Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Angels sending gifts..... How lucky we are!

Look at the beautiful blankets that some wonderful angel (who wants to remain anonymous) shipped to us so we won't get wet or cold in the winter nights and rainy days..  

Dear Blanket Angel, 
Personally I think I look stunning in purple because it accents my beautiful golden blonde hair.  Just look at how perfect it fits me.  And it doesn't make my butt look big either.  This is the prettiest thing I have ever gotten.  Thank you SOOOOO much,  xxxxoooo  Bambi

Dear Blanket Angel,
I think my blue blanket is the bestest thing ever.  I will stay nice and warm at night and won't get so wet when it rains.  I love the color blue and think I look pretty special in it too.   I wish it made my butt look big.  But lots of people are taking really good care of me and my butt will look big pretty soon.  The best part is as I grow, my blanket will get bigger too.  I love my blanket and I love you too blanket angel...  xxxooo Diesel

We also want to thank Nancy Lawler for the wonderful donation of horse halters, lead ropes and a couple other pieces of tack.  We will put these to use right away.  Many of our old ones are pretty worn and some are rusty so now we can throw all those away.  This is awesome.   Thank you very much for this nice donation.     Christine

Everyone's continued support of the horses at EqWBR allows us to provide the care and meet the needs of these horses so we can get them well, train them or provide what they need till new homes can be found so they can thrive and be loved for the rest of their lives.    Your generosity makes this all possible and we Thank You All So Much!

Christine, Connie & Dawn

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Bambi - Orphaned foal from Fallon Feedlot

On 10-29-11 we transported three orphaned foals to EqWBR.  Enzo went on to his family after a week of  care and the two we bailed off the feedlot have stayed here.  I wrote about Diesel yesterday and today I wanted to let everyone know about Bambi.   She has strangles like he does, but she is older and in better health upon arrival so she has not been on the brink of death like him.

Here is our pretty girl.
Bambi 10-30-11
One look at her butt and you can see how she got the name Bambi.  To top that off she also has a hair swirl on her right hind leg that is in the shape of  a "B".  So we thought that was more confirmation that we picked a good name for her.

Bambi, Enzo & Diesel first day here 10-29-11
On 10-30-11 a group of volunteers came over to help us put each of the babies in a squeeze/stock (narrow stall), get halters on them and check for injuries, give them de-wormer and see what else they may need.   Bambi was the tallest and I suspect the oldest of the horses and was the leader of the pack, thus the first to walk in the squeeze.  She did awesome and we were able to get a halter on her with no problem.  She is 12. hands high (48 inches at the shoulder) and weighs almost 400 pounds.

Laura, Rebecca & Mike lovin up Bambi in the squeeze.
While the other two showed symptoms of strangles she didn't.  But after a few days here, she started to have an abscess swell on the right side of her neck.  My friend Tammy came over and we shaved both Bambi and Diesel to be able to see both their abscesses and to clean them better without the winter fur.

Tammy volunteered her time to help shave the foals.
A few days later the abscess had grown to the size of a softball and she was having trouble both breathing and eating so we lanced it open and drained the pus.  It took over 45 minutes to express the purulent drainage and there was over a liter that had come out by the time we were done.  We couldn't believe how much came out because it must have been all over inside her neck and skull area because a lot more came out than the size the abscess reflected.   We know it had to be painful before drained.

Her abscess is still draining small amounts and requires cleaning several times throughout the day to help contain the bacteria filled pus, reduce the crusting on her neck and to keep it bug free with an application of a salve called Swat.  

Drain tract on neck abscess a few days after it opened.
The wound has started to heal up and the opening is getting smaller.  She loves the cleaning process as I massage her entire neck, ear and head area.  I just can't imagine what it feels like to have this on the side of her neck.  

Each day she gets some bermuda and alfalfa, Purina Enrich 32 vitamin/mineral/amino acid supplement, pain medication as needed, electrolyte paste and we recently received a donation of colostrum powder from Dani Lloyd (thank you SO much Dani), that is supposed to help boost the immune system.  She also gets brushed and yesterday we worked on her feet.  She let me pick them each up, clean them out and spray them to prevent thrush.   She LOVES the time we spend together and she approaches the pipe panel for attention as soon as someone walks up.

She gets her nose into everything.  When I am mucking the stall she follows me around and wants to sniff everything, when I am working with Diesel, she has to have her nose in there to see what we are doing and when I take a break and sit on the pipe panel, she walks over and puts her head on my shoulder.  She is very affectionate.   She will make someone a very nice horse.

