Monday, December 17, 2012

My Poor Baby

I've been slow to post pictures and stories of my ranching experience, because I got walloped with some kind of virus that has been attacking my face and body in new ways each day. I keep thinking, "Surely, this too will come to an end," but so far recovery just hasn't been in the cards for me.

My husband had scheduled a boat trip as an anniversary gift this past weekend, and I was determined to go despite being nauseated, having a headache, a toothache, an eye infection that was leaking pus, a bloody scab from a cold sore the size of Texas (if you imagine my face as a map of the United States), a fever, sweats and chills, but the boat company canceled the trip for us due to lousy weather and a lack of reservations. We couldn't reschedule because of my husband being on call with his job.  Sigh.  Another planned outing down the drain.  This makes two hikes, a horseback ride, and a boat trip that I've had to cancel since moving here due to mainly illnesses, injuries, and other things out of my control.

My daughter stopped by with a friend who wanted to visit with our horses...

The girls got mobbed. You can barely see my daughter wedged between two horses. Apparently, Bombay was fascinated with their skinny jeans and couldn't resist taking a bite out them. I've learned not to wear shorts around that horse, because he has to taste anything that is different from what he's used to, and you can bet his mom doesn't wear skinny jeans or shorts often.  I saved those for my college days when I had a figure.  In fact, I can't even bend over around that horse, because he thinks it's funny to bite me on the butt and then run away.  I've gotten into the habit of just waving my hand behind my butt whenever I bend over in the stalls, so that I'll smack him in the face if he gets too close.  My neighbors must think I'm waving the air because I just pooted.

Anyway, I was hoping to feel well enough this morning to actually get something accomplished.  I went two days without cleaning stalls because of my illness and the downpour of rain, and unfortunately, that was enough to cause an infection in Gabbrielle's hoof.  I found her limping around this morning, and I examined her to find no swelling or pain in her leg, shoulder or back, but plenty of thrush and probably an abscess in her foot.  I called for a vet, but most of the vets around here don't have clinics with office managers.  They take their own calls and only do ranch visits, so I got routed to an answering machine, because most vets are plenty busy with their patients.

This vet left a number to page her if it's an emergency.  I wasn't sure if she would consider an abscess an emergency.  I mean, time is of the essence, because you don't wan the infection to push its way up to the coronet band and burst, and my horse is in pain, but it's not like she's going to die.  I walk around with broken bones and kidney stones all the time and I'm in pain, but I don't die.  So, I didn't page her.

I've been waiting all day, but haven't received a call back.  I've watched Gabbrielle's pain increase to the point where she chooses to lay down over standing up.  I don't have any prescription pain medications left, because the barn owner where I boarded them used it all up.

If this vet doesn't return my call tonight, I'll have to start calling others.  That's the bummer about being new to an area.  I'm not an established client, so there's no guarantee I'll get help for my animals when they need it.  My farrier was just out here on Friday trimming her hooves, and we noticed that Gabbrielle was more difficult than usual, but he figured it was because of the cold weather and I figured it was because the other horses were eating while she was having to stand for a trim.  I started hand-feeding her hay during her trim and she settled down, but now I realize that by that point he had stopped trimming the hoof that was hurting her.

Fortunately, she can stand up after lying down.  I have all the materials to treat an abscess, but I need a farrier or vet to drain it.  I wouldn't want to venture into digging a hole into her hoof myself.  I now know I should have just kept calling vets and even my farrier until I got a hold of a live person, but this one vet I called is very respected by a lot of people around here.  One lady even said to use no one other than this vet, so I wanted to give her a chance.  Of course, now it is after hours and there's no light left to do anything outside.  But at least Gabbrielle feels well enough to still chase Bombay in her gimpy way near dinner time.  She's not letting the pain stop her from getting her slice of hay first.


fernvalley01 said...

Can you just poultice it ? I have treated abscesses that way for years, Glycerin and Epsom salts gob it on and wrap in a diaper or whatever and duct tape usually draws it out in a day or so , no need for the vet to come out. Unless the thrush complicates things?

fernvalley01 said...

BTW hope you feel better soon sucks to be sick

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

fernvalley01 - A day or so? You make it sound so simple. When I've dealt with abscesses before, it was poulticing the hoof for at least a week. I'll give it a try without the drain hole and see if that's enough.

fernvalley01 said...

Depends on the degree of the abscess too, but the glycerin Epsom salts poultice is a really good one, benign and wont blister(so you can leave it on longer without changing ) but it draws like no tomorrow. I have had it work as quickly as a couple days , never been at it a week

Reddunappy said...

That Great advice from Fern Valley.

Also a product called Ichthymol, will draw it out, nasty smelling black goo though!! I can get it at the feed and farm stores around here. Hope it works out quickly for her, and you!

appydoesdressage said...

You can also alternate between the salt and sugar if you are concerned about the salt drying out the hoof too much. Fernvalley is right, put a bunch in a diaper, wrap it around the bottom of the hoof with duct tape (at least 4 layers thick) and they come out fairly nicely. Usually within a few days. Good luck, keep us posted!

lilyrose said...

I don't know what vet you are calling-but I think it's bad practice not to return a phone all the same day. My vet has a person answering his phone and he always gets back to me the same day. If it's a true emergency he will call me back within 10 minutes. Always. I have tried the ichthamol oinment on an abcess-it usually works within a few days. So sorry for your baby. :(

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Okay, it took an hour and all my energy to get everything together, but the hoof has a poultice on it. While I was cleaning stalls, the vet's assistant called and explained that they were at emergencies all day yesterday and didn't get back to the office to hear my message until 7:30 PM. They are coming out this afternoon to make sure it really is an abscess. G started walking better on it once I got it wrapped up.

If I'm not as impressed with this vet as other people we're I'll definitely try some of the others who were recommended to me.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Awww, poor Gabbrielle. I'm sorry her feet are bothering her, but I hope they heal soon.
She looks so cute lying down, and her belly look so soft and round, I just want to rub it. lol!

Happy Anniversary you two!


achieve1dream said...

Happy Anniversary! I'm so sorry you've been so sick and that your boat trip got canceled. That sucks! I really hope you're all better and don't get sick like that again.

Poor Gabrielle. I've only ever dealt with one abscess and I documented it on Chrome's blog. I soaked it in epson salt water and then wrapped it with Ichthamol. It took a week for it to burst and longer than that before he was walking totally sound. :( What's wrong with letting it burst out of the coronet? I've never heard of that being a problem.... just curious. Like I said, I haven't dealt with a lot. I hope Gabrielle's heals way quicker than Chrome's!