time is coming to a close. She's too young for this. And she's given a lot for this. (Her mother and then she were both Premarin mares, and after Animali Farms rescued her, they placed her with a party that used her twice more as a recipient mare). It may be that the last kindness I can do for her is to end the struggle. But I'm still trying for another 10 days .....
So I know the news about Butters is a bummer, but one more piece of sad news needs to be reported. We've lost 4 sponsors, and 2 more greatly reduced their sponsorship, this year. For a total of almost $5,000 annually. This is a brutal loss. You can't blame them - these are sponsors who have been with us for quite a while. One lost a job; another had a huge reduction in income; these are very hard times indeed. So when I tell you of our new residents, and ask if you can help, I really mean it. If 100 people would give $50 per year (that's less than $5 a month!!) that money could be made up. How about a $10 a month donation for Gamut or Lucy, or any of our other unsponsored horses? Of course we'd love to get full sponsorships (which covers all of a horse's feed expenses) of $160/month. But every bit can help.
And please always keep in mind that we are the voices these horses can't use themselves - and believe me when I tell you they would be on line constantly to get more food! :-D We need sponsorships; we need donations of any amount; we need a big corporate sponsor, who could help us buy a sanctuary of our own, to help more horses and other rescues as well; we could really really use 30-40 acres of land to be donated to the Golden Carrot, so these old sweeties would be safe if something ever happened to me. If you can't do any of these things - please spread the word. Someone, somewhere, can donate; someone, somewhere, can sponsor; some big company somewhere wants a charitable cause to support; and I truly with all my heart hope that someone out there is tired of paying taxes and insurance on a property they probably will never use, that they're willing to give to provide a safe haven for these gentle souls who have worked and given so much to humanity. Help us find those people. Please.