Friday, January 2, 2015

One Foot in Front of the Other

I mentioned that one of my dogs was sick.  Scrappy, my old black and gray Chiweenie, started throwing up just before New Year's Eve.  He is really bad about eating random stuff up off the ground and getting into trash cans, so vomiting is not unusual for him.  Although, this time I didn't remember him getting into any trash cans or any food that someone might have left unsupervised.  By New Year's Eve, he had diarrhea that was mostly blood, and of course, all the vet hospitals were closed.  My dogs and horses are only capable of getting sick and injured on holidays.

We stopped feeding him and had to wait out New Year's Day.  When the vet offices finally opened on Friday, they were all booked up.  A couple of vets just said to bring him in and wait for an opening.  There was no way we were going to call our old vet, because we knew he would just find ways to run up our bill to $5,000 and then send the dog home.

The horses had a hoof trim appointment that morning, so one of us had to stay with the horses while the other took Scrappy to the hospital.  It turned out that the farrier forgot about our appointment, so I had to call him to remind him.  He thought he took the week off.  My appointment was a rude awakening for him.

When he got here, he said he probably shouldn't have stayed up until 3:00 in the morning watching TV.  We ourselves had been up off and on over the previous couple of nights trying to get Scrappy outside before he had another accident on the carpet.  I haven't been able to get some of the blood stains completely out yet.  It may be time for a new carpet whether we like it or not.

The farrier solved Gabbrielle's lameness mystery.  Once he started cutting away at her sole and nipping off the hoof wall, he found a place where an abscess recently blew out through the white line.  I thought for sure it was her shoulder, because she could walk forward, but not turn.  It was actually that she didn't want to put weight on the side of the hoof where the abscess was.  I've never had a horse have a hoof abscess that has lasted this long.  When we lived in Nevada, Bombay had a hoof abscess once.  Since we moved to Arizona, all of my horses have been getting abscesses on a regular basis, and I clean up manure two to three times a day.  What's up with that?

I was shuffling horses around only to look up and see that the farrier was already trimming Lostine's hooves without having her in a halter or anything.  I shrugged and said, "She'll probably be okay without a halter then," and she was.  He is seriously into natural horsemanship, and he only wants the bare minimum of restraint when trimming the horses' hooves.

Gabbrielle wasn't so good, though.  She tried pulling back.  Because the farrier sits on a stool with his leg draped over the horses' leg and the hoof set on a stand, Gabbrielle pulled him right off his stool and they were trying to get their legs unlocked from each other.  The farrier has a back injury, so this was not a good predicament for him to be in.  I knew the best thing for me to do was to keep my energy low and act normal, so that Gabbrielle didn't panic and pull back more.  Both the farrier and I relaxed and waited for her to relax and set her leg back down.  It worked.

When I got Bombay haltered, I discovered that he boogered up himself.  He took a bunch of skin off above the hoof and it was bleeding.  I have no idea when that happened.  I let the farrier trim him before cleaning it with Betadine.  It's always embarrassing when you don't notice an injury until a service provider comes over to work with your horses.  With that bloody mess, along with all the mud, the frozen manure I couldn't clean up, and the fact that my horses had all taken mud baths that morning, I looked like a bad horse owner.  But this guy is pretty Zen.  I don't think he judges people much.

When the farrier appointment was over, I called my husband to see if he had been able to get Scrappy in anywhere.  He was in the examining room waiting for the vet right then.  It suddenly occurred to me that if he had to put Scrappy to sleep, I was so busy running around dealing with stains in the carpet, barn chores and the farrier that I didn't get to say goodbye.  Why does everything always have to happen all at the same time with me?  Why can't I just put one foot in front of the other and concentrate on each step?

My husband returned home hours later without Scrappy.  The vet wanted to keep him overnight to get fluids into him and take x-rays.  Stewie is confused, running around the house looking in all the nooks and crannies for Scrappy.  He sits by the door and waits for him to come in.  I try to distract him with games.  I hope the other dogs and horses can stay out of trouble long enough for me to concentrate on Scrappy for the next week or so.  One step at time.  That's the way it should be.


achieve1dream said...

I'm so sorry. I really hope Scrappy is okay. :(

Katharine Swan said...

