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WWYD: horse probably foundering but owner refuses to call vet UPDATE on #43

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  • WWYD: horse probably foundering but owner refuses to call vet UPDATE on #43

    I've been struggling with whether or not to post this, but it's still bugging me, so have to ask... Late last Friday afternoon a friend called me (let's call him “John”, for sake of clarity). He's very horse unsavvy, but is not afraid of them and loves hanging around them. John's brother-in-law had been out of town all week on a business trip and he had been going over and checking on BIL's horses. He called me because one mare had been standing in the exact same spot since Monday and did not want to move. Some of the symptoms he described immediately made me think founder.

    It was pushing dark when I arrived, but sure enough there was a chunky paint mare in a drylot with her front feet pushed way out in front of her and refusing to budge. John told me she had been out on grass before BIL left, but put all horses in drylot to make it easier for him. She was standing in some mud right next to the fence, with lots of hay that John had pulled off the round bale and carried over to her. She was indeed extremely reluctant to move, but I did manage to get her to take a step. Checked her soles to make sure she wasn’t just sore from a recent trim, bur her exaggerated stance, lethargic attitude and strong pulse just above fetlocks screamed laminitis at me.

    BIL had told John to just go to Tractor Supply and buy some bute. I explained it was only available through a vet. Consequently, I brought both my own bute powder and bottle of banamine with me. John called BIL while I was there and I spoke with him over the phone, explaining what I thought was the problem and urging him to get a vet out ASAP. That was the only way to correctly diagnosis the mare’s problem and halt the progression if it was indeed laminitis. Owner declined, saying he would be home on Sunday and his farrier was coming out this Wednesday and would take radiographs then. He told me to give her whatever medication I thought necessary to help her. Said mare was old (only 17) and basically his attitude seemed like “whatever happens, happens, I don’t particularly care because she’s old anyway.”

    I gave her 12cc banamine orally, and about 20 minutes later she did seem to perk up a bit, so could tell her pain had eased somewhat. She had also inched her way back down into the deeper mud/hay. John hung a bucket of water on fence for her and brought over an armful of hay to tide her over the night. He said he was more comfortable giving the bute powder in some wet oats than dosing the banamine, so I put some in a Ziploc bag and told him to give her 1 large tsp twice a day. He sent me a pic of her Sat morning, saying she felt better and had moved. But how much this is due to less pain and more with the fact that it had rained some overnight and she had moved into the trees, is unclear. She was still standing in that exaggerated way with her front legs pushed way out in front.

    I’m not sure if I’m asking for advice, or just venting. It frustrated the hell out of me that the guy didn’t give a damn enough to call a vet out. I even volunteered to be there for the vet, etc. And it breaks my heart to think of that poor mare being in so much pain. I had a horse that foundered (and eventually had to be put down because of it), so I know exactly how painful the condition is. Even John hated to see her in pain, that's why he called me in the first place. Did I do the right thing or should I have done something else? The whole situation is still bothering me…
    Last edited by Real Rush; May. 4, 2013, 11:00 AM. Reason: update title

  • #2
    Never met a farrier that took radiographs. You need to walk away or call animal control, your choice.
    McDowell Racing Stables

    Home Away From Home

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    • #3
      You might have to walk away. Depending on where you are, animal control might be able to do something...but I sure wouldn't count on it.

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      • #4
        Or you can call the vet and assume all financial responsibility. But would anyone perform follow up care? I did this once with a pony filly with a broken hind leg that wasn't mine, but was boarded at my barn.
        "Absent a correct diagnosis, medicine is poison, surgery is trauma and alternative therapy is witchcraft" A. Kent Allen
        http://www.etsy.com/shop/tailsofglory

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        • #5
          You don't know the mare's history. Perhaps she has a long laminitis history. He should have left Banamine or Bute or whatever for her, as well as instructions to keep her off the grass, but I know what it is like to pour money into vet care and still not have success/a sound horse. Laminitis doesn't seem like it is one of those diagnoses for which there is always a great response to veterinary care. It wasn't right to leave the mare without pain meds, but I'm not sure the vet is going to have an easy and cheap cure.

