Saturday, July 30, 2011

Snow is back.

Snow is back, safe and more or less sound.

Apart from having a rubber shoe on the bottom of her hoof, it's hard to tell that she had surgery.  The University of Pennsylvania farrier rounded her foot out quite nicely and used an acrylic paste to fill in the area where they cut open the hoof.

Snow will be stall bound for a few weeks, but she should be back to her old antics shortly.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

No Hoof, No Horse

It's an old saying, and it rings true.  Sure, I just heard it about a year ago, but whatever; when a horse has hoof problems it can be really problematic.  Unfortunately, Snow has a hoof problem. 

A few weeks ago, our farrier noticed something a bit off when trimming Snow's hoof.  I would have never noticed it.  There was a slight dimple about the size of a dime, between 10 and 11 O' Clock on her front driver's side hoof.  The farrier advised that we should watch it because it could be a keratoma.  Snow has not shown signs of lameness, so I was not immediately concerned.

That changed after a bit of internet research.  I learned that a keratoma is a non-malignant tumor that can form in the inner layer of the hoof wall.  As the tumor grows, it can separate the hoof wall laminae, causing pain, lameness, and potentially allowing for infections.  There were descriptions of puss, and lots of nasty post-surgery pictures.  This was bad.

We called our equine vet and had some x-rays done of Snow's foot.  They revealed that she indeed has a keratoma.

It's small, and thankfully, not nearly as bad as some of the cases shown on the internet, but the vet recommended surgery.  The vet also recommended that we have that surgery performed at University of Pennsylvania.  Ouch....

We consulted with a surgeon at University of Pennsylvania's famed New Bolton Center.  These are the folks that conducted the surgery for Barbaro and work on the Budweiser Clydesdales.  Thus, their references checked out. 

We scheduled the surgery and secured a horse transport for July 28th.  It is not going to be cheap, but we want to keep the horse, so we need to fix the hoof.

JULY 28- Morning

So, at 6 a.m. this morning, the horse transport folks showed up with a large truck and trailer.  Indeed, it was too large to come down the driveway.  This left us with the option of walking a very strong horse down our driveway, accross the street, and into a horse trailer.  I figured there was about a 50% chance that I was going to be the one going to the hospital.

To make a long story short, there was new grass that needed to be eaten, cars to be snorted at, a barking Cowboy made an appearance, there was a School bus, we had to get Donkey and use him as bait, and 30 minutes later, Snow got on the trailer.

The drive to New Bolton Center went much smoother.  While unloading her from the trailor and taking her to her stall, I was struck by just how big Snow is compared to other horses.  She seems like she is almost twice the size of the thoroughbred in the stall accross the aisle from her.  That seems about right because Snow weighed in at 1,912 lbs.  
We spoke with her surgeon after getting her settled.  She will undergoe surgery in the morning.  They will first have to cut away the hoof wall to reveal the mass, like so:

Once the tumor is accessible, they will remove it, and then fit her with a special, hand-made shoe.  We can take her home on Saturday, but she will need to be on bed rest. 

I'm confident that she will be fine, but we will get word tomorrow afternoon.
July 28- Afternoon

Back on the farm, Ellie seems to be focusing more on the "no horse" part of the equation.  Her buddy is gone and she is really upset.  She is pacing around, looking for Snow... and crying.  Donkey is with her, but apparently that is not sufficient.  Ellie wants her Snow back.  It is crushingly sad.

Hopefully, Snow will be back and things will be back to normal soon.

July 29- Update

We heard from the vet today around noon.  Snow's surgery went well, and the keratoma came out in one piece.  Snow is conscious and back up on her feet.  She needs to get are large dose of antibiotics this afternoon, and then they want to monitor her a bit longer to see how she does on the meds.  We're trying to determine if we can get her on Saturday afternoon or if we need to wait until Sunday morning.

This is all good news.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A New Friend

The day started off pretty normal.  I woke up around 5 a.m., had a cup of coffee, did my morning chores, ate a few meals, watched the Tour de France, took a nap... you know, the normal stuff.  Things, however, got a little exciting in the afternoon.

I let Kana out, then popped up to the barn to check on the horses and donkey (there are some equine issues which I will have to post about later).  As I was up with the horses, I heard quite a commotion and noticed that Kana was jumping into Big Fat Pond.  I walked down, expecting to see Kana chasing a rat, mouse, rabbit, etc..., but it was not a rat, mouse, rabbit, opossum, or anything of the ilk.  What I found was this:

Not knowing Kana's intentions, I picked up the little kitten, and he promptly sunk his vicious kitten fangs into my pinky finger.  His face looked something like this whilst biting me:

So it looks like I'm the new guardian of a small, blue-eyed, long-haired, grey tabby kitten... with sharp kitten teeth.  A quick investigation revealed that he is a boy kitty, about 6 weeks old or so.
Things got off on a bad foot, but we are becoming fast friends.  Currently, I'm considering the following names:

Chairman Meow Tse-tung
Special Agent Jack Bauer
Jean-Clawed Van Damme

Bitey McFurpants
James Van Der Beek

(rejected: David Our-Cat)

Feel free to pick your favorite or even make suggestions.  Winner might get a new cat!