'Palisades Morning Glory'
Bay roan filly
by 'Etch For Success' & 'KK the Dream Begins'
Foaled April 19,2004
'Palisades Morning Glory' was born very normal, energetic, and healthy.
I was struck with her proud posture and sure footed frolics around the pastures. At about 2-3 weeks I began to notice that her dam, Peaches, would run off and leave her behind. She would go to another paddock and Glory was slow to notice, slow to rise, and would trot after her calling and searching for her mom. It happened a lot, and I blamed Peaches for being an uncaring mom. Little did I realize
that Glory was having trouble keeping up like other foals. But she was eating well, growing well, and I could not put my finger on anything specifically wrong with her.
One day when GLory was five weeks old, I noticed her walking on her toes on the back legs and thought THAT'S IT! she has contracted tendons from her bones growing more quickly than her tendons could stretch.
It made sense of why she could not quite keep up the pace of the other foals.
I called an equine lameness specialist and asked if GLory needed more or less turnout, more or less grass, or medicine? He recommended more rest and less running around, and a little anti inflamatory every other day.
I kept her in the barn only one whole day, and the next morning, she had totally lost the use of her hind legs and could not rise at all. I found her at the morning feed, lying on her side, nearly paralyzed.
We called our local vet who was pretty puzzled about the cause of her neurological symptoms. Not knowing what else to do, he gave her penicillin and suggested we give DMSO orally to reduce
inflammation around the spine. For the next five days and nights, I lifted Glory to her feet and held her up to nurse and walk, day and night round the clock. It was exhausting. It took two people to get her up. She seemed to improve a little by day three, but by Memorial Day, she had declined.
In desperation, we took Glory to a fine equine hospital. Within minutes of hearing her history and examining her, the doc pronounced that Glory most likely had an abscess on her spine. He said it would be a long long roller coaster ride to recovery IF she could recover.
The vet asked if I wanted to continue treatment or put her down. I told them I could afford one week of hospital care for her and to begin treatment. They said it would be very aggressive as time was very critical in how much damage was done to the spinal cord.
Mitch and Lisa Estridge
1601 Bowman's Bottom Road
Lancaster, Kentucky 40444
This page was last updated: September 5, 2009
Updated June 30
Glory stayed at the equine hospital in a stall a foot deep in hay for l0 days. She was given IV DMSO, and mega doses of antibiotics, and steroids. In just two days on the IV anti-inflammatory medicines Glory could get up on her own. She was very very wobbly and would last only an hour or so, but she could nurse and move around the stall before laying down/falling down again.
During her stay, Glory gained in strength, but when we removed the steroids and DMSO, she declined. She could no longer get up. We then replaced those medicines with weaker medicines and continued two kinds of antibiotics. By day l0, glory could rise on her own half of the time. She could stay up 3-4 hours, and still had a very spastic, wobbly gait. It was time to take her home and continue her nursing care on the farm.
The Diary begins..
Glory has been home for 3 weeks now. It has been 5 weeks since she got sick, so she is now l0 weeks old. She has grown and filled out, despite her illness. Her personality is wonderful. She is so loving and tolerant. Glory has oral medicine 7 times per day and is still putting up with it. She is now out in the pasture by day with Peaches and tries to trot and canter in her wobbly fashion. She even tries to buck, although not much is happening on the hind end! Just this week, she has been staying on her feet for l2 to l4 hours, from morning to lights out in the barn. The bad news is that she still cannot get up on her own most of the time. I have to lift her at llpm, 3 am and 7 am. The nights are long and sleep is short. She can almost get up, but when she digs in those back legs for the hop up...she hops sideways.
Glory's prognosis is "open" at this point. It will most likely be 3-4 months before it is clear if she is going to recover enough to be a very special broodmare at our farm.
Keep your fingers crossed. I will take pictures very soon.
Updated July 17
It's mid July and I've lost track of how long Glory has been sick. I think since May
25th, so about 7 weeks now.
Her progress is slow, just baby steps. But they are there. Glory no longer likes me to help her up. If I go into her stall and suggest it, she looks at me as if to say "No thanks, I'm comfee!".
And she stretches out luxuriously in the hay. So I take Peaches by the halter and we simply walk out of the stall.
Well, that gets Glory going, and after a minute or so of struggle, lurches, and falls, she is up and coming after us, wagging her head and saying WAIT FOR ME!!! I have not lifted her up for two days..just removed
Peaches every time I want Glory up and going. In the pasture, she still stumbles easily and has an unsteady gait on the hind end, but she trots frequently and seems to enjoy her time out nibbling, scratching on the fence, and evading flies. They stay out a good 6 or 8 hours a day now. On July the 9th, my birthday, Glory gave me a gift. I saw her stumble and fall in the pasture ....and get up by herself without much trouble. What a lovely birthday present for me...hope!
Glory's hocks have abrasions on them from rubbing the ground when she tries to get up. I have been trying to find a horse Band-Aid that will stick on the bare spots without actually wrapping her legs up in anything. I don't want to impair blood flow, just protect those tender hairless spots. Bending behind her , dabbing ointment on her..I got the distinct impression from her quick tail swishes that the only thing between me and a kick in the nose , was a little swelling on the spine!
