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In which Taco gets One More Chance....post 55, pg 3

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  • In which Taco gets One More Chance....post 55, pg 3

    So, here is the deal.

    Things have gone pretty well. His eye has been good, and his leg has been fine, too. He has been pretty happy, albeit living on a 250# dose of Banamine twice daily. This is down just the past 10 days, before that, it was a 500# BID for the past few months.

    His blood work has shown the beginnings of organ damage- but not in the terrible range. But we know his time on NSAIDS is limited. I think it's remarkable that it's been as good as it's been- he has been on a lot of them for the past year, as the leg happened just over a year ago. Switch from Bute to Banamine to help that.

    So, on Wed, I noticed his leg was beginning to look bad again- not totally open, but swelling. A bit of ooze too. called vets, let them know- appt at MSU made for Monday (tomorrow). He is due for another eye check, too.

    Yesterday, I noticed his eye was getting bad. I stained it, but saw nothing. This AM, it was worse- called my home vet to the farm who agreed, there is no ulcer, but his eye is not happy at all. And worse, he is not happy- and looks miserable. I gave him another 1000 dose of Banamine, and eye drugs. And I await tomorrow.

    When I called abt the eye, the vets both said..."we were afraid of that." I guess they had a conference about this-and there seems to be a relationship between the two. BTW- he is on Lysine, and it helped the mouth ulcers- they are gone!

    Here is the thing. It may be the end. We may have done everything we can. I don't know totally how to put it- but of course I will wonder always. He is not pasture pet material. His drug needs are pretty high, and I know he cannot sustain this amount of drugs much longer. He is pretty good out on pasture, but his pain levels can get pretty high if he does not have those drugs.

    But more to the point, I may just not be able to ride this rollercoaster much longer. Things look better, and WOW! Then, just when I begin to take a normal breath, things go down again. And I am not the non-emotional sort. So, it does begin to effect/affect everything. It's sad that the entire house, never mind barn, knows by me when Taco is having a bad day. Not because I say it but because everything revolves around him. My DH is more patient and supportive then I could ever hope- and he knows the relationship we have- this horse has given me wings, and he is truly a very special guy. Difficult, yes, but really really talented.

    Some horses do what they do because they just can, and that's that. But, some horses go past what they should be able to do for their riders- and That is Taco. He indeed does have scope, but he has an even bigger heart. I adore him, but...

    Well, he may be telling us that time has come. I will know more tomorrow. But I think tomorrow may be a tough day.

    Any one have anything to add to my questions for the vets? and any suggestions? It is far from clear cut, I know.
    Last edited by annikak; Jan. 14, 2008, 08:33 PM.

  • #2
    No easy answer....and this is one of the toughest decisions you will ever make....but I would always rather put them out of their pain too soon then too late. Some make it easy for us and make the decision for us...others...not as clear. It is about the quality of life for everyone involved.

    When I was faced with the decision....I did ask my vet...who I trust...what would he do if it was his horse. That helped but ultimately I needed to make the decision.

    No matter what...you will not make a wrong choice .... do not BEAT yourself up over your choice...and do not second guess yourself. I'm so sorry you are having to go through this. I hope that you get some information tomorrow that makes your decision a bit more clear....whether it is time to let go or something else you can do to get him better.
    ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **


    • #3
      Oh, Annika, I am so sorry. I wish I could offer something besides an expression of sympathy and support.

      Could narcotics possibly help to keep him comfortable in lieu of NSAIDs? I know it's nothing resembling a "solution" but perhaps one thing you could do to help?

      Will be thinking about you A LOT tomorrow.
      Click here before you buy.


      • #4
        Boy, it's not a good night around here. I'm so sorry.

