Our feeding routines

Our feeding routines are a big part of the daily routines. To have a healthy and happy horse, the insides are what counts the most. The feed I have decided to give Baldur is to keep a balance in his gut flora, to keep his skin, fur and mane healthy, and not least to keep him fit and muscular. I do also give him special supplements to keep his eczema in check.

  • Witanor Horse (link)

First of all, let’s start with the one supplement I have been using for ages. To be more exact – 3 years! Witanor Horse is a supplement I started using when I bought Baldur, and it has helped us so much! Not only does it help him gain weight(he had a period where he was very skinny), but also muscle mass that stays forever. Since getting his diagnosis, we’ve had periods of 3-5 weeks at a time where he would stand still. But his muscles never faded. That way it was easier to take breaks and come back without having to work alot to get back to where we were before the break. In addition, Witanor does wonder for the stamina! Baldur can go on for ages without tiring.

Witanor also helps to stabilize the gut flora. Baldur has, cross my heart, NEVER had diarrhea since I started giving him Witanor. He also used to be very skittish, something that has “tuned down” since we started this supplement. He is still skittish, but the level of skittish is way lower than it used to be. His fur is also great, and it has helped alot with the worst parts of the eczema. Not only has it helped with all of the above, but I do strongly believe it has helped Baldur alot with healing processes. Taking biopsies, using chemo treatments, and generally wounds – it all heals faster for Baldur. I definitely recommend this product!

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EQmach is another product that I have grown to love. This product is great for avoiding the lactic acid building up while working out so that we can work longer, but it also helped Baldur to keep focus and improve his stamina. EQmach is also great to strengthen the joints and tendons over time, it helps with quicker restitution and reducing stress in the horse.

Baldur has always been the stressed type of horse, but this has really changed! Especially on shows and competitions, I get alot of comments about how relaxed and happy he seems to be on the competition grounds. The new apple flavour also smells delicious – almost like apple tea!

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  • Trikem MSM

MSM is something I just recently started to give Baldur. MSM actually contains sulfur, which is great for the immune system. Especially when it comes to Baldur and his eczema. In Iceland, there is natural amounts of Sulfur in the air, but when Baldur came to Norway, that has much less Sulfur, his immune system stopped working as good as in Iceland. So with MSM, I hope to bring his immune system back in to gear.

We have been  using this for around 3-4 months now, and I already see a noticable change. He reacts less to bug bites(he is allergic to gnats especially), and I have days where I don’t put on his eczema rug. Right now, I am trying to see how long we can go without the eczema rug!

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  • Diamant, Multi-vitamins and Betfiber

Oh yes, we have more to the list! Champion Diamant(the top left cup), or Diamond in english, is a mix of muesli feed. It has a high fiber content, 15% apple, it has vitamins, minerals, is low on starch and has 10% fat. It also has some carrots! I also give Baldur Champion Multi-vitamins(top right cup), which speaks for itself! And lastly, Champion Betfiber, which is an easily digestible feed that adds fiber-based energy(from beet pulp). It also has some added electrolytes!

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Below, you can see one of the buckets Baldur get’s every day. He gets one bucket in the morning, and one in the evening. Both buckets have the exact same: 

30ml Witanor Horse

15ml EQmach

15ml Trikem MSM

1dl Champion Betfiber

2dl Champion Diamant

0,5dl Champion Multi-vitamins

And at the end I add around 6-7dl of water to make a nice, thick porridge! Baldur absolutely loves this mix, and he is always eager to be taken inside in the evening to get his feed.

Lastly, he does of course get hay feed as well. Three times a day he is fed 3kgs of dry silage made for horse consumption. A total of 9kgs every day, but he can also go up to 10kgs or down to 8kgs, all depending on how much work he is in and if he is on the skinny or fat side. He also has a big, yellow block of mineral salt in his paddock, so that he gets free access to as much salt as he might need!

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What are your feeding routines? Do you use any of these products, or similar?

Treatments and Witanor

It’s nothing new that I am doing the treatments of Baldur alone, but yesterday we got to document it as well. This is the second time I have done treatment on Baldur, and it’s not looking too bad. 

