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February 17, 2008



Thank you for sharing Kaluga's story. I too hope that the lovely girl sees another spring. God Bless and warm thoughts to y'all.


I always enjoy reading about life in Transylvania. I've given you the "Excellent Blog Award." Stop by my blog and pick it up. Good job!

Victoria Cummings

It's rather unusual for horses to have heart problems. We thought that Silk might have one, and I researched it quite a bit. In the States, Cornell University Vet School is doing a study on it. I'll send you the article if I can find it. I'm glad that Kaluga is happy and comfortable. She's a grand old girl.


Thank you for sharing more details from Kaluga’s life. She really looks gorgeous in those photos and I’m sure she can provide great company on long trails. I’ve also read your last post about her condition. I continue to believe that her heart problem is secondary to another disturbance that could be diagnosed. There are a number of disorders that progress silently but reluctantly in adults, giving up few if any symptoms until failure of other major organs (like heart) becomes apparent. Possible causes can be metabolic or endocrine in nature but all would require blood work for proper evaluation (can this be done? is it expensive in Romania?). For example her infertility or lack of carrying foals to term (spontaneous abortion) may be a complication of many conditions including anemia, hypothyroidism, diabetes. These are just a few among those that progress for many years giving up scarce, if any, symptoms. All may lead to heart (and other organs) failure. Most are treatable (albeit maybe expensive). At this point, it is very important to maintain her weight stable. Continuing weight loss can signal cardiac cachexia, a major complication of heart failure that associates with poor prognosis. Of course she also needs to be shielded from major changes in the outside temperature, needs rest and good-quality feeding, all you are currently doing so diligently. Your vet should be able to tell you how much or how difficult may be to run a blood test on her (general plus a liver, thyroid and renal panel – these are nowadays automated and not too expensive for humans).

William Thirteen

thanks for writing up Kaluga's biography (thus far). the description of her time on the ranch and the relationship between the two of you is a wonderful and touching read.


What a sweet mare. How old is she? I guess I need to go back and read older posts. Needless to say, she sounds like a great mare and she's pretty too. Hope she doesn't suffer.


Thank you, everyone, for your kind comments. Since several people asked, Kaluga is 16, quite a good age for her breed of draught horse which isn't especially long-lived.

Emil: Thank you again for your comments. I have been reading a link about equine heart conditions that Victoria kindly gave me. Probably you are right, that there is more than one problem. She has never been worked really hard, so we wouldn't have spotted small losses of stamina. Logging required short, hard pulls, whilst draught work was steady but not hard (as the loaded work mainly was downhill). She did have a problem with oedema a few years ago, treated by the vet, and that does suggest heart problems as one explanation (though the vet gave no diagnosis at the time). One spontaneously aborted foetus was dissected by a vet, and displayed substantial abnormalities. (The liver or kidneys were grossly enlarged, as I recall.) Now Kaluga is getting plenty of good feed, and has a rug when the weather is colder. Her drinking seems normal. Blood tests are an option, and the vet came prepared to take blood last week, however he was so sure about his "heart failure" diagnosis that he never took blood. I can of course ask him again to process a blood test.


I'm sure Kaluga in her inimitable way would have let you know if there was anything wrong with her before now. Only you can know what is right for your horse. I hope she makes the spring.


Isn't it a blessing that animals have no sense of death? Or maybe that's just what we humans think.

I see all these old people in the nursing home. I think Kaluga is happier than they are, enjoying each day in the sun, glad to get her rations.

It was good to read about her life thus far. I'll bet she makes it to spring with the kind of care she's getting.


It is so nice to remember such nice history and pictures of your horse in her memory I love readings the story and enjoy the pictures, Thanks for shareing them with us.

I Gallop On

What lovely stories you have of Kaluga. How nice to share them with all of us. ;-) I can see you two working in the forest, you leading the way while she pulled the cart down the hill. What a beautiful, harmonious image that is.

Pax. Kimberly

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