My First StitchFix!

Okay guys, I bit the bullet and signed up for StitchFix. If you don’t know what that is, StitchFix is a company that takes your clothing preferences and sizes and sends you five items of clothing every month, or as often as you like. You are not obligated to buy any of the items, and it only costs $20 to order a box. The items you don’t want to keep are sent back in a prepaid envelope and the $20 can go towards your purchase.
So, I need help. What do I keep???

The first item is a pair of trouser jeans:

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They’re a great color, super stretchy and they fit really well in size and length. The downside is they are $88 (more than I usually pay for jeans, but probably a reasonable price), and the back pockets are doing something weird on my butt. I personally don’t think the back pockets are very flattering on me… I think they’re too small? Maybe?

The next item is a striped tan and cream vest. I LOVE this vest. It reminds me of something Coach would make, and it is something I could wear for work (I wear a lot of vests).

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This piece is $78, again, probably more than I would spend in a store, but a fair price for the quality I think. The main problem I have with the vest is that it is a bit too big and boxy on me, I think I actually need a small in this one. Since I’m new to this whole StitchFix thing, I don’t know if you can make exchanges for different sizes. It’s a bummer because I do really like this vest :(

The third piece is a blouse.

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HATE it. I don’t think the fit does anything for me, and the print reminds me of something out of the 70s. The whole shirt together kind of reminds me of a jester’s hat with the color blocking for some reason… Anyway, needless to say this is going back.

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The fourth piece is this cheetah print cardigan. Even though it’s a LOT of cheetah, I really do like it. I like the long length and the sleeves are actually long enough on me. My only issue with this piece is that I don’t think it looks as good in the pictures as it felt when it was on? What do you guys think?

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The last piece is this super cute chevron infinity scarf.

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I’m keeping this one for sure. I’ve been looking for a scarf just like it, so when it showed up in my StitchFix box I was really excited.

Okay, so I need your help! Which pieces look the best? Do you agree with the ones I like? What should go back? >

A Fresh Start?

The HITS horse show in Thermal is officially over, and I’m already sad to leave all of our new friends and this fabulous weather!

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Monday morning we were up bright and early to pack up the clinic and shove everything into my car. It is packed to the ceiling in the back seat, there is stuff in my front seat, and there are bags wedged in the back behind the vet box. For some reason our secretary had decided that she wanted me to take all of her luggage back, but I told her it was impossible given the state of my car. There is barely room for me, let alone a giant wheelie bag BIGGER than me!

Monday evening I caught a plane heading to Northern California for my first-ever official job interview.

I was so incredibly nervous! When I was applying for my internship I visited practices as an extern, which is technically an interview, but doesn’t really feel like one. On an externship you spend two weeks at a practice, and there’s no formal questioning process. You just kind of hang out.

Needless to say, I didn’t really know what to expect. I picked up my sweet rental car, checked into my hotel, got in a quick run on the treadmill at the hotel’s “fitness center” (I use that term VERY loosely), and went to bed early.

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(The Thin Mint.)

Tuesday morning I got dressed for my interview in the only halfway decent clothes I brought with me to Thermal. I texted pictures to my fiancé all morning, worried that I wasn’t appropriately dressed.

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And yes, those are khakis. My technician friend at home didn’t believe me so I had to take a close up for her:

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The traffic to the clinic was horrendous. I was sweating because I thought I was going to be extremely late. I arrived at 9:15, which was 15 minutes later than I had planned but turned out to be fine. I met the office staff and then spent the morning riding around with the owner of the practice (who I had previously met in Thermal). We met up with his associate around lunch time, and she and I spent the afternoon together at her appointments.

We met up again at the clinic after work and headed out to dinner, where the real interview started. They grilled me about all kinds of things, and I tried to be as open and honest with them as I could. It was pretty stressful, and I don’t really have a sense of whether it went well or not. I plan to send a thank you when I get home and then follow up if I haven’t heard anything in a week or two.

Right now I’m sitting in the airport, waiting for my flight back to Thermal to pick up my car and hit the road. I’ve got a 20 hour drive to make it to Dallas, where I’m stopping for two days to do wedding stuff and hopefully get in another mini-interview at a clinic there. From Dallas it’s back to Lexington on Sunday, and then I start my second medicine rotation on Monday. Hopefully it goes as well as the first, we’ll see.

Other things on my mind right now…
– Finding other good places to interview (I’ve never been an eggs-in-one-basket kind of girl).
– Figuring out how much I need to make, because that’s an easier question than figuring out how much I’m worth.
– Finding a job for my fiancé where he will be happy and fulfilled.

Everything’s up in the air right now, which makes a crazy planner like me a little bit nuts. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

Horse Show Colics: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Week 6 of HITS Thermal started off with a bang!

We were up four nights in a row with colic after colic after colic. Four horses were referred to the surgical facility two hours from Thermal, and the rest were managed medically at the show grounds, including one horrendous impaction that was lucky to survive (referral was not an option).

Saturday morning I did get to see a gorgeous sunrise at the show grounds, after pulling my last all-nighter.

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It can be so pretty out here.

Since we have seen about 10 colics in the last week, my PSA for you today is about colicking horses at the show grounds.

Show Grounds

Horse Show Colics: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

When a veterinarian, rider, trainer, or other equine observer says that a horse is “colicking”, this simply refers to a horse showing signs of abdominal pain. Most colics fit into five main categories:

- Impaction
– Strangulation
– Gas/Spasmodic
– Sand
– Other/Non-GI

Impactions can occur anywhere in the GI tract from the stomach to the small colon. The most common type of impactions we see at horse shows are large colon impactions. We also occasionally see gastric, ileal, pelvic flexure, cecal, and small colon impactions. Most of these cases are only mildly to moderately painful and can be managed medically with a combination of oral and IV fluids, and Banamine. Some impactions are firm enough that the horse may require sedation or additional pain management to stay comfortable, and a few may require surgery if their pain is unmanageable or they are in danger of rupturing.

