Thursday, August 29, 2013

Update on Jax

(Backstory here.)

Animal Rescue Unit had the vet out to see Jax yesterday, and the vet agreed that it was most likely something
neurological. Even if it's not EMND as Casey and I suspected, it's not good. An interesting discovery though - a lip tattoo identifies Jax as a Standardbred, not a Morgan or QH cross.

Brogan Horton runs ARU, and she told Casey that Jax is going to spend his remaining time happily in the pasture at ARU until the time comes when his quality of life takes a turn for the worse. We are so grateful for this.

Brogan and ARU do an amazing job taking care of sick and neglected horses. Every horse adopted from ARU comes with a lifetime come back guarantee, and if the horse is over 21 they issue a euthanasia certificate that says that either ARU will take the horse back to have it put down, or will split the cost with the new owner.

They could use some help if you have any extra funds.  Below is a picture of four horses that they recently took into their care:

Some of their current costs include:
- $700/week hay bill
- $600 vet visit bill
- $115 equine dentist bill
- $140 farrier bill

Even though Casey did the right thing for everyone by giving Jax back, we both still care about him and want to help with his upkeep, as well as help Brogan's other deserving rescues. So if you can, please consider giving a small donation to ARU.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Bestest Friends FURever

See what I did there?? Substitute PURRever if you prefer.

I may be crossing over into crazy animal lady territory, but look how cute my animals are! Also, I may have had too much fun going through YouTube's music selections to accompany the cuteness.


Tuesday, August 27, 2013


A couple months ago, Casey noticed that her horse, Jax, was really thin and his back legs would tremble badly after a trail ride. We chalked it up to his awful past (being kept in a shipping container because there was no pasture) and that he just needed to beef up and get back in shape. Just in case though, Casey had the vet, Marilyn, come out and look at him.

Marilyn thought he might have HYPP, a genetic disorder linked to a specific quarter horse stallion (even though Jax seems more like a Morgan). So she pulled some hair to do tests on, and prescribed high fat food for both him and Cooper (who was very skinny because of teeth problems now fixed). She thought if it wasn't HYPP then it was probably just muscle weakness from being out of shape, and putting weight on him was the first step to recovery.

She also recommended giving him a couple weeks of rest, so Casey had to sit out the Acadia trip.

Those couple weeks later, the HYPP test came back negative, and Cooper had gained weight and Jax had not, despite feeding them each 12 pounds of grain, 20-30 pounds of hay, and supplements every day.

I know from personal experience that Googling symptoms usually leads to the worst possible (incorrect) diagnosis. However, having ruled out HYPP, the fact that Jax had not gained a single pound, and that he was exhibiting a lot of the associated symptoms, we think Jax has EMND, or equine motor neuron disease. There is not a reliable test for it, so there really can't be confirmation. It's extremely rare and there is no treatment. It is linked to vitamin E deficiency, seen most in horses who don't have access to forage/pasture (like Jax).

The prognosis for EMND is not good. According to the article linked above, 40% of the horses can have an improved condition with supplements, but would decline again if ridden much. Another 40% stabilize where they are at, and the remaining 20% rapidly decline and have to be put down.

In any of these scenarios, Casey would be paying board, vet, and farrier expenses for a horse she couldn't ride and whose condition could very well deteriorate quickly. So she made the incredibly hard decision to take Jax back to Animal Rescue Unit where they can make the final decision to either wait to see how his condition does or to put him down. We dropped him off August 17th, and ARU's vet will be coming out later this week to assess him.

Besides his ear-piercing whinny, his cribbing habit that threatened to tear down my barn, and the time he trampled and nearly killed one of the ducks, Jax is a wonderful horse who loved his girls - Casey and her 3 year old Audrey - and will be missed around the barn. I am really glad we were able to give him a happy, loving home at Blonde Bomber Acres, even for the short six months he was here. He certainly deserved a good home after what he's been through, and it just doesn't seem fair that he finally got to a good place and then had his past catch up with him.

Here's hoping that Dr. Google, DVM is wrong in this case and Jax can enjoy years of peaceful living at the rescue.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

(Not a) Certified Mainer

My friend Alex reminded me that yesterday marked two years living in Maine...holy crap.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Gathering the Ark

I'm sure exactly none of you will be surprised to hear of another animal acquisition.

So meet Skitters!

Skitters is a 9-week-old kitten that I picked up last weekend. A relative of a friend had taken in a stray cat without realizing she was preggers, and needed to get rid of some kitties. How could I say no??


Even better, he has polydactyly, meaning he has like a whole extra paw on his front feet. Instead of the normal 4 toes, he has 7 in the front paws and 5 in the back. MUTANTS UNITE!

 He gets along pretty well with the dogs, although Hobbes won't walk past him. He does allow Skitters to attack his tail, so Skitters is pretty happy about that.

Nellie on the other hand, is not a happy camper.  Someone, though I won't name names (COUGHfatcatCOUGH), peed on my bed a couple days after Skitters came home. Just try getting stuck in a tree now, Nellie, and see if I'll come rescue you...

The bedroom door remains closed, Nellie goes out during the day, and an uneasy peace settles at night when they're both inside. Success!

This means that I now have a pair of male and female dogs, male and female cats, male and female horses, and male and female ducks. Most of them can't reproduce, but bring on the flood anyway!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Rockin' Her Socks

Having never owned/been around a donkey before, I'm learning a lot of new things.

For example, donkeys have a much better memory retention than horses. Also, flies really bug them (heh, see what I did there?).

Hattie has bloody scabs all up and down her legs. Thank the little lord baby Google for the internet, because I was able to find out that donkeys just are super sensitive to fly bites, and it wasn't some kind of ebola/necrotizing plague.

So what to do? For just a paltry $300, I could get two pairs of these very fashionable "Fly Pants:"

Another recommendation was fly ointment for wounds, but my local Tractor Supply Co didn't have any.  But I did get the supplies for the third internet recommendation.


With some cut up socks and vet wrap, Hattie is the most fashionable, fly-free donkey around.

The more you know.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Search and Rescue

Tanner and I are officially working on becoming certified to do mounted search and rescue! (This is obviously my calling, after searching for and rescuing Nellie from the tree that one time.)

I stumbled across the Maine Mounted Search and Rescue Unit on Facebook early last week, and emailed my interest. I immediately heard back and was invited to a mock search they were holding the very next Saturday.

I waffled back and forth about actually going, because in reality I am a self-exiled hermit that gets really anxious about meeting new people. But the folks I talked with at MMSAR were so excited and encouraging that I put on my big girl pants and went.

And it was awesome! I helped set up a fake crime scene so that searchers would get practice and guidance in how to deal with weapons and preserving the scene while protecting their own safety.

It was also helpful timing that there is currently a search for a missing Appalachian Trail hiker here in Maine that MMSAR has been called in on. The members that had been on the search were able to share their experiences and I was able to piece together a rough picture of what a search actually looks like, from checking in with the command post to the actual search itself.

The actual certification process is rather lengthy. Both horse and rider need to be certified and we just missed the annual horse certification. But that gives me time to get re-certified in first aid and CPR, as well as get certified in BASAR (basic search and rescue). It'll be at least a year to get all the ducks in a row but it is definitely worth it.

Casey is also going to work on certification with Cooper, so we'll all be an unstoppable Blonde Bomber team!

In other news, this is how I feel about it being Monday: