It's Friday, and we are waiting for the Brand Inspector to come and "do what he does", so we can take our little ones home :)
We had even more adventure, when we went out on Monday to track another failing orphan. She was with a stallion "Boogie" who was taking fabulous care of her, with the exception of the fact that she could not nurse. She was failing rapidly, and limping on her front leg. Anne had been watching her and she was visibly failing. She appears to be roughly 2 months, give or take, and she was dehydrated and skin and bones. As she tried to follow Boogie up the hill, she collapsed in a shallow area. Prior to her falling, Matt had been able to get between her and Boogie on the quad, and he was able to get to her quickly. While the quad rolled gently down the hill to rest against Matt's backside, while perching precariously on the hill, he had one hand gently on the baby and the other holding the quad. This was another great "team effort" and was successful due to the four of us working in sync and understanding where we needed to be to guide Boogie in the right direction.
As I hobbled as quickly as I could towards the baby, I wailed to Anne, wait for me. It was awful, as I needed to get to the downed foal asap, but my knee does not do anything asap. As we approached the baby there was a sudden blur in front of me. It looked like a stick about 6-8 inches high and it was shaking so rapidly I couldn't fix on it. It was accompanied by a rattling noise and a very angry hissing sound. We had nearly stepped on a very large rattlesnake. He was coiled with his head up and he was MAD!! PTL he was also kind and simply warned us instead of striking. He was the largest I have personally seen, and was about as big around as a small apple and who knows how long. It was his rattles rattling that I had seen. Never a dull moment in the world of orphan foals :)
We got to the baby, after what seemed an eternity and I slipped a halter on her. Her coat was dry and brittle and her eyes were so dull. I gasped when I saw her gums. I have never seen such white gums on a living animal. She had used every bit of her reserves and adrenalin to reach this point, and judging by her gums would not have lasted more than a couple of hours if that. We immediately gave her dribbles of electrolytes, talking softly to her all the while. She looked at us with eyes that had completely given up. She had given it her all and had no more. We started ever so slowly to inch our way back down to where we could put her in the trailer. About every 10-15 feet or so Anne and I would give her electrolytes. Her condition was deteriorating right in front of our eyes. She simply had no more. I asked Willie (Willis) to ride over and get the Karo syrup from Matt. We simply did not have time to get her down first. Honey is preferable to the Karo, but that is what I had available at that instance. We had already made up a huge batch of electrolytes and that is what we were dribbling in her mouth. I had to play with her tongue and mouth to get her to swallow. It was simply too much effort on her own. Now you have to make sure you DO NOT give a bunch of honey/sugar all at once. Even a teaspoon all at once could cause death. Willie arrived with the syrup, and we proceeded to administer a drop on her gums. It is amazing how much one drop will change things. It is almost when like a diabetic who crashes due to low sugar. It can be life saving. We kept going, seemingly inch by inch. About 10 minutes later I gave her another drop of the syrup. At that point she started drinking and swallowing the electrolytes without any prompting and like a the sun rising, her eyes started to brighten. By the time we finally reached the trailer, she was actively slurping down the electrolytes we were syringing into her mouth.
While Matt walked back up the hill and retrieved the quad, Anne (Hall) and I sat in the trailer with "Annie Junior", or "AJ" for short, and continued to rehydrate her. Within that short time, her eyes went from dull and utterly defeated to a bit brighter and a tiny bit curious. She was ecstatic when Anne rubbed her little chest, and seemed to understand that although everything was strange and still a bit scary, she was safe with the two of us. And most important of all, her gums were starting to "pink up". The white gums were terrifying because you have to wonder at that point if she is going septic. Dehydration can cause the liver and kidneys to shut down, but PTL - THANKS TO ANNE, we got her in the nick of time.
So Matt started driving down the bumpy road to get back to the highway. Anne and I stood in the trailer supporting "AJ" while we eased over the bumpy terrain. I held her face in my hands and the little angel was so exhausted she started to fall asleep. Anne took the brink of the hard work, making sure she didn't fall. When we reached the road, I climbed in the truck and Anne loaded up her four wheeler and we headed out to Shirley's. Another miracle from above, and one more baby given a chance at life.
Two days later - "AJ" is eating very well and loves her munchies. She is staying hydrated and drinking well. Her eyes are brighter and although she moves minimally due to the stiffness and pain, she is doing wonderfully compared to when we found her.
When Matt and Willie were out "gently bringing them to the staging area", Matt said he observed Boogie kicking AJ as if to say - get away, you are attracting predators. He kicked her hard enough to go down on her back end, and then kicked her again when she got back up. It is interesting as he is the stallion that has been protecting her and watching out for her. I guess as she got weaker and weaker, he started to know instinctively that he had to get rid of her or she would attract predators. I also observed aggressive behavior two days prior when he pinned his ears back and was pushing her away with his head.
She is now settled in nicely and working on her way to recovery. Thank you everyone involved. Another successful rescue effort. Now the "other" real work begins :)
THANK YOU FROM ALL OF US!
Matt, Palomino & The Gang
Chilly Pepper - Miracle Mustang
Equine Rescue & More -
Rescue/Rehab Project LRTC