Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Team Effort Helps Crystal

Crystal is a 15-year-old Arabian mare who entered CHANGE Program foster care last June. Crystal has impressed us all with her intelligent, sweet nature and graceful movement. She floats along the ground like a dancer.

Crystal, like more than 80% of all grey horses age 15 and over, has non-malignant melanomas. Only rarely are melanomas on grey horses malignant, but when they are present in sensitive areas (Crystal's are around her anus and vulva), they can cause discomfort.

Bev Palm of the Sonoma County Fair Board was inspired by Crystal's story and was determined to help CHANGE address Crystal's melanomas surgically in order to give Crystal a better chance at adoption. Ms. Palm held a special fundraiser, where she raised 100% of the funds for Crystal's $540 procedure at UC Davis.

On September 28, two members of the CHANGE Board of Directors transported Crystal to UC Davis for her day-long procedure to debulk the tumors with laser surgery and to determine the extent of the melanomas in Crystal's back end. Happily, the growths were considered superficial, and surgeon Dr. Mindy McDonald was successful in removing about 50% of the mass. She is truly an excellent surgeon! Many thanks to Dr. McDonald and the compassionate group of staff and veterinary students (pictured, above) for their capable care of Crystal.

CHANGE co-founder and board member Betsy, who trailered Crystal to Davis, was touched by the day's events: Well... all went well today....[We] took Crystal up to Davis for her Surgery Day. She was a trooper. This horse is the kindest, sweetest horse you want to meet. Her personality can win over anyone. Even the vet techs fell in love with her. Dr. McDonald....expects a full recovery [from the surgery.] Dr. McDonald said she is available to talk to potential adopters who have questions about melanomas in grey horses. Check out the photos of her surgery day. Dr. McDonald was very pleased that she could help out and was very proud of Dr. Grant Miller for starting the CHANGE Program and helping horses in need.

Crystal is healthy, sound and has been ridden in the past. For information about adopting her or other CHANGE Program horses (including Crystal's "twin," her gentle 21-year-old mother, Ci Ci), please visit the CHANGE Program website or contact CHANGE adoption coordinator Katie Moore at katie@sonomachangeprogram.com or (707) 544-7584.