Thursday, October 20, 2016

In Loving Memory of Brego

We lost a great horse yesterday.

It turned out that the recurring coronary abscess that we've been fighting all this time was actually an infection of P3 (the coffin bone) that ran from the tip of the bone all the way up into the coronet band. Because of the extent of the infection, it was inoperable. There was really only one decision to make.

You're probably wondering how, after all this time, we could have missed something so extensive. My vet has literally taken nearly a hundred xrays of his foot (and the other one for comparison). We have done ultrasounds, a veinogram, and used basically every diagnostic tool we had at our disposal short of a recumbent MRI, because he couldn't have handled the sedation and his ginormous foot wouldn't have fit into a standing MRI. There are four other excellent vets in-house at our clinic, plus my vet consulted with three external vets on his case (including the one who is considered the expert equine podiatrist in the US). There have been a LOT of exceptionally good people involved with this case, and yet somehow Brego managed to stump them all.

You see, there was never any indication on his xrays that there was infection. The bone was solid on every film. He was never lame, except when he was blowing out an abscess.

After his first hoof wall resection back in July, we had high hopes even though we weren't able to find the root cause of the problem. But then the hoof wasn't growing in normally - it grew up instead of down. We did a second, very minor resection in late August to try to correct that problem, and at the same time we dissected the area around the coronet band and halfway up the pastern to try to find the root of the problem. My vet found no tracks, no foreign bodies, nothing. Brego recovered from that surgery just fine, and the new hoof he was laying down grew in straighter, but it had an odd, cracked quality to it.

Then mid September, Brego went very lame immediately after he'd had his shoes reset. Our farrier (who is an amazingly talented man with a piece of metal), made an emergency visit and found an abscess right in the middle of the area where there was no hoof wall, about halfway down his foot. It was quite a puzzle... why was there an abscess there? We took more xrays to try to find where it was coming from, but nothing showed up on the films. We speculated and scratched our heads while Brego begged cookies from the entire clinic staff, but eventually decided to wait and see since we didn't have anything to go on.

Then on Monday, the abscess blew out again, in the same spot. This time, we did a dye study to follow the track of the abscess. The dye showed a shadowed spot at the tip of P3, as well as a number of little "filament" tracks going partway up the front of P3. At this point we knew the news wasn't good, but we decided to go in anyway and at least try to give Brego the best possible chance.

You can see the probe coming in on the left, and ending nearly at the tip of P3 (obscured because of the nails). The little filaments going up the front of P3 are dye tracks, but even these don't show the extent of the infection that they found.

My vet found that the tip of P3 was infected - not badly, she managed to clean it, but then she began following the tracks upward. She still had not found it all when she stopped at the base of the coronet band, almost two inches from the tip of P3 where the infection was based. We discussed options, and what it came down to was that while we could do surgery to remove all the infection, it would have been so extensive that it would have compromised the structural integrity of his foot. In other words, his coffin bone would have had no support, and he would have rotated and foundered. So there really was only one choice to make.

What's really amazing is that the first abscess he had was nearly four years ago, when he was with his previous mum. She's got xrays from that too, and there's nothing to be seen.  So he's been foxhunting, eventing, jousting, and living with an infected bone for literally four years, and we never knew. As my vet put it, Brego never read any of the books on how things are supposed to happen.

Brego leaves an incredible legacy. I know many folks (myself included) who started blogging because of Brego's blog, The Eventing Percheron. He touched the lives of those he met in person as well - from his massive feet to his larger-than-life personality. There was never any question that he owned the universe and everything in it.

And today it's a sadder, smaller place because he's missing from it.

We love you, big guy, and we'll miss you so much.


57 comments:

  1. I don't want to make the hurt in your heart any bigger, but I'm so shocked to read this about Brego. I'm so incredibly sorry Jen, although words can't really replace the "stumped" feeling of the infection that went undetected for so long. He will absolutely be missed, and Wyvern Oaks was a better place because of him. I'm thinking about you and your family. ((hugs))

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am one of those people who started blogging because of Brego's blog, and Andrea's blog, which I started reading about at the same time. I never imagined I would get a chance to know him many years later, because of a friend I only met because I started blogging. I am so heartbroken for you guys, and so grateful that I did get a chance to know him and to ride him a few times. Even if he did make me feel like I was crooked as f*** and had no idea what I was doing up there. He knew better than me, haha.

    I love you guys.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am so sorry to hear this, I actually thought about him this past week and wondered how his hoof was doing. He was such a trooper for doing all that he has for the past 4 years with the infection he had. Thinking of you and your family, he is going to be greatly missed :(

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm so sorry Jen :( He was such a great horse.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Heartbroken for you 😔 when I saw the title I didn't want to open it, because I knew it would make me cry. Godspeed Brego.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I started following him on his previous Mum's blog and never actually figured out where he went! I was so happy to discover you had bought him and I was able to read up on him again. I am in the same boat as Jen, I started bc of Brego and Andrea. Forever in our hearts and especially in yours. I am so heartbroken for you. You did everything in your power. Rest in peace gorgeous boy

    ReplyDelete
  7. Oh No! I literally said that out loud when I saw the title of your blog post. Jen, I am so sorry for you and your husband, and Brego's previous Mom. You certainly did everything humanly possible to give him the best chance. What a noble guy - speaks volumes to his character about all he did and what a good nature he had, all with this secret issue.
    Rest in Peace, Brego.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oh Jen I am so sorry. Big, big hugs for you and your husband. <3 What a blessing to have been able to share the past four years with Brego, and thank you for sharing him with all of us.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'm so sorry. This breaks my heart. Sending you and your crew all the good thoughts.

