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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Walking In On The Unexpected

This past Saturday was going like any other -- I had just gotten home from selling soap at the local farmers market, my car full of the stock I brought back with me, I was a hot and sweaty mess, and ready to relax. It had been a busy week and an equally as busy market day and I had been looking forward to putting my aching feet up for a couple of hours of quiet time.

I got out of my car and before I went inside the house, I remembered that the horses were in their stalls because severe storms had been threatening to blow through, but the weather was clearing and they could safely go out and stretch their legs for a few hours. I walked down the long aisle way of the barn to the stalls in the back where Pebbles was sticking her head over the gate watching me and quiet rustling noises were coming from Snow's stall.

And that's when I saw it.

Snow, our miniature mare, was facing the back of her stall, wobbling on her back end, and jerking her head rhythmically up in the air, almost as if someone or something was smacking her under her chin. I'm not sure what my first thought was, but I called her name as I unlatched her door and walked in the stall. I touched her back and she didn't seem to even register that I was there. Her muscles were stiff, her back legs continued to wobble and weaken and her head kept tossing at regular intervals like she was being shocked.

I ran to the house, screamed for my husband, grabbed the phone and fumbled my way into dialing the vet. "Something is really wrong with Snow," I told Dr. White. "I really think she's having a seizure."

Back in the barn, my husband and I could do nothing but watch. She appeared to be temporarily blind, confused, and occasionally it seemed like she knew we were there. She became very vocal, and cried out several times. It seemed like eternity, but realistically may have been 20 minutes later, she slowly started drifting out of her seizure, alternating between a moment of quiet and recognition and a repeat moment of lurking seizure activity. She was weak and tired.

By the time Dr. White arrived, Snow's seizures had subsided but she was still a little shaky in her back end. She had a complete physical and checked out perfect for a mare well into her 30s. We discussed several options, but because we had no idea what caused the episode, we were somewhat shooting in the dark. We could try to rule a few things out with blood tests, but the lab wouldn't be open to run them until Monday, which wasn't ideal.

So we made a game plan to monitor Snow around the clock for the next 24-48 hours and watch for anymore seizures. Dr. White gave us a sedative for her in the event that she did start seizing again, which would help take the edge off and hopefully settle the seizure activity down some until a vet could arrive. If this happened, we would immediately draw blood and send it off for a detailed analysis -- Dr. White instructed that we would get the most information likely if the blood sample was taken right after a seizure.

I has been five days now and (knock on wood) Snow has been acting normal. Luckily I work most of the week from home so someone is here with their eyes on her regularly all day long. We feel happy and fortunate that she's doing so well, but also paranoid and unsettled because we don't know if or when it will happen again. Regardless, I think we are better prepared. We have the vets on speed dial (and now they are also in my husband's phone), we have friends on standby to assist (even if its just to calm me down... haha), we have a sedative for Snow if needed, and we will remember to take a video (because I am kicking myself now that it didn't occur to me to video the seizure for reference for the vet and future comparison if needed... but in my defense, I could barely get my vet's number dialed at the time).

Right now, I'm just happy for time.

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This is Pebbles. Pebbles is my other horse, the one that didn't have a seizure on Saturday, and she celebrated her 31st birthday in March. Pebbles and I have been together since I was a young teenager and her a rambunctious filly. I believe I can honestly say we know each other inside and out better than anyone else knows us.

With that said, Snow is her seeing eye pony and anxiety relief companion. That is why Snow came here several years ago. When Snow was having her seizure Saturday in her stall, Pebbles stood calmly next door watching over the half wall, making sure she could see her. Normally Pebbles is the vocal one who loses track of Snow occasionally, gets frightened, and lets the entire neighborhood know until she finds her mini companion who just wandered off out of her limited eyesight.

However Saturday, during the seizure, Snow temporarily lost her own eyesight and became the vocal one. She whinnied and screamed and Pebbles was right there, being the quiet one, until Snow recovered and could see again.

Since that day, Pebbles has been noticeably seeking me out. She doesn't want to leave Snow's side, but she listens for me and finds me when I am anywhere near the pastures or barn, and just wants to touch me. She stands with me, and then tries to inch me back toward Snow, like she wants us all together.

These creatures tell and teach us so much if we stop and listen to them.


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