Monday, October 14, 2013

Gus...the Rest of the Story

It is with great sadness and concern that I tell you the latest of Gus' story.

I actually initially wrote the previous blog and story about Gus ... ...
back in September of 2012.  I was asked not to publish it until the author's book had been written. It has now been written and it will be published and out on Amazon in April 2014.  So I held off on blogging my story until last week in regard to that.

However, last week, something happened that made it important to tell you our story now.
I got a text from Gus' current owner that he was ill and most likely has EPM.  My heart sank.
Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis is also known at EPM.  The feces of opossums may contain sporocysts-cysts that contain spores that can reproduce asexually.  Horses can ingest these sporocysts with feed, grass or water contaminated with opossum feces.  The protozoa can leave lesions on the spinal cord and brain stem.  This is likely what has happened to Gus.  It is this neurological damage that can cause the various symptoms of EPM.  Some of the symptoms may include loss of coordination, muscle atrophy, difficulty swallowing, sore back, stumbling, roaring, weakness, dropping eyelid and head tilt.  It is a horrible de-habilitating illness. Treatment can be lengthy, expensive and often unsuccessful.  If treated early, it can be treated, but often those affected will not always recover fully.  They will need a long treatment period first and then a long rehabilitation period if they are treated successfully.  They need lots of physical therapy to recover their muscle mass and strength.  Often these horses are just put down.

My sweet boy Gus is 22 years old.  When I saw him back in the spring, and took photographs with him for the book, he looked well and healthy.  Last week when I saw him he was thin, his muscles had atrophied, his back was swayed and he was sweating, staggering and unstable on his hind end.   His mane was not flowing.  His eyes were no longer bright.
While he loved the snacks I brought him, and ate them eagerly, he did not seem to know me.  He had no other interest in me.  He turned away, again and again.  I kissed him anyway.  I pulled him to me and hugged him.  I cried.  And cried.  My heart cried too.  To see him this way made me so sad, and I felt so helpless.  I choose to believe that his attitude toward me was part of his illness.  I choose not to believe that he no longer knows me or loves me.  I choose to believe that our hearts are still connected, our lives are still attached.  We were bound by love many years ago, the first day I brought him home with me and all the days I took care of him and nursed him back to health from a chronic foot injury years ago, and on that day in 1998 when our hearts were bound together forever.
His owner told me they were going to try some medication on him and see how he did after a week.  Truthfully I cannot imagine much progress in a week.  It will take much longer than that to see progress I believe, if there is any.  He needs a miracle.  I don't know what they will decide in a week or anytime after that.  I offered to do anything I could for his owner or for him.  I did tell her however, that if they decided to do "anything" that I wanted to be there with him.  I do not want him to suffer or be in pain.  He's lived a good life.  He's been loved by all who have owned him.  He is still loved.

For him I pray for comfort and for healing.  For his owners I pray for comfort and for wisdom through doctors who best know about these things.  I pray they will make the right decisions.  And I will be there no matter what.
Sweet boy know I love you!  This is not the end of our trail.

Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friend.  John 15:13

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  Hebrews 11

He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”   Matthew 17:20

Encourage One Another, continuing the journey on fresh paths.
Blessings and love to you, xoxo.

Great Horse Stories: Wisdom and Humor from Our Majestic Friends  by Rebecca Ondov  (April 1, 2014)

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