Remember how part 1 ends?
"We were schooling the beginnings of third level when a snowstorm changed our paths forever."
Soda Part 2 by Elisia Fernandez
I learned many things over the last several years with Soda most of all how to overcome total devastation. Soda was injured in a fall several years ago after a snowstorm. He was treated by a vet at that time however he never quite seemed to improve. After several thousand dollars of my insurance company's money and many trips to different vet hospitals. Soda endured many tests and procedures including x-rays on most joints, a bone scan, neurological exams, countless flexion tests, mesotherapy, shock-wave therapy,
At long last, 1 year after his fall, Dr Leslie Griffith in
I just remember standing in the dark x-ray office looking at the films of his neck thinking that it was all over. Wobblers were too dangerous to keep alive. They could fall on someone, he could kill me, and he could fall over and kill himself. I am so glad that I had not driven Soda to the clinic that day. Shaking, I loaded him back in the trailer and my friend drove us back to the barn. I cried for days. We had come so far just to find out that he was never going to get better.
After treating him for about 6 months with gastrogaurd, herbs and electro-acupuncture Soda showed only minimal signs of improvement. I was emotionally and financially drained. It was in the depths of this depression that I made the hardest decision of my life. I gave Soda a time limit. I told Soda, myself and my vet that I had 6 months to find a way to get Soda better or he would have to be put down. I would not watch my best friend live out the majority of his life in pain.
As helpful as Leslie had been, I decided to give up on the vets. I was out of money and was not really getting anywhere. Soda's neurological symptoms had been improving so I decided to focus my internet research on ulcers. I think I have tried everything. Baking soda, clay, diet changes, tums, supplements, probiotics and on and on. Each time I would come to the barn I would hope that this time it would work. This time Soda would be back to normal. It tore my heart open to know that while he was on gastrogaurd Soda was fine. Gastrogaurd retails for about $30.00 / day and with the insurance canceled I just could not afford to pay for this. I have finally found a mix that works for Soda. Costco now sees me monthly for his acid reducer tablets and other goodies. I know he will never be back to "normal" but he is back to a happy productive life.
I have learned a lot from my big red friend. Soda's illness affected every aspect of my life. I cannot quite describe how deeply Soda's illness affected me. Total and utter despair that encompassed every aspect of my life is a mild description of how I felt. From the bottom of this pit we were in he would not ever let me give up. Just when I would think I could not put him through another week he would give me a look of hope and together we found enough strength to keep on. Soda gave me the courage to seek out the answers I needed in unlikely and frightening places. He gave me the courage to turn away from conventional medicine and venture out on our own to find a cure. I hope that this encourages anyone that reads it to keep searching for answers and not to give up on your friends. Some days Soda is still sick but most days he does great, that is all I can ask for. We have walked through the fire together and have found our way out.
Bottom photo: Aaron, Elisia's fiancee, with the rest of her family in Bend last year.