Wednesday, April 28, 2021

November Hill farm journal, 126

 Here we are nearing the end of April - it’s been an odd month here weather-wise: dry, with some very hot days and some very cold nights. I put the house plants out on the deck and then had to bring them in for several days, which I rarely have to do. And pollen - I feel like my throat has been gravelly for weeks on end. 

At the other end of the conversation about April though, are lots of good things: plants coming back after the winter months, the early pollinator plants blooming, seeing the bayberries and winterberries leafing out and become more actively growing, and of course the green tree foliage that transforms November Hill into its most private, lush season. 


The herd: are all mostly shed out, though the donkeys always shed later so they still have some winter coat. Keil Bay is doing well. I slowly, slowly weaned him off the Equioxx to see if he was okay without it, and so far he seems to be. Equioxx is an NSAID and while I’ll put him back on it without a blink if needed, it can have side effects specifically to the liver and kidneys. So far his bloodwork has remained good but spring and summer are good months to see how he does off it. I did put him on Phytoquench, a supplement that has devil’s claw, which may be helpful, and if needed I’ll switch to a trial of PEA, which has been researched in horses with arthritic changes and I’ve heard good things about it. For now, he’s good, and the thing I see helping the most is his acupuncture. 

A quick segue to me - I’ve had 3 acupuncture treatments and while the first was the most dramatic, I definitely feel better overall. I have one more in the initial protocol, then we’ll move on to target specific issues. I’m getting used to the needles! It’s really kind of amazing given my phobia.

Back to the herd: we had ACTH levels checked for Keil, Cody, and Apache. Keil is right in the middle of normal range so his Pergolide is doing its job. Cody was a little higher in the normal range, so we’ll continue to keep an eye on his level. And Apache was in the range for PPID, so I have just spent the past 4 days tapering him up to therapeutic dosage which he reaches today. I used APF and will continue that for another few weeks as he stabilizes on his full dose. His winter hair was much longer in places than it’s ever been, and he has held on to his chest hair even though the rest of his body is now slick. I’m glad we caught this and got him on the medication.

PPID is fairly common in older horses, but can manifest in younger ones as well. It has its own host of symptoms that come along with it, but the scariest one to me is the compromised immune system which can leave your horse open to infections of all kinds, including things like EPM, which Keil Bay came down with last fall. 

For the most comprehensive info on PPID I highly recommend - the site lays out the basics, and if you join the email list, you will learn more than you ever thought possible about IR and PPID. If you have easy keepers, breeds prone to IR, seniors, or horses you intend to live with until they become seniors, this is the best info you’ll get on what to watch for and how to manage these conditions. I have good vets, but they have been happy to hear the info I’ve gleaned from being on this email list for years, knowing that one day this info would be something I needed. The info about tapering a horse onto Pergolide with APF is pure gold - it alleviates the main side effect of this medication, which seems to happen to some horses when they go straight onto a full dose. 

Dogs and cats are enjoying the season - the water hose is back in play and Clementine absolutely adores it. The Corgis are not much into water, but they have their own things to do when the full farm romps happen. 

The bees are hanging in there. Hegemone 1 and 2 are booming. Artemis seems quiet still but when we open the top to look in, there are many bees and they are busy. Both bait hives continue to be checked out but thus far no swarm has arrived to take residence. Our new nuc was delayed due to the very cold nights we had last week, but it should arrive this weekend. It’s going to be fun having 4 hives!

I’ve been busy with garden tasks, house projects, a few farm projects, and writing. I completed Flowering Plant Families, which was a great class and super interesting as I (slowly) make my way through the native plant studies program at the NC Botanical Garden. 

We’ve having a birthday party this weekend to celebrate all the April birthdays here - husband, daughter, Keil Bay, and Apache Moon. I’m grateful these four are in my life and happy to serve cake, ice cream, apples, and carrots to mark the occasion. 


Grey Horse Matters said...

I don’t know where you find the time do do all the things you do. Good to hear your acupuncture is helping. And all the horses,donkeys,cat ,bees and dogs are doing well too. We have Blue and Sami on Pergolide. Sami seems to be shedding out fine but Blue still has a lot of hair. We’ve been shedding him out. I’m going to check out that sight you recommended. Thanks.

Grey Horse Matters said...

P.S. happy Birthday to all the April celebrants!🎂🧁

billie said...

I don’t either! LOL. But I can tell you it’s not that I’m doing them all simultaneously and I’m often not doing them all WELL. And I do get a lot of support from husband and children when needing help. Plus the farm helpers. There are so many things right now that need doing that aren’t getting done.

Glad Blue and Sami are on Pergolide - I think you might get some good info from the site - some you will already know, but they have so much data now there are always little but very important things that might help if your guys need it.

And thank you for the birthday wishes too! :)