The last couple days have been among the most difficult we've known as veterinarians worked to save our beloved mascot Linus' life.
Due to poor dental care early on in his life and his advanced age, Linus can't properly chew hay. He has lived on a mash diet for several years now and has been prone to choke if given hay. (Choke is a very serious blockage in a horse's esophagus.)
Linus in the back of our Toyota 4-Runner on the way to Mid-Atlantic Equine Center
Despite our continuous vigilance that Linus doesn't encounter or eat anything that could possibly cause him to choke, some dried leaves blew in unnoticed to Linus' dirt paddock Wednesday morning, and Linus ate them. He choked and was in distress. We called Dr. Watson who came out immediately. She made three attempts to try and dislodge the choke without success. She was concerned because the blockage seemed sufficiently large that it could perforate Linus' esophagus. Dr. Watson felt it was best to send him to Mid-Atlantic Equine Center to have him scoped.
Because of the expense involved, this is not something we typically do - or can afford - for the horses. However, we were hoping the blockage could easily be dislodged and we would soon all come home. Since Linus is only 30 inches high, we made the decision to lift him into the back of our Toyota 4-Runner and take him to Mid-Atlantic. So there we were ... Bruce driving, Austin, our little boy, strapped into his booster seat, and Linus in the far back as I held on to his lead rope in the back seat. We couldn’t help but laugh, because Austin thought nothing of having Linus in the car with us.
Mid-Atlantic veterinary staff in the process of scoping Linus.
Dr. Romero from Mid-Atlantic took over Linus’s care right away. They tried to removed the blockage and then scoped him. His esophagus looked like a cigar broken in half packed with leaves; Dr. Romero was not able to move the blockage. Linus was started on IV fluids and several different drugs in hopes of relaxing his esophagus to enable the blockage to pass.
Linus under anesthesia while veterinarians attempt to flush the blockage.
I spent the next day at Mid-Atlantic with Linus, and they tried again to remove pieces of the blockage. Though it was softer they were still unable to move it despite putting him under general anesthesia. We were all very concerned at this point. Yet through it all, Linus remained bright and in keeping with his outgoing personality, called to the other horses in the hospital and to the staff.
Now it's Friday morning -- Dr. Romero and his staff tried again to remove the blockage. Thankfully, they were successful. We are so grateful for all of their efforts. We felt, despite the additional cost, it was best for Linus to recuperate at Mid-Atlantic for the next few days as they start to re-feed him. He also needs IV antibiotics to prevent pneumonia . He will be on a liquid diet, and we hope within a few days he will be ready to make the trip home in the back of the car.
Linus in his hospital room on fluids and wearing a protective muzzle to keep him from eating anything.
Linus is an inspiration ... he has a zest for life and has touched so many lives; how could we not do all we could to save his. We anticipate Linus' veterinary bills will be upward of $3,000. If you are able to help us with his medical bills we would be so grateful. Thank you for all your prayers and well wishes for Linus.
To Help Linus by Mail: Please print out our donation form, fill it out, making note your donation is for Linus, and send it along with your check to:
Mylestone Equine Rescue
227 Still Valley Rd.,
Phillipsburg, NJ 08865