I found one of the spots on the darker skin that I thought I might as well put some treatment on, as they look like the papillomas. Better to be treated than not, I guess? I had a veterinarian come out to drug him with Plegicil to let him drop, and I did the rest myself. It’s easier for me this way. Being able to look closely by myself(I have been through this too many times and know exactly how it’s supposed to look), and treat him alone is also the cheapest option.

The veterinarian has sent in an application to get a prescription on Plegicil gel, so that I can try to drug him myself again. Since the regular sedative gel(Domosedan) didn’t work well enough on him, I have to try to get Plegicil. The thing is that it’s not prescribed to just anyone, so I hope I get it. It would make everything much easier and not least cheaper.

I am still thinking back at how well Baldur has been and is handling the treatments. I was told by my regular veterinarian that the horses who are treated can get tired, loose spark and have big wounds in the area of treatments. Baldur has done impeccable and he has shown no sign of change in behavior, and he is as energetic as always. I think a lot of this is thanks to the supplement I have fed Baldur on for the last 3 years. It’s called Witanor Horse, and it is enzymes and probiotics. The wounds from the chemo treatments heal so fast.

Not only does it help with keeping the lactic acid at bay, but it has done wonders on Baldur. He used to be so hyper before and run off in a bolt any time he seemed fit. But I think Witanor helps to keep him sane and “down to earth”. And of course, it helps a lot on his summer eczema. Less itching and more mane and tail growth! I should also mention that ever since I started Baldur on this supplement, he has never had a bad stomach. His muck is always nice and firm(I know horse people love to inspect poop). He doesn’t even get travel stomach, nor does he react to sudden change of feed.

Have you heard about Witanor? And would you try it if you had the chance? I know that a lot of Norwegians swear by this supplement(as do I). I know that it is being sold world wide as well! You can check out their website here, by the way!

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Photo above: Can you see the huge papilloma-like spot?

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Photo above: Another small papilloma(at the tip of my middle finger).

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Photo above: My little man after the treatment was done! I am so glad to have such a kind horse. Standing still with no argument while being treated. 

Doing treatments alone

It’s been a while since I last talked about cancer, and the reason for that is that there has been a couple complications. First related to Baldur not willing to drop while using Domosedan gel(oral sedative), and secondly when I did not get the right sedatives intravenously from a veterinarian.

After taking Baldur to Oslo for the specialist to look at him, we were put on a plan to wash Baldur every week, twice a month with sedatives so that I could give him a thorough wash. To cut it short, the oral sedatives did not do the job. I tried two times, once before AEG and one right after. It did not do the work. My regular veterinarian just had her baby, so I had a new vet come in. I instructed that I needed the one type of sedative(Plegicil, it makes them drop easier), and that I would be able to handle it by myself.

That did not go to plan as the veterinarian did not bring the sedatives I specified, drugged him with another sedative, and Baldur did not drop. It was a bit chaotic after that and I panicked hard, as this is a very touchy subject. I talked with my regular veterinarian, and she could recommend me another one to come and sedate Baldur. Thankfully she came and brought the right sedatives, so I could wash him properly and inspect him!

There were sadly three new papillomas, but I was able to put on some of the chemo treatment, and I am hoping they are gone till next time I get him sedated. It was such a relief that it wasn’t any worse, since it had after all gone over a month since we were in Oslo. We were two weeks over due, so you can probably understand my panic.

Other than that, I “look forward” to washing him every week, that a great way to bond. Haha. In two weeks we will hopefully be entering the Mjøscup 1, one of two competitions in the cup at Biri Travbane. I am really excited to see how it goes, and of course to see how we are doing so far, judging and all.

I forgot to bring my fancy camera, so I only got phone photos for you this time!

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Photo above: Having had vets in and out for the last half year, I have built up quite a nice box of medical supplies.

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Photo above: Baldur drugged and ready to go!

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Photo above: Two of the new papillomas I discovered.

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Photo above: Finished with applying the chemo treatment by myself, am I a veterinarian soon or what?

A promising call

This blog post will be short, but very pleasing. I received a call from the specialist today, and it couldn’t have gone any better.

As it turns out, they found no cancer in the biopsies! The skin is still very abnormal, so it has to be carefully watched for any progression or development. As for the urethral opening, there is a lot more cytoplasm than there should be. The cells are larger than usual, something that indicates that they can split up and make new cells(this is not very good, but it’s still no red alarm yet).

