Remember this blog post I wrote about how hard laminitis is to handle and how we had it all under control? Little did I know we were about to enter a year long battle for Gazelle to walk again.
Let me walk you through it all..
Lets go back to July 2022, after loosing Gazelle’s pasture buddy, she joined the rest of the herd in a bigger field. A week later, hooves are warm and sensitive and her digital pulse is strong. We reacted immediately with all of the necessary meds, diet and rest.
From July to October, we saw no improvement. Every time it seemed like she stabilized, everything got ten times worse and neither us or the vets had any explanations. Her front right hoof was sinking fast and dangerously close to piercing her hoof wall. Left hoof was not great either but X-rays we’re a lot more stable.
October is the month it got tragic. Our vet was out of options and Gazelle wasn’t bearing any weight in her right feet. In desperation we took her to the clinic. They were as stunned as we were, when explaining the treatments we had in place they thought for sur she should’ve gotten better. Nothing was helping with the pain, not even a morphine drip. They decided to elevate her heels with plaster shoes. And she got better in a matter of days. November and December were spent at home with her plaster shoes having to be redone every 4-5 weeks and a astounding amount of abcesses piercing through her hooves.
In January she came home without her plaster shoes for the first time, after having a stable X-ray for months, and in a matter of days, her right pedal bone sank again. And until March, every month she’d go in for shoeing, the farrier dropped her heels to help her pedal bone pression and days later, she was in crazy amounts of pain, limping, and her pedal bone would sank again, and her heel would rise again. Left hoof was stable and getting better but there was her right hoof was in a vicious circle.
April came along and she was no better, hours and hours of research and meetings with her vet team, we agreed classic methods weren’t working, she simply wasn’t getting better at all, her quality of life was mediocre and had no hope of improving unless we tried something different. Deep flexor tendon tenotomy.
Once you understand the role of the tendon in laminitis and examine her case, the link there was obvious. I didn’t take this decision lightly at all, surgery comes with risk and cutting a tendon on a very sick horse with little to no evidence to back it up was scary, but the only other solution was letting her go.
Gazelle was 8 at the time, and very clear about what she wanted; to live freely and pain free, this horse was nowhere near done fighting. So we gave it a chance.
She went into surgery on May 3rd, as soon as I saw her walk out I knew we made the right decision. Her eyes we’re bright and her body relaxed, tension free for the first time in months. She became hard to handle because of all the pent up energy and slow recovery but it all meant she was fully herself again after being buried in pain.
After a couple weeks she started going out in a paddock again and after her 3month check up we got the all clear for her to join a new herd on a paddock paradise. August 30th, Gazelle joined a 12horse herd. The paddock paradise is perfect for her as it encourages a lot of walking (great for her hoof and tendon recovery) and has very limited access to grass to avoid any type of relapse.
Today Gazelle is 9years old, and she lives in a herd, she canters with them, plays and lives a normal life. Yes she will be at risk forever, but that burden is for le to carry, she’s living life and loving it.