Huebsche's Story

By Iris

In the beginning of the year I started to look for a warmblood type TB mare. I put my name into every possible list of breeders, trainers and adoption agencies. In June I got a call from an Ohio agency. They had exactly the mare I had in mind, heavy build, mature, 17.1 hh, and such a friendly gal. I was told she's a nice mover, is sound, sport horse approved blood lines, off the track two years, bred by an excellent and successful race horse facility/stud in Florida. Was up to the time til she came to the agency with a loving family in Ohio. They had to part because daughter went off to college. I figured for that money, $700, I cannot do much wrong, she sounds ok, was supposed to be checked for all kinds of ouches, on my request they gave her a strangles shot, too. I didn't see a picture before I said yes.
She came on June 4th to us, and oh my eyes fell out. That anxiously expected mare came up the drive way in the most tired walk one can imagine. Every joint seem to ache. Her head low, her eyes no expressions, she didn't seem to care where she went to. Missing a lot of weight and looking all together more like 18 than 8, her feet needed desperate care, too. Well I thought, she is big, and put together nicely, lets see what we can do to bring some life back into this sad creature. She didn't want to eat, and had a temperature too. I thought maybe her stifles hurt too bad, they are the worst ones I have ever seen on an off track fellow. Left side looked like she has two joints instead of one. So I gave her 'bute' with lots of candy (molasses) on top. Next morning it was gone. I turned her out with our youngsters, she just stood there, no interest in grass or mates. Next night we dewormed her, gave her shots and two 'bute' instead of one. Now she ate right away, slow and not with much appetite. To make the long story shorter, it took a week, before "Huebsche" ('Beautiful', thought she needed a very positive name)ate like everybody else. Then the whole misery began. She brought with her a little bump, plum size, on the left neck side, which grew from day to day, very hard. Our vet who came to exam her, didn't think it could be an abscess, they are soft and stop growing sooner or later, this one grew since 3 week. He suggested a bone biopsy because it sat right over her spinal cord, and he feared bone cancer. By now my hopes of breeding had slipped away long before that statement, I just wanted to help this poor neglected mare. Few days after the exam, the football size 'alien', how my son called it, started to soften on the top a bit. All excited I called the vet a few days later and reported this giant abscess. We opened it and friends, I have only seen so much puss in an infected cow udder and never in a horse, even the vet was shocked. Another two weeks passed by, it drained happily, her front left leg improved in stride, but the hardening around the hole (from laceration) proceeded to increase and spread towards the head. My fears came back when the vet stated 'it still should be x-rayed, the cancer, ya know'. MI State cost you an arm and a leg to get an exam and diagnosis, not a happy view for a small and just beginning breeder and training business. The other alternative was to put her down, because her pain increased. Few nights I turned this possibility in my mind, had long talks with the vet from MI State University. I watched this gal with the eyes of a hawk for the slightest improvement, our vet obviously had given up. One night when I let her back out on pasture after the days heat was by she cantered away, bucked, squealed), rolled in the sand spot! "Wow, seems like my big ole lady wants to tell me something", my thoughts were. I decided to fight the alien in my humble ways and possibilities, which meant 'pump' 50 cc of penicillin into her each day. And guess what! About 5 days ago we started that and today she acts like a two year old, antsy, excited awaiting loud calling the feed, goofing with the young ones. The ALIEN is disappearing! See vets, never give up!
This is one lesson I learned again, and the other is, go look at the horses you want to adopt! If you can afford the special care, go for it, we were almost stranded! And just now after we are winning this battle as it seems, I hear strangles vaccine can cause major problems. We don't deal much with strangles in Germany, so I had no clue. Well, and our vet never told me, I gave these shots since years, just not into the neck, and never had a problem. But from now on only nasal!

Now : The 'alien' is gone !!! For good, just the shaved spot reminds of the fears. Our vet wants to hire me for motivational purposes, I think, lol. Huebsche is going to be mom (hopefully), she was bred by a Holsteiner Stallion. I will keep you all updated.

Huebsche's "Alien"

One Month Later