Cha Cha Update - 9/24/2012

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wingnut

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A72850AF-7170-42E0-A1B2-CFB19C7AD05F-352-00000059536AC511_zps5c6c1a83.jpg


Hopefully this resizes itself and isn't as large at it appears to me as I write this post!

We are in the middle of a second round of daily steroid injections. We did them for one month (July), stopped for one month (August) and resumed at the beginning of September for an additional 30 or so days. She is still responding very well as this picture can attest too. She is easily and happily eating 2lbs of Purina Miniature feed with 1lb of rice brand pellets each day (split between 2 meals). She continues to "yell" at me if she thinks I've come out late for her morning/evening feeding times. She even is happy to do as I direct her in going up to the barn area while the rest gets a bit of hay in the dry lot. She knows what I'm after and is happy to oblige. She even lets me catch her with out too much fuss about 60% of the time.

She has definitely resumed her roll as herd leader. The others seem happy to have her back in her spot.

By comparison, this is how she looked in early July:

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I could not be more thrilled. Look at those almost non-existent hip points? And the spine/back ridge? Almost gone!!!
 

FurstPlaceMiniatures

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Wishing I could box up some of my mini's fat and send it to her :D, she's looking fabulous! Great job!
 

islandminis

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IMG_0376.JPG Boy would I have love to get her together with my Bo once upon a time... They would make a great looking team - here's bo before his hip accident - they would have made a great pair.
 

wingnut

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Lucky Seven: After 3 years of owning her and having trouble with her weight, including having her basically "crash" on us this spring (when she lost about 17 lbs from April to the end of June), we learned she has a condition that is causing her digestive track (especially the small intestines) to thicken. This thickening keeps her body from absorbing the nutrients from the food she eats. The more this happened, the weaker and more depressed she got. We found out this was the problem after testing and treating for other things (ulcers, Cushings, Lymes, thyroid issues, Lawsonia etc.). When my vet could no longer think of potential things she could look for, we were referred to the New Bolton Center (http://www.vet.upenn.edu/) for further testing. After getting a full account of her history, some more blood work and a very thorough exam (including watching her eat hay and grain), it was decided our best option was to do an ultrasound. This resulted in the confirmation of the belief about the thickening issue. We started her on a 30 day daily steroid injection to try and minimize the swelling/thickening (July). We started another round this month (Sept). She is responding very well to this treatment.

There are 4 conditions in addition to cancer that could be causing this problem. To determine the exact cause would require biopsies that we did not do because of cost, likely inadequate samples and the surgical route wasn't an option because of her poor condition at the time (making her a unsuitable candidate for surgery). No matter what a biopsy might have shown us in terms of a specific answer to the problem, there is no cure for any of these conditions. All these conditions have only steroid therapy as an option for treatment.

In addition to her physical and behavioral improvements, her blood work in mid-August showed improvements in protein levels as well as another couple key indicators. A the New Bolton Center, the lead vet on our case did talk of one full size horse she has treated in the last few years that has been maintained with regular low dose steroid therapy. I also did some research and learned that some horses respond to a corn-free diet, so we made sure that the feed we're using meets that requirement.
 

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