With this kind of start on handling our other very young horses have been VERY easy to train, trust people so they tend to not be spooky, and they truly seem to like hanging with humans.   I hope this is the case for her. She will be available for adoption after her strangles have cleared and her quarantine is done.  So stay tuned and if you are interested in giving this sweet girl a forever home, please contact me.

I got an email this week from one of our donors that she ordered a winter blanket for both Diesel and Bambi and they should arrive around the 14th of Nov.  Just in time for the cold winter nights and winter rains that come.   We can't thank her enough, especially for Diesel who is still skin and bones.

We can't provide any of the care, food and meds these babies need without the generous donations of people who hear their stories and want to help them get a re-start on life.  If you would like to donate and help provide for their needs, you can send a check to Equine WellBeing Rescue Inc. PO Box 324, Ramona, CA  92065 or through PayPal by clicking the button below.  

Thank You So Much!

To reach me send an email to  or call me at 760-703-4860   

Friday, November 11, 2011

Diesel the Orphaned Foal - The first ten days!

Diesel - arrived on 10-29-11
Over the last few months EqWBR has stepped in to help some of the horses on a feedlot in Fallon, NV where horses are collected before being shipped to a meat factory in Canada where they are slaughtered and sold for consumption in countries like France where horse meat is considered a delicacy.

Over the years we have helped a few other feedlot horses:  Lily & Dr. Bill (her 5 day old foal), Stella the thoroughbred,  Gypsy & Smudge (Carter Reservoir Mustangs) and we have donated funds to help get others to safety also.    Recently we have helped in some part to get over 20 off the lot in Fallon and into safe homes, Shala (see her blog article) was came in to us last month.

While most of them were yearlings or close to that age, we finally got an opportunity to help some orphaned foals.  They were separated from the moms upon arrival and then just had to fend for themselves in with a large group of other foals, pregnant mares and mares with foals at their sides.  You have to pay to get these babies off that wretched lot and this sweet guy and a filly that is a few months older each cost EqWBR $125 plus fees.

We also opened our doors to a pregnant mare (pictured on the right of the foals), but she had a fracture in her leg that was so bad the vets recommended humane euthanasia before she even got to our pick-up location.   This was the picture I received the day before we were to pick them up.

Weanling filly, baby colt and pregnant mare 10-28-11

I also received a picture showing that the gray and white colt had a large swollen abscess under his jaw which is typically caused by a virus call 'strangles', a very contagious virus and one of the reasons we always quarantine any new horses that come into the property. The arrow in the picture below shows the large abscess under his chin.

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In addition to picking up these two, we also transported another foal that was coming to the San Diego area.  His owners, Rebecca and he boys, had named their foal Enzo.  Rebecca rode with me to pick the horses up and what we found was that all three of them were sick.  So rather than drop Enzo off at his new home, he came to EqWBR to get his strength back before being separated from his two foal friends.  That separation at his weakened, ill state would no doubt have been very traumatic for him.

By far the worst of the three was Diesel.  He was named that because he was so plugged up that when he took a breath, it would make a deep rumbling sound like a diesel truck.  The name seemed perfect.   But boy was this young baby sick.  He looks to be only 2-3 months old and was much shorter than the others.  Severely underweight, in this picture he is only about 200-225 pounds.   He is one of the few horses I have seen in my life that literally was skin and bones, he had used all his fat reserves just trying to live on that feedlot and the only muscles that you could feel were along his back legs.
48" at the shoulder and under 225 pounds - skin & bones 10-29-11

By the time he arrived at EqWBR his abscess had popped, drained and left a substantial hole in the side of his face.  The picture below shows what it looked like after cleansing it.  Once an abscess pops, if there is a drain tract low to gravity, it is good to flush the abscess out.  I do a three step process.  First flush is with a dilute of betadine scrub and the next two with clean, warm water.  Then we put Swat around the edge of the area to prevent the bugs from getting to it.
Strangles abscess had burst in transit leaving this gaping hole on his jaw
So within 24 hours of his arrival with a small amount of sedative we put a halter on him, cleaned all his wounds and the abscess, brushed him and gave him some pain reliever and fever reducer.  The following day we cleaned and flushed the abscess again, and started him on some supplements to build his strength and immunity back.  Still way to weak at this point to give him anything for the parasites, but soon.  

