Monday, October 4, 2010

Minion and Nemo - a little confused..

My sister in law brought her BRAT ( 1/2 Boston Terrier 1/2 Rat Terrier...thus BRAT) "Nemo" over to visit Minion. He was wearing his splints, due to his legs not having quite stabilized yet, and was wandering around the backyard. Nemo seemed to take a shine to him - in fact, he liked him a little too much. Nemo is neutered, but he still thought Minion was pretty fine! I'm not quite sure what was going thru either of their minds, but it just seemed a little wrong on many levels - wrong species, wrong sex, wrong age...... Love doesn't discriminate, I guess!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Home - for a while..

After a few days on the hospital with his Mom, Minion was able to come home. He was still tiny - weighing 14 pounds. His stomach tube was removed, and he was trying to nurse, but was not very coordinated, and pretty darn short - very difficult for him to reach. I tried to get him to nurse, but he would get worn out, and Jasmine would get cranky after a while. So, I milked her and gave him some milk and Mares Match in a pan, which he sort of slurped/licked up. He wasn't getting much, and although I was feeding him every 2 hours, he was losing weight again. I was also taking his temp frequently, which was not staying up, and was down to about 94 - very, very low. He had a heating pad, and a warm blanket, and hot water bottles, but still was not improving.

After a few days, he was getting more uncoordinated and weak, so it was back to the hospital, and Dr. Bryant got to work with him this time. I really had no hope - he was soooo scrawny and weak - he had lost 2 1/2 pounds again. The stomach tube was sewn into his nose once more, and he was back to being watched and fed very frequently. Dr. Bryant wanted me to bring Jasmine back too, so Minion could continue to try to nurse, but we finally decided it wasn't worth it - he was so small and weak that he needed continuous, good nourishment and it was so hard to monitor if he getting much nursing. Plus, he couldn't live outside, so he'd have to go out, nurse, and come back in again every 2 hours. Pretty hard on both of them (as well as on Dave and I!) After another week at Pilchuck, and more blood tests, and an xray, he was finally discharged once again. His temp was staying up to normal, and he was drinking out a pan with no trouble.

So, he became an official "house horse", and lived in an extra large dog crate. He spent a lot of time under the computer desk, sucking on my toes. Very odd sensation! The 2-3 hour feedings began again, and logging of his weight, mils consumed each feeding and temperature. His temp continued to stay normal, so that was a HUGE hurdle to overcome. He even developed a little attitude, which was naughty, but at the same time I was glad that he was demonstrating normal behavior. He got to go outside for a little while each day, in the backyard. He had to be supervised, as there were eagles nearby that could have snatched him. I was just glad to have him still be alive - I was really amazed at how great the care at Pilchuck was - he owes them his LIFE.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

58 days of fun!

So far, Minion's been here for 67 days. 9 of those were in the hospital. So, that means I've mixed up his formula 58 times.
Step 1: Buy a huge five gallon bucket of Mare's Match. Try to remove plastic band holding down the lid, using a knife, screwdriver, swear words and teeth. Sigh and give up, calling the man to do it. Try to look appreciative when lid is removed.
Step 2: Put 2 quarts of clean, filtered well water into a pan. Look at it as though it's filled with cooties, and then boil the heck out of it, just to be sure. Add more water since you've just boiled off some of it. Boil it some more. Repeat.
Step 3: After water finally has a chance to cool down to 110-120 degrees (I prefer 118) add 2 level scoops of Mare's Match powder, making sure to spill it all over the glass top stove so it turns to burnt on syrup.
Step 4: Try to mix it up with a fork or serving spoon. Give up after sloshing it everywhere and drive to the Dollar Store using $5 in gas to get a $1 whisk. Only the best for Minion.
Step 5: Pour formula into Tupperware container and try to close lid. Sigh again after spilling more all over the counter, floor and side of the fridge.
Step 6: Feed Minion 6 times a day. Repeat steps 1-6 58 more times. Wait - now it's 59...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Rally Monkey

