Francie has been with us almost two weeks now. During that time, she's bravely endured a number of hassles. On day 2 at our house, I noticed quite a few pinworms in her manure, and decided I couldn't wait to deworm her (I had hoped to wait a bit until she'd adjusted). I dewormed her with a mild ivermectin. The next morning, while waiting for the school bus with Pierce, I bent over and was horrified to see thousands and thousands of threadlike red worms in her manure. As it turns out, these were small strongyles, which are particularly nasty because they can burrow into the intestines over the winter and make a horse very ill. They are the most unwanted of all the equine parasites. They can migrate to different organs in the body, and they can kill. Indeed, they had affected Francie's urinary tract system, and her growth is stunted. I took a sample in to the vet for analysis, and found out that she also had roundworms. A triple whammy. The vet recommended I deworm again right away, with Panacur. When I did this, Francie started to get sweaty, roll on the ground, and bite at her sides. Horses can have delicate digestive systems, particularly when they are infested with worms, and Francie was starting to colic. I promptly got her up and spent a good chunk of time walking her in the arena. She finally went to the bathroom, and felt much better afterwards.
Francie had her feet done, and she tried her best to stand still for the farrier. He was able to trim all four feet, but she didn't like the rasp. He held off on that until a future trimming. Thanks to the advice of a childhood friend, I fed her small amounts of Purina's equine senior, slightly increasing the amount every 3 days. Plus plenty of hay.
On Friday, a week after she had come to us, the vet finally made it out to see her. He'd had a busy day, full of emergencies, and was four hours late. It was dark when he arrived, but I was thankful he made it out. He said that Francie had the worst case of strongyles he had seen, and unfortunately, these worms can be very resistant to treatment. He recommended a double dose of Panacur for five days, followed by a full dose of Zimectrin Gold. He gave me a bottle of Banamine to have on hand in case she were to colic from such strong doses of dewormer. While I'd hoped to move Francie into a pasture with a shelter before an ice storm passed through, he told me that because her worms were so severe it would be best to keep her in complete quarantine until she finished the complete deworming program. Francie was able to get all of her vaccines, and a Coggins test. The vet wasn't sure about the funny curl in the tops of her ears, but he promised to do some research on that and get back to me. He feels she is around 2 years old, and is some type of gaited breed.
We moved our horse trailer into the small paddock before the ice storm came in. I filled it with shavings and fresh hay for Francie, and we are leaving it open so she can walk in at will. It isn't the best shelter on earth, but it's better than nothing until Francie is parasite-free and can move into a larger pasture. Francie's personality is already starting to shine. It took a few days, but I saw her trot for the first time, so I know she's feeling better. She whinnies now when I walk down the driveway to see her.
I've had a few people contact me about wanting to help Francie or the other two horses left behind. One kind soul donated the money for the parasite analysis, another is donating the cost of having the stud colt gelded (!!), and yet another has made some large purchases in my Etsy shop. If you would like to help, let me know! The two horses that are left behind need the same rigorous deworming program as Francie if they are to get healthy. The Panacur type of dewormer normally runs $9 a tube, but as the stud colt is wild he will need grain dewormer, which is $11 a dose. I have two people who have pledged to buy a bag - but it would be great it we could get the total of 12 pledges to do the complete process for both horses! I can receive Paypal through my email address, and I am also putting all proceeds from my Etsy shop towards Francie's vet bills this month.
Stay tuned for more updates on Francie and the horses left behind soon! Thank you readers, for all your support and kind words.