Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Good, The Bad and The Handsome

The good: In some ways Tonka is doing really well.  His feet are rock solid, his teeth are good, and his winter coat is remarkably plush.  His weight is good (he could maybe lose 50lbs), his attitude is cheerful and his eyes are full of sparkle.

The bad: Despite all of The Good, I’m forced to admit that Tonka is becoming an old horse.  He’ll only be 23 in March, but it seems like a hard life is catching up with him.  First of all, he is stiff.  Kerstin had me try a month of 1 gram of bute per day, and that helped a little.  One scoop of Recovery per day didn’t help at all.  There is some risk of metabolic catastrophe for anything I add to his diet, so I haven’t tried other options.  To be honest, I don’t feel like I need to try anything else at this stage.  He appears perfectly happy, but he’s slow to get moving and less likely to kick up his heels than he used to be.  Sometimes he still goes for a lovely big trot around the pasture, though, or comes galloping back into the paddock.  A pasture-sound pasture pet suits us just fine, so it’s not a big deal.   Second of all, we continue to battle the itchy sheath.  Kerstin came up with the theory that it might be a severe contact allergy to something I often have on my hands (perfume? dish soap?) and I switched latex gloves for all netherworld interactions about 4 months ago.  It seems to help a little.  I read something on the Internetz about geldings getting yeast infections, so I treated him with Monostat 7 for an entire month.  It seemed to help a little.  I got a huge tub of hydrocortisone cream.  Sometimes it helps a little.  The guy has a seriously itchy sheath, and there’s not much I can do about it.  Third of all, there are funny little lumps and bumps popping up all over his body.  This is only to be expected with a grey, but my deepest fear is that he’s riddled with internal melanomas.  The ever-practical Kerstin is kind enough to tell me that it’s quite likely.  If true, he doesn’t seem much bothered in the here and now and that’s what is most important.

The handsome: This photo comes courtesy of our friend Natalie, and features our friend Mike’s daughter Martina.  Fizz is about to muscle Tonka out of the way, but he managed to get his treat.



EvenSong said...

From the ONE.MEASLEY.PHOTO you provide (the interwebs are a visual media, you know) Tonka sure LOOKS good! (sorry for all the caps--I'm not really yelling, but it's the only way I know to add EMPHASIS!)
I'd say you're providing all the best care for him, and yes, there may be issues in the future, but horses live totally in the now, and we should follow their lead.
(Now who is Fizz???)

Grey Horse Matters said...

Tonka is so very sweet. I'm glad he got his treat from his little visitor before he got pushed away. He looks great too. Wonder what would work for that itchy sheath. When you mentioned the Monistat it put me in mind of an old concoction from years ago, have you tried washing him with some good old fashioned vinegar and water? Might help, might not. Just a thought.

AareneX said...

Tonka looks good...sometimes "oldness" is a really early symptom of Cushings. Given his founder history, it might be good to check him? Just a thought.

Chelsi said...

What a face he has! I dealt with a senior a few years ago and know what it is like to not want to throw new things in their diet but I did read an article the other day about how you can actually feed HA in a liquid form.... I dont know much about it but I have a friend who is shopping for a barrel horse right now and we keep hearing from ladies with older horses that they are running and it seems like many of them use some sort of HA product. Here is a link to the one I had in my favorites... just an idea:)


jme said...

he certainly is handsome! and he's such a cutie. i know what you mean about 'the bad' - my mellon is 23 now also and slowing down a bit more than i'd like and springing up with unexpected injuries and ailments. but overall he's happy, and i think that's the most important thing. tonka seems like a happy guy with lots of good care and love in his life. i'd consider him lucky :-)

ps - i had a horse who used to lay on the ground and scratch his sheath on a hind foot all the time - my trainer at the time told me to pack his sheath with a huge glob of antibiotic ointment overnight. it seemed to help...

dog trainers manchester said...

Its so cute, Tonka is interacting with the little child. They will have a nice bonding.

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