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Equus Dreams Home of Healthy Nicker Treats, Low Carb, Low Sugar Horse Cookies

Last night as I was administering Lenny’s medication, Lenny turned to bite me, his eyes clearly longing to be free from the body that had been rapidly atrophying and had trapped him in a world of pain.  I could no longer allow him to endure the torture of failed attempts to sustain a body that was failing him.  So, on the night I was scheduled to leave on a beach vacation with my family, I made a very difficult, but necessary, decision to end Lenny’s suffering.


My dear friend and S.O.S. (Stamp Out Starvation of Horses) founder, Doris Buckley, and our friend, Lindsay Smith, agreed to meet Dr. Rob Milligan in the morning to help Lenny over the Rainbow Bridge.


When Doris arrived on Sunday morning, Lenny’s best friend and soulmate, Bandit, was using his weight to hold Lenny up against the wood fence.  He was very weak, but he managed to follow Bandit to the front paddock, where he had spent so many of his happiest days with his friend.  Lindsay brought her favorite pillow on which Lenny could lay his head.  They held and loved Lenny until Dr. Rob arrived.   Dr. Rob did a wonderful, compassionate job of putting Lenny at peace, while surrounded by loved ones.  Bandit, the horse who faced euthanization himself only a few short months ago, said goodbye to his dear friend, twice making a sound that Doris had never heard from a horse before. 


Just as he had once been rescued from the confines of a dog pen, Lenny has now been rescued from pain.  At only two and a half years old, Lenny had suffered the worst the world had to offer.   Despite the fact that I will live forever with the sadness of not having been able to save him, I find solace in knowing that he did have many happy days here with us.


Lenny was a sweet, gentle, pocket pony, and was loved by all who knew him.  He gave his friend, Bandit, a reason to live after having been starved, then grossly misunderstood and rejected. 


Because of Lenny, Bandit found the redemption he deserved, and showed the world that he is a loving, gentle, loyal and nurturing soul, worthy and capable of living a happy and productive life.


Because of Lenny, many adults and children found the joy and gratification that loving a horse can bring.


Because of Lenny, my husband, Ken, learned the importance of a still and gentle spirit.


Because of Lenny, we learned that horses speak, we just sometimes lack the wisdom and stillness of mind to hear.


Because of Lenny, I learned that love is elusive and must be cherished in all forms.  Love does not come with a promise of forever on this earth, but forever in your heart. 


The lessons and love I carry with me for this magnificent, diminutive horse will color every relationship throughout my entire life.


Thank you, Lenny, for teaching me that sometimes it’s not the amount of time a soul remains on earth that matter, it’s what you do with the time you have.


Lenny and I would like to thank the following people who made his life, and his transition, as happy as it could be.


Chuck Singer

Cindy Singer

Kris Farmer

The Harmon Family

Doris Buckley

Dr. Rob Milligan

Lindsay Smith


Equus Dreams Home of Healthy Nicker Treats, Low Carb, Low Sugar Horse Cookies

Yesterday, I let Lenny and Bandit have the run of the yard.  Lenny kept coming to the back porch, and I’d feed him oats, apples, and he even drank some Gatorade.  I put a fan out for him to stand next to, and I draped him in cool, water-soaked towels to cool him off.   It is obvious that he is not getting better.


This morning, I received an email from Cheryl Flanagan, who had shared Lenny’s vet records with her vet, Ken Marcella.  This was his report:


I did get a chance to look at the bloodwork and Lenny has some problems that potentially may be quite serious. His BUN and creatine are very elevated which is certainly an indicator of kidney stress/failure but the high calcium has been reported in cancer cases- especially leulemia, lymphoscarcoma and other marrow bases cancers. Lenny is young for that but it can happen. Additionally his GGT, the most specific blood value for liver disease in the horse, is elevated as well. Muscle enzymes are up and WBC count is as well indicating infection/inflammation. There are a number of potential problems to chose from- 3 or 4 of which may be life threatening. With good care and attention and an effort at reducing his stress levels (separating him from more aggressive horses) i would repeat the blood work in 10 days or so- if his kidney andliver values keep going up then major disease is underway and a more intense (biopsies, ultrasound, iv fluid therapy) course of action is the only option or he will likely deteriorate. If the values stabilize or decrease slightly then you may have a shot at a more conservative plan. I will be back Mon. and we can talk then. Good luck-Ken 


Today, Lenny has a hollow look in his eyes, and is biting everyone who comes near him.  He is unsteady, but still insists on sticking right next to Bandit.  Bandit will not leave his side, either.  They love each other, and that makes this even harder to bear. 