Oh no! Poor Scrappy! Let us know what happens.

As for the abscesses, I wonder if the heat has anything to do with it? Or is there anything else different about their environment or the style of trimming that wasn't the case in Nevada?

Katharine Swan said...

Check this link out:

Some of the causes listed were cycling dry and wet conditions (which I think you do have), hard ground/bruising, and the bars or any other part of the foot left too long when trimming, so that it gets more pressure on it respective to the rest of the foot.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

I think it's the dry to wet conditions, because I've seen a pattern in which they get abscesses when the ground is muddy after a rainstorm. I've also seen a pattern in which they get abscesses when I'm doing a good job keeping their hooves clean. It's almost like the more I scrape them, the more chances there are for bacteria to get in there.

In Nevada it was wet all winter and dry all summer. In Arizona it alternates between wet and dry year round.

achieve1dream said...

I was so worried about Scrappy I forgot all about the abscess. I'm so glad that's all it was with her lameness. I have my fingers crossed it heals up and she doesn't have another one for a very, very long time.. if ever.. :) I figured with the sand that you wouldn't have a problem with abscesses. How strange. I hope you can figure out a way to prevent them because they sure do suck. How is Scrappy doing?

Katharine Swan said...

It's funny that you say you see more abscesses when you keep their feet cleaner. In some respects I think having some poop in there does keep worse stuff out. I feel like my shod horse, Rondo, is more susceptible to ice balls in his feet when they are picked clean. It's almost like the poop helps keep the ice balls from forming.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

With Scrappy, we just got a phone call informing us that he has a stone in his bladder, which has nothing to do with the bloody diarrhea. They are going to have us feed him a special dog food to dissolve the stone. He had surgery for a bladder stone right before I adopted him, and the vet waited so long between the x-ray and surgery, that the poor dog got cut open for no reason because the stone had dissolved itself.

They said he still has diarrhea, and they were concerned about his heart murmur, which we already knew about, but he's in a good mood at the hospital.

achieve1dream said...

I'm glad he feels better. I hope the stone dissolves itself! I hope the diarrhea clears up too. So they have no idea what it's from since he didn't eat anything?

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

I guess not. They talked to my husband on the phone, so I wasn't able to ask questions. I'm hoping to get more information when we see Scrappy tomorrow.

Obviously, something had to cause all that blood. My guess is a ball of grass cut into him, because when he started getting an upset stomach, he ate grass each time he went outside.

achieve1dream said...

Aww poor guy! I will keep my fingers crossed that it has cleared up by morning.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Scrappy is home now. His diagnosis is "O&P w/ centrifugation Giardia". Sounds like he drank the water in Mexico. The x-rays showed no blockage in his intestines. They assumed it was a change in his diet, but nothing has changed, and they prescribed virtually the same dog food he has been eating, just a different brand. Of course, the website where I need to input his prescription and vet info is broken, so I have to wait until Monday and call it in. He's on antibiotics and probiotics.

On a good note, the vet didn't hassle us about unrelated issues like dental work and heartworm medication like our other vet did, and the overnight stay cost less than what our old vet charged for one five-minute visit. Unfortunately, this vet is several cities away. Too far to drive on a regular basis, especially with a vomiting, squirting dog in the backseat.

achieve1dream said...

Aww poor guy! I'm glad he's okay and I hope the medicines get him fixed up quickly. I'm glad the vet didn't hassle you. I wish you could find one that is closer.

Katharine Swan said...

The amazing thing is, I almost said in my comment last night that I wondered if it was giardia, but your last comment said you hadn't talked to the vet yourself so I decided not to. :) Giardia is amazingly common. My dog has had it, my mom's cat has had it, and my roommate's cat currently has it (and has to go back for more antibiotics, as the first run doesn't seem to have kicked it). It seems to be hard to get rid of sometimes, although that might be just with cats because there are fewer antibiotics available for them.

fernvalley01 said...

I have used rice pablum and low salt chicken stock for dogs with stomach upset, mix it into a slurry, and even add chicken baby food .It is not a cure but it is easy on the tummy and the rice binds so can lessen the loose stool. Also apparently Pumpkin is a good