Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Storm Within the Storm

The ground hasn't been dry all month. I spend a lot of time putting on and removing shoes at the door because the mud relentlessly sticks inside the grooves and tracks of your shoes no matter how hard you stomp and wipe your feet.

When it rains I have to close all the windows, which means my studio painting project must be put on hold until I can open them again.

Bombay's poultice wrap changes must take place every other day, rain or no rain, and I have to somehow keep his hoof clean and dry while I'm doing it. I lay clean towels on the ground, but can't exactly control where he sets his foot down. Plus he usually paws at the towels and drags them through the mud before I can complete the process. I envy those who have stall aisles with mats and electricity indoors.

The other day Lostine seemed a little off. Was she limping? I couldn't really tell. When I studied her movement or asked her to trot, she looked fine. I convinced myself I was just being paranoid after having 2 out of 3 of my horses go lame.

Then one day I walked outside and my third horse was definitely lame. I cleaned out her hooves and found that her frogs were soft and there was some black substance deep in her hoof crevices. I got my husband to help squirt thrush ointment all over each hoof after I lifted and picked it out clean. The other horses were fine. For some reason Lostine just likes to stand around in mud and manure.

I have had to move Lostine around to different stalls because she pees so much during the night that she leaves pools of urine on every square inch of floor. With the ground already saturated with rainwater, the urine can't drain and it is only making her thrush worse standing around in that. She also has the bad habit to kicking her manure around to spread it out, and as a result she is always standing in manure. Gabbrielle has the sense to poop in one pile and bury it while Bombay just poops in one corner and keeps the rest of the stall floor clean.

Of course, we were changing Bombay's poultice and treating Lostine's thrush under the pressure of an impending storm. The wind was whipping the tarp around, so we kept trying to tie it down and get it under control, but by morning it was hanging on by a string.

I think my call that Lostine's lameness was caused by thrush was correct, because here we are a few days later and she's already walking normal. Her frogs have hardened up, but I still have to take the time to pick out her hooves every day to avoid any further infestation. Previously, she had been walking on eggshells as if all of her hooves were tender. They weren't hot, but the frogs could practically be scraped away because they were so moist and soft, and the crevices on each side of the frogs were deeper than usual.

I'm just glad it's not arthritis. I've been expecting her to develop arthritis because of her age and the fact the her hocks click and creak. If she developed bad arthritis I would have to control her inflammation and pain every day.

I'm hoping that I can take my attention off Bombay and Lostine long enough to turn it back toward Gabbrielle. Finding out that cause of her lameness is going to be an expensive project. Each time I'm about to kick that into action, something worse happens to put my attention elsewhere. Because she seems happy and pain-free, and can easily avoid her limp by avoiding the trot, she keeps getting put on the back burner.

Of course I had to receive a reminder in the mail that Midge is due for her vaccinations. There's a $300 bill right there. The vet charges me for a wellness exam whether I want it or not. You can't just go in and say, "I know my dog is healthy. can you just give her the shots?" Then they start hitting you with their dental care sales pitch, trying to dig deeper into your pocketbook, oblivious to the fact that you've just been laid off from your job.

We can make it for a while without me having an income as long as everything goes smoothly and we only have to cover our existing bills. I've already saved us $3,000 a year by switching insurance carriers, and we are cutting on back on groceries. We used to spend around $220 a week on groceries and had a lot of spoiled, stale or moldy food we had to throw out due to poor meal management on my part. Now we are spending closer to $120 every week and a half and using our resources wisely.

We are set in the clothing department and should not need to buy any new clothes for a few years unless my son goes through another growth spurt. Though I hate living in this noisy, nosy neighborhood, the good thing about living in one of my mother's homes is that we can skip paying the utilities if worse comes to worse, because my mother can cover it. She makes more money in retirement than my husband and I made working four jobs between the two of us. You'd think people our age should be taking care of our parents, but it's the other way around thanks to the economy.

Unexpected bills, such as medical bills for unexpected problems, are what will push us over the edge. So, once again, I find myself performing triage among all the animals around my ranch. Pain is always a priority. The squeaky wheel gets the oil first, but eventually the oil can will find its way around to everyone.


Laughing Orca Ranch said...

I wish you could send some of that rain to us. We got a little last night, but not enough to soften the ground or hooves. Last night the temps got down into the low 20s and we even had some snow flurries. Oddly enough it seems that the colder weather somehow relieved some of Apache's lameness and I didn't see her favoring that leg as much yesterday and this morning
But it's warming up and should be in the 60's-60's today, so the lameness will probably return. sigh.

I'm glad that Lostine's lameness seems to be gone and that you were able to catch the thrush before it worsened.

