Jake’s Journey – Part 2 (Founder)

Kobi watching over Jake


The last posting described the weekend in October 2010 when Jake foundered. This is part 2 of 3. Word of warning: the end of this posting shows pictures of Jake with his hooves on ice, with his IV port poking out of his mane. I took them because I believed in my heart of hearts that Jake would recover and I would submit his story, with pictures to show how founder could be beat. As we all know, I was wrong.

Jake’s founder – part 2

The next few hours were a whirlwind of activity. The on-call vet was already on an emergency colic call, over an hour away. While we waited for her to arrive, Jake had his front hooves placed in ice buckets of ice. Around 10:00 that night, the vet was able to make it out. Her first theory was that Jake didn’t founder. Since he had just come from being iced, he walked too well. Within minutes, she changed her mind. She gave him some meds to make him comfortable for the night, with instructions to have x-rays of his front hooves in the morning and start the IV of DMSO.

The next morning, things weren’t much better. Another vet came out, took the x-rays and started the IV. Trying to save money, we decided to leave the IV in and I would flush it out every six hours. I was home sick, under doctor’s orders, so I would be able to take care of whatever Jake needed. Icing his feet continued to be difficult. His hooves were now hurting him so bad, picking up the massive feet were a chore. Not impossible, but not easy by any stretch. Since he’s such a big guy, we also kept him on a fairly high dose of Bute, horse aspirin, for comfort: three grams, twice a day.

Later on that day, the vet called back with the x-ray results. He already had a moderate rotation, since the night before, of 10 degrees in his right front hoof, the one without the canker. The left front hoof, with the canker, had not rotated at all. Jake’s prognosis was guarded. She would not give me any more hope than that.

The following morning when it was time for the vet to come out again and administer the next dose of DMSO, it was the lead vet from our local clinic that came out. Jake still wasn’t eating much hay, only handfuls every few hours. I expressed my concerns to the latest vet. He placed a tube down Jake’s nose and pumped out some foul liquid from Jake’s stomach then blasted him with a healthy dose of mineral oil. Jake’s appetite returned almost immediately! The vet was concerned with the high doses of Bute to keep Jake comfortable that he had developed an ulcer. He placed him on Gastro Guard at $50 a tube. A tube a day for the first three days and then a half a tube for the remaining seven tubes in the box. Wow! The bills were rising, but what’s a horse owner to do? We put him on the Gastro Guard.

With the small intestine taken care of, now it was back to worrying about the founder. The vet told me that due to Jake’s immense size and the rotation he’s already made, if Jake were his horse he would put him down as he would not keep around a foundered draft horse. Wow! The cat was now out of the bag. I was also in pretty bad shape physically myself since I wasn’t able to follow my own doctor’s orders of rest. The vet told me to take the next 24 hours off from icing Jake’s feet to give myself a break. I think he had already given up on my poor boy.




About Heather Hamel

Growing up with horses is a little girls dream come true. Heather’s dream in life was to be a horse trainer - how dreams change - sort of! She moved to the wonderfully historic town of St. Augustine, Florida and was a historic tour guide and a ghost story teller while putting herself through college to become a special education teacher. After graduating, she felt the pull of horses in her life again. That's when she met Kobi! She learned quickly that when you own horses you become a part time vet, part time nutritionist, and full time equestrian. She wouldn't change a thing! In addition to being completely obsessed with her herd, she still teaches and tutors students with learning disabilities, and more specifically, dyslexia.
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