Stewart's Corral
Illness Log for
Cowgirl -- 5 year old Arab-QH-Standardbred filly (in 2007)
Page 23

Here's the story, starting from when I first started seeking answers:

2007.May.18 (Ride# 172, total riding time now at 139 hours)
I remove tick #6 (of 9 this year) from the Front Right elbow area, in front of the girth.
about the same time as I notice and start treating a rash of some kind around her front right elbow and girth.
It spreads to include just behind the girth, but not in front of her leg. It only affects the right side, from mid line of the girth, to elbow height.
It is Very itchy, and Cowgirl gnaws at it for a week. I treat with Schreiners and Dy's Liquid Bandage where it becomes raw.

I start showing signs of shingles (head pain, beginning of bumps)
I start breaking out in clear bumps (or blisters or leisions) along a single nerve bundle (C2).
Visit doctor, start shingles treatment.

time passes, I heal and resume barn chores.

First ride since before I became bed-ridden. Forehead is sufficiently healed to wear a helmet. (Thanks to real lavender oil.)

Cowgirl has a Right Brain moment, refusing to go up a road, and tries to go up the side of the hill (over 20° slope). I'm momentarily tired of retreat and reapproach and let her "move her feet" and climb the hill. (Maybe she'll decide what I asked wasn't so bad... :) )
At the top, I notice her front right leg shaking, about 3 inches of movement at the elbow to the knee.
This isn't the first time I've seen her do this. A year ago on 2006.Apr.12 I noticed her front right leg quivering, back when I was first training her, the spring after I bought her.

I notice Cowgirl is limping at the trot. Short stepping Front Left, coming down early. Noticable only at trot.
Check hooves for rocks, check legs for any sign of heat or soreness. Assume the climb on 28th was an extra strain on something. There is slight flaring of weak laminae. Pick little gravel out of white line. Trim hoof walls for less or no ground contact with increased roll. Blame spring grass and weeds, or lousy hay now 11 months into feeding (High NSC and sugar, poor balances of minerals).

Remove tick #9 from near udder.
(Now how did I miss That?!?)
Either I am missing them post-ride, or they are being distributed by the starlings.?

At morning feeding, Cowgirl is quivering all over. First time I have ever seen this in her. All muscles are twitching. Temperature says 100.2° Not hungry.
Call vet. Totally busy today, Try calling a different vet at a local ranch.
"What salt block are you using?" White salt block, Redmond red salt, with custom minerals to balance the hay. "Oh! That's not good. I've been feeding red salt blocks for 50 years without a problem."
I think sad and annoyed thoughts. Obviously from the Old school. Linsey would have something to say about this!
She thinks it is selenium deficiency. "One old horse we have needs injections every week."
I think, well, Maybe... Our area is selenium deficient. (what am I feeding now?)

I get the 10cc injection, and before getting an answer on how much selenium is in the custom minerals, (3mg / day) I give her the injection. Oh, BTW, and she was no longer shaking at this time...

Within an hour, she was sweating, and laying down.
She was dry by dinner, but not hungry.
She is up, but not interested in beet pulp laced minerals/MgOx. She does eat a little hay. Moving very Slow.

Improving. Acting normal but slow. Take her to the mailbox. Some stumbling, and it is now obvious her feet hurt. Founder fits the symptoms for selenium overdose.
Today, she is acting much more normal. Well, except: like a 20 yr old veteran, instead of a snotty Left Brain 5 yr old. Short ride. Able to trot, but not willing to go far. Seems fairly ok at the walk.
My brother now has chicken pox. Incubation period fits perfectly.

Did I catch it from Cowgirl?
What did she have?
(I am well aware that shingles is not supposed to be commutable, but the trigger Is unknown.) It did seem to follow a nerve bundle just like shingles, and had the dense polka dot pattern.
Why was she shaking on Jun.28 and Jul.02?

How long until selenium overdose is out of system?
Jul.11 update: Cowgirl is now interested in galloping around paddock/field. The last question is no longer important.

