Of all the senior horses I’ve rehabbed, Maya is the first one who had significant internal issues involving the organs, namely the kidney. As I look back, it was a race against time. The good news is that with chiropractic care alone, we did see a change in urination. Before she spiked her first fever 2 months in, she was having what I call “medium urinations” with some regularity a few weeks before, whereas when she first came it had been a dribble. And we later found out that her uterus was no longer full of urine. That was cause for celebration.
Meanwhile, about one month in I found a homeopathic/Chinese medicine vet who gave me the most hope in perhaps solving the urinary incontinence/kidney issue. She said there were numerous remedies in homeopathy, and six different Chinese herbs for treating the urinary incontinence. I was thrilled, to say the least, that there were at least options available to help Maya, when western medicine had none.
Unfortunately, we were only able to scratch the surface on the available treatments before Maya was on and off antibiotics trying to treat the recurring infections to keep her stable enough to even try the homeopathy and Chinese herbs.
In addition, in holistic rehab, knowing the patient is paramount to selecting the appropriate treatment. When Maya came, I did not know her at all. There was a moment early on when I realized, I need to really know you, so I can help you, and ultimately, you will die in my care, and that may be sooner than later.
I wanted to know her for who she was at her core, not for what she could do for me, and with no expectations from me. I let her make most of the decisions, even when it contradicted my training. Without a doubt, I listened to her voice in ways I’ve never done with any other horse. Letting her tell me what she needed was the best way to navigate the tight rope we were walking.
Horses are also masters at hiding their pain, so just figuring out there is a problem and how significant it is, can be challenging. Hindsight is often 20/20 vision.
In the end, I would do it again, simply because Maya had several weeks of freedom to just be a horse with horse friends and no human expectations. I know she was very happy having met her new best friend, my other horse, Chaco. And she died in the most natural of environments I could give her: outside with her herd.