This means that the only cancer he has is in the papillomas, which are still in the benign stage. All I have to do is to have a regular washing routine for Baldur. He needs to be washed every week, where every other week is with a sedative. This way he can drop and I can get a good clean every other week as well as the regular weekly washing without sedatives. I will have to keep smear thin layers of zinc ointment on the elephant skin and the irritated parts, just to help him heal.

IMG_0243Other than that, we are going to let “nature do it’s work”, as there is no reason to give him any big treatments or surgeries just yet. I was also told that there is indeed a small chance that it can resolve on it’s own and go away. The chance is slim, but it’s there!

I didn’t get a “this is not cancer and everything is going to be okay”-call, but it’s pretty damn close if you ask me! He is not in immediate danger, and it gives me such a relief! Now I can finally get my focus back on the good stuff. Doing trails, working towards competitions, and not least just loving my horse without having to worry about losing him.

As a little side note, I got a job working as a press photographer at the Arctic Equestrian Games in Oslofjorden next week! I will be photographing the different competitions, from gaited to show jumping! And I will of course be doing some shopping with the money I earn from selling photos. So I am hoping to get my hands on some new breeches at least! I am very much looking forward to it, and of course meeting with some distant friends!

It’s finally time to look ahead and keep track of all the plans I had before we were sent to Oslo for the examination! I am starting to really look forward to this year, and I hope we do end up starting our first Norwegian Championship together!

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A visit to the clinic

Today was the day I had been dreading once again. It was time to take Baldur to the Veterinary University in Oslo. I woke up at 6:30 AM fit for fight(well, almost). The appointment in Oslo was at 10 AM, but the ride there took about 2 hours.

I was so anxious and nervous about what was going to happen and what they were going to find out. Baldur was of course like his usual self. Big eyes and a goofy personality. He was no problem loading on or off. We were assigned a box for him to stay at while we were waiting for the specialist.

When the specialist arrived, we got him drugged down so that he would drop. She washed him very thorough, and she was not delighted about all the buildup that had came in just one and a half week. Not a good sign in other words. The papillomas we treated last time were gone, but they are the least of our concerns.

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The real problem is the new papilloma-like spots all around his urethral opening. They are big, white and many. Also the elephant skin is a problem. Not only are there more papillomas, but the skin is very strange.

The specialist decided to take two biopsies. One of the skin around the urethral opening, and one of the elephant skin. The skin on his penis has become very delicate and fragile from all the washing and treatments, so it has started to crack a bit. She put on some zinc ointment and let me know that I could do the same whenever I see him drop his penis(he usually doesn’t do it much).

The specialist discussed a little bit with another veterinarian about treatments. He suggested freezing it. And the specialist gave me a few option suggestions to think about. I can keep doing the chemo treatments, I can go over to another chemo treatment(intravenously), freezing, amputating half or the whole penis. These are all treatments that I have to consider, but we are still waiting for the results of the biopsies before we move forward with really discussing the treatment options.

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I’m not going to lie, this is so damn scary. I feel like I am again constantly on the verge of crying and I am being such a child about this. But it is my best friend at stake, and I want him the best that the world can give him.

When everything was done, he got a good dose of pain relief for the biopsies. The specialist was very happy with how well he behaved. He was tied very loosely(sometimes just the rope around his shoulders) and he took it all like a champ. I am so proud to own this horse and have him in my life. I just hope I can have him until he dies of old age. It’s not too much to ask, is it?

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Photo above: Giving a thorough rinse!

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Photo above: The main concern is this. The papilloma-like spots all around his urethral opening.

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Photo above: The second concern – the elephant skin. I don’t like this at all. 

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Photo above: I had to help hold the glasses and his penis while the specialist was taking the biopsies, so I couldn’t get any photos of it. But this is after taking the biopsies.

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Photo above: He was incredibly calm through the whole procedure.

 

Back to square one

Today did definitely not go as I had imagined. Or it kind of did. I was hoping for a good result, but I was almost expecting his cancer to be back. Maybe not like this though.

Baldur’s cancer papillomas are indeed back. We counted 4 new papillomas today. They are not as big as they were before, so they should go away with treatment agian. We did give Baldur yet another treatment for the cancerous papillomas. It is a little scary that they are coming back, but that is actually not our main concern.

