I haven't updated in awhile because we've had a setback that we were focused on solving -- it ended up yesterday with us having to euthanize our mare, Juicetta, that was pregnant with a foal by Not ruf at all. We got her around the same time as the mare pictured here and she arrived from Colorado lame. She was supposed to be 'broodmare sound', meaning she wasn't assessed for riding or competing, actually hadn't been ridden in several years, but was fine to carry and nurse a foal. Turns out that was false. We didn't have any xrays of her legs done before we bought her-- just had an ultrasound of the baby done which was fine. From the day we got her in late June, she has been lame on her right front. We started having the vet come in early July and at first they thought she might be foundering but then it seemed as though she had at least one absess. We did all we could for her, even going as far as installing an A/C unit in her stall because she was suffering from our humid heat. By the end of July, she was looking some better, had lost weight because Richard was walking her regullarly and her limp was less noticable. When she arrived, she had no shoes and had clearly gotten a bad trim so we were waiting for her hooves to grow out enough to put shoes on her-- in hopes that's all it was-- tenderness from the trip, absess healing. By early August, she had shoes on and seemed better so she was cleared for light exercise. Richard started riding her, only walking, and very soon she was worse and her left rear leg started showing problems. Out comes the vet again. This time her right front was again in bad shape and she responded very badly when her left rear was flexed. All signs of serious problems. The vet prescribed Adequan for pain-- there are very few pain meds you can give a pregnant horse without harm to the baby. We were trying that but she was clearly in a great deal of pain-- she'd only stand in her 4 window stall, under the fan, not even looking at the window, because she didn't want to walk. And she hated flies so if we let her out in a small turnout area, she'd end up running to get away from the flies, which led to more severe limping. We finally decided to take her to NCSU Vet School and were there all day yesterday. They couldn't have been any more supportive, knowledgeable, and compassionate than they were yesterday. We were there all day and they knew something serious was wrong with that front right. They wanted to focus on that problem first since it's the more severe one-- horses put most of their weight on their front. They started by blocking the nerve to that foot, which should take most/all the pain away but she was still hurting just walking. Then they did another series of xrays (our vet did some in July and didn't see this latest problem). Turns out she had navicular disease-- a degenerative disease that starts very mild and can often be managed with better and different shoes and other pain management options that aren't available to a pregnant mare. The navicular bone is very small and sits up under the coffin bone (or main bone in the hoof) and there's a tendon that runs under it. Xrays only show bone issues, as you may know, and yesterday they showed a very large hole in her right navicular and damage under it that showed calcification and other signs that her tendons were likely also damaged.
So we were faced with the horrible decision of trying to keep her alive, knowing she's already in so much pain she can barely walk now and there's not much they can do to help her, or putting her down. There was the option of a neurectomy where they remove the nerve in the bottom half of her leg. The problem with that is, if there was soft tissue damage (which would have required a lot more tests to determine and there were already enough signs in the xrays that the vets thought they'd find problems), it wouldn't have helped. And for the rest of the pregnancy, she wouldn't be able to feel her foot which would mean she could really hurt herself and not even know it. And, her disease was at the end-stages -- far more advanced than shoes or any other method could help her-- so the best we could hope for was for her to stand it for 5 more months and birth the foal. And in having the foal, we weren't sure how that could happen because she has never laid down or rolled since we got her-- it hurt too much to get back up. And there was a chance that she would have to be put down right after giving birth and we'd have to find a surrogate mom.
Anyone who knows us well knows we love our animals and can't stand to see them suffer. So, weighing all the options, we opted to not have her be in increasing pain (as the baby got heavier, it'd be harder for her to move) only to possibly deliver that foal. There was a very good chance she wouldn't make it another 5 more months in the level of pain she's had. She was so obviously in pain all the time-- I can't describe it but I've never seen a horse suffer for so long and we wanted it to stop.
So she was put down last night and is getting a necropsy today. Our first and only baby for 2020 is gone. We plan to go back to the seller and confront them about their lying but there is likely little we can do.
We left the vet school saying we were going to not do this anymore. It's the 2nd time we've bought a horse that we ultimately had to put down because of problems the seller didn't disclose. In a pre-purchase exam, no matter how hard you try you can't be sure there's nothing wrong somewhere on that big animal. It's hard to believe people ever at this point. I don't know what we'll do but we have had a lot of setbacks already so maybe it's not meant to be. We still have Kachina (pictured) who is showing this weekend in Georgia and we just bought a yearling I haven't put any info up about yet. Juicetta, the one that's gone, was our foundation horse though-- the one giving us our first potential champion- and that's a hard setback to overcome.
I wanted to start letting people know. Sorry if this is TMI. I find that horse people tend to judge harshly when something like this happens and assume they could have done something different and better. We know we made the right decision and based it on a lot of scientific information from a group of vets who had more than 100 years combined experience. If you can't say anything nice about this, please don't respond. This is very hard.