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

Posts Tagged ‘veterinarian

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

Third Diagnosis

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Finally. After seeing a third veterinarian in the past week at the clinic in River Falls (because they were gracious enough to squeeze her in without an appointment at the end of each day), we have a diagnosis that seems the most logical and believable. Maybe the third time was the charm simply because the first two had ruled out other possibilities. This time, Cyndie came home with antibiotics to treat Delilah’s external yeast infection.

In my uneducated opinion, I’m guessing the back pain was probably referred pain from the infection, but I don’t think that was the prevailing opinion at the clinic. Cyndie seems to feel they saw this latest affliction as occurring in addition to the back problem.

I don’t understand why Delilah would suddenly suffer from these two issues concurrently.

Whatever. I’m not going to fret over it. Now we have another two prescriptions purchased and the dog is going to be spending some time in a cone of shame when Cyndie applies a cream to Delilah’s underside.

One silver lining I saw last night from this predicament Delilah find’s herself in: It significantly curtailed her usual uncontrollable barking toward the scary rumbles of thunder rolling in from the distance. She tried a couple of times, but gave up in short order. I think she was just too uncomfortable to persist.

It led to a bizarre sound that started as a bark and morphed into a yelp.

Just laying quiet appeared to be her preferred coping method.

Thank goodness for that.

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Written by johnwhays

October 3, 2017 at 6:00 am

True Love

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First, let me report that Delilah is no longer emitting as many outbursts of shrill vocalizations of pain as a couple of days ago. Maybe the meds are taking the edge off. However, things are still definitely amiss. We are seeing behaviors that are obvious indications that she is incredibly uncomfortable.

Between moments of normalcy, she is suddenly out of control in reaction to something that even she doesn’t seem to understand. Her behaviors give me the impression she wants to crawl out of her skin. I think, …allergic reaction.  To her meds? Then, she focuses on licking at her groin, which isn’t easy because she still looks like it is hard to move, …like her back is still a problem.

We wondered about maybe a kidney stone?

Of course, it was Sunday, so we have waited until today for our next consultation with the vet. Delilah is managing incredibly well for extended periods of time between her bouts of discomfort, so we decided it wasn’t an emergency situation. We also recorded a video of her weird behavior to show the veterinarian.

Life around the house is relatively normal, with just an odd fraction of the impression that things are not alright. I think Pequenita is aware, but unsure how to respond.

She gave us a good laugh last night while we were laying on our bed. Cyndie always talks about how ‘Nita is totally in love with me, but doesn’t think that much of her. As she often does, Pequenita was laying across my extended legs when Cyndie slid over to lay next to me with her leg across mine.

Pequenita didn’t move a muscle, other than to make sure Cyndie wasn’t touching her.

We started laughing about it after Cyndie pointed out the scene to me, and suddenly our cat turned and gave me a look.

At first, I wondered aloud why she was looking at me. It was Cyndie who was horning in on her love.

Then, in an instant, Cyndie and I came to the same conclusion.

That look seemed to be saying, “Are you going to do something about this intrusion on our space?”

‘Nita didn’t look happy with our outburst of laughing to tears.

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Written by johnwhays

October 2, 2017 at 6:00 am

Dashed Plans

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Our day’s plan went out the door at the crack of dawn yesterday.

Does this look like the face of a mare who doesn’t want her picture taken?

Yes, it does.

Poor Dezirea is fighting a bug, we think. We didn’t notice anything amiss until serving up the pans of morning feed. Dezi had no interest. It was at that point that plans for the day were scrapped and caring for our senior mare became the focus of our energies.

She was not a happy horse, but at least she didn’t appear to be in extreme pain. After running through our basic knowledge of diagnostic steps, Cyndie wanted to consult with the veterinarian. He felt it warranted a visit so he could do an in-person assessment.

I kept Dezirea walking, which she did so amicably enough for someone not really interested in doing anything.

Her temperature wasn’t alarmingly high, but her pulse was definitely elevated. We had immediately quarantined her to the small side of our paddocks and emptied that box of hay. As the day wore on, I noticed the other three horses had deposited two piles of poo each, but Dezirea had none.

