Rescue Journal


Carol  ·  Sep. 29, 2008

i don't think people really "get" the whole spritely we did not euthanize her on saturday and no she is not cured and even more importantly no she is not CURABLE. we just dodged another bullet for a week or two, a month, please god maybe even a year.

after more than 10 years of profound lymphoedema, her leg is totally, completely and irreversibly destroyed. the tissue itself has become what we call in human medicine "woody fibrosed." this means there is almost NO circulation left in the leg to nourish it with blood and could probably slice partly thru her lower leg with a knife and not even make her bleed. her skin, her muscle, all of her connective tissue is just a mass of this fibrous woody stuff that you can pick away at forever or even just rub off.

spritely has been seen by a total of 6 different vets, and many of those vets, many, many times..our regular farm vets, 2 different equine vets ( one from the island), a holistic vet who works with equines.... plus we consulted with the vet who specializes in the TB racehorses at hastings park. they all have said the same thing, there is no way to fix this, the damage is too deep, too long standing, and much too we keep her happy and pain free for as long as we can which is way longer than any of them thought.

while i do appreciate the suggestions to try this and that medicine, remedy, special wrap, this vet, that vet, this homeopathic consultant...please understand, that to date, over the past 3 years we have literally spent significantly more than $20,000 on spritely to keep her alive and well. we are not goofing around here, playing russian roulet with her life. we are actually doing a very good job of keeping her alive.

we cannot win this, we cannot make that leg brand new again...we cannot undo the damage of her disease and so we accept this and manage her. there are no miracle, cure all solutions to what is wrong with spritely's is not a matter that we just haven't found the right treatment or the right vet.

not all diseases can be cured, not all disabilities can be made to disappear, not all horses with severe, chronic, long term lymphoedema can be made completely well again.

it is a sad fact of life that most horses like spritely are killed long before they ever receive the kind of ongoing and continuing medical care that spritely receives from us. this is why she is still here...we take that roller coaster ride with her not only because we love her so much but because she loves and hangs onto her life so greatly.

the vets are right, she is a miracle horse...but only because she is so determined that she is not finished living yet.



What I "get" is that Spritely is a well loved horse who will be given the opportunity to live the remainder of her life in peace and as pain-free as is humanly possible, then, when her comfort and quality of life decline, she will die in peace and as pain-free as humanly possible.

What I know is that all the Saints are treated for any illness: chronic, short term or terminal, for as long as their pain can be managed and their quality of life remains acceptable.I may not understand each and every illness, or the drugs and medical intervention required, but I am certain that Carol knows what she is doing, does what she does for all the right reasons, and takes a hell of a load of criticism from detractors who are almost as important as they think they are, and with no hard science or experience to back up their objections.


I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to give all of the details regarding her condition. (I was wondering too if there was some miracle cure out there that just hadn't been found yet....Not because I didn't think that she was getting the best care possible but just because I couldn't understand how this could happen to a horse in the first place.) Again you explained her condition and the reasons that we don't see it in other horses in such great detail that I "get it" now. So thank you - consider one person educated anyway!


it is not the explanations and teaching i mind so much as it is the difficulty in determining if foiks really rescue we are a passionate lot and we believe in things when someone suggests a road to cure and we don't go there it almost seems like we are just letting her eventually die without doing all we can for her cuz ultimately we didn't do all of the many, many things that sometimes people think we should.

everyone has an opinion, a suggestion, a possible solution, a previous experience, a strong belief in one type of treatment or another...but not everyone has spritely or has walked this road with her like saints and all of our vets have.

it just makes it harder if you have to worry about other people and what they are thinking too.

Marie Bellemare

Having to give explanations for this and for that must be so much more draining of your precious energies than caring for the animals after a long day of work... Please keep a tiny little bit to care for yourself too. Have a good day Carol. Good thoughts are sent to everyone at SAINTS and contributing to SAINTS.