Best suggestions I have received, are rain rot, or ant bites.
But the pattern of polka dots resembled a sidewalk of hexagons. Very regular and repetitive pattern, with spacing of 0.5 to 1.0 inches.

Since further problems have troubled us, I'll continue here:
Aug.18 (Ride# 232)
Another rock got stuck in foot between bar and frog. Cowgirl tries to tell me this by biting leg, then bucks me off when I did not figure it out fast enough.

Get size 1 Easy Boot Bare(s). She likes them, extends stride, more willing to go, not gimpy, and not sensitive to rocks.

Start feeding this year's hay. Core samples sent Aug.11, results are here from Dairy One.

Start feeding new batch of custom mineral-balancing supplement and Magnesium Oxide. 24 teaspoons per day each because too much alfalfa in hay.

Oct.02 (Ride# 265, hours= 245)
Refusals, seemed like a Left Brain Introvert kind of day. Did some canter transitions. No clear reason for problems.

Chiropractic visit. 1 year since first visit. Bad timing, as Cowgirl was lame on Hind Left. Swelling above fetlock.
Mid back and hip area was out. Much worse than last year. Prescribed bute and time off.
Start working with Roany over next few weeks, so instead of Roany running around feeling better, now Cowgirl was running around... Time off indeed.

Seeing lots of yellow-oozing-bumps (blood plasma from inflammation) on both Cowgirl and Roany. Cut MgOx back to 18 teaspoons per day each. Bumps fade/disappear.

Heels seem to be contracting. Take photos of rub marks from boots. Double check width of hoof and boot size. Should not be a problem...

Running out of MgOx, next reorder not arriving on time... cut back in feeding.

Nov.06 (Ride# 281 hours= 260)
showing lameness after trotting, or after 1 mile.

Left eye weeping, perhaps poked by weeds?

Left eye still weeping. small spots visible on cornea. Cowgirl is digging holes, and eating roots or dirt.
Still no MgOx.

Eye better, looks like sluff-off, big gobs in corner, tears less intense. Only one eye, so is more likely something acute.

At that time I was feeding:
For 2 horses: 48.5 lbs of Timothy/Alfalfa mix hay
Each per day: Was feeding differently in October:
Am having more trouble this year, since increasing MgOx levels with this hay, getting them to eat the mash in the morning. They eat half, then refuse to eat more until evening feeding, then is ok to eat. Perhaps it dries out during the day, and mixes or melts together. I'm concerned they are not getting what I'm trying to feed, if it oxidizes or something. The experiment in adding alfalfa pellets did not make much difference.

Water test from 2004.Feb.02:

Hardness: 7 gpg as CaCo3
PH: 7.5
0.25 PPM Fe (Iron)
0.05 PPM Mn (manganese)
Color: Clear
Iron Bacteria: No
Susp. matter: No
Odor: No

2nd test 2002.Apr.09 by Anatek Labs
Coloforms absent

3rd test:

Only water hardness is tagged, but not too bad.

Resume log:
Get hair test results showing toxic levels and imbalances I am not yet addressing.

Start VitaRoyal Hi-Pro (home-mixed equivilant) with Untie Balancer Pack
Morning temperature usually 98.8, with some days as high as 100.6 when playing early.

Both Roany and Cowgirl show improvement of health and energy, and coat looking nice.

Today's ride on Cowgirl, she wants to Go!
Start xenodetox.

Laying down, not feeling well. Cut back on detox from standard amounts. She is too sensitive.

Stumbled and bucked me off.

Switch to Torsion saddle.

Has been back and forth between sensitive skin, and playing hard. Still very uncomfortable on front heels. Boots really help, so that she rides smoothly without any lameness showing, but is not willing to go very far, and still holds breath most of the time.
Start Untie dose daily.

After 5th dose of Untie on 19th, today she is Really showing a difference, finally. Very willing to go, willing to canter, breathing deeply.

Feet hurt.

1st tick of the year removed.

Ride farther out, and bring back 7 ticks, miss 2 yesterday and find them this morning.

In heat, cramped up.

Chiropractic checkup, found out at withers, poll, and hip.

Start oxine soaks to address thrush and deep crevaces in hopes of solving heel pain.
Very depressed without Roany (that's a separate story!), not moving around much.

Try other saddle again, Softrider with 324 hours on it, find she moves slower, shorter trot, and occasional hind stumble, and held breath. Put Torsion back on, and ride out again, she seems more relaxed, and moved out again as before. Not very conclusive, but changing saddles does not solve problem.

New grass hay. Not feeding any mixed with alfalfa now. It is very hard to get only grass around here.

Unusual day, she was willing to canter, and offered a gallop.

Yippee! Yippee! have a new friend, Abby. Run around some.
Start or resume taking morning temperatures: Cowgirl's are better this month, ranging from 99.0 to 100.6, with most readings at 99.6.

106 degree days, in 3rd week of xenodetox in this cycle (3 weeks on, 1 week off), some sweating, some help by riding during day and giving bath, and very, very much in heat.

Try 1/2 inch comfort pads for first time. Ride out, she bites my leg. Has not done that since had rock stuck in hoof. Held breath, but moved out as normal, fast at first, and slowed down (as usual). Afterward, I figure the pads should help increase movement, which would be good. Big mistake, she gallops around, and rips the gaiters apart, and breaks one bungee. (Pictures on hoof page 17.)

Repaired boots finally, but now her mid back is very much out. She hollows it when touched.

Finally get chiropractic visit. Also xenodetox cycle ends, and I lay off for the winter.

Cowgirl stops eating dinner hi-pro, then breakfast hi-pro. I think she is jealous and put out that Abby is getting more attention, and I have been avoiding riding Cowgirl until I deem her rested. I start riding her again.

Runs around and gets sweaty when left behind. Hope (or wish) that means she is feeling good.

Oct.25 (Ride# 463, total riding time now at 435 hours)
Longer ride of 2 hours or 7 miles at slow pace overall. Comes back with extra heat in right knee and hock. Stumbling on rocks.

Seems stiffer, and has lots of oozing bumps of yellow plasma indicating inflammation.

Riding less. She continues to get sweaty when left behind, but tender with short strides when ridden.
Impossible to give time off at this rate.

New pictures of hooves, remarkable progress since I started treating the frogs with oxine: The frogs are no longer ratty or smelly. I hoped this would solve the ouchy heels problem, but it does not.
Morning temperatures are between 99.8 and 100.2

Morning temperature 100.4
At least I have solved the hypo-thyroid problem by removing the alfalfa from the diet, feeding good protein, and organic iodine.

Jan.05 (Ride# 473, total riding time now at 443 hours)
Venture out with warmer temperatures (25 degrees) to mailbox this week. Notice her front right leg is shaking again. Only difference was the elevated trotting in some deeper snow today, and took the longer path to the mailbox.
Subsequent events draw a link to the icy roads. She is scared of sliding on the ice. That's reasonable. Will wait for spring.

Looking back on my logs and notes, I now conclude her front tendons have been sensitive ever since I got her. She was unwilling to stand on one foot very long, and didn't like her lower legs brushed, from day 1. Her pastern angle is now more vertical. I must consider contracted tendons a possiblility, and a pre-cursor to DSLD.
The other possibility is the scarring at the heel bulbs from a wire cut as a 2 year old, the year before I got her. It has never healed properly, more like a recurring scab rather than proud flesh. They are on both front heels.

Currently feeding:
For 2 horses: 42 lbs of grass hay, (included is 18 lbs. of 50/50 timothy/alfalfa only during winter)
Each per day: am only feeding 1/2 of normal amount since winter got serious, and also Cowgirl is refusing to eat the full amount any more.

Start homeopathic treatment based on MSAS (Meridian Stress Assessment System) diagnosis, by Hoof Care UnLtd. What a mess! No wonder we are having so much trouble.

