Empress is still gaining steadily and her topline is finally filling in. She is perky and seems to be very happy. However, I'm more concerned about her feet than anything else at this point. Her feet, appearance-wise, look pretty good now that I've lopped off all the rest of that extra toe, and she's been walking a bit better since then, but by now I would have thought that she'd be pretty comfortable and she's just not.
I spoke to my vet, who said he could tell by my description that she's suffering from chronic laminitis. It's a low-grade form of laminitis that basically means she never really healed from a founder episode, which could have been caused by her lack of hoof care or if she had gotten into something she hadn't, or if she has developed an insulin resistance and was grazing on the spring or autumn grasses and it just hit her hard,or it could have been a combination of things, or like what my friend went through, absolutely no sign of any cause at all. Because I really don't know what happened, or how bad it was, I'm going with the safest route.
Today I'll be setting up a dry lot pen with a bale of last year's grass hay (thank you, Angela for donating this to Empress!) and I'll pick up a bag of the special no-carb/no-sugar grains so she can still get her vitamins and fats and not lose weight or be too hungry.
I'll be setting up an appointment for next weekend or the one after to see my wonderful vet Dr Randy. If she's still bad off, we'll do radiographs to see how bad the rotation is. If she's improved, then he'll give her some chiropractic adjustments to see if we can't help her improvement along (he said having to walk like that for so long really gets them all out of alignment along their neck, back, and even knees--poor girl!!).
This poor, sweet mare has gone through so much. Please keep her in your prayers. If we can pull her out of the chronic laminitis, she could end up having a very good, healthy, pain-free life. If not, then at least she's had a pretty good life these last few months, with a full belly, lots of attention and love. These next few weeks are critical.
Below is a video I took of her last evening. Because of Paula's big butt (more next post, including some pretty funny video to lighten the mood :) I had to just stand outside their pen and walk with their hay. Empress's expression is from being ticked at Paula when food is presented, not from pain. In Paula's videos you can see while she does hurt she doesn't pin her ears like she does here....
You can see she is stiff--legged and she keeps her weight on her back legs for the most part. She's not nearly as bad as she was when she first came in, but as pretty as her feet are right now, she should be walking just like Paula is here.
I will keep everyone updated. Thank you so much for everyone's support, kind words, and prayers for Empress. I wish more than anything else that I can give this great gal a happy life and will do everything I can.