Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Trip to the Vet..........Examining the Hock.....

Part 1

Most days I couldn't get this colt to walk out of his stall without the young horse taking a dislike to my involvement. He was born an independent little varmint and really thinks life should be lived on his terms. The handful of times he has been haltered he's let me know he's not fond of that thing on his face and even less fond of being asked to go anywhere he's not prepared to go.

Since the loss of his mother the colt has become more dependent but only on Dare. He clings to her like he's afraid she just might disappear some day out of the blue like his mother did. I wasn't really sure if we'd make the walk all the way around to the horse entrance for the clinic without incident since Dare was back there in the horse trailer screaming her displeasure at the loss of "her boy."

The farther we got from the trailer the more surprised I was to see the colt just went along with me. Despite the mare's continual calling to him, the colt obediently went along with me watching me closely for direction in this strange, new environment.

Maybe it has to do with being sick that an independent cocky colt suddenly becomes submissive and pliable. I have seen it happen before just not with a colt so young. I was grateful the colt was not acting stressed and seemed to be just rolling along with the punches.

Just outside the door, the vet gave the colt a sedative. He had me rub on the colt's nose to distract him from placing the needle in his vein. The colt didn't seem to notice the prick of the needle and the injection was over in a heartbeat.

From there I walked him into the chute and we got him positioned for the vet to take a better look at his hind legs. Because of the colt's size a soft rope was run from the back of the chute up around the colt's chest and onto the back again so we could keep him from leaning against the front door panel. At his height too much pressure against his neck could cause him to collapse and that wouldn't be good. This extra rope helped us have the needed support of the chute without putting him in jeopardy.

By the time the colt was all rigged up in the chute, the sedative had taken effect. The colt had his first meeting with clippers. Normally he'd have seen those things by now getting him ready for my open house but since that event hadn't happened, the colt hadn't been bathed or clipped yet.

Even with a sedative on board, the colt wasn't sure what to think about the clippers. I'm sure it didn't help much that the part being clipped was the bony structure of his hock. It seems like most horses doesn't like the feel of the clippers vibrating on any bony parts let alone their hocks.

A patch was clipped from the front of both hocks. Then the two places on the right hock that had opened up were also clipped. Both of those wounds offered up copious amounts of pus upon the application of pressure. The little place on the side seemed to be the most sensitive but the colt really did pretty darn well considering.......

Next the standing wraps were removed. Then both hocks were cleaned up with some kind of disinfectant. The colt tolerated these procedures pretty well fidgeting a little but not kicking out or stomping his feet. His eyes were wide and his head raised as he tried to watch what was going on back there.

The ultrasound machine was moved into place and the colt didn't even seem to notice. He squirmed at little at the cold gel applied to his hock but then settled back into trying to get me to hold up his head. All those drugs were making him pretty sleepy and he was pretty sure I was supposed to support his head instead of him.

I was torn between looking at the ultrasound and being at the front end consoling the colt. Dave was there too but Dave doesn't anticipate what's coming next when a horse signals they've had enough. I knew there would be times we'd have to be on our toes and being one step ahead of this colt would be important so I stayed where I was.

I heard my vet breathe a sigh and I wasn't sure what to think. Was it a sigh of "That's too bad" or a sigh of relief? Before the question passed my lips the vet turned to me and said the fluid in the joint looked better than he expected. He was going to take a sample of fluid from the joint to send to the lab but probably wouldn't be flushing the joint as he'd originally thought unless the fluid exposed something not detected in the ultrasound.

As you can imagine having a needle stuck into a joint is a painful process even with a sedative. Dave and I changed positions before the vet began this procedure so that we could each apply pressure to distract the colt. The vet counted and on "3" Dave began rapidly rubbing the colt's nose and I fiddled with his ear applying just a little pressure right behind it.

The colt did start at the puncture of the needle. He quieted a little only to start again here and there as the vet tried to find the needle's way into the joint, then quieted again as the fluid was withdrawn. As delicate a procedure as it it, I was surprised and relieved it was over as quickly as it was. Then it was time to check fluid in the sheath of that right Achilles tendon, the same tendon responsible for the crippling and eventual death of this colt's mother.

To be continued..................

Wrapping Up

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  1. Oh dear! It's good that he is taking it so well but gosh, I hope he's okay!!!!

  2. Sounds promising,this type of thing is terrifying, as many of us have seen it go downhill in a hurry.This so far sounds treatable and if the joint fluid looks good...Prayers going up for the little man

  3. Wow MiKael I see I have a lot to catch up on. I hope that I will be able to do just that soon. I am so sorry about your loss of Solidaire. I am having to dig through the memory banks to remember who is who. Also sorry about the trials and tribulations over Storm, again trying to remember who is who here. I find myself looking at the weather in your neck of the woods every day when I watch out forecase!!! LOL some things never change.

  4. I've got my fingers crossed for the little guy.

  5. yikes, poor little guy.
    I hope all goes well with him.