This week I have begun cutting down her anti-inflamatory medicines to see just how much they are doing. If she holds her own without them, then that's two less doses of med's she has per day.
I don't know just how far Glory can or will recover, but I want to say I am getting dangerously hopeful about the possibility of a a long life for this special filly. to be continued....
Updated July 26
July is almost over and I have been caring for glory for two months since she lost the use of her hind legs. This is her, blossoming in muscle and shed back to bay roan.
I'd like to say she is doing super, but progress is slow. She is holding her own and making tiny strides forward. Just a few moments ago, I was in her stall for the ll PM check on her. I try not to lift her or even remove the mare any more. This time I sat down and put some medicine on her sore hocks. As soon as I touched the raw place, she smoothly got up. It was the most coordinated I have ever seen her rise since about two weeks old. The last two nights, glory has gotten up on her
own, I saw her on my stall monitor, and did not have to leave my bed!! I forgot to mention i have a camera on her day and night that displays on a TV in my bedroom at the house.
Recently I thought about how Glory had good days and bad days. I also thought about the fact that we gave her one of her medicines, an antibiotic that can cause stomach upset and
diarrhea, every OTHER day. I wondered if she was feeling like lying down a lot on the days she took this medicine? I discontinued it four days ago and she has had a definite increase in activity level and even a little attitude coming out. She is on a second antibiotic, so I was not toooo concerned about stopping one prematurely.
Speaking of stopping the medicines, a week from now we will taper off and only use the anti inflammatory med's Glory will no longer be on antibiotics. This will be a moment of truth. If the
infection returns, I think we will be defeated. AT 9 weeks...we all feel that the infection should be gone, and any impairment we see now ...is nerve damage that will have to be overcome by physical therapy and time.
If glory can stay stable off medicines, I am willing to give her a long
long time to recover from the damage done to her nervous system
and all the help she needs. This will be sink or swim for Glory.
We are so hoping she can swim!
'Palisades Morning Glory'
Picture taken July 26
Updated August 4
My update for August 4th is :
Today is Glory's last day for antibiotics. I have tapered them off and we have just one more cherry flavored dose to go down the hatch. Glory will be so happy! She is doing well. For over
a week she has gotten up on her own at night and given me 6 or 7 hours of sleep.
In the pasture she is wobbly, a little ataxic on the hind end still. She can't handle
really muddy or rainy conditions, but she is out most days for 6 or 7 hours with her mom.
We went riding this week. Just around the barn me on Peaches and Glory following. I am nervous about stopping the medicines, but there's only one way to find out if she is really getting
well, or we are just keeping her alive.
We are so hoping she stays stable.
Updated August 9
My update for August 9th is :
Just a short update for people wanting to know about Glory...
Glory has been off her antibiotics one week. So far I see no decline in her abilities. In fact, I have seen some improvement in her occasional attempts to canter.
Today she was in a heavy downpour. She got very frisky and tired a few
bucks and runs. She slipped on the mud and wet grass and fell right on
BUT...she got up quickly despite very slippery footing.
This was a triumph to see her jump back up!
She managed to navigate the upward climb to the barn despite rocks and mud and gravity all fighting her.
We are still optimistic, but not counting any chickens until more time passes for Glory.
Updated August 22
My update for August 22th is :
It is August 22nd and Glory has been off antibiotics for l8 days. For two weeks she continued to get up on her own at night and enjoy the pasture by day with her mom. One morning, I tried turning the twosome out with the herd and Glory was so excited she put on a show for us. She tried some running sidekicks and bucking and it looked like she was doing deep knee bends and hops or having some sort of aerial seizure! I wished I had had my camera. A little later that morning, I saw Peaches take Glory to the gate of their private pasture. I took my cue and let them in. Apparently Peaches felt joining the herd was not quite safe for Glory.
We also ventured to try and trim Glory's front hooves. Although she is very tame in many ways from all her human handling, we have not spent much time picking her feet up off the ground with her trying desperately to keep them all under herself and stable! So this hoof-trimming ordeal was a little tricky. My son stood directly behind her to prevent her from backing up and sitting down when scared. Our farrier, Pat, is very gentle with foals and proceeded carefully, but Glory DID sit down on my son's lap and over they both went into the hay. We gave Glory a chance to get up and compose herself and tried again. It took a few minutes, but we got her hooves trimmed up front. The back will have to wait. She is not stable enough to pick up one for any length of time while standing on the other back foot.
Well, just when I was feeling very optimistic, I noticed Glory's gait was more uneven. For the last two days, I have seen a decline..not a huge decline, but it's there. I have dreaded the thought that once off antibiotics, the abscess could begin to grow again and press upon her spine. But at the same time, I have been watching her carefully for any sign of its return.
This small but real change is not reassuring. I had a long talk with
Glory tonight while massaging her back and legs. I told her I have done all I can do and the rest is up to her. We are still hoping for the best, but realize that we are observers at this point.
