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

Posts Tagged ‘vet

Vet Visit

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It’s like going to the dentist for an annual cleaning and checkup, only it’s horses and the dentist comes to them. The tools involved are a little bigger, too.

Unfortunately, it was ridiculously freezing cold yesterday, but that is when the visit was scheduled. We learned that Cayenne’s eye isn’t scratched and the vet flushed her tear duct just for good measure. She may simply be displaying symptoms of an allergy. The swelling could well have been a reaction to getting something in her eye after rubbing it against her leg in response to itchiness.

Beyond that, the bulk of the fall horse health care focused on their teeth.

Before we owned horses, I had no idea that filing their teeth was something that had to be done, just like I didn’t realize their hooves needed to be regularly trimmed. Horse’s teeth keep growing, and they can develop sharp high points on the molars that become uncomfortable for them and interfere with chewing.

There is a cure for that. After administering a little injection of a calming potion, the vet gets out a big drill with a fancy adaptor on it that spins an abrasive disc. While the horse is becoming woozy, they slip on a barbaric looking apparatus to hold the jaw open and start grinding away.

I expected the horses to react with a big startle when the sound and feel of the procedure resonates in their heads, but they each accepted it calmly, albeit druggedly.

It’s as if they understood it a necessary evil and tolerated the invasion of their space with grace. Well, not all of them were so graceful. Legacy is a total lightweight when it comes to sedation. Even at a half-dose, his legs get hilariously (and somewhat scarily) rubbery.

Yesterday, he spread his front feet wide and got the back legs awkwardly crossed a couple times as he teetered against the corner of his stall. Then he slobbered a big ugly drool just for good measure.

When the doc is done filing away, the horses tend to fade off into a snoring nap until the sedative wears off.

I felt like we should give them each a sticker and a new toothbrush when it was all over.

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Written by johnwhays

November 11, 2017 at 10:07 am

Startling Behavior

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Legacy gave us quite a scare on Saturday. Just as Cyndie and I were trying to finish all projects in order to get cleaned up for a wedding in the cities, Legacy began to behave uncharacteristically out of sorts. I was out among the herd, scooping manure, when I caught him repeatedly banging his nose against a board on the wall of the barn beneath the overhang.

Not having ever seen him do such a thing, I wandered over to check on him. I offered to scratch his nose, in case an itch was making him do this. He didn’t seem annoyed or relieved by my effort. Then he started pawing the ground, digging in strongly.

Cyndie came out of the barn a few moments later, to see what the banging was about. I reported my findings. She recognized his behavior right away as a sign he was agitated about something. Luckily, we were able to get a quick second opinion from George and Anneliese in a fleeting moment before they were to leave.

Legacy’s breathing was noticeably elevated and we thought he felt a little warm. Anneliese listened for gut sounds and noted good activity. They said the situation deserved a call to the vet and advised we put a halter on him so we could walk him and keep him from lying down.

Walking a horse that doesn’t want to walk is not high on my list of things I like to do. Cyndie was trying to reach a vet late on a Saturday afternoon. It quickly became apparent that our odds of making it to that wedding in the cities were getting worse by the minute.

Those minutes while waiting for the answering service to reach the vet and for the vet to finally call us back can be rather stressful. They also tend to last what feels like an eternity. Meanwhile, Legacy was growing increasingly agitated.

After listening to our description of symptoms, the vet suggested we administer an anti-inflammatory. She was an hour out. Legacy was beginning to drain thick snot from his nose as Cyndie prepared to get him to accept a dose of medication.

I busied myself with tending the pile of composting manure while Cyndie alternately walked and soothed Legs. Before we knew it, our herd leader was calming back to his old self. When the vet arrived, she immediately commented that his ears looked good.

If I were to simplify the story, we cured him.

Whatever was causing his pain, most likely colic –a common digestive disorder– the relief of an anti-inflammatory may have relaxed him enough to get his system readjusted and back to normal. The vet took vital signs and collected a blood sample to check for infection.

We had to quarantine Legacy to one side of the paddock and not allow him anything to eat. The key sign of progress was when Cyndie found poo piles Sunday morning. Worst outcome averted.

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Written by johnwhays

April 10, 2017 at 6:00 am

Well Fed

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When the pendulum of oncoming spring swings away from the snow showers to sunny warmth of surprisingly summer-like days, we are presented with more to do than there are hours in a day. It is a blessing and a curse.

There are areas of our property where the grass is already growing like crazy, forcing me to need to mow the hill behind our house last Thursday before the predicted Friday rain/show showers. The ground is barely dry enough to support the tractor, but I delicately pulled it off. That precipitation turned out to be pretty much a bust and after yesterday’s warm sunshine the grass in others is now looking overdue for a cut.

IMG_iP0766eThe horses are in full mode of shedding their winter coats. They don’t wait around for us to take care of brushing them out, resorting to the tried and true method of mutually grooming each other. It is such fine cooperation to behold.

We had a visit from the vet yesterday to get the horses updated on their vaccines. We squeaked in a session of grooming prior to the vet’s arrival so everyone would be looking their best for the doc. Cyndie checked the weight of each horse with a tape measure which provides that translation and we were happy to learn they have all lost some weight since we last checked. The vet says they aren’t where we want them yet, so we have additional work to do. We are hoping the addition of more intentional exercise now that the winter is over will get us the rest of the way to their healthiest weight.

With her parting comment, the vet made a point about the weight of our animals when Cyndie brought Delilah from around the barn where she had been barking for attention. Dr. Lisa said she thought from the bark it sounded like she would be a smaller dog. She reached down to greet Delilah and after putting her hands into Delilah’s thick coat she blurted, “Oh, that isn’t all hair! You are overweight, too!”

Point taken.

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Written by johnwhays

April 26, 2015 at 10:01 am

Posted in Chronicle

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