Was it a digestive issue or some other affliction? Hard to tell.

The vet took a blood sample. He believed the problem might be a tick-born infection, anaplasmosis. We are treating it as if, and they administered an intravenous antimicrobial.

This morning, she is at the very least, no worse in appearance. She is rather lethargic, though much less depressed. She seems to be gaining interest in eating, although we are hesitant to provide full rations until we see proof her system is functioning more normally.

We found evidence she was able to expel a small amount of poop overnight, so that provides some reassurance that she doesn’t have a catastrophic twist or obstruction shutting down all function in the digestive system. That also matches with her lack of acute pain symptoms.

So, looking after Dezirea consumed most of our mental energies yesterday. I turned piles of manure while spending extended time with the horses. The other horses tolerated the altered accommodations with only minor complaint. The hours and minutes passed in a blink and accomplishments dropped to bare essentials.

The big milestone that became overshadowed by Dezirea’s illness was the delivery of much-needed hay to rescue us from a predicament. Jack and Joanie were gracious enough to make a long trip from Minnesota to bring us hay because our sources here had nothing left to offer. Their precious energy lifted our spirits and provided liveliness that was particularly helpful in the moment, and their hay will help us greatly for the weeks ahead.

Hunter thinks he has an easy solution to the hay shortage. He desperately wants us to open the gates and let him have at the sweet green grass growing everywhere in sight. It’s like, water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink.

If he only recognized the risks.

We could use a break from horse health issues. For now, I’m making no plan for the rest of today. Whatever comes up will get my attention. Hopefully, it won’t interfere with the guests and dinner Cyndie has planned for this evening.

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Written by johnwhays

April 29, 2017 at 10:21 am

Real Life

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Yesterday was a classically real life kind of day. There was some good, some bad, some tired and sad. We laughed and moped and tried to look at things from a balanced perspective. Things don’t always work out the way we think they should, but if that isn’t real life, I don’t know what is.

We’ve been watching Hunter for a few days, because I discovered his stall was uncharacteristically dry after a long overnight stay last weekend. When it happened another night, Cyndie decided to have the vet look at him, in case there was something amiss. Since our usual equine vet has moved to a different practice, we ended up getting the owner. Even though Cyndie expected the vet to arrive in the morning, he didn’t get here until late in the day.

Cyndie got the impression he wasn’t an equine specialist. I’m guessing he is probably an expert in dairy cows. Even though the visit sounded awkward, we feel like he was able to establish that Hunter is clear of any grave ailments. Our boy’s temperature was normal and the levels in his blood were all mid-range.

When I got home from work and was cleaning Hunter’s stall, it was obvious he had peed in there during the long wait for the vet to arrive. We also spotted him peeing out in the paddock, so he has proved to us that things are at least functioning.

It is quite possible that he just doesn’t like messing up his “bedroom.” We know a certain Ms. Barksalot who absolutely refuses to soil her kennel.

It is a little unsettling to have lost confidence in our vet of choice. I think we will be investigating other options for the future.

There was one particularly heartwarming scene that occurred with the horses yesterday. After the vet left, Cyndie let the other 3 horses out into the paddock, but kept Hunter inside while he recuperated from a sedative and pain-killer that he had received. She worked on cleaning the other stalls to give him some company while he lazily munched on some hay.

Outside, the other three were down in their favorite spot, grazing in the hay circle. I stepped out of the back of the barn to dump the wheelbarrow and Cyndie followed while telling me stories of the day. When Hunter suddenly found himself alone in the barn, he whinnied a little distress signal.

Instantly, Legacy answered the call with his own vocal response while running up the hill to the barn. There was something about the body language and immediacy of Legacy’s reaction that overflowed with the loving care of a passionate leader. It was a beautiful thing.

Cyndie went in and walked Hunter out to the paddock. She said Legacy met them right at the door and leaned over the fence to touch noses with Hunter in an extension of his caring, showing affection for the temporarily distressed herd member.

It was wet and cold outside, with more rain expected, but there were moments like that which felt almost like warm sunshine.

It was a lot like a real life kind of day.

