Sunday, August 30, 2009

Bladder Stones continued....

Friday was a very stressful and tiring day. In the afternoon we had two veterinarians here for over two hours. Polly was wonderful, a very good patient. She was drugged, stretched, poked and prodded, and with the use of the endoscope we were all able to see the stones in her bladder. Both vets tried to move the stones forward enough to reach them with the instruments that they brought with them. I can't tell you how frustrating the day was...Toma and I were both there, and as each attempt failed, we got more discouraged.

Polly is now on antibiotics for infection for seven days, and bute for two more days. She is a trooper, and one tough "mulie".

As to what's next....

Our veterinarian has called the school of veterinary medicine here in Colorado. It seems that they have an instrument that was actually fabricated just for this type of procedure. (I wish that they had this information the first time) It's much longer than the instruments they were trying to use last week. And so, if Polly looks ready, they are going to try the procedure "one last time" this coming Wednesday. We are trying to remain hopeful.

That's it for now. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Bladder Stones

I recently learned that my mule, Polly, has bladder stones. Bladder stones are life-threatening, but because of her age (an otherwise young, 24 years) I do not want to put her through the ordeal of a major surgery to remove them. I have decided to attempt to have them removed using a scope through her urethra. She will be placed under heavy sedation. It won’t be an easy procedure, but the fact that she is a big mule might make it easier to remove them without incisions and surgery.

In the past 2 weeks I have learned more about bladder stones in equines/mules than I would have imagined, and even though it is not something that I wanted my aging-gracefully mule to go through, I think that this experience and information might be of use to other equine/mule owners. So, here it is in a bladder stone (nut shell)……

Two weeks ago after returning from a short, fairly easy trail ride we had tied the horse/mule to the trailer and were getting ready for the drive home. Polly urinated before getting back into the trailer. The first part of the urine flow was clear, and I jokingly accused her of walking slow on the trail because she had to pee. As I laughed at her, the urine flow turned to bright red blood. Not something that you want to see or ignore. To say that I was concerned is an understatement.

When we got home I placed a call to my vet. She was out of town on a mule-back-pack-trip, but had left the number of another vet to call in case of emergency. Was this an emergency? I decided no, and that we could wait a few days for her to get back. That was Saturday and she was due back on Wednesday.

On Wednesday morning my vet called me. She had a pretty good idea what was wrong, but wanted to run tests. We made an appointment for the following day. I was to try to get Polly to empty her bladder before she got there at 2:30, and to try to collect a urine sample.

My big girl Polly is no fool. Changing her routine in any way whatsoever makes her suspicious and curious. And so, I was very careful not to do anything differently during my morning schedule, but at noon I locked both animals in their stalls and turned off her water. When I returned at 2, not only did she want out of her stall to urinate, but she knew something was up! So far, so good, she headed right to the corner where she likes to pee, with me and my measuring cup right behind her. You guessed it, no way was she going to pee with me and that cup standing beside her. As soon as I got back to her stall, and out of harms reach, I could hear the urine flow. I hadn’t failed completely; I had managed to accomplish one of my two tasks successfully.

When the vet arrived she had me explain again what had happened on the day that I noticed the bloody urine. She asked if I had seen any blood in the urine since then, and she asked if I had been feeding alfalfa hay or any other supplements high in calcium. I had not, nor had I ever as far as I could remember. She then tranquilized Polly and gave her a rectal exam. By pushing into the rectal area she could actually press on the bladder. In doing this she was able to find first the two small stones and finally the larger oval shaped one. Her official diagnosis was in fact bladder stones, with not much hope of getting the bigger one out without surgery. Grim feeling, when there’s not much one can do.

I don’t know if it’s the fact that she has two mules herself, and that she likes my mule, or if it was the hopeless look on my face as she left, but she called back that night, after discussing Polly’s stones with 2 other referral veterinarians. They both agreed that if the two stones and maybe the third could be removed that a mule Polly’s age could not form another one big enough to threaten her health in her remaining lifetime.

Here’s what I know so far:

Mild to moderate exercise caused the stone-irritated bladder to form blood in the urine.

Calcium causes stones to build in the bladder. Alfalfa is high in calcium.

Bladder stones are more often diagnosed in male horses/mules and are more easily treated because of their anatomy.

In some areas (like Arizona) drinking water is treated with calcium. It’s possible that Polly drank calcium treated water during the 6 years that we lived in AZ. You might want to have your water supply checked.

If an animal is having frequent, but troubled urination you should have a vet check. It could be a bladder stone blocking the flow of urine and this can be extremely painful and life threatening.

Polly is scheduled for treatment to remove her bladder stones this Friday afternoon. She has been my one and only, for better or worse, riding animal for over 20 years now, and I’m really hoping that I’ve made the right decision for her. Except for these darn stones in her bladder she’s still one healthy looking, good, but quirky, mule. I’ll try to keep you all posted. I hope that you keep your fingers and hooves crossed for her.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Scared by a Moth

This morning
I was in the garden
picking green beans

As big drops began to fall
I picked a little faster
trying to beat the rain
Pulling back a few leaves
I noticed a small face
looking back at me
I thought Humming Bird

But on closer inspection
I found it to be
a VERY BIG moth

And so be warned
You just never know what can be lurking

in a green bean patch

Quite handsome, isn't it?

I tried looking it up in my insects guide, but had no luck finding it. Does anybody have any idea what kind of moth this is? It had a hooked face, big black protruding eyes on the side of its head, and measured a whopping 2+ inches. (This was a beefy moth even though he's most likely a vegetarian!)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Grandmas Apple Pie

I make my apple pie like my mother did. She made her pie like my grandmother did. So here's my grandmothers pie!

The secret is in this third generation rolling pin. I cherish this old wooden tool. It's rolled out thousands of grandmas pie crusts!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

My Morning Routine

This post may not be very interesting,
but I'll bet that it's very similar

to how many of you
spend the early hours of your morning.

Come along with me as I start my day....

Maggie is like my alarm clock.....

After all, a dog's gotta eat....

The barn awaits me....

It's TURNOUT time...
Notice who is kicking up his heels...
and who is eating....

No need for explanation....

Time for a short walk.....

And a reward.....

Masks, hay, and back on dry lot....

Why not seal the utility trailer....

Time spent with and caring for animals
is time well spent.
The older my animals get
the more I realize how special this time is to me.

I think that I'll go scratch a mule ear or rub a dog belly ....

Have a super day everybody,
even if it's just an ordinary day!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Back in the Saddle Again

Saturday was a very good day. I felt good, Toma was home, the horse/mule were both able and willing, and we actually had the time. So, we dusted off the saddles, loaded up the trailer and headed down the road for a little ride.

We all had a nice afternoon....

End of the tale....

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

See more Wordless Wednesday photos here.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Friday, August 7, 2009

Skywatch Friday

Thunder Clouds at Sunset over Mesa Verde

Right before the storm....

To see more beautiful skies from around the world: