If you follow me on facebook you know that Emma’s baby was born on Wednesday morning. As was the case with Poppy, my husband found him. Emma hadn’t really shown any indicators of foaling when I left on Tuesday night, so I wasn’t too worried about rushing up first thing Wednesday morning and sent Jason instead and got a super happy phone call from him. It’s important to note that at this point Remy was still laying down. Laying down, Remy looks pretty normal, well most of the time…
When I walked in I stopped in my tracks. Several choice words went through my mind, but what came out was “his legs?” And Jason was like, “yeah, is that normal?” I immediately took pictures and sent them to K (vet tech at the large animal hospital friend). I sent her these pictures (that you might should scroll past quickly if you’re squeamish about legs going the wrong directions):
K told me that she’d be there as soon as she could. So, after making sure he could nurse/had nursed, I sat down and texted the pictures to my vet. K showed up before the vet returned my call and said that he definitely needed splints, which was obvious to me. To keep him from walking on them too much, we fashioned a temporary set of splints out of pieces of a pool noodle and some vet wrap. This minimized the backwards bend, but didn’t eliminate it, but was just meant to be a temporary experiment until we got further info from my vet. A little bit later my vet called me back and gave us directions on how to splint him correctly and told me to call him back if we had any issues.
So K and I went to town and got PVC pipe for the backs of his legs and all the other dressings to go over and under the pipe. Having a friend who does this sort of thing for a living is infinitely helpful. (THANK YOU K!) After some mood lightening entertainment (watching Lowe’s employees cut PVC pipe in a variety of ways…) we went back to the farm with our supplies and made his little splints. K did a great job, but it was apparent early on that walking and even standing would be challenging for him with the heavy splints on. He doesn’t even weigh 20lbs himself, so finding the strength to life those heavy front legs was quite the challenge.
Emma was remarkably accommodating of him for the first 24 hours and would literally walk to him and put her udder in his face. Once he was in the splints though, he was unable to stand on his own, so my new full time endeavor became holding Remy every hour or two for feedings. Thank goodness for my new horse trailer. We pulled it up to the barn area and parked it so that I could sleep there and have it easier for the night shifts. I remembered it being really hard to fall back asleep once back at my house last year when I was checking Paige before Joey’s birth, so being able to skip the driving and just walk in and out of the barn to the horse trailer has been so nice.
Yesterday morning at our 7am feeding Emma became less cooperative. She no longer wanted to stand to allow Remy to nurse when I was holding him, and would walk forward or back up to get away from him. She didn’t seem to be sore because she’ll let me handle her udder/milk her. K and I worry that she may be deeming him unfit to live because of his mobility issues and trying to “cull him” so to speak. She’s mostly kept this up for the last 24 hours. Occasionally she’ll let him nurse as long as he wants, but most of the time she walks off. Luckily (?) I never taught Emma how to tie, so now when tied, she just braces back against the halter in protest. While that’s not ideal, it means that she’s standing still long enough that Remy can get some milk in his belly.
Yesterday K and I shortened his splints after K saw and spoke to my vet at her farm for something unrelated yesterday morning. He agreed that would probably help with his mobility. So it was back in the golf cart yesterday evening to shorten the splints. When his splints were off, K noted that it feels like his front tendons are already picking up some strength. After putting the splints back on him he seemed low on energy and didn’t even want to try to walk. K and I were worried, but by 9pm he had rallied and was putting forth an effort to use his front legs. We think his lethargy earlier was heat/fatigue related, so now they have a box fan pushing the air in his stall.
He was lively last night, or as lively as a baby donkey who can’t really walk or stand can be. He’s really been trying to figure it all out more with this set of splints, so I’m hopeful that he’s making progress, but trying to guard myself in case the outcome isn’t what we want.
During all of this Chloe is still looking downright miserable and is actually showing signs that she may foal soon. I’ve been trying to convince her to go ahead and foal now while I’m up at the barn constantly checking on him, but I think my presence has been more of a deterrent than encouragement. 😉 I’m hoping that one of these predicted thunderstorms will push her to foal and we can see Poppy’s full sibling.
While I have been complaining about the rain because of how it hinders my riding, I’ve been grateful for it the last few nights since I’ve been sleeping in the horse trailer. The lack of A/C in the trailer means these cool, rainy evenings are highly appreciated!
Anyone ever had to splint a baby or have any tips? From our Google searching we’ve determined that there aren’t a lot of cases of legs like Remy’s where the knees are weak, it seems to more often be too contracted of tendons in the pasterns. We’re doing all we can for him, but I’m also trying to remain realistic. As long as he’s willing to try, I’m willing to help him.
(Disclosure…sorry about any typos/things flowing oddly in this post…I’m running on limited sleep and may sound crazy. This doesn’t explain all my other weird blog posts, but I have an excuse for this one at least. 😉 )