"Oh joy!" I'd thought to myself, "now I can splurge and buy that fancy straw hat I want for trail riding!"
I'd even picked out the silver-studded hatband and the braided horsehair stampede string.
And then I noticed that Wally's eyes were "goopey." I know that's not a technical term that vets use, but we all know what that means: The late summer onslaught of dust and flies were beginning to irritate his eyes, even though I consider Wally's living quarters immaculate and he's doused daily in fly repellent. He even has a new fly mask.
By Friday evening, however, he'd been rubbing his itchy left eye despite my attempts to wash out dust and goop with sterile saline. That's also when I noticed that he had an itty bitty teensy white fleck near the outer edge of his iris, the colored part of his eye.
Knowing that corneal ulcers can, in the worst case scenarios, result in awful infections that can ultimately lead to a loss of sight or a loss of the eye itself, I called my vet, Jennifer. I was treated to this long voice mail message that concluded with the announcement that Jennifer was in Hawaii.
Are you noticing a trend here, where it seems like my horsey friends are forever trotting off to Hawaii? I'm certainly aware of it!
I ended up with the vet assigned to take Jennifer's calls. I won't go into the emotionally tinged details, but let's just say that Wally was not a very cooperative patient. And that's precisely what I had predicted, although this vet, who was unacquainted with The Beast That Lurks Within Walter, apparently hadn't believed how bad my horse could be until Wally had dragged both her and me out of the stable area, through the car port and onto my patio. Yes sir, that's what Wally will do: threaten to commit suicide just to make a point.
When all of us had called a truce, I was given some ointment to put in his eye. I also was given two syringes of serum (made from fresh equine blood) to flush into his affected eye several times a day. That's one of the newest treatments for aiding the healing of injured equine eyes. Who knew? Not me. Plus Wally got some oral Banamine paste to help reduce inflammation and pain.
This is all well and good except that Wally was now completely sure that no one-- including me-- was going to get anywhere near his sore eye. Ever. Again.
But I have my own Ways with Wally. Since he was a western pleasure show horse for several years, he's used to having someone fuss with his face: combing his forelock, brushing his blaze, wiping his pink muzzle and applying baby oil around his eyes. So that's what I did, along with shoveling peppermints and horse cookies down his throat. You know, the old "spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down" thing. When he least expected it, I slipped the tip of the tube of ointment or the rubber nose of the little syringe full of serum underneath the rub rag and then squeezed the magical elixirs into his eye.
Before he could protest I shoved another goodie into his mouth.
Today his eyes are no longer red or goopey, and the fleck of white is nearly gone. These are all good signs and I'm thinking that Wally, despite his aversion to veterinary care, is on the mend.
Now, if I can only come across another check that I wasn't expecting, I can replenish my bank account for the next time Wally needs a doctor's appointment. That's the way it is with horses: You get a little money ahead, and then they figure out a way to make you spend it. That's probably why I'll never get to Hawaii.
If you have any remarks or tales you'd like to share, just click on "comments" below!