Prim was one of the thousands of thoroughbred horses bred for the race industry. Beginning at a year old, she lived in a race trainers barn spending winters at southern tracks and summers in Boston at Suffolk Downs.
In Sept 2013, when she was three years old, we saw her photo on CANTER NE, and went to look at her. The trainer warned us she was thin, and had always been a poor eater. She was also slowing on the track, so it was time for her to find a new career before her trainer shipped back south.
We were not really believing the trainers story of her eating habits. There are many thin horses at the track. Our plan was to bring her home, treat her for ulcers, and we were 100% sure she would gain weight like the many other track horses we have had.
We were wrong. Prim's new owner, Chelsea, gave her a full 30 day Ulcerguard treatment- no change. We tried many different feeds- no change. She seemed to eat less and less, and lose more and more weight. We gave her probiotics, treated her for hind gut ulcers, and even resorted to race track treatments of Ferrocyl to try and jump start her appetite. Nothing was working, so time to call a vet.
Full blood work showed she was very anemic, but all organ markers looked fine. She was scoped, showing a very healthy looking stomach. She was ultrasounded, and her lungs and intestines looked fine. There was nothing clear, but symptoms pointed to possible irritable bowel, so she was put on steroids for inflamation.
Then things changed. She began spiking temps- as high as 104*. She was taken off steroids, and put on SMZ. New blood was drawn, showing increased white cell count and elevated fibrogen. In many ways these things pointed to internal abcess, but blood and ultrasound said no. The thought was now possible lymphoma.
The vet came back to do a belly tap, and in ultrasounding to find fluid her lungs looked very different from last time. There were very clear walled off abcesses in her lungs.
The thought is that the steroids surpressed her immune system, and these long standing pockets of infection were able to flare up. Her body had most likely been keeping them at bay for the past couple of years. It can be common for young horses in heavy race training to bleed into their lungs. This is most likley what happened to Prim, meaning she very likely had a case of pneumonia as a young horse in training which never fully resolved, leaving her in the condition she is now. It completely explains her failure to gain weight and thrive. Poor Prim has most likely felt and raced sick most of her life.
So we want to save Prim. We want Prim to know what it feels like to feel strong. She has already undergone over $1500 in diagnostics, and her only chance is antibiotics that cost $370 every ten days. Total cost of antibiotics will be $2200.
Like many horse lovers and owners, giving Prim a home is a labor of love for Chelsea. She works hard to afford her board, her shoeing, and her routine vet bills. Also as with many horse owners, illness like this is not expected and is impossible to budget for.
If you know Chelsea, or just want to help a sweet horse who deserves to feel healthy, any donation would be so appreciated. Even $1 from anyone who reads this will help.
Thanks from Prim
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