As for the vax for the dogs, have you considered taking them to a vax clinic instead of the vet office?
We just took our 2 dogs and 3 cats to a local vax clinic sponsored by Santa Fe County, and the dogs we're just $20 for the full monty. And the cats we're only $15 each for everything.


Rising Rainbow said...

When the ground gets that saturated there's not much you can do. I have the same problem with several of my stalls here so I have to watch their feet closely for thrush or I'd be in it up to my eyeballs.

I'm glad the trush is responding so quickly to treatment. At least that parts good.

Anonymous said...

Do you have any pet clinics in any of the pet stores in your area? They give shots during certain times of the weekend and just charge for the shots. It is BS that your vet does all this extra charging...are there no other vets where you are at? MysteryTheMorab

fernvalley01 said...

I see what you were saying when you siad you had lots of horses to doctor! yeesh ! it never rains but it pours huh? Hope things settle down soon

Anonymous said...

Another vote for the low-cost vax clinics. They had fits at a regular appt for our blind and deaf dog. Uh, he's ancient and he doesn't go anywhere! Just give him a rabies jab and he can go home and make like a hermit. They wanted to do this test and that test and I said NO. Much less hassle to go to the vax clinc!

I have 2 stalls that flood when the rain is crazy. No. Fun. The water comes up out of the ground and seeps between the mats. Infuriating, I tell you!

Um, I don't want to tell you your business at all. But I whipped our outta control grocery costs by menu planning and buying multiples (8 weeks worth) of advertised store loss-leaders 9This is called cherry picking). Yee Haw, not so much fun but def cut the spending down.

Reddunappy said...

I have been giving my animals their shots for years. For the Dog is was only $6 for Maxs last booster. It is pretty easy to give the shots if you are taught right. I still need to get him in to be fixed, and I am going to ask them to do his nails while he is still asleep, he really stresses out over cutting his nails! It took three of us to hold him to do one last foot! sheesh!

Jame said...

Your situation with the rain & mud sounds very much like ours out here in Vermont. Our two pastures are basically mud pits, & one of our horses has an abscess that requires twice daily Epsom salt soaks & re bandaging, plus run in rest for both of them, since they can't be separated even by a fence line...
One way to beat the thrush our equine vet told us about was Lysol. Mix it up how it says on the bottle, & spray it on their hooves once or twice a day. She says it's cheaper than the equine thrush stuff, & makes the hooves a not-good home for the thrush bacteria. It's working for us pretty well, no thrush despite our swamp!

Breathe said...

Vet clinics are becoming more common around here too. We've had a similar string of vet issues. no fun at all. Our new kittens got beat up by something out there, so, $200 later we have decided that the are now indoor cats.

So are you looking for something? Or are you just focusing on the photo biz?

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Breathe - I'm giving myself some time to get set up to do portraits at least on the weekends. If it takes off, I'll do it full time, but I suspect I'll have to find other work too. My old company is still babbling about hiring me back when they get the money, but going back there would be a last resort for me. I don't particularly care for being treated like a slave.

Cheryl Ann said...

Nuzz, I take my dogs and cats to the local animal rescue/spay clinic. Shots are only about $30.00...a vet tech does it and we're in and out in 15 minutes! Do you have something like that in your area? It sounds like it is time to find a new pet vet. And, yes, there are usually weekend shots clinics sometimes!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Just to clarify, I already changed vets and they are pretty much all the same as far as routines and costs are concerned. The one I go to now costs a little less than my previous one for wellness exams, but they hit you hard with the specialized stuff. We have three small animal clinics in our area. I've never seen vaccination clinics advertised in my area, but I plan to call around to find out if anyone sponsors them.

achieve1dream said...

Sorry you are having so much trouble. Unfortunately when it rains it pours. I'll be sending good thoughts/prayers your way.

For the thrush I have been using salt water. Basically I pour salt into a spray bottle and then fill it with water. After picking out Chrome's hooves I shake up the salt water and spray it on his hooves. It helps get the rest of the crud out of his hooves, dries out the thrush and goes deep where it's needed. I have been using it daily since I treated the thrush and his hooves look fantastic. I haven't had any thrush since. It's cheap and a great preventative.

As far as the vaccines for Midge I would just skip them, but it's a personal decision. I did a lot of research and have come to the conclusion that annual booster shots are not needed or even that healthy. I do the puppy shots and sometimes a booster at one year and then I stop having them done. The dog already has an immunity so there is no point in bombarding their system for no reason. Do some research on dog vaccines and see what you think. It saves a lot of money and is healthier for the dog in the long run.

I hope things get easier for you soon.