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          • #6
            Since the fellow 'John' is helping his BIL, you could just strongly recommend that he call the Veterinarian himself. If BIL is ticked off about the expense, tough, then John can tell him that if Veterinary care had not been obtained, Animal Control would have been involved. I feel sorry for that horse, as this definitely is a critter that needs an owner upgrade.
            Jeanie
            RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died, Death either by euthanasia or natural causes is only the end of the animal inhabiting its body; I believe the spirit lives on.

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            • #7
              Many vets will not treat an animal without an agreeable financially responsible party's acknowledgement/permission. IOW, without the owner's verbal agreement given over the phone the vet would need to ensure that the bill would be paid by another party.
              "Absent a correct diagnosis, medicine is poison, surgery is trauma and alternative therapy is witchcraft" A. Kent Allen
              http://www.etsy.com/shop/tailsofglory

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              • #8
                I would call animal control, stay in contact with them until you think they are taking is seriously (if that happens) and then walk away.
                "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."

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                • #9
                  Didn't OP say that the owner had the mare on grass and moved her to make it easier for John? I would think that if the owner had experience with treating this horse for pain he would know that John won't find Bute at the local tractor supply.


                  Originally posted by AKB View Post
                  You don't know the mare's history. Perhaps she has a long laminitis history. He should have left Banamine or Bute or whatever for her, as well as instructions to keep her off the grass, but I know what it is like to pour money into vet care and still not have success/a sound horse. Laminitis doesn't seem like it is one of those diagnoses for which there is always a great response to veterinary care. It wasn't right to leave the mare without pain meds, but I'm not sure the vet is going to have an easy and cheap cure.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by JackieBlue View Post
                    Many vets will not treat an animal without an agreeable financially responsible party's acknowledgement/permission. IOW, without the owner's verbal agreement given over the phone the vet would need to ensure that the bill would be paid by another party.
                    This is very true, especially for something as costly as treating laminitis.

                    Whenever I am out of town I call my vet and authorize them to treat my horse should they be unable to reach me.

                    As for this horse? Hard call. If "John" wouldn't call the vet (which is what he should have done) I would have probably recommended icing the feet if possible, soaking her hay to lower the sugar content, not feeding any oats or grain, and making sure her water was closer to her.

                    You don't know for sure that the mare has laminitis (although it sounds like a distinct possibility). Have you checked for a digital pulse?

                    FWIW, I had a similar situation at my barn. We had a pony there who was exhibiting classic signs of laminitis IMO but since I'd never seen it, only read about it, I wasn't sure. I strongly suggested that the owner call the vet and they declined for two days while I watched the mare get worse. Finally I invited a friend who is also a vet over to see the horse. She agreed that it looked like founder and after that the owner did call the vet. The pony had significant rotation of both front coffin bones but did recover and was rideable after several thousands of dollars in vet bills. I've always felt badly that I couldn't convince them to call the vet sooner because maybe earlier treatment would have made a real difference.

                    So, do you know any vets who could come by and look at the horse? Are you willing to pay for a farm call for your vet to do a diagnosis so that you can convince the owner?
                    Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                    EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

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                    • #11
                      OP, thank you for helping...founder is an awful thing, and you being there to help is wonderful.
                      The mare is a smart cookie and knows that the soft mud is cooling and more comfortable...is there any low spot that you could make into squishy mud with a hose so she can stand and cool her feet herself? Normally icing would be great, but if her owner can't be bothered, then at least creating a situation where she has an option besides hard ground could help her. Of course the owner getting the vet out sure would be wonderful, but oy.
                      D.
                      Founder of the I LOFF my worrywart TB clique!
                      Official member of the "I Sing Silly Songs to My Animals!" Clique
                      http://wilddiamondintherough.blogspot.ca/

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                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Originally posted by Laurierace View Post
                        Never met a farrier that took radiographs.
                        I know, I mentally rolled my eyes at this, too. But what do you say to someone who acted like they didn't care in the first place?