Lameness is nearly gone. Certainly willing to trot and canter soundly. Energy is up, interested in what's going on, and even talking to me. Now eating full Hi-pro meal. Maybe there will be a happy ending after all!
With warmer weather, I am soaking her front feet again in oxine dilution, treating her frogs and deep sulcius. With the change in trimming her bars, I am seeing changes in her hoof. She now has concavity. This will also promote soundness.

Throughout 2009-2010, I was able to ride farther, and farther. Cowgirl got tired from the longer rides, and so we did not do very many of them. My extensive logs don't record as many problems, as detailed as above, but every spring the same story: Feeling good in March, then by May (and tick season) she is ouchy. Clears up in summer, and longer rides in autumn.

Had a change this week. I had noted she was stumbling less, and then this day her jaw became swollen and oozed where I presume something bit her.

Front left leg swells from knee to fetlock.

Finally improving. Swelling is gone, but she is still lethargic.
As the year progresses, she returns to doing well as we continue to further our mileage and accomplishments.

Everything changes. Mom becomes sick with stomach flu symptoms. What does this have to do with Cowgirl? Because on Mar.26 Cowgirl also becomes sick, and lame.

Mar.27 Mom dies from an apparant heart attack. This is the same week several northwest cities measured radiation in the drinking water at 41 times safety standards.

Cowgirl not eating, continues to be lame.

Improving enough to take short rides. Starts out sound, gets tired over time, and gait becomes uneven.

Stumbling, short stepping intermittantly.

Seems improved enough to ride out again? Came back lethargic, some stumbling but even strides now. Touchy on rocky ground.

Removed 2 ticks, now lots of stumbling, but not acting lame.

Tick season again. Remove several over the weeks.

Very lethargic, stumbling. Now things start going downhill for sure.

Today's the first day Cowgirl did not rush up to the barn to greet me. Also acts like she needs to pee, but doesn't. Wobbly, stumbling, lethargic. I abort even a short ride going to the mailbox and unsaddle her. Take Abby out instead.

Notice Cowgirl's temperature the next 4 days is 101.2, 101.7, 100.9, and 100.1. Clearly fighting something like an infection. At least the temperatures are not extreme.
Bumps start appearing all over her body.

Now she is shivering and 98.6 degrees. Gimpy on both front, wierd stepping. Constantly Licking and runny nose dripping. Virus??

Most bumps have now disappeared, flattened back out to smooth skin. All the other symptoms are the same or worse. There are several viral possibilities, and the neurological ones don't look good. So that's all I will say about it here. There were not many options, and considering her history, not much hope either.

Cowgirl is dead.

In memory,
Together we fought long and hard to overcome her various health issues. She had the best personality I have ever met, very smart, interested, talkative and interactive for a horse. She represented the very best possible, being handled as a foal and trained naturally to Parelli Level 3. She was a true partner and best friend. She will be impossible to replace.

By the numbers, we traveled 862 hours over 841 rides. Total training time was 1105 hours. Never before have I taken a single horse this far. At this point, Cowgirl had traveled 62.8 Miles of the 75 miles of unique trails and roads that we have explored, measured, traveled, and logged here on Lambert Creek.

I have no proof Cowgirl was affected by EMR or Electrosmog the same way mom was, and I still am.
I do know she was born under and grew up under a power line, but that exposure would only be a few milliGauss, and 2 - 3 Volts AC. I do know her pasture for 3 years was loaded with hoary alyssum, a toxic weed. Some horses eating too much hoary alyssum do die. I also know her mother Shazara, became chubby or cresty, so there was strong evidence of a genetic path for her insulin resistance.
The best conclusion I can come up with is that she was environmentally compromised from the start. It is remarkable we accomplished so much despite such odds.

My weather charts: temperatures
Cowgirl's hoof trimming history and Hoof pictures

To learn more about improving health, solving lameness problems, follow these links:
Equine Soundness
The Horse's Hoof
Page 20 - my health links

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Stewart Andreason

illness.html Updated 2015.Nov.05
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