Glory's recovery is not in our hands.
Updated August 30
My update for August 30th is
Good news today I am thrilled to say that glory has a sore front foot, NOT pressure on her spine. I found a horizontal crack below her heel and managed to clean the feet last night while she was resting and put some koppertox in there. They were pretty icky.
I imagine she has had an abscess that popped out that heel. It has not slowed her down though. She has been going out to pasture and acting pretty spunky despite a small head bob on that front right.
Today we had a leading lesson. WHAT A RIOT!!! Glory is four months old and never been led. OOOOH was she annoyed with me! What on earth is this rope on me!
Don't I get to be a princess and walk wherever and whenever I want??
Nope, guess again Glory. You are MY filly and I can't let you turn into a hooligan!
So, my son led Peaches and I led Glory to pasture and she was all over the place yanking and trotting and BUCKING on the lead line! She did not even almost fall down. She was MUCH more stable than I expected. We were just howling at this performance as I was dancing everywhere trying to give to the lead line just enough not to cause her a wreck!
When I set her free.... she pranced and bucked and I saw an honest to goodness canter uphill that looked pretty good. Downhill, I saw her being extremely careful. She fell over on her back on that same hill one morning at turnout because the ground was wet. I think she remembered.
Did I expect anything less than a smart Glory?
I discontinued the AM dose of anti-inflammatory medicines. The sores on her hocks from struggling to get up HAVE HEALED!
Updated September 6
Glory has had a relapse.
Saturday night I noticed her having some difficulty
rising, and by Sunday evening, I saw Glory down in the field and not able to get up. I can lift her, and she can stand and walk, but we have taken a huge jump
backwards and this may mark the return of infection and inflammation.
Everyone who knows and cares about her should be sending those prayers
and positive thoughts her way.
I can see in her eyes that she is upset that I have to lift her again.
Just a quick Thank You to everyone who has sent prayers and letters checking on Glory.
I think it is working! Keep thinking positively.
Glory has been stable the Sept 7 and 8th, and even got up on her own this AM. She's not happy about this stall rest stuff, but she seems stronger. We're taking this a day at a time!
No antibiotics, just Bute, Vitamin E and Love.
I have a heavy heart and mind today. Glory is very ill. She seems
to have pain and not want to rise or walk any more than she has to.
No fever, nothing to see except her hind end is growing weaker and more spastic.
She's had anti inflammatory med's, even dexamethasone, but nothing else.
I see no results from the med's. She is still barely moving.
I have taken in a blood sample to try and understand more about
what is killing this sweet young horse. Whatever it is,
it's about killing me too. She came so far toward normal, and then
has fallen back to where we began.
Glory's blood tests were somewhat unexpected. She had several values that were very low..her white count, her calcium, total protein... and some a bit elevated such as kidney function. We also decided that she has epiphysitis in all four fetlocks and that is most likely pretty painful in addition to her neuro problems. JUST what she needed!
So...I will continue to nurse her and watch her. Glory's sprits are higher this weekend. Her appetite is good, and she has more interest in what is going on again.
She is very wobbly on those sore legs, but she does not have fever or high white count, so she does not have typical signs of infection.
I am not ready to let her go yet.
Maybe there is one more miracle for this strong filly.
September 24, 2004
In a big foaling stall full of hay, I helped Glory into the world. I helped her to stand and nurse. At five weeks old, when she lost the use of her legs, I again helped her to stand and nurse thru the days and nights of the following months. Together we journeyed through illness to health and Glory cantered and played with her mother and enjoyed the summer.
She joined the herd, only to become weak and tired. She began to lose her ability to get up and her joints became sore and tight. We hoped for simple problems with simple solutions and treated her pain, but last night a vicious fever erupted. When I saw the thermometer at 104.8 I thought it was broken and cooled it in water and took her temperature again. It was 105.
In that moment in knew that my time with Glory was almost over.
This morning I helped Glory to rest. I had cooled her fever, but I knew in my heart that further treatment would not likely lead to long term recovery. Infection that invades at birth so often hides and resurfaces again and again. Glory was fat and beautiful this morning and I would not let her decline and become debilitated with infection and pain. I told the vet to stay outside and I sneaked an injection of sedative into Glory's neck while she enjoyed some
grain. She looked at me as if I were a pest and shook her neck. In about l0 minutes she was so
sleepy that the vet was able to quietly give her the lethal injection that ended her life,
and took a part of me with her.
Peaches and I are taking it pretty hard and crying each in our own way. I wish that I could explain to her what has happened. The same hands that helped birth Glory
had to help put her to rest. I will miss her so.
I have never loved an animal as much.
I had good/bad news today. We got the preliminary autopsy report on Glory.
Apparently sometime early in her infection and semi paralysis, Glory fell and fractured her spine at the withers. She healed beautifully and we killed all the infection.
But the fracture began to scar and the scar tissue began to press on her nerves and
began to cripple her again. She would have continued
to decline neurologically, had she gone on. I can rest now.
I know that I did the right thing for Glory.