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*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Vet Visited

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IMG_3469eBefore our thoughts became totally consumed with this latest blast of a winter storm –which has drifted snow across the 4 foot banks of our driveway, filling it completely– we received a visit from our veterinarian for a well-check of our horses.

It was Thursday, and Cyndie and I had both stayed home from work in the face of the posted winter storm warning. We had cleaned up the stalls in the barn, and moved the horses inside out of the rain that was falling in prelude to the snow.

We weren’t entirely surprised to receive a phone call from the vet’s office checking to see if we wanted to reschedule. We weren’t the ones doing the driving, so we definitely wanted this appointment to happen, if the vet didn’t mind navigating the icy roads.

Cyndie headed down to our barns at the appointed time, to find the vet already inside, making her own introductions to our 4 horses. She really loved “our gray,” Legacy, saying he was “cute.” IMG_3441eAs the rain began to change over to snow, the vet stepped into each stall to listen to heart beats and lung sounds, feel their teeth, and do an overall survey of their condition.

The horses had blood samples drawn, and received a vaccination shot and dose of deworming paste. There were two valuable things we learned. First, we can begin to cut back on their feed rations. With the cold temperatures we have been facing this winter, we have been making sure they were well fed. The vet said our horses are not overweight, but we don’t want them to get any bigger. We can change the feed we are giving them to one that provides just essentials and nothing more.

She instructed us to be very careful about the transition back to grazing fresh grass. We cannot allow them uncontrolled access to the fields. They need to be restricted to the sacrifice area of our paddocks, with brief, but increasing visits to the grass.

IMG_3441foxtailThe second thing the vet discovered is that the latest bale of hay we have been serving has too much foxtail grass in it. The awn, that stiff bristle at the top of the stem, can become embedded in their cheeks and tongue and create ulcers. Three of our horses showed some signs of sensitivity or ulcerations in their mouths.

We invited her to look at our remaining bales to give us her opinion of what we have on hand. From her review, we think it will be okay to just work around the worst bale and pick and mix from the remaining two batches of bales we have.

Next fall we will make another appointment to have the vet “float their teeth,” which is what they call it when they file down any sharp points that develop. With that, her visit was done and she drove off into the wicked weather. We are relieved to know our horses are doing well and that the two things deserving attention are well within our ability to manage.

That is a really good thing right now, because it allows our attention to get back to being all-consumed by the tonnage of snow that remains to be removed from our driveway and barn paths today. Yesterday I heard Cyndie wondering out loud about seeing if George Walker might want to bring his Belgian draft horses over to teach us how to drive the team while clearing snow with them. That’s not such a bad idea, because the way “horse power” is measured, he has a lot more in his team of horses than I have with my 44hp Ford New Holland 3415 tractor.

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Written by johnwhays

February 22, 2014 at 9:05 am

One Response

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  1. […] month ago, I wrote about the discovery that we had too much foxtail grass in some of our hay, which was giving the horses mouth sores. We ended up losing many large […]


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