Equus Dreams Home of Healthy Nicker Treats, Low Carb, Low Sugar Horse Cookies

Yesterday was the second day of administering the Omeprazole and Sucralfate.  This morning, Lenny was actively looking for his breakfast, and even ate a handful of low-starch treats that were being passed around to celebrate Shanile’s birthday.


Kris came out to give him his Reiki session, and then I let both he and Bandit out into the grassy pasture for about 45 minutes.  They are now grazing happily in the yard, causing me to have to run out every hour to make sure there is a cool, fresh bucket of water nearby.


I wrote to Dr. Pam for feeding suggestions, and she replied with the following:


Basics like crimped oats and grass hay with some grazing and plain salt block with plenty of water should fit the recommendations. Maybe you could dress up the oats with chopped apple or carrot to make it more interesting. I am at Chestatee right now and do not have access to Lenny's bloodwork, but keep in mind his electrolyte/mineral imbalances. Feed/make available more of what is "low" and minimize what is "high" so as not to make the imbalances worse. Adding some plain salt (sodium + chloride) to his feed, or making a solution of salty water in a spray bottle and spritzing his hay can encourage him to drink more water, thereby flushing his system a little (diuresis). The exception would be if he becomes oliguric (producing decreased urine quantity) or anuric (producing no urine). Excess fluid intake in that case may cause fluid build-up in the lungs (pulmonary edema).  Watch for swelling of the sheath or hind limbs.


I am just very pleased that Lenny is having such a good day, and eating so well.  I will consider it a victory if I can actually no longer see his ribs.

 

Equus Dreams Home of Healthy Nicker Treats, Low Carb, Low Sugar Horse Cookies

Lenny enjoyed a day of grazing  with his friend, Bandit.  He stayed quite active throughout the day, but I still see him getting more and more fragile as his muscles continue to atrophy.


Lenny is taking his medication like a champ.  I am crushing 5 tablets of Sucralfate and mixing it with powdered Omeprazole, then mashing it into a paste, adding some water and placing it in a large syringe to administer orally.


The medication allowed him to finish two small meals today, providing the additional nutrition that he needs.  He has not lost his appetite for apples, and he came up to the back porch twice today to get his share.


Equus Dreams Home of Healthy Nicker Treats, Low Carb, Low Sugar Horse Cookies

I tried to keep Lenny in a stall today, thinking it was best for him to be in front of a fan, with constant access to feed, hay and water.  However, he would not eat.  It is clear that the only thing he will eat readily is grass, so there is no point in subjecting him to confinement if there is no advantage.


Dr. Pam Milligan prescribed Omeprazole and Sucralfate for Lenny, to help heal his ulcer and soothe his stomach.  My husband, Ken, picked it up this afternoon, and I administered the first dose before dinner tonight.  It seemed to make a difference, and Lenny seemed perkier, and was able to eat all of the 1/4 scoop (1/2 pound) of Triple Crown 30%, which is what I’ve switched to from the Senior feed.  I switched because it only takes a pound of Triple Crown 30% to provide full nutrition.  This is what I feed my easy keepers. 


In addition to the 30%, I offer the Triple Crown Senior throughout the day in hopes that he will eat more, but he rarely does.


Kris came out both this morning and this evening to perform Reiki on Lenny.  He responds very well to her touch, and it is  comforting to know that he is getting every possible advantage. 

 

Equus Dreams Home of Healthy Nicker Treats, Low Carb, Low Sugar Horse Cookies

Our human angel, Kris Farmer, started Reiki sessions on Lenny yesterday.  After Kris left this evening, Lenny seemed a bit brighter and happier. 


