Struggle Bus.

I’m going to try and not make this a “woe is me” post because it’s not intended to be, not really. And not a medical post, at least not entirely, because this is a horse blog. But, it all really relates, sort of? Horse stuff further down.

Harry Potter desk characters taking up space on my cluttered desk

It’s starts with me. I’m falling apart. I mean, I fall apart every year at this time through spring, but this year is worse. Chronic illnesses just suck. My migraines seem to be as bad as ever (though it seems I have a week reprieve thanks to my month migraine injection… used to help more, but now a decent week is all I get). That combined with fall just makes things hard. I had a meltdown at the neurologist the other week where he suggested we try more (additional) medication and I just said no. So, I’m going to try Botox instead starting in December assuming insurance doesn’t have anything to say about it. I’m sick of drugs (though I’ll continue my millions I already take).

I f your going to spend millions, spend it on Biscuit in a box

Then add in my asthma taking a random turn for the worse. I guess it’s been getting bad for a while and I’ve been ignoring it (lack of oxygen probably explains my exhaustion), but really not being able to breathe is no fun. Finding yourself in danger zones in breathing tests is scary too. So more medication/changed medication and 2x/day nebulizer treatments (since I have so much free time) and we’ll see? Drs office wanted a follow up Friday but I’m not missing jump crew for YEH at Fair Hill for anything so Monday.

Add in random new food allergies (suddenly developed a soy allergy to add to dairy and gluten), I’m falling apart.

First vendor table the other week

Then there is Batt. He’s doing OK-ish. He’d be great if he could have ventipulmin daily but that’s NOT in my budget. Daily I’d be going through probably $600 worth/month and I can’t do that. I can’t do $300 worth of ventipulmin a month. So, I use it to get rid of the worst attacks, then hope the steroids do their job. We’re trying to get him consistent on prednisalone every other day, but every time I get him there, he has another attack and we’re back to daily plus ventipulmin. And the more you use ventipulmin, the more you need.

I need to order more steroids today to add to my growing vet bill. The only thing I haven’t tried is albuterol syrup. It’s cheap so that’s the last thing on the list. He’s also getting 30 Zyrtec (thank you Costco generic)/day down from his loading dose of 40 which seem to help much more than when he was on the 20/day. He also gets Air Power each morning.

Love him, but sometimes…

Right now he’s OK, but this brings me to the question, when is enough enough? I’m not there now, but if I can’t control with steroids and the occasional ventipulmin, I might be there because financially, he’s sucking all my money. Chronic illnesses suck and it’s not like this one is getting better, but rather worse. It’s a ticking time bomb between attacks. Now, if we go 6 months between attacks, great, but 4-5 weeks, that’s what’s killing me!

Do you have a limit? If it was just Batt, it would be easier, but… I could funnel lesson money into his medication, but again, for how long? Over time he’s going to build resistance and need more and more and more… I’m asking questions now while I’m not facing a decision (just this month’s 1k vet bill for his medication and a couple other things). But it’s not sustainable if he’s not manageable.

Favorite times of the year!

Anyway, depressing post. Positive? Fair Hill jogs start today! Not sure I’ll make it for the jogs before I have to volunteer, but I’ll be there for dressage tomorrow, YEH Friday, cross country Saturday, and Stadium Sunday! Looking forward to an exhausting few days!

Recurrence of heaves: the saga of Batt’s struggle to breathe

Michele said she’d fall off her chair if I blogged 3x this week. Here’s blog 2 of 3. I’ll be shocked if she comments on all 3!

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This guy isn’t feeling too hot. 

I alluded to Batt’s struggle with mild heaves a little in the past. It’s never been completely under control, but it’s never been terrible. There are thing I could probably do better (such as, no round bales, but at the same time, the quality of his round bales are often better than my squares so… my round bale guy is fabulous about making sure I get non-dusty bales). In the past, I’ve supplemented MSM, which has helped, and turmeric, which has also helped, and also added in generic zyrtec. Flax helped A LOT but was a trigger for his impaction colic so the risks outweighed the benefits there. I’ve tried a slew of other supplements and some helped, some didn’t and many helped sort term (Heave Ho I’m looking at you).

With this past year’s crop of square bales basically being crap (thank you rain), I purchased a hay steamer, and that has helped a lot. But, like everything else, things help only so much…

The past couple of weeks, Batt has gotten more and more agitated as humidity has increased. I’ve increased grass thinking that if he were off hay, at least part time, that might help (no). Low humidity days, were better, high humidity days, not so great. My farrier came out about a week and a half ago and mentioned the obvious, humidity makes breathing hard. And with all the rain we’ve had over the last 2 years, there is so much more mold out there. Of course. ::head–>desk::

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100% humidity at 6AM. It’s soup outside.

Around Wednesday/Thursday, the coughing increased to the point that I tossed a dex packet in his dinner grain to see if it would help. And by morning? Much better. So we reduced it down to a half a packet for a few days. Monday night? I completely forgot (bad mom). Yesterday morning? He had reached a point where I stood there at his stall at 6am considering an emergency vet call. He was hacking, gasping, and spewing food everywhere as he tried to breath and eat (world’s sloppiest eater anyway).

img_0381I tossed in some dex just to see how quickly it would work any headed inside. By the time we went to turn out, he was already looking better. Some coughing, but you could see the dex doing its work. Emergency vet call averted.

Calling the vet during business hours resulted in an Rx for prednisalone and Ventipulmin (we were able to bypass the visit for now as she had recently seen him). Other than crying over the cost (OMG a 100ml bottle of Ventipulmin directly from the vet, ::cries:: I don’t know if my vet writes Rx as legally, in PA, they are not required to), he is feeling SO MUCH BETTER as of this morning. He can breathe, he isn’t coughing, and seems comfortable.

img_0822Going forward, he’s on a decreasing dose of ventipulmin for the next few days though if it works, we’ll talk about keeping him on a tiny dose (NOOOO), seeing how he does without it, or saving it for bad attacks (hopefully). He’ll probably be on the prednisalone (thankfully not prednisone as I can handle this without fearing allergic reactions!) daily after a 2x loading dose last night for the foreseeable future before dropping down to every other day if possible. If that doesn’t work, we may consider a lower dose (right now, it’s 250mg/day). My wallet cries, but I’m hoping he can at least breathe.

As I now have an insane vet bill, if anyone want to buy a belt, let me know. Sample of some below but I have lots of other patterns as well. Will take pictures of other elastics later.

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Some belts, lots of other possibilities exist! Fully adjustable.