|Monday January 21 2008|
I was shocked when I saw the real Rhett underneath his blanket this morning. He looks like a skeleton with dehydrated skin laid over the top. He's got a 'lizard butt' as Kevin aptly put it, hip bones sticking out and the dock of his tail sticking up above his dented-in butt like a starved horse. All muscle tone gone. Rhett, who usually carries his tail up in the air, has it weakly clamped down to his butt. He is better though, say the boys - he had it really bad the last week or so, droopy, ill, not eating, stocked up legs, feeling miserable, no spark in his eye. He let me hug him - Rhett never does that - and even turned his head around to hug me back. Rhett, always strong, fit, healthy; now miserable and - pathetic. To see the mighty Rhett in that condition, to just associate that word with him, and to have him hug me back, choked me up.
Gone is Jose's pumpkin belly he always carried so well, even when he was fit. He looks more like a sleek Arabian greyhound now. He's much perkier than Rhett, obviously not feeling so bad.
Some people believe in letting the strangles run its course instead of fighting it with antibiotics (this vet said that the myth of causing the abscesses to go internal with treatment is just that: a myth), but Rhett was getting to be in pretty bad shape (he possibly had the flu first, and appeared to be getting better, and that stress on his immune system made him vulnerable to the strangles); and Kevin and Rusty didn't want to take any chances with their horses, one of which had already started coughing. So they chose to treat all the horses.
The whole herd gets shots once a day, and Rhett gets orally tranquilized before his shot (because you just can't poke him with a needle otherwise, and, why stress him more?). He's on strong antibiotic shots for at least 5 days, and probably longer-term less strong antibiotics; and oral shots of cortisone for Purpura hemorrhagica - a whole-body inflammatory state caused by the strangles. His legs were big as tree trunks, all the way up and down the leg, though today we could see his tendons so the swelling has greatly decreased. He got hit hard with this. The systemic infection was what had the vet worried most and the fact he had stopped eating. Jose never got so sick - just got the green snot, (no abscesses), and he looks good to me, other than being thin. (Of course, some people like to keep their horses on the thin side anyway, so they'd think Jose looks great! I like my horses a little on the rounder side).
Today Rusty cleaned Rhett's abscess under his chin, which finally busted. He squeezed around the hole, and green crap exploded out in several directions. Poor Rhett! Once all that stuff came out, Rhett looked like he felt better already. The vet came out to drop off more medicine, and looked at him, and commented on how much better he looks today than he did a few days ago. Rusty washed off Rhett's icky halter and I took it off of him for the day... I swore I'd be able to catch him tomorrow. (We'll see).
Of course I've started spoiling Rhett and Jose with carrots. They will get plenty in the next few weeks. This wasn't quite the winter that had been planned for everybody.
Phooey on this strangles crap!