Sunday, January 22, 2012

Going Home! (May 7, 2011)

So eight weeks after her arrival, Suki was leaving Centenary College to come home again. Once again, it was a family affair. The trailer was at Nikki's barn, so that was our first stop. Once at Centenary, Dr. Fugaro and I looked at the graft site, cleaned it and re-bandaged it. Then, given Suki's ease of trailer loading, we gave her a little bit of sedation and waited for it to take effect. I was disappointed that the whole Team was not available that day. I wanted to thank them in person and say goodbye. But it was getting close to graduation and they had many obligations. Becky was giving lessons, but did come over with the newly revised fly sheet and to provide some assistance with loading. There were a few other students around as well, which was nice to see. We would probably need some extra hands for loadinf also! Once Suki was ready,we began the loading process. And it was indeed a process. I took the lead rope and walked toward the ramp with confidence as if she would just march right onto the trailer. Even sedated, Suki was not going to make it easy! We tried food, and lifting each foot, slow and quiet, a whip for encouragement....etc. You name it, we tried it, with the exception of the lunge line behind the butt....Suki panics with that one. We moved the center divider all the way to one side to make it more inviting. We got close a couple of times, but no go. The trailer is extra high and extra wide, so it is not like we were trying to cram her into a minivan! As usual, Suki eventually tired of the game. She walked right on and we closed the ramp! After that we secured the tail bar and closed the top doors. aaah...ready to roll. We said our goodbyes and off we went. The drive was uneventful, but Suki was a bit sweaty when we arrived home. She really does not like to travel. It was good to be home, but now I would be assuming the follow up care (with Lori's help). I hoped we would have an easier time than before. Because Suki had not been out on grass for awhile, she would need to be weaned onto grass once again. By May the fields were pretty lush, so she would start with short periods on grass that would gradually increase. The balance of turnout time was in a paddock with hay. The weather was still cool enough that Suki could wear her sleazy with a bandage underneath.
Of course, first day unsupervised, Suki rolled. Even with the bandage and the sleazy, she managed to cause some bleeding to the area. I did not use the pontton fly sheet because she still seemed to be able to get it to twist, and I was concerned about the leg straps. I was ok with her wearing it in the stall, but hesitant for using it outside unsupervised.
So now, we had to resort to supervised turnout only, with lunging to help keep Suki busy. Unfortunately this meant that she would probably only have two turnouts per day at an hour each. While this worked well at Centenary, it was difficult at home. There was not much activity, and another horse would need to stay with her in the barn. At Centenary the limited turnout time plus lunging worked well because of the constant activity and attention in the barn. Suki would also need to be checked in the middle of the day to check her water and give her some hay. I felt like we were back to square one....but this was the best chance of success for the site to heal, or I would end up bandaging her forever! We went through another few rolls in her stall, and because I was not completely comfortable with the pontoon fly sheet, there was a little more damage...The wound was not infected, so at least we did not have to deal with that.
So we continued with supervised turnout and the pontoon sheet in the stall. That made a huge difference, but I was still not happy with how much the sheet shifted. But the graft site definately started to improve again!
January 22, 2012 We had a bit of snow yesterday so Suki was only out for a couple of hours, which she certainly enjoyed! Today one of Suki's FB friends, who lives nearby came to the barn to meet her. It was so exciting to meet XX. Suki was her typical diva self, showing her sweet side and hamming it up for the camera. XX gave her some peppermints, which of course, Suki LOVES! And she brought homemade oatmeal raisin cookies for me....Yumm! It is so nice to meet Suki's supporters and get to know them. It has meant so much to me to have so many people behind us supporting Suki's journey. I am extremely fortunate. Yesterday I was contacted by the person who runs a rescue in Washington state. August 2011, there was a barn fire at Dutch Mill Farm in Washington. One of the surviving horses has injuries similar to Suki's. His owner surrendered him to the rescue because the cost became overwhelming. The treating veterinarian is going to speak to Dr. Fugaro about the possible need for a skin graft, and the additional treatment. I am glad that we can be a resource for others. Suki's case has enabled veterinarians to learn valuable information regarding burn treatments, which can hopefully at least give them a starting point when treating other burned horses. I have learned a lot about after care through much trial and error and am happy to pass along this information as well. And Dr. Fugaro continues to be a source for other veterinarians. This is not the first time I have requested his help by speaking to those who contact me. I am so grateful for his willingness to help.

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