Sunday, August 24, 2008

$217 Later...

Since I know that horses are always maiming themselves, I keep some money stashed away just for equine emergencies. My little nest egg was plumper than usual because I'd gotten a check in the mail that I hadn't expected. It was for an article I'd written a while back for a (non-horsey) magazine.

"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!


Jessica said...

Horses are SO great at knowing when you have just a little extra money in the bank to plan their next bizarre illness. And of course, mine always want me to have to pay an emergency fee too. I think it's their way of keeping me from deserting them to go to Hawaii too! :-)

Anonymous said...

Alas, the curse of the beloved equine!

Bucky actually went a LONG time without any mishaps, until a couple weeks ago he somehow pulled a shoe - and the seal on his hoof came off as well! He had a crack a while back, and we had a bad farrier at the time, and he didn't do anything about it other than drill a metal brace over it. We switched to a better farrier last month who worked with Bucky for three days straight and literally gouged out a section of his hoof wall, about three inches across and what looks like a heckuva lot of thickness. He then proceeded to pour in a specific sort of seal thing in it. Our bill was an expensive one....

Well - he lost his seal.... and Neil had to spend over two hours fixing his hoof. Yeah. Another EXPENSIVE bill for me to spend my hard-earned money on. I guess I can't get that new browband I've been looking at.

Alas, the curse of the beloved equine!

Christina de Pinet said...

Good idea with the sneakyness, Cindy! And good on you for foregoing your hat for Wally. I'm sure he would thank you when he gets over his bitterness!

Anonymous said...

How funny! I think you're right though.. just when we think we've gotten a little bit ahead... they think up something to do to themselves!! Like ram a metal rod into their knee... requiring an emergency vet trip fee, minor surgery, antibiotics, etc... (Thanks Blue.) Or cutting their head open on a teeny tiny little nail I didn't spot in the stall... requiring 20 stitches from the base of her ear to the back of her eye... (thanks Koda).. Oh, yeah, let's not forget sticking the foreleg through the rubber feed bucket, fracturing the sesamoid bone, and ripping a tendon.. requiring almost a year of stall rest.. (thanks Justin)
I could go on! But any of us silly enough to stick to horses just has to suck it up...

Glad Wally's feeling better, and I hope you are too!!

p.s. the closest I'll ever get to Hawaii is on t.v. or a brochure! LOL...

Anonymous said...

Thanx for the tip with the ointment... my horse has neverending eye troubles- right now his eyes are blurry and he can't see too well- resulting in whacking his face into stall doors, running into walls, missing the entrance to the wash rack, etc... and he wasn't too freindly with the saline except fpr the other day when I got it in him out in the pasture without holding him, no halter, anything (thank God) until the next day, when he litterally RAN AWAY when he saw the bottle in my hand. That is, once he figured out that it was a bottle for eye drops- my horse is NOT very smart... So the vet is coming Tuesday, and I'm expecting a HUGE bill- eye thing + Coggins test + annual vaccinations that he didn't get yet this year (I know, shame on me) = probably draining about 1/3 of my bank account. NOT GOOD. There went my idea of going to college, ha ha.

Cindy Hale said...

Maybe it's some sort of horse conspiracy. Do our horses read our bank statements? Do they somehow sense when we have a little extra money to spare? And why wouldn't Wally prefer that I buy him more cookies or carrots than pay for an emergency vet call? Hmmmm.... Perhaps he just enjoys the drama!