Friday, November 5, 2010

BowTie and Gem ~ Deanna

Boston Terriers are susceptible to various forms of canine eye disease due to the prominence of their eyes. Over the last decade, we have experienced many and have become adept at identifying most.

Wednesday at 12:30, I took BowTie to Animal Eye Center, aware that she had developed an ulcer in her left eye. Dr. Thomasay said the ulcer was deep, 80% through the cornea, and she was in danger of rupturing her eye. Bow was a surgery candidate for a skin graft to repair the hole. We were given a protocol of autogenous serum and ofloxacin drops, to be given hourly ten minutes apart, with a recheck in the morning. BoBo was to be ready for surgery, just in case. There is already scarring from a previous ulcer in her right eye, which is somewhat opaque and inhibits vision.

Diligence paid off! Epithelial tissue has covered the entire ulcer, adding strength. Her eye is red as blood is imperative in the healing process. The protocol is reduced to six times daily with a revisit in a week. What a relief to avoid surgery, which would have been necessary one way or the other ~ to repair the eye or remove it. Even with a generous discount, the surgery would have been expensive.

Ulcers are quite painful, so she is given two pain meds.

We are so thrilled that such healing is taking place. It should only be a few more days.

Drowsy from the Pain Meds

On October 30, a sweet four year old Appaloosa mare arrived as per an agreement made back in April with Pregnant Mare Rescue in Aptos. We couldn't bring her home until her foal was weaned. Here is what Founder Lynn Hummer shared about Gem:

Originally pulled off a feedlot waiting to go to slaughter in Yakima Washington at approximate age of two, perfectly sound. Brought to California and sold. This person caused injury to her leg and then bred her. Broke his own leg and didn't want to deal with her. Brought her to me in September 2009. She was vet checked immediately. Pregnancy was confirmed and x-rays were taken of her leg. Our vet consulted with Steinbeck Equine Hospital. A volunteer dug around a bit & discovered she had been cowboyed up harshly in a deep sanded round pen. Seems no vet was called to examine.

Steinbeck recommended a brace, which didn't work, or surgery to fuse the bone. She appears to move without pain when her hooves are trimmed and kept in good condition. My farrier came out and put an extended shoe on her hoof and we began the task of watching her weight. She really only has three good legs. She is blessed with a long back and I think that helped her carry her foal successfully. She foaled on April 4, 2010 (Easter morning) without incident. After the birth, I had an equine chiropractor come out and do an adjustment, then an equine acupressure specialist, and I have had Reiki healers out four times.

Knowing her background, I was still shaken when I met Gem. Not only was she nervous about being hauled to a new place, watching her move made me cringe. All I could think about was the mindset of the man who bred this horse.

The following morning, Lydia came out and gave Gem some Reiki. Here is a video clip that clearly shows Gem relaxing and enjoying the attention. We watched her move all around the pasture. After all, she's been dealing with this gait (video clip) for at least 15 months ~ 11 months pregnant and four nursing her foal, Este.

I have not heard back yet from Lynn as to what type of brace they tried, but we have one in mind. In 2002, I learned about a company in Manteca that designs custom orthopedic leg braces for dogs and horses. They purchase supplies from Interstate Plastics where I worked for two years. I'm glad I remembered the company name because their site is not active. I called Monday night around 9pm expecting to leave a message. To my surprise, Tim Niswonger answered the phone and we had a lengthy conversation.

The dog brace website is up, but some unsavory experiences coupled with sporadic interest caused Tim to close the equine site.

Tim's been manufacturing orthodics for people for 30 years and began applying his knowledge to dogs and horses, working with Serenity Equine Hospital, Oregon State University, Pioneer Equine Hospital(Oakdale California), Littleton Large Animal Hospital, and Kesmarc of Kentucky. Every brace is 100% custom. Tim e-mailed a photo of a leg that looked just like Gem's, belonging to a horse that they experienced great success with. We're hoping to have a cast made by our vet sometime next week.

{Aside: Tim manufactured a leg brace for Gene Ovnicek who is recognized as a pioneer in the study of wild horse hoof form and function.}

Gem also needs to see a dentist. Biomechanically, the feet and the teeth are closely related. The muscles in Gem's forehead are highly developed, there is swelling in her left jaw.

This little mare has been through a lot and we look forward to giving her some relief. We expect the combined costs to eclipse $1,000 ~ any donation you might like to make for Gem will be greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


On Tuesday October 26th 2010, Easter Seals Superior California HTR program went on our monthly visit to A Chance For Bliss, an animal sanctuary in Penryn California. It was a great trip with everyone singing and laughing. Anthony drove the bus and Jasmine rode shotgun. When we arrived at the sanctuary there was mystery in the air. Deanna had somebody filming us as we dis-embarked. We had arrived in the middle of a shoot by Emmy award winning cinematographer Ken Day and Emmy award winning Producer Joyce Mitchell. Mary Gale was doing a documentary for PBS and we walked in on it. We were treated to the inner-workings of a real life production company. I was very impressed by the members of the production company, especially the cinematographer Ken Day, he was very down to earth and personable. He had not gone “Hollywood” on us. The “crew” filmed members of HTR doing the volunteer work we do. The “crew” filmed Kim doing his magic with the horses, Ron and Steven cleaning saddles, while John and Anthony bathed dogs. Jim and Jillie could not be separated. Jill spent the entire day on Jim’s lap that was perfect for both of them. The “crew” even filmed Al, Rik, and I grinding flax seed. Rik was even interviewed by Mary Gale, I think the PBS “crew” actually liked us. So thanks to Woody and Deanna for letting us be a part of this very memorable and awe-inspiring event. Take a tip from the dogs don't judge us by our wheelchairs, dogs don't see our wheelchairs as being menacing, they just sniff us a little and jump on our lap. Then everything is okay.