What I was not expecting, is the fact that there is something new that we do not know what is. And that’s really troubling me. So for now, my veterinarian will consult with an expert in horse’s reproductive organs, and they will probably want to see him in person for an evaluation. It’s not unlikely that we will have to travel to the Veterinary University of Oslo to let the expert look at him.

I was so happy from the last veterinary visit when the papillomas were gone. I have literally been planning this whole year’s competition season and I’ve just been so ready to get into it. And now I am back to the point where I have no idea what to do. I just hope that I am a little bit stronger this time. And I am definitely going to keep on excising him and not let him wither away like he did this winter.

I just hope that we find out what is the cause of all this and that it’s not something that is terminal. 

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Photo above: Elephant skin on the left side of his penis. Dry and cracking, some blood coming out.

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Photo above: One of the new papillomas(the smallest one) between the two thumbs. 

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Photo above and under: The new skin disorder that we do not know what is. It lighter(almost white), thicker skin around his urethral opening. We did not treat this with anything as it is in such a vulnerable place and again, we do not know what it is. 

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We made it

Yesterday, Thuesday on December 11th, we could finally rest easy. The veterinarian came over for the year’s last treatment and behold – no more treatments were necessary! All of the papillomas are gone, and there is only scar tissue left where they used to be.

I was probably the happiest girl on the planet while speaking with the veterinarian. Every single papilloma is gone. Every little one. I can’t really describe how much relief I got in that moment. Knowing that we actually made it through all of this. I mean, we did it! We really made it!

I am at the point of being speechless, because there is not really anything else to say. We beat this cancer, and we will continue to beat it. After seeing the veterinarian every other week(sometimes more than once a week), it is almost weird that it is one and a half month till next time we have the veterinarian over. It is to have a control check to make sure that everything is as it should be.

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Baldur will be checked then, and if everything is okay, he will be checked only once or twice a year. It’s amazing how strong Baldur has been through this, I am so proud of him.

As a little side-update, I am going home to Ålesund tomorrow to be with my family. My leasee will be taking care of Baldur, as well as a good friend. So I can relax and know that Baldur is in good hands while I take a break. I also delivered my exams last week, and I am very pleased with what I delivered. So I am very positive and ready to chill out for Christmas.

I will be doing some 3D modeling while on holiday, and I am hoping to model the head of Conversano, and maybe Baldur as well. I don’t know what the results will be, but I think I will share it here if I am pleased! Other than that, I said my goodbyes to Baldur, and I will see him again when I get back to Hamar next year.

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Photo above: As you can see, there are no more white spots to be seen!

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Photo above: The darker areas of his penis are the scar tissues that have come. They will probably heal and disappear, as they are very vague already!

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I love my man to bits.

Just our luck

I didn’t think we could get any more unlucky, but here we are. Baldur was a little lame yesterday, so I decided to give him over night to see if he would be better today. Surprise, surprise. He was so much worse this morning. He wouldn’t put any weight on his foot at all, and when he walked, it looked as if he would fall with every step. So I didn’t hesitate to call the veterinarian for an emergency appointment. 

I was literally so stressed out. Seeing how painful it was for him to move made me tear up, it was horrible. Thankfully the veterinarian came fast and checked him out. He was scored on the lameness scale to 4 out of 5 grades lame. She checked for broken bones, but it turned out it was all coming from one place – the hoof. The veterinarian pinched around the hoof and we found out he has something similar to a hoof abscess, but without the infection.

In other words, he has stepped on something hard and taken damage from it. Almost like when us human hit our finger with a hammer, and the finger gets blood under the nail. So we have to drain out the blood and put on a cover with a special kind of compress-like band-aid that will drain out the blood and relieve his hoof. He was given a strong dose of pain relief and to make him feel better faster, he also got some local anesthesia on both sides of his fetlock.

I am so thankful that it wasn’t as serious, this is actually a best-case-scenario. It could have been tendons, bone, or something else. So I am so relieved that it’s not something super bad. The veterinarian told me he should be better tomorrow, and that he will be healed in probably a week.

So this cover he has around his hoof will be changed every morning by me, and hopefully he will recover completely. It’s amazing how we have gone almost 3 years with Baldur being in tip-top shape, and all of the sudden everything crashes on us. First cancer, then this abscess, what’s next?

