On September 18, 2015 we laid Duncan to rest. One of two equine of the 23 at the ranch that came down with the seasonal and contagious illness called Pigeon Fever or Dryland Distemper. It is carried by flies and with monsoon rains this year, there are lots of flies and has been an outbreak in the White Mountains area. We do a great job of fly control, but can't stop them all.
Duncan was diagnosed with internal abscesses which only 8% of horses ever contract. With treatment, which runs well in excess of $1000 there is only a 40% chance of recovery, left untreated it is 100% fatal.
We had started Duncan on oral antibiotics in hopes that we caught it early. Numerous times a day his and Gwen's temperature was taken. Duncan fought fevers as high as 105.6 degrees by hosing him several times a day and getting pain medicine to reduce the fever.
|Duncan's swollen belly|
On the morning of the 18th, I went out to his stall and he was clearly depressed. I took all his vital signs (as I did daily) and they were off the charts, his heart rate way too fast, his temperature high, his breathing very fast with short breaths and the color of his gums darkening. When I touched his side he pulled back in obvious pain. I spoke with Dr. Christianson and she felt he had an internal abscess that ruptured and this was a battle he would not win. The tearful decision was made to let him go before his system crashed.
|7-5-15 intake photo|
The decision may be obvious because of the circumstances, but the process of humanely euthanizing and then burying each animal takes its toll. I saw this quote posted on Facebook and it is exactly how I feel, "Euthanasia is a privilege, a gift. That doesn't mean we have to like it. Every time we give the gift of peace to a pet, we give up a bit of a peace in our hearts. Over time, we feel those missing pieces of peace more and more. We love animals so much, we are willing to experience pain right down to our souls in order to keep them from hurting. What great gift to give a friend than to suffer in their place?" Dr. Cherie Buisson
Run in paradise sweet boy! Run........