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Written by johnwhays

March 31, 2016 at 6:00 am

Horses In

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Last night we brought the horses inside the barn overnight for the first time this fall. It was a decision we struggled with a couple times, because the conditions weren’t extreme enough to help make it an obvious choice. In the end, we tried giving the horses equal say in the decision, and their timely arrival and behavior at the door of the barn helped to seal the deal.

When Cyndie came back from turning them out this morning, her report cast some doubt over the satisfaction of at least the elder two horses about being confined all night long, regardless the chilly, blowing precipitation that fell.

Yesterday started with us moving the horses inside to their stalls first thing, before even serving them the morning feed, because they had a date with the veterinarian for their annual fall check up. It is a time when their teeth get filed, if needed, and the geldings receive some assistance with personal hygiene. Both procedures involve a bit of sedation to facilitate cooperation from the patients.

After enough time passed for the horses to recover their full senses, we put them back out in the elements. It wasn’t exactly cold out, but the thick grayness of the October sky and periods of rain and wind were enough to put a chill on Cyndie and me. It sapped most of our motivation to do anything constructive outside and tugged on my eyelids all afternoon, begging for a nap.

When darkness fell, it was 50/50 over bringing the horses indoors overnight, but Cyndie felt it was something the horses would want. We puttered in the barn under lights, to prepare for the possibility, and when the horses hustled up to the doorstep out of the damp darkness, we brought ’em in.

DSC06107eCHAt dawn this morning, Cyndie found the two younger chestnuts, Hunter and Cayenne, happy as could be. Legacy and Dezirea were another story.

The elder two showed every sign of wanting to be back outdoors immediately. Cyndie said that Dezirea almost ran her over in her haste to be out of that stall. No surprise though, as it sounded as if she had made a complete mess of her space.

The weather this morning isn’t any more inviting than yesterday was, but the forecast offers hope, and at least the temperature is well above the freezing point at the start.

We’ll be spending some extra time doing barn stall cleaning today, and I (and a couple of horses) will be gladly looking forward to having them stay outdoors overnight again, and hopefully for a long spell before the next dose of cold overnight rain.

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Written by johnwhays

October 24, 2015 at 9:38 am

Big Plans

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Today we have some high expectations for big accomplishments. Our friends, Barb and Mike are coming over to help us get the woodshed roof back up. Before we even get to that project, our horses have an appointment with the veterinarian. They will have their teeth checked and be given whatever shots are due in this routine scheduled visit. We plan to move them into their stalls in the barn when we go down to serve their morning feed. After horses, it’s all about the woodshed.

If we are successful in getting the woodshed rebuilt, it will be a significant psychological milestone for me. It has lingered in my mind all summer as unfinished business, and visually tarnished the look and ambiance of that space behind our house. While we’ve made great strides on all the other major projects we had in mind for the summer, that unfinished woodshed remains as the last of my significant goals. It has been an ongoing source of torment for me.

I miss having that place where my wood splitter was conveniently stationed. I would meander back there at various odd times, in moments between other projects, to split 5 or 10 logs, tossing them on the stack under the roof. There is something special about the atmosphere of that space where the logs are split and stacked. I don’t feel the same sense of satisfaction toiling away on the workbench in the shop, as I do around the wood splitter.DSCN2145e2

I’ll have plenty of opportunity to enjoy that space once the woodshed is rebuilt. We have quite a backlog of wood that needs splitting from all the trees we have cut to clear space for the pasture fence, to open up the south drainage ditch, and to widen the trail we opened up through the south woods. Unfortunately, it will all be for next year’s burning.

I’m going to be a little short of split wood this winter, I’m afraid. When things get slim, I’m hoping I can harvest some of the branches of dead wood that are widely available around the property. There are plenty that are small enough they won’t need to be split, if I just cut ’em to fit into the fireplace. I know Cyndie won’t want to give up warm fires just because we’ve used up all the seasoned split logs. It will be important that I devise a workable alternative to satisfy her voracious appetite for that mesmerizing glow from the hearth.

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Written by johnwhays

October 25, 2014 at 6:00 am