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Photo above: This is how I found him. He stood like this, not wanting to put his leg down at all.

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Photo above: You can so easily see it on his face that he is in so much pain. He usually has quite a relaxed face, so his expression here really pains me.

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Photo above: Putting on the cover. You can clearly see where the anesthesia was put, and he reacted very fast with putting his foot down and letting it take some weight.

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Photo above: His expression here is definitely more relaxed than before.

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Photo above: The finished work after the veterinarian left for the day. He is supposed to be shod in a couple days, but due to the abscess, we have to push it a week just to make sure his hoof is okay.

Progress in defeating cancer

So, on Wednesday(yes, this blog post is a little late), the veterinarian came back for a round three of Baldur’s chemo treatment. And I have to start off with saying that it is looking very good at this point!

After drugging him and letting him drop, his penis was washed. There is nothing infected or any puss, just dry and flaky skin. The veterinarian could actually just scrape off some of the cancerous Papillomas and they would just leave scar tissue. Very good! Not everything is gone yet though, the “elephant” skin further up is looking better, but it is still there. The skin is drying and flaking off, so the “elephant” skin will most likely be gone soon!

As for more treatments, Baldur got a stronger dose this day, just so that we are sure everything is being killed off. We have scheduled another appointment in two weeks time, and from then on we will see if he needs more treatment, or if the Papillomas are gone!

It may be too soon to tell, but my veterinarian assured me it is looking like it may be a cancer-free Christmas for us. And that is literally my only wish, for Baldur to come back to 100% health and cancer free.

Other than that, I am very busy trying to finish my exams, and it is taking a toll! My brain is probably working on over-load at this point. I do however have some exciting news to announce on this blog soon! I have already announced it on my Instagram, but not very much in depth. I feel and hope that 2018 will be with a fresh, healthy and happy start!

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Photo above: Baldur getting droopy. I love how gentle he is. Not tying him up for the vet is so practical.

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Photo above: Here you can see the very dry skin that is left after the last treatment. There have grown some new darker spots on the very tip of his penis(you can just see them under the veterinarians right hand).

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Photo above: The “elephant” skin is definitely looking better!

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Photo above: One spot that had a bit much cream from last treatment, that actually created a wound – but this is also good, now we know that Papilloma is 100% gone.

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Photo above: Baldur’s manhood after putting on the chemo cream. The veterinarian was very generous with the amount of cream this time, making the dose stronger.

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Photo above: Finally a photo when Baldur got his dose of Metacam(pain-relief). It’s always so fascinating to watch.

Second round of treatments

The day has finally come for the second round of the chemo treatments. I was a bit nervous as to finding out how the treatment is working so far, and the veterinarian is still optimistic! The chemicals in the cream has burned little by little on the papillomas. Some of them have become smaller, and are not “sticking out” as much as before. It’s not much, but it is definitely progress!

As if it wasn’t stressful enough to have a cancerous horse, at least the bills are not one of my stress factors anymore. I am almost looking forward to getting the bills and being able to pay them instantly. The fund to pay for Baldur’s treatment bills has risen to $2,450 USD, it’s really insane! After paying the final bill and clearing Baldur of cancer, any remaining amount will go to Prince Fluffy Kareem and Kreftforeningen(Norway’s Cancer Society). So I am really excited about that too!

Our next treatment session will be in two weeks, and since Baldur handled the treatment so well, today’s treatment was with even more of the cream. So I am curious to how Baldur’s manhood will look like for the next treatment.

I can gladly say that Baldur has been acting like himself. But due to lack in motivation when it comes to training, he has become very stiff. But that is something we will have to work on!

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Photo above: Baldur getting more and more droopy from the drugs. Since he has been regularly drugged these past months, he is starting to handle them less and less. So today he was really sleepy.

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Photo above: Cleaning out! It’s starting to get easier and easier to clean him out, as the infection is leaving. So just that is a very good sign!

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Photo above: I couldn’t help myself to take this photo. Baldur never drops his lips, but today was the day he went all out. He dropped his top lip as well!

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Photo above: Putting on a more generous amount of cream this time. As he didn’t react bad to it at all. She is only putting cream on the papillomas, hence why she is only putting on dots.

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Ending this post with Baldur’s droopy and sleepy face. He is such a hero to me.