Minion needed to be weighed frequently when he was in the hospital, to make sure he was gaining a little bit each day. Just monitoring OUNCES! His nurse angels would carry him from the equine hospital to the front of the clinic, which is the small animal hospital, and weigh him in the waiting room. He became very popular, as he was smaller than many of the dogs there! The small animal clinic had a stuffed monkey that they gave to the very sick animals that needed to "rally" and called it the "Rally Monkey". Minion was honored with the coveted Rally Monkey and got keep it in his bed with him. He liked to suck on it's nose. I think the good karma from the monkey rubbed off on him!! The magic of the Rally Monkey - may it continue on and change the lives of animals everywhere!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

I got home from the clinic at 6:30 AM, and then tried to lie down. They said they call me about 8:30 or 9 to give me an update. I REALLY expected to get a call saying he'd expired... he was sooo little and weak, and soooo new! The vet did call, and said he was still hanging in there - and could I get my mare into the clinic so he would have access to her milk and more colostrum. They wanted him to bond to her, and not to his medical staff. I don't have a trailer, so the next day I made some calls, and got my friend Coni Davenport, who owns the most beautiful horses in the world at Immortal Farms to come and get Jasmine and take her to the clinic. Little Minion was still all tucked into his bed, covered with blankets and hooked up to his stomach tube and had an IV catheter in him. He also had a "foal sitter" who sat with him, 24 hours a day (they rotated!!) and checked his vitals hourly, changed his blankets, and turned on the heater as needed. They also made sure his stomach tube and IV stayed in. Now we added Jasmine into the picture and she needed to be able to move around in his stall, but not tear out his tubes or stomp the heater. She did really well, and seemed to really bond with him, and produced milk. I had had a hard time getting much milk out of her, and was really glad to have a break from milking her frequently to keep her milk in. Minion got quite a bit of food from his Mom, so that was great - he , of course couldn't stand up and nurse, as he was still weak and very uncoordinated, and still too short. But, he was still alive - which was REALLY amazing to me!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Minion's First Day

On July 16th, 2010, I got a call on my way home from work from my friend Krystal - " he's here!" Wha...?? I thought. My mare, Jasmine, surprised me by somehow getting herself pregnant (with help from my stallion Cal) and I had recently had the vet out to confirm this, and guess at a due date. he was a few days early, according to the best guess, but that's no big deal. I was really surprised when I got home a few minutes later and saw him - he was TINY! He had no hair - just a little colored fuzz, and was very odd looking. We tried to help him nurse, but he was too short - couldn't reach! Krystal thoughtfully left her own baby's bottle with me (thank you Konnor!) and I milked Jasmine and tried to feed Minion (as he was now named) . He got about a 1/2 cup, and then drank about another 1/4 cup in the next hour. He seemed to be getting weaker, but still quite active. I had an emergency call in to the vet, mostly because my mare seemed to be very uncomfortable. After both their exams, it was decided that Jasmine just probably needed a little bute, and observation, and Minion just needed a little time - and lots of observation. I stayed up till 3 am (he was born at 7 pm) and then finally made a call to my friend Sharon - to see if she could drive to the emergency hospital while I held him. After a groggy couple of minutes, Sharon agreed to take us, and so off we went. Minion was, by that time, getting very weak, as he still couldn't nurse and it was getting increasingly difficult for him to try to suck on the bottle. During the 15 minute drive to Pilchuck Veterinary Clinic, 11 pound Minion laid limply in my arms. In fact, we thought he was gone when we got there. But, no - amazing trooper that he is, he still had some spunk. The medical team immediately went to work, checking his vitals, and getting blood, and sewing in a stomach tub through his tiny nostril. They xrayed him to make sure there wasn't something major wrong, and then made a little bed for him in the bottom of a dog crate with a heater, blankets, and a special horse blanket just for him. His blood work came back normal, and he perked up a little after getting some plasma and also nutrition via the stomach tube. He still had strange "jerking" motions, and a weak suckle reflex, but incredibly he was still alive after all that. His main problem was his temperature - about 94 degrees! Normal for a horse is about 99-100. After about 3 1/2 hours, Sharon and I left to go try to milk his mom and get more colostrum.