Mouse
Click images for larger versions
     
When a nationwide horse hunt failed to turn up anything I really wanted, and what I really wanted was another Marc, we embarked on a project to create one. A foal almost made it to term in 2009 but was still-born. Read the Story of Mouse from before he was an embryo, the saga of the weeks surrounding his birth and what he was doing the first weeks he was home. Then he was free, almost.


Back in Jail

July 10. Only a few days from when Mouse was to be let out in the big field, he's injured and back in jail. We don't know if it was a kick from Minnie during Monday's bucking session, a tweek done on his own, or something else, but Mouse came out lame on his left front leg Tuesday morning. Dr. Newman recommended stall rest with only hand walking (again). 

By Thursday, I found a little filling (different from the other front leg) and we decided to wrap his front legs, and we were mostly successful keeping the bandages on him. The outings are not without rewards.

Today, after I rewrapped his legs, Mouse escaped into the general barn area and we decided to let him roam and explore. He fiddled around for probably an hour, totally entertained. We're going to try that before taking him outside tomorrow and see if it reduces the detrimental bouncing around during the early morning walk. 


July 11. Mouse got to play in the barn before going out this morning. He slipped under the stall guard and into Marc's stall. I went in to make sure things stayed quiet (which they did) and asked Suzanne to go around to the window, in hopes we would get just this shot. 

Both hand walks went better, we think because of letting him explore the barn first. Now we're just wrapping for a few hours in the morning so Mouse can get rinsed after his second walk.

 


July 12. Mutual grooming is normal horse behavior but not so much between an older stallion and a baby. Mouse gets Marc to scratch him and scratches back, with me right there to make sure Marc doesn't get testy.

Mutual scratching - 11M video


The interaction between Mouse and Marc is really fun to watch. Marc is very sweet with Mouse and Mouse is a little cheeky in return.


July 17. We are very disappointed. Mouse has looked sound in the walk for several days and yesterday looked sound in his unpreventable bouncing, even without wraps on his legs. We thought tomorrow might be the day for real freedom in the big paddock if he still looked OK today. He didn't. He looked lame in some of his bouncing, though better with the wraps back on. So it's back to trying to contain his enthusiasm while still letting him go out for the morning. That means walking in hand the first hour or so and baby-sitting after that.

July 18. Minnie gets hay outside mid-morning so she doesn't totally destroy the grass in the pens. Today, she kicked her flake down near where Mouse was snoozing and he had some without getting up. Marc came looking for some too, creating the perfect family moment.

REALLY in Jail
 

July 19. With Mouse still a little lame, we decided it was high time we try to identify what was going on and treat it if possible. Two weeks of patience and limited activity was long enough.

July 23. We learned two days ago that Mouse has a small fracture indicated by the arrow in the image at the left. Newman associate Dr. Jenny Kelly found the problem. She wanted to consult with someone at the UF Vet Hospital and we asked for it to be Dr. Pat Colahan, the surgeon who operated on Mouse at a week old.

Immediate and complete stall rest was recommended. After talking with Dr. Colahan at length today, the prognosis is pretty good. More radiographs next week will tell us a lot more.

Now the question is -- how do we keep Mouse from exploding? We are power-walking circles in his stall twice a day until we get dizzy and then playing with his toys until he tires. This is supervised, with Minnie nearby but not in the stall.


July 25. To exercise and entertain Mouse during his incarceration, we are playing soccer in his stall. (After cleaning the stall we spread the few shavings left to make a good field.) After a nap, he can roam the barn and fiddle with everything in reach (barn baby-proofed and with baby-sitter).

Playing soccer (with a little bouncing) - 45M video
Playing soccer (with a little bouncing)
for iPhone and Mac 39M
     

He's getting so big, so smart and SO SO funny!

 July 26. Ball and bounce - 14M video
Ball and bounce
for iPhone and Mac 12M
Longer version of Ball and bounce - 28M

 

 


After all Mouse's morning activities and usually a rinse-off, it's granola bar time. Neighbor and videographer Catherine Hall, who has been shooting footage of Mouse's life for a possible future documentary, got this video and these stills.

Granola Time 20M video | Granola Time for iPhone and Mac 23M


     

From the very beginning, it's been hard for me to photograph Mouse because he's always in my face -- not that I'm complaining -- so I've assembled some stills and video clips of just that.

In My Face - 70M

Note that Mouse's eyes are gray, really obvious up close, rather than brown like Marc's. No one knows why this would be.

     

July 28. Yesterday's xrays showed improvement and no infection. We will recheck next Friday and then maybe Mouse can go out, again in a small pen.

Mouse died early Tuesday morning, August 3, 2010, two days short of his three month birthday. The only thing odd was that he didn't want to get up for dinner Monday evening, but it was enough for Suzanne to call me and the vet. Mouse was given standard treatment for colic. When he didn't seem any better after several hours and looked more distended, I asked Dr. Newman to come back. He referred us to the University of Florida.

When we got there, Mouse obviously didn't feel right but was still pretty bright. Tests and trans-abdominal ultrasound showed nothing except one high value, which led the team to do an abdominal tap. The fluid was really abnormal and exploratory surgery was planned. Mouse got sicker really fast and died in the induction room before surgery.

Mouse had a strangulated volvulus (a really bad twist) near the beginning of his small intestine. Had he made it to surgery, his chances of survival were almost nonexistent because most of the small intestine was already involved. How it happened and why he showed no symptoms is a complete mystery to everyone. It was unrelated to anything else he'd been through.

He never got to be a normal foal, but he didn't know that. However he had to be confined, we found activites to make it fun for him and for us too. He was so engaging and entertaining that all the hours spent keeping him exercised and mentally active were a total joy. If grief is, as the saying goes, the price of love, I pay it willingly.

A slideshow of my favorite portraits of Mouse is here.
Slideshow 6M | Slideshow for iPhone and Mac 8M

The story can't end here. Dr. Hinrichs is going to continue trying to make babies using other cell lines collected from Marc more recently than the one that made Mouse. Now, we not only want another Marc - we want another Mouse!


     

The Story of Mouse | The Saga of Mouse's Birth
Mouse's First Month at Home | He's Free (kind of)

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The Horses | Pegasus 2 | Some funny pix from P2

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