Saturday, October 31, 2015

major halloween fun

Major is feeling great, and was totally excited to be my Halloween prop. 

I think he's gotten used to it: odd costumes, weird fabric, occasional ridiculousness. 

But this time was serious. It was the apocalypse, and Mad Mad needed a horse. Specifically Imperator Furiosa, the bad ass truck driver from the new Mad Max Fury Road, needed a horse to get her across the desert. 

Major was up to the task. 

As long as the apocalypse has alfalfa, I think he'll be ok. 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

the bad patient

"Not my eye! Don't touch my eye! No!"

This was Major, head-flinging, with an eye completely swollen shut and stuffed to the gills with sedation, fighting the vet, vet tech, and myself.

That was only the first of two emergency vet visits in the past week.

I came to the barn and Major's eye was a tiny bit weepy. He wears a fly mask but the flies are terrible right now, so I just figured they'd been bothering him. I was able to get an OK look, didn't notice any foreign objects, and rinsed with some saline. No problem. Until I stopped by the next day, and his eye was swollen shut. OK, that is a trip to the vet!

eye swollen and hurting

He hopped right in the trailer, and the vet is a very short drive away. That is easier and less expensive than paying the farm call fee, though does require more time off work for me. Luckily I have a very awesome, understanding boss!

my eye might hurt but I can still eat!

At the vet they had me lead Major into an interior, darkened room so they could look at his eye. That already freaked him out. For a very brave (on trails) horse, he does NOT like being inside buildings. He has lived in a pasture his whole life, never been stalled (this will come up again later…). After sedation, he fought the vet. More sedation, he fought the vet. Finally she really dosed him, and was able to rinse the eye and stained it. There were multiple little ulcers/scratches. No foreign body, but how did he do this? No idea. Maybe his eye was just itchy and he rubbed and scratched it.

I was sent home with eye ointment twice a day, and some banamine for the pain and swelling. To be cautious because of his previous reactions to pain medicines, we also added in some ulcergard. I did figure out a system to treat the eye: Major can fling his head almost higher than I can reach, but by turning his head hard to the side, he can't do both up and sideways, eye treatment successful!

"go away poke-me-in-the-eye-lady"

With a sigh of relief that all is going well, his eye looked significantly better the next two days. Until Major stopped eating. Nothing. Not his favorite mash, or grass, or alfalfa. And this horse doesn't ever turn down a meal. His gut sounds were OK, but I loaded my horse in the dark for another trip to the vet. What a fun Saturday night!

At the vet they looked him over, and he still had good gut sounds, had pooped some in the trailer, but was just not himself. In an abundance of caution I decided to let them treat him like a colic, because I think I might have just caught it very early. The vet and myself surmised that the banamine just wasn't sitting right with him (gee, over-reaction to yet another medication, how wonderful). We stopped all medicines to be sure, since his eye looked healed.

Because it was late and getting dark, I also made the hard decision to leave him overnight at the vet. He seemed much perkier, and looked better. But they have the resources to watch him. My stable is great, but it doesn't have a barn for horses, or anywhere to easily watch them, or outdoor lights. Major has a pasture to himself, but if he went down in there, I don't know how I'd manage to get him out. So he stayed, and driving away leaving my horse furiously circling the stall was one of the hardest things.

"Please take me out of here"

I didn't get much sleep, since the vet had said they'd call if anything was going wrong. And I did get a call in the morning. To come get my very unhappy horse, who ate the tiny meal they gave him and then continued to circle the stall all night. So I went and rescued Major, who was ready to drag me out of the stall. I did tell him that some horses live in stalls that size all the time, but I don't think he believed me. Once again, he loaded in the trailer for the trip home (Have I mentioned how important it is that your horse loads when and wherever you need them to? In the dark, in a scary place, when not feeling well? I am so grateful that all our training stuck and he was fine with this all week.)

I did need to keep him from too much hay. But luckily he eats in a net, so can't get big mouthfuls. Once off the trailer, he dragged me over to some grass, and I didn't even mind his misbehavior! Then we went back to his pasture, where I have never seen such pure joy: he would nibble from the hay net, then leave his shelter and run around the pasture, and did that over and over, "I'm free!"

yeah, green grass!

Typical crabby face: "I am not sharing, you have your own."

I stayed to watch him, he ate and drank just fine back home. Later I took him on a short walk, where he ate grass, made faces and otherwise was his normal self.

I've been cautious all week, but he sure seems like himself. And he doesn't need to scare me any more! I am amazed that after all this he isn't mad at me, and I was worried all the eye treatments would make him a bit headshy. But not at all, now he just knows the difference between someone with medicine on their finger and someone who is willing to scratch his itchy head!

Hug your horses. Because even the little things are scary.

eating off of the roping dummy, somehow delicious