        On questions to ask, most good vets can help you sort through whether you're on a regression or whether there's a way forward that doesn't do more harm. Being kind of analytical gal myself, I tend to want alot of science and data and information about outcomes and statistics. Others would prefer to know what the vet would do if it was their horse. And still others have the ability to look at the animal and just know - with a faith and confidence that I deeply admire and am confused by all at once. I think it comes down to the point where, having whatever measure of information you place stock in, you can sit with the decision and be ok with it. Being ok with the decision doesn't mean you're not sad - of course you're sad - but I find it pretty helpful to try making the decision in your own head, and see how it feels. And if it feels a little bit of a relief, than that's an important sign.

        Whatever you decide, no one could say you've not done everything possible for Taco. At some point it's ok to let go -- it doesn't make you any less of a devoted horseman. If this is the time, hugs and sympathies and I'm so very sorry. If it's not the time, then you have my heartfelt good wishes going forward. Either way, you done good by him. That counts.


        • #5
          I am so sorry. it is never an easy choice. My feeling is when they can no longer do what horses love to do , then it is time. I also think you will know - they just have a look in their eye that says they have had enough. Whatever choice you make, you can be sure you have done all you could.


          • #6
            Depends what kind of relationship you have with your vet. I have had the same vet here for 28 years and have been working with the same vets at U of Pa as long also. I tend to want things straight with out the sugar coating and they know it. I usually ask my vet when it gets to the point where you are what he would do if it was his horse. I am currently in a similar situation with my 11 yr old ISH gelding who was diagnosed with a hole in his navicular bone and a large cyst in his joint. I delivered and imprinted this horse and raised him, broke him etc. He is my baby and one of my last ties to my father . We tried the shoes and they made no difference, gave him bute with no change at all and pretty much they felt nerving is our next option but as my vet says for this horse it really isn't an option. So ...... we pulled his shoes and are just turning him in and out and waiting to see if he will grow a foot he is comfortable with as this started when my farrier started trying to make his one big foot look more normal. So far he has good and bad days. You basically have to decide when the bad days out weigh the good. I know this is a non response but..... YOU will know when it is time... you have to go with your gut on this one. I am still in denial but it gets more real all the time.

            I am SO sorry to hear this and I really wish there were a way to make it easier. Know that you have gone farther then most people would have and that if you do make the big decision you will have done everything in your power to help him and do right by him. Please keep us posted as to what the vet thinks and I will keep Taco in my prayers.

            <Cyber hugs to you >
            "A little less chit-chat a little more pitter-pat"


            • #7
              I'm so sorry Annika. This is a horrible decision to make. I had to make it with my cat a bit ago, and it's so hard when things are downhill and there's a hope. You hold onto that bit of hope so much, but only you know what is truly best for your boy. Talk to your vet. Together you will come to a decision in his best interest.

              I'll be thinking about you. Major hugs.


              • #8
                Nothing to add except giant cyber hugs for both you and Taco. I'm sure that no matter what you do, he knows with all his heart how much you love him.


                • #9
                  I am so sorry to hear this annikak- I cannot give better advice than Bornfree and Gotspots already have
                  At this point, neither decision will be wrong
                  There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.(Churchill)


                  • #10
                    I'm sorry Annika...I've been there with a few horses and sometimes we have just done everything we can and it wasn't meant to be. Sounds like you might be there but it would be awesome if it was a good day tomorrow but being prepared always helps.

                    Best wishes,


                    • #11
                      I'm so sorry you're going through this. I really have no words of advise, but I will be thinking of you and Taco tomorrow. Let us know how things go ok? We're here for ya.



                      • Original Poster

                        Thank you all- I went outside to do him meds and come back in to no less the 10 replies and my inbox flashing. Thank you all.

                        My biggest issue is this. They just don't know- and that drives them nuts as much as me. I think every vet that looks outside the close up picture says that enough is enough, you've done everything yet he still has issues. Yet each vet that gets to know him treating him for whatever he has develops hope. MAYBE this will do it. Lets try this and see.... They called in a medicine vet before his surgery last time and she went over him and could conclude nothing. I guess they think now that whatever is happening is coming from his leg, and that triggers his eye. Since he has no vitreus left, we can eliminate the eye causing issues.

                        Even my most scientific vet has gone to checking other ideas, inc. giving him Diamond V Yeast. Yes, I got that article from her on Thursday when she checked him.