In the next few days, more abscesses appeared under his jaw (sub-mandibular lymph node area) making it difficult for him to swallow.  We started doing very warm compresses to help relieve some of the pain and started him on an antibiotic called Exceed, which is time-released so we would have to be giving him shots daily, nor trying to get meds down his swollen throat.  Two injections are given 4 days apart.  I realized just how thin he was when I went to give him this medicine in a muscle had couldn't find any.  The only place he had a small amount of muscle was on his back legs, which are so thin that when you look at him from the back, you can see completely between his legs up to the front of his body.   No butt either.
Body Condition Score 1 out of 10, hardly any muscle mass on 10-29-11

With his throat so swollen and drinking less water because of it, by day five he was laying down when I came out in the morning and couldn't get up.  I called the vet because he had gone down hill quickly overnight.   So many things are working against him, probably anemic, high parasite load, on and off again fever, some swollen and some draining abscesses, and no muscle mass to keep him warm at night and it had been colder than expected that night.  We think he was just weak from everything combined.

I was So worried that even with all we were doing to help him recover, we might have to put him down, maybe his organs just couldn't function like they should.  Hospitalization would give him round the clock care but could run into the thousands and that is just not an option at this time.  Dr. Brown was confident I could do what she needed done for him until she got there.

I started flushing his mouth with a large dose syringe that I use for my equine dentistry and then was able to get some to dribble down his throat and he started to swallow.  We got a great product that includes electrolytes, vitamins, minerals and amino acids in a paste for I could put in his mouth.  Added Ranitadine (Prilosec) to prevent ulcers. some more hot compresses and pain meds and good alfalfa and we gave him a dose of de-worming meds (pyrantal pamoate - Strongid) to start riding him of the parasites that are taking the nutrients away from his body. He started to eat and ate for 3 hours straight and stopped to drink at least a gallon of water.  Better, but not out of the woods.

We found a quilted, waterproof XXL dog blanket and put that on him to keep the warmth in and then covered that with a thick fleece blanket.   The following morning (Friday) we started all over again with the flushing, electrolytes and everything else he needed and still all the wound management.  By 6pm, in the pouring rain - it had rained very hard all day, Dr. Dawn Brown of West Coast Equine Medicine arrived to give him IV fluids.  We put in a catheter and gave him 2000 units of Lactated Ringers.  The following day he got 1600 more.  When I went to give him his final dose, he had swelling around the catheter site, so I pulled it and he already had infection in the area.  This poor little guys body is just struggling.

Well the fluids helped and his appetite picked up, we found an old and tattered, but better fitting blanket to keep him warm (some nights down to 36 degrees) and kept all the rest of the good stuff going into him . We were given some colostrum powder to add to his diet that will also help build back his immunity.

After a week of being with us he is still really sick and a little weak and with the swelling in his neck and vestibular area, he is a little wobbly, but he has started to visibly put on a little weight, his appetite is good and he drinks well, so we just keep up the daily routine of cleaning his abscesses, all his supplements and meds and still hot compresses on his neck.
After IV fluids and good food he has started to put on weight
This picture was taken 10 days after his arrival and you can see he is starting to look a little better.  Slowly, painfully slowly he is starting to get better.  Those few days last week when I was worried we might have to put him down were agonizing .

I have made an extra effort in the last few days to take extra time to brush him and clean him up all over.  I don't want him to think that every time he sees me I am going to poke him, give him meds or treat his wounds which seems like all I have been doing over the last 10 days.

He is remarkable.  There are times when I am sitting out in the stall to just give them comfort that he would walk over to me and just rest his head on my shoulder.  I can't imagine what his life was like before he got here, but not good that's for sure.

He is not out of the woods yet, but he is getting closer.  The amount of nursing care he needs has been less this week, his fever is gone, the only abscess left is on his neck at the catheter site and that has started to drain and his appetite and thirst remain good.  I will keep you updated over the next several weeks.

Big thanks go out to all those who generously donated so far to help cover all his medical care which has now in excess $500, the generous donation of the colostrum from Dani Lloyd, and yesterday I got an email that a new blanket for him will be arriving by the 14th from a very dear person who wants to remain anonymous.

More funds are still needed for his ongoing care and food.  So if you would like to contribute it will help make him well, you can send a check to EqWBR, PO Box 324, Ramona, CA  92065  or you can click the donate button.