    ReplyDelete
  10. So very sorry for your loss - what a horse!

    ReplyDelete
  11. After scrolling through Brego's old blog, it seems like he was more amazing than I ever realized. I'm so glad you guys were able to be a part the life of such an incredible creature, and so sorry that it was cut short.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I dont blog... but I am a friend of Andrea's because of her blog and I have read your blog and Brego's old blog for a very long time. I am so very sorry for your loss of the big guy. I know that he has left a Draft size hole in many hearts today... may you find peace in knowing that he was loved and admired by many. I am sending you much love and light.

    ReplyDelete
  13. im soooo sorry. god what a saga, and what an unusual weird problem. hugs to you. :(

    ReplyDelete
  14. That's so sad! I'm so sorry for your loss. Hugs from Oregon.

    ReplyDelete
  15. </3
    Jen. I'm so very sorry. Bright green pastures for your Beautiful boy.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I'm so sorry for your loss. To have it happen less than a month after Cash too is tough. I know it's always hard, but it's clear that you provide the best life and the best care to all your horses and I have no doubt that the decision made was the best one. (((Hugs)))

    ReplyDelete
  17. Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. I read the title and couldn't comprehend what you meant. I am SO so so so so sorry. Brego was wonderful to read about and seemed like just the best biggest guy ever. I'm sure it was insanely hard to write this post but thank you for sharing it. Sending you so many hugs and sitting with you in this heartbreak.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Such an incredible horse in every way. So heart broken for you guys.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I am heartbroken for you and all of his connections :(

    I remember following The Jumping Percheron blog many, many years ago. So sorry :(

    ReplyDelete
  20. omg.... no!! I'm so very, very sorry for your loss... :(

    ReplyDelete
  21. So sorry to hear about this. Brego was a wonderful horse.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Such sad news but his legend will live on.

    ReplyDelete
  23. So sorry to hear this. He will be missed.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I'm really sorry for your loss. Thinking of you today. I've been following Brego's adventures for years and will miss him.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Once in a lifetime horse. I'm lucky to have ridden his incredible canter and to have hugged his sweet face. So sorry for your loss.

    ReplyDelete
  26. So sorry to hear the news about Brego. I started reading his blog years ago and started my own as a result. He had a wonderful home with you and has left quite the legacy.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I'm so sorry to hear this. What a guy.

    ReplyDelete
  28. So sad that things ended this way, clearly you did everything you could. I have loved reading all about Brego, he has left quite a legacy. Some horses are truly amazing.

    ReplyDelete
  29. My heart aches for you guys. Rest easy, big fella.

    ReplyDelete
  30. i'm so so sorry for your loss

    ReplyDelete
  31. I'm so sorry, he was such a cool guy.

    ReplyDelete
  32. That is so heart breaking, I am very, very sorry for your loss.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I'm so sorry to hear about Brego. I'm happy I had the pleasure of meeting him, and I'm sending lots of love and good thoughts your way.

    ReplyDelete
  34. I am so so sorry for your loss. You are an incredible person and did everything you could for him. Hugs

    ReplyDelete
  35. Knowing it was right doesn't make it easier. Hugs to you and yours.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Oh, I am too shocked and heartbroken for words. I am so, so sorry. May his memory be a blessing.

    ReplyDelete
  37. I went to our local Ren Faire this past weekend and got to see jousting. I was so excited to tell my daughter, "I know someone who does this!" and I could just picture your husband and Brego thundering down the arena. I am devastated for you and so sad to hear this news. God bless the dear fellow (I followed him on "The Eventing Percheron," too) and may you be comforted knowing he is grazing peacefully across the Bridge. You could not possibly have done any better by Brego and he will live on the hearts of all who knew and loved him.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Oh no. I'm so, so sorry. He was such a good boy and he will definitely be missed.

    ReplyDelete
  39. I gasped when I saw the title of the post. I'm so sorry. Hugs from an internet stranger and much love to a fellow horsewoman.

    ReplyDelete
  40. I'm so incredibly sorry to hear this. What a horse.

    ReplyDelete
  41. I'm so sorry it came down to this. Brego was a brave boy, and he will be missed. Hugs to you!

    ReplyDelete
  42. Sending you my most sincere sympathies...losing them is the most difficult.

    ReplyDelete
  43. This is just devastating. So sorry for you and hubby.

    ReplyDelete
  44. This made me so sad to read. I'm so sorry for your loss :( I also started blogging because of Brego and I can't believe he's gone

    ReplyDelete
  45. So sorry for your loss, big hugs to you and your husband.

    ReplyDelete
  46. I am so very sorry. Brego was larger than life. My condolences to you, your husband, and Daun. I remember the original Brego blog. He was one in a million.

    ReplyDelete
  47. I can't believe this is true. He was an amazing horse. RIP beautiful boy.

    ReplyDelete
  48. What heartbreaking news!

    I am so sorry to read about poor Brego - sending strength and love to you and your husband and to Brego's former mom.

    ReplyDelete
  49. I am finally getting to catch up on reading your blog, and I am so sorry to hear this. :(

    ReplyDelete