Saturday, December 3, 2011

Not so fast!

When Suki arrived at Kelly's she still required quite a bit of medication. The instructions that she was discharged from the hospital with included a "dialing down" of those medications. When I read the instructions it seemed rather abrupt, but I did not question it. Suki was still taking the gabapentin, which relieved the neuropathic pain as the burns healed. It also helped with the "itchies". Daily exfoliating also helped, but with that patch of eschar in the middle of her back, and the scabbing on her head, Suki had a lot of itchies!

Because my office was 15 minutes form Kelly's farm, sometimes I would visit Suki during lunch. It was a nice break for me and I think Suki enjoyed it as well. I wasn't doing her treatments so there wasn't any stress for her. I would groom, feed treats and just stand there and talk to her. Suki was recovering nicely and the daily treatments appeared to be beneficial.

So, the dialing down of the gabapentin began.....
Once again, a telephone call after 10 PM from Kelly. "Suki is scratching frantically and is opening wounds. She seems very distressed. I think I should call the vet."

So once again, Willow Creek Equine was called for an emergency visit. I really have to confess that I thought I had made the wrong decision regarding Suki's health and well being. Was I wrong for saving her? Was she going to always have episodes like this? Was she at the right rehab farm? I was always really concerned that Suki was happy and healthy and that the decision that I had made was not just for me, but because she wanted to live!

Dr. X sedated Suki lightly to relieve some of her anxiety. We discussed the reduction of the gabapentin and realized that it was just too quick. Suki was obviously still experiencing some neuropathic discomfort which was not unusual given the extent of her injuries. The next day I discussed the situation with the veterinarians at New Bolton and we revised the protocol. This seemed to do the trick, and Suki was comfortable once again. While she needed to be weaned off the gabapentin eventually, an important part of the recovery was comfort level. A huge part of this was lack of experience. Most horses with such extensive burns did not survive. treatment was trial and error. My beautiful girl rose to the occasion, but any level of discomfort hurt me as well. For me, everything was about Suki being happy and healthy and every decision was made with that in mind. So many people have said that they believed that Suki should have been "put down" immediately, and that most people would have done just that. I tried to think with my head and not my heart that day, but when I called her name and she answered, I knew that I at least needed to try. If at any time I thought she was in severe pain, I would have relieved her of that. But she seemed so NORMAL! And every day that I am with her now, I know that it was indeed, the right decision. She brings joy to me and everyone she meets.

December 3, 2011
This photo is from one month after the fire. Isn't the difference amazing?? When I look at Suki now I can hardly believe how far she has come. On Friday, I saw a Facebook post about a dog named Rescue whose "Dad" was a firefighter. Rescue is now an orphan because his dad died suddenly at the age of 40. He was given a well deserved hero's funeral having saved many lives during his too short life. Rescue's plight struck me hard....a very brave firefighter saved Suki that terrible night. The good news is that Rescue is going to be trained by a retired K-9 cop trainer to be a therapy dog and will then go to a retired, injured or ill first responder. So many brave people and animals.....

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