"What on earth is that?," you're probably wondering. That's our delightful old mule, Lonesome George, preparing to undergo a dental today.
George has been at Dr. Bill Brown's clinic since last Sunday. We had been in touch with Bill throughout the weekend because of growing concern about George's health. He has been battling lymphoma and, as regular blog readers know, has been undergoing chemotherapy treatment. In the past couple of weeks his appetite had diminished, we've had a couple of colic-like episodes, and we know from ongoing blood work that he is anemic, too.
So last Sunday, when George passed the 24-hour mark without eating, drinking or pooping, Bill told us to bring him in. Bill found George had a rock-hard impaction in his intestine, which worked its way out thanks to the hefty doses of mineral oil that Bill poured into him. But that didn't bring his appetite back, and George has continued to lose weight. Every day this week Bill has given George IV fluids and provided other intensive care, yet George has not gone back to being his endearing, mule-ish self.
We had stopped his chemotherapy last week after Bill looked at George's latest blood work; Bill is worried that the chemo is trashing George's blood cells, and given his anemia and other issues, we should suspend the chemotherapy until we can turn him around.
I took these photos when I was at the clinic this morning to see how things were going. Bill was taking another look at George's teeth, just in case he had worked a tooth loose or had some other dental issue that we didn't see in the initial evaluation. The first photo is George in the dental headgear, which holds the equine's head up and mouth open. In the second photo Bill is exploring to see if anything's amiss. As it turned out, George needed a routine dental (filing or "floating" the teeth, etc.) but had no other problems there.
So the mystery continues. What is so puzzling is that he is bright-eyed and alert, and yet just isn't eating. Bill was not comfortable sending George back to the ranch under the circumstances, and I left George there for continued observation and more diagnostics.