I am certain that Lenny has ulcers, and our vet concurs.  He is showing all the same symptoms I had seen in my sister’s Arabian gelding, Shanile; he is off his feed, and has started cribbing on the fence.  I find him frequently standing in his small shelter, or between a tree and the fence, his eyes hollow, as if in pain.  His muscles have atrophied due to his condition, and his gait that had recently improved, is now unsteady.


The only thing that seems agreeable to Lenny consistently is grass.   I had tried to add Focus WT to help boost his immune system and build his weight, along with the usual Omega Horseshine flax, and Equishure as a hind gut buffer to improve his body’s absorption of the little feed he was eating.   He will eat very small amounts of feed (Triple Crown Senior), and won’t touch it at all if I add any supplements.


I have been leaving Lenny and Bandit out in the yard each day to graze where I can supervise them.  I leave buckets of fresh water around the yard, and hose Lenny off if he appears warm or sweaty.  I just want to be sure Lenny has access to whatever he prefers to eat at all times.


My mission now is to get as much nutrition into Lenny as possible.  Dr. Rob said that he is not yet in end stage renal failure, but on the verge, and could remain in this condition for months.  Of course, I pray for a miracle, but short of a miracle, I hope I can give him at least a few months more with a good quality of life.  That will not be possible if his appetite doesn’t return.

Equus Dreams Home of Healthy Nicker Treats, Low Carb, Low Sugar Horse Cookies

Yesterday, Dr. Rob Milligan of Chattahoochee Veterinary Practice, came out to look at Lenny.  I called him because Lenny has been off his feed and, despite large servings of Triple Crown Senior mixed with supplemental beet pulp/rice bran and Omega Horseshine flax supplement, along with unlimited hay and grass, he has lost a great deal of weight over the last week or two.


Dr. Rob checked his heart to find that he had a heart murmur, a 3 on a scale of 6.  His lungs were good, even after what Dr. Rob called a ‘re-breathing’ test, in which Lenny breathed into a bag, taking exhaled CO2 back into his lungs.  We already knew that Lenny had stifle issues, and Dr. Rob confirmed that he has neurological issues, and is suspicious that he may have had an injury at some point.


Finally, Dr. Rob drew blood to perform a complete CBC on Lenny.  Today, he called to say that he thinks Lenny is in chronic renal failure.  The blood work shows that he is also very anemic, and his calcium/phosphorous ratio is way off.  We already know that he has a heart murmur, which may have developed recently, during this late stage.


Dr. Rob wants me to get a urine sample to determine how much kidney function he still has.  However, based on what Dr. Rob is seeing, he believes that he is VERY sick. 


Because of his uncertain history, it is very difficult to know what brought Lenny to this point.  I have read that feeding Omega 3's can help reduce renal inflammation, and he has been getting that daily in the form of Omega Horseshine flax supplement.  The only correctible cause of this failure would be stones that could be removed.  However, based on his experience with this disease, Dr. Rob doesn't believe that is the case.


Although there is no treatment for chronic renal failure, I am looking at options to prolong or improve his remaining time.  To that end, I have found the following:


Over the past couple of decades restricting dietary protein intake by human and veterinary patients with CRF was thought to have beneficial effects; however, the current recommendation is to provide adequate amounts of dietary protein and energy to meet or slightly exceed predicted requirements while maintaining a neutral nitrogen balance. In horses with CRF, adequacy of dietary protein intake can be assessed by the BUN to Cr ratio: values greater than 15:1 suggest excessive protein intake while values less than 10:1 may indicate protein-calorie malnutrition.


Once I get approval from Dr. Rob, I will start Lenny on a feed with a high, concentrated caloric content. 


Lenny and I would appreciate your prayers.

Equus Dreams Home of Healthy Nicker Treats, Low Carb, Low Sugar Horse Cookies

After much consideration, and a failed adoption attempt, my husband and I have decided to keep Lenny as a permanent member of our family.  


You can see by this video how well he is moving now.  His coat is shiny, and he seems very healthy and happy.