Wondering what to do...?

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Well-Known Member
Dec 12, 2004
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Hello all,

I don't post much on here anymore, but I needed some more opinions on this.

My one and only mare was born with Cleft Palate. I won't go into her life story, it is far too long. But I will say that she has the strongest will of any horse I have met, and to everyone's surprise, will be four on August 22nd.

Before winter set in with a vengence, Faith got seriously ill. She dropped almost her entire body weight in less then a day. I called the vet, and she came out and told me that it was probably a sand compaction. We live in a very sandy area, so I went with that. I began treating Faith for that, yet, she did not get better. I had to be by her side to get her to eat even a little bit. The vet had told me to bring her in for fluids if she did not recover with the treatment. That Friday, my mom and I loaded her up and began driving the fifteen minutes it takes to get to the vet. I knew in the back of my mind that Faith could not possible live much longer if she didn't get help. My mom called the vet on the way and originally the vet knew were going to be there after five o' clock because that is the time my mom gets off work. So, at first that was okay. But when my mom called the vet, the secretary told my mom that the office was closing and that we could not bring Faith in. Needless to say, we were extremely angry. We went back home and mom went on the internet. She found another vet in the area, and called them. They told us to bring her in, despite the fact that it was after 6 o' clock at this time almost.

We drove for a half an hour, and got there. Faith recieved wonderful care! I love that vet, and now take my other horses to her as well. Faith was in the hospital for two days. I hadn't slept a wink in nine. The vet never did determine the exact problem, although she did find that Faith had a heart murmer.

The vet thinks that her cleft palate is catching up to her. Her prognosis was guarded.

She was sent home with a specfic feed regime. I have stuck to it faithfully, and she gained the wieght back. She seemed happy again.

Today, Faith quit eating again. Took a few mouthfuls and walked away. I am going to go check on her in a few hours to see how much she finished. (It takes her that long to eat.)

Depending on how she is tomorrow...What do I do? I love Faith but I would hate if her quality of life isn't at its highest. I want her to have the best life possible. I have given her everything I can for the last three years.

I just don't know what to do...


I can't answer your question. Only you can. I have no experience with a cleft palate. But lots of experience with loving my horses.

Good luck to all of you.
[SIZE=12pt]Wow, you must feel so torn
Just wait and see what happens, maybe all will be well, at least I sure hope so.[/SIZE]

Please let us know what happens,

I'll be thinking of you and sending prayers your way

((((hugs))))Go with what your gut and heart tell you. After you talk to your vet if it comes to that (I'll hope she's eaten when you check again) about what she thinks,take all the facts and trust yourself. It is always hard but clearly you love her enough not to hold on when it is time to let go and enough to fight for her if that is what you think she'd want. I know that probably is no help at all. Know that we are here for you to listen and offer moral support whatever you decide.
I will just say a prayer that you can be at peace with whatever decision is made.

Hugs to you-Peggy
Have you had her tested or tried treating her for ulcers? That is just something that popped into my mind. I am not sure if it fits her symptoms exactly or not.
we took a quarter horse filly rescue that had cleft pallette. She lived to be 15 months which shocked the vets at OSU. But it was catching up with her and she had the start of pnemonia couldnt put weight on etc. It was heartbreaking but we ended her suffering.

Since your mare made it to 4 I wonder if it could be hyperlipemia. Its the only thing I know that causes rapid weight loss and makes them stop eating

Sending prayers

You will know it in your heart when it is time. Look in Faiiths eyes and she will tell you. I know how much you have loved that little girl, and you have given her such a wonderful home.

I believe it needs to be you and your Mom and Dads decision, now, like it was in the beginning.

What ever you decide, I know you will make the right one.

I do NOT understand what the vet said about the cleft palate "catching up" with her.

Cleft palate is a structural problem in the roof of the mouth and further back(palate).

The "problem" with cleft palate begins with difficulty eating and swallowing with the strong possiblities of aspiration(inhaling food or fluids( mares milk or water)into the lungs). If the eating difficulty has resolved eating will not be an issue, however the risk of aspiration and pneumonia will ALWAYS be there.

If your little mare has a heart murmur, its possible that their could be a heart problem, in association with the cleft palate. I mean sometimes as we are developing during a pregnacy, certain organs develop at the same time and can be normal or not normal.

Does the vet listen to her lungs? Do they sound wet? Does the mare cough, have a fever, or running nose?

That might mean pneumonia.... does she have swollen legs, or a sudden pot belly( might be fluid accumulating froma failing heart. Has the murmur been noted before this?

I am NOT a vet, so take what I have to say as that, just an opinion.

The mare could develop a pneumonia at any time due to the cleft palate. You might wish to try a round of antibiotics . I myself would treat her in case she has it.

Also, if the horse needs a procedure, even floating of teeth or pulling a tooth, I would ask the vet about the benefits of antibiotics before during and after even a floating of teeeth. I would consider the cause of the heart murmur a faulty valve in the heart, When people have heart valve problems, they need antibiotics before and after a dental procedures, as bacteria can neter the blood stream and settle on the heart valves and do more damage.

Weight loss like that could be cardiac, infection or hyperlipemia. With that kind of weight loss, I would find out about Hyperlipemia.

I am just throwing out a bunch of ideas here.... I hope and pray for the best for your beloved mini.

I hope you find she has eaten when you check. Hyperlipidemia comes to my mind first when they stop eating. Whatever decision you make, she has had 4 years of great care and love I can tell. I am sure you and the vet will make the right choice. Prayers for her recovery.
Thanks for the help everyone.

I have been thinking about it a lot lately. Haven't slept much either.

I talked to my parents and we decided to just wait and see. We don't know really what else to do. If she does not seem better next week, I will have the vet out. Or if something drastic happens, I will call the vet. But for now, I am just going to continue what I have been doing. I think I need to give her a chance.

Edited to add: Faith has been eating a little. So at least she is not completely off her feed. She grazes some, and eats a little of her feed. I am calling the vet out tomorrow to see what she thinks.
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