I'm going crazy.
I can not stop thinking about this whole thing. Sometimes I am convinced she will be fine - that the damage already done is fixable with this surgery.
Other times I am certain that I will not have a horse this time next month.
Today is one of the latter days. The more I think about it, the more reasons I find to support the 'too far gone' theory. She's older than other horses reported to have this kind of tumour, so the damage must be more severe. The vets are very guarded with their prognosis - although the main vet involved has promised me that she won't let me go too far with treatment if she feels that I am making choices with my emotive side rather than my animal-welfare side. I just don't know. Ugh.
It's really hard to find information online about the results of previous surgeries for similar tumours. They are all locked down scientific journal papers with only a synopsis or summary available to plebs like me.
Google images is rather scary. I have a super strong stomach with this kind of thing and it is still a little hard to look through. Poor ponies. Poor Allie.
I am, however, feeling very comfortable with the descision to take her to Wagga for a CT scan. Not only will it prevent her from having to go through the pain of surgery for no reason if she is too far gone (please, God, no), it also gives us the chance to map out the tumour and the surrounding structures which will enable the vets to put together a detailed game plan with hopefully no surprises when they do open her up.
Surgery (and remember, we are hoping to go to surgery because a dead Allie is the alternative) involves a bone flap to access the area via the sinus. Apparently these types of surgeries heal well cosmetically over time. There are chances of infection etc etc but most seem to have simple antibiotic fixes.
The vet has quoted me up to $5000 for the surgery (if there are some minor complications). The CT scan is an additional $1500.
What would you do in my situation? I think Allie is young and valuable enough to justify the time, money and recovery necessary for this. I will spend any amount to keep her as pain free as possible during this whole thing.
And now I am at the 'we are going to surgery' mindset after talking about all this. I'm flip-flopping like a fish.
Results of the CT scan will be available after the 7th. I guess I will know from then.
Wednesday, 26 March 2014
Tuesday, 25 March 2014
Horses have been put on this world to break our hearts and crush us.
I heard from the vet today. This mass is a tooth root tumor. Very rare. Only 3 reported cases in the world. Massive complications. Surgery is going to cost thousands (that's not a problem if she pulls through!). She may end up with a great quality of life. She may not, and need to be put to sleep anyway.
We need a CT scan at Charles Sturt Uni in Wagga Wagga (which means travel 4 hours there and back, $1500 or so for the bill) to see exactly what we are dealing with before opening her up. If we open her up. Depends on the current damage. Basically we need the CT to see if she is even salvageable.
If she is salvageable, surgery will go ahead. Apparently planning is the key here.
Surgery involves a big giant bone flap, to go in through the sinus and then remove the tumor and any damaged surrounding material. The extent of the damage is unknown - best case scenario the other teeth (the last two in the upper left arcade) are ok to stay, although they haven't erupted properly and will never be in the right place.
Worst case scenario, there may be other teeth and bone to remove, leaving a gaping hole. Encouraging a gaping hole to heal and stay closed so there is no communication (i.e. food and debris) between the mouth and sinus is imperative. Her quality of life moving forward partially depends on this.
The other major consideration is the orbital nerve which runs very closely to the area - if this nerve is damaged, the horse does NOT cope well. It innervates the horse's nose, lips and face. Without some or all of this, apparently the horse just goes nuts and is a danger to itself and all around it. Preserving this nerve is their #1 priority during surgery.
Last but not least, it is a possibility that she can bleed out during the sinus surgery, so a donor horse is kept on hand just in case she needs a bloody blood transfusion.
Fuck me. This is the most difficult thing I have ever had to deal with. My beautiful, sweet mare has a major rare life threatening tumor that needs major surgery to remove. Prognosis if all goes well is quite good, the horse may suffer from frequent mild sinus infections that will be controlled with medication when required. Frequent dental will be another life long commitment.
That's if she gets to that stage.
Why my beautiful mare? She is the sweetest thing, great riding horse. She had a bright future. The vets are very guarded with their prognosis.
What am I going to do if I loose her? If I have to say goodbye? I don't know if I will ever want to be involved with horses again. I think I'm already going to give up trimming in the meantime, until we know what is going on.
Fuck fuck fuck.
Sunday, 23 March 2014
Allie had a bleeding nose last night. It took well over a half hour to stop.
I panicked and took her in to the hospital.
She was scoped - initially nothing to be seen, everything seemed ok so she was tucked into a stable and I left her at the clinic overnight.
This morning they scoped again and then did a skull X-ray. What they found was a large cluster of extra material where a tooth should be that is displacing her actual teeth and pushing them into her sinus and pushing them sideways.
Apparently this case is unusual and they sent the radiographs off to two different dental surgeons to get their opinion. She will need surgery to remove it, plus packing of some sort to help stop wave mouth.
I picked her up today and brought her home with antibiotics to help clear the area in preparation for surgery.
She seems in good spirits, although last week she wasn't too well. It must have flared up.
I just want her to be better again. Even the vets feel sorry for me - the poor horse can't catch a break!
Thank god I have the common sense to have vet insurance (although I think this will eat up the whole $2000 worth of cover for this year).
Monday, 3 March 2014
Allie moved paddocks yesterday. I've moved her to an old racehorse facility 6 minutes from where I live. It's been abandoned for 6 years, but the new owners are turning it into an equestrian facility, eventually putting in indoor arenas, jump arenas, cross country course etc etc. The fencing is immaculate, each yard is a decent size with auto waterers, shade trees and a sand bottom brick shelter.
She seems really happy there so far - got off the float calmly, looked around, barely had a trot in the yard and then settled down to graze. Good girl!! She hasn't gone off her feed yet either. I think it has something to do with the fact that I have upped her magnesium chloride significantly in the lead up to the move.
There is a racetrack with starter barriers up the back. They need to fix some of it, which they are in the process of doing. I can't wait until Allie can do gallop sets, it's going to be fun!
I'll be doing all of her care again. I'm so excited to see her twice a day every day again! I've missed her so so much. I can't wait to get close to her again.