                        DeeThbd: She was standing in some deep mud a few feet from the water trough, but the ground sloped down right there, which I knew was forcing even more strain on her feet since they were downhill from her body.

                        I spoke with my friend "John" last night. The last time he checked on her-- sometime Sunday-- said she was moving around some and eating, but still clearly in pain. Again, not sure how much her moving can be attributed to her feeling better or her trying to get out of the weather, as we had some hard, steady rain on Sunday. I'd love more than anything to go check on her, but I don't know the brother-in-law. And I think it would be overstepping the boundaries of my friendship with John if I were to try and interfere in any way.

                        I certainly can't take on the financial burden of caring for this horse right now, but I'll keep lightly pestering John for info, and if things sound like they're heading south, try to suggest for his BIL to do the most humane thing for the mare. My instinct is the guy would probably rather put her down than mess with the level of care involved anyway. Thanks again, everyone.

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                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Here's the picture of the mare my friend sent me on Saturday, after he said she had moved some overnight.

                          http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j2...ps0f0d4671.jpg

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                          • #14
                            Isn't it illegal to refuse to provide medical care for a suffering animal?
                            "The captive bolt is not a proper tool for slaughter of equids they regain consciousness 30 seconds after being struck fully aware they are being vivisected." Dr Friedlander DVM & frmr Chief USDA Insp

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                            • #15
                              Beautiful horse, stupid owner. Looks like she is walking in the picture? I have a sad feeling that when BIL gets home he will turn everyone out on the lush spring grass again. Poor girl. Not too much you can do .

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                              • #16
                                Originally posted by ptownevt View Post
                                Isn't it illegal to refuse to provide medical care for a suffering animal?
                                No. The vet is not bound by law to donate his or her time and materials. Many will offer a no charge euthanasia in dire circumstances, but they are not obligated by law to provide pro bono care for any animal.
                                "Absent a correct diagnosis, medicine is poison, surgery is trauma and alternative therapy is witchcraft" A. Kent Allen
                                http://www.etsy.com/shop/tailsofglory

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  What an absolutely lovely-looking horse. What a shame that she's owned by an a**hole.

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                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by JackieBlue View Post
                                    No. The vet is not bound by law to donate his or her time and materials. Many will offer a no charge euthanasia in dire circumstances, but they are not obligated by law to provide pro bono care for any animal.
                                    But the owner is bound by law, no? Around here the law is either treat to relieve suffering or euthanize.
                                    Theoretically you aren't allowed to simply let them suffer. Of course, getting animal control to push for this is another story...

                                    I hope you let the local animal control folks know about the situation. At least the mare would have a chance at either being treated somewhat or put out of her misery.

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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by JackieBlue View Post
                                      No. The vet is not bound by law to donate his or her time and materials. Many will offer a no charge euthanasia in dire circumstances, but they are not obligated by law to provide pro bono care for any animal.
                                      I think the poster suggesting illegal meant that the owner is obligated to provide care... yes, it would be considered neglect and cruelty but that also depends on the AC. They can suggest , insist on a Vet exam or even press charges for neglect. It sounds like owner may chose to euthanize her...damn shame...STUPID OWNER .

                                      Sadly I had to educated an ACC officer by sending www.safergrass.org and insisting they read it!! Spring founder CAN be prevented. Lovely green pastures are NOT always in a horse's best interest. AC thought the horses were in heaven when the foundered ones were really in H#LL.

                                      I would overstep my bounds...and call animal control! I couldn't let her suffer! SHe is gorgeous...perhaps someone would take on this project to get her well...a rescue?

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                                      • #20
                                        Jingles & AO for this horse ~


                                        Jingles & AO for this horse ~
                                        Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "

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