                        He just fits no profile of any response to anything. He sure is tough and shows almost no pain to anything ever. Autoimmune issues with horses are not studied. So, we just don't really have any answers. And being a person that believe in research, and studies (well done ones) that is the worst thing about this.

                        Thanks everyone-again.


                        • #13
                          Annikak I am so sorry!

                          I know you will make the right decision. And that it is going to be very hard to make.

                          My 'once in a lifetime horse' is also a tough fighter like yours, and although he is healthy, he is getting weaker at 18 years of age and sometimes has trouble getting up when he lays down. I am not looking forward to that day with mine either. I think it's a much harder decision when the horse has so much heart and wants to keep fighting for you. But when it's time, you will know.


                          • #14
                            Annika, I'm so sorry to hear this. What a horrible decision to face whether tomorrow or later. Many prayers and jingles coming your way. You've done so much for him and I know he appreciates every bit of it.
                            We need health care reform, not insurance reform. Health care for ALL!


                            • #15
                              Annika: I am so sorry to hear about this. You have gone through so much for Taco--and he has also given you so much. Neither of you "owe" each other anything. You know him better than anyone--so you will do the right thing. Frankly, I hope it doesn't come to that. I will be thinking about you. Tough, tough decision.


                              • #16
                                That's so discouraging, just when things seemed to be getting better. I guess I'd discuss the prognosis for both his eye and his leg with the vets, and see what alternative pain meds would be appropriate. Also, if it's still snowing there, how much the weather is likely to affect him and stuff. I know this is such a tough decision for you.
                                Stay me with coffee, comfort me with chocolate, for I am sick of love.


                                • #17
                                  Oh, I am so sorry. I have followed your story from afar without posting anything but I know how hard it is to make a decision like this. As some other people have said, it is better to make a decision too early than too late. You have been awesome and I can't believe how much you have done for Taco and Reason (if I remember correctly...that is his name). I used to work at an equine hospital and if I learned anything from there it is that the horse will tell you. They lose something about them rather it's that sparkle in their eye or their personality or whatever...they tell you when they are done fighting! This is a decision that no one can make for you...you have to do it when you are ready and you'll know and once you think you know...then trust yourself that you are doing the right thing....because I hope you know you have done so much more for your horse(s) than most people would and your horses thank you for that. I hope things turn around for Taco and you have a bunch of people rooting for him and you on here! Good luck!
                                  **There are only two emotions that belong in the saddle; one is a sense of humour and the other is patience**



                                  • #18
                                    oh annika, I'm so sorry.

                                    When I came here a year ago asking the same question on behalf of my Old Man, people told me "you'll know." I didn't understand how and for a little while I didn't know. But there came a time when I DID know and I made the decision to let him go.

                                    You and Taco have such a special bond, that I do believe you'll know when it is time. And better to make the decision a week too soon before he really starts suffering.

                                    Jingles for you (and Taco!) during this difficult time.
                                    My Mustang Adventures - Mac, my mustang | Annwylid D'Lite - my Cob filly

                                    "A horse's face always conveys clearly whether it is loved by its owner or simply used." - Anja Beran


                                    • #19
                                      Annika, I am so sorry and sad to hear this.
                                      Whatever decision you make, it will be the right one and you will know when it is the right time to make it.
                                      I am thinking about you and Taco.
                                      ~Living the life I imagined~


                                      • #20
                                        There is no way anyone can tell you what to do. You know what the 2 of you have been through together. You know whether he wants to keep on and whether you want to keep at it.
                                        I had to make The Tough Choice in July. Mikey and I had to make the decision together, alone. Others could support but no one could decide. I *KNOW* I had no choice and although I can still sob over that horse any time, I still know he had to go. I am grateful I could give him the gift of peace.
                                        I am so so so sad for you. You have put up an amazing fight and if you feel the time has come then you can allow it. Very best of luck tomorrow. Know we are all with you in whatever decision you make.
                                        Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.