Strangulating lesions can involve any area of the GI tract from the small intestine to the large colon. There are different types of strangulating lesions as well, with the word “strangulating” indicating a decrease or total absence of circulation to the affected part of the GI tract. Strangulations are some of the most painful and violent types of colics we see on the show grounds. The most common types of strangulating lesions we see in show horses are small intestinal volvulus or strangulating lipomas, with lipomas being more common in older horses. Other types of strangulations include large colon torsion or volvulus, epiploic foramen entrapment, and mesenteric rent entrapment. Almost all strangulating lesions require surgical correction within 4 to 6 hours for the best prognosis, after that time period the horse may become shocky (if it isn’t already) and the affected portion of the GI tract is likely to be too devitalized to be salvaged. Resections of devitalized tissue significantly negatively impact the prognosis post-surgery.

Gas and/or spasmodic colics are quite common out at the show grounds. Most of these horses are mildly to moderately painful, and are simply managed with oral and/or IV fluids, Banamine and Buscopan. Some diarrhea cases can also be included in this category as well, since these horses often have fairly severe spasming along with the passage of liquid manure.

Sand colics are relatively uncommon back home in Kentucky, but tend to be fairly common here in California. Most sand colics are mild, with only the occasional one requiring surgery. These horses are usually treated with fluids (notice a theme here?), Banamine, and psyllium, a soluble fiber that helps to force the sand out of the colon.

Other common colics in show horses include displacements, gastric ulcers, and non-GI related abdominal pain, such as testicular torsions. The most common displacement we see are nephrosplenic entrapments, where the horse’s colon displaces to the left side of their abdomen and becomes trapped between the spleen and the left kidney. These cases can usually be medically managed with fluids, banamine, and phenylephrine, a drug which helps to shrink the spleen and allow the colon to slide back into place. After administering the phenylephrine, the horse is jogged for about 20 minutes to try to shake the colon loose from it’s displaced position. Gastric ulcers are a huge problem in show horses due to the constant chronic stresses placed upon them. Although gastric endoscopy is the only way to definitively diagnose gastric ulcers, most horses will compete on GastroGard as needed for their comfort without ever having an endoscopic exam. The final type of colic we’ll discuss is in show stallions, testicular torsion. While not related to the GI tract, testicular torsions are extremely painful and may initially appear as a severe colic. These horses require immediate surgical intervention to preserve their chance of reproducing in the future.

So, why did we go through all of these types of colic? Because now you understand the treatments required in most of these cases. At a horse show, we are severely limited as to what treatments we are allowed to do that will still allow the horse to compete. Most horses that we see are already being given Banamine or Bute (phenylbutazone) as part of their daily regimen. I prefer using Banamine for colics, because in my experience it works better for treating soft tissue pain. If the horse has already been given Bute and I give it Banamine, under USEF rules the horse is not allowed to show for three days. In the majority of cases I see, the ability of the horse to continue to show is the top priority. In these cases I give the horse Bute for its pain, even though I don’t think it works quite as well.

We’re also not equipped to deal with surgical colics when we’re at horse shows. At HITS Thermal, we are 2.5 hours from the nearest surgical facility, which means we don’t have very much time to get a horse on the table for surgery if it has a strangulating lesion. This makes me quick to refer painful cases, since I want to give the horses the best chance at a favorable outcome. I always end up having horses who make the trip and probably would have been fine staying at the show grounds, but I still think they are always better off safe than sorry.

If you’ve hung in there with me for this much, I really appreciate it. The final, and most important topic on horse show colics is prevention. How do you keep your gorgeous, expensive show horse from colicking at competitions? Here are my biggest rules:

  1. DO NOT change anything at a horse show. Don’t buy new hay at the show, bring your own hay from home that your horse is used to eating. Don’t add in new supplements or change their dose (unless prescribed by your veterinarian) that might put him off his feed or upset his stomach. Please do continue to offer plenty of fresh, clean water, since the number one problem we see with colicking show horses is dehydration.
  2. PAY ATTENTION. Maybe your horse isn’t quite cleaning up his feed like he usually does, or you think he hasn’t passed as much manure as normal. Are his gums a little tacky? Is he drinking fewer buckets of water than usual? If so, call the vet and have him checked out. The worst impaction we’ve seen was in a horse who continued to show even though he hadn’t eaten for two days. He pulled through, but I would have given the horse 50/50 odds at best.
  3. GastroGard. I honestly believe GastroGard is worth its weight in gold. I know it’s expensive, but it is a fantastic product and a full course (28 days) will cure ulcers. I have seen several horses with minor colics that have ended up being from painful gastric ulcers, and to be honest your horse isn’t going to show as well if his tummy hurts as he will if he feels good. Many show horses benefit from being on a maintenance (1/4 tube) dose of GastroGard throughout the year, or at the very least during the show season.

Has your horse ever colicked at a horse show? Do you think there are things you could have done differently to prevent the colic in the first place? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments section.

Off week at HITS Thermal

It’s off week here at the HITS Thermal horse show!

That means most of the horses and riders have gone home, and our schedules are very light! I don’t think we’ve seen more than a handful of patients the last couple days.

I did meet the cutest pony ever a few days ago:

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He was adorable. Look at those tiny ears! On top of that they also refer to him as Grandpa because he’s 19 years old. Can I have him please?? :)

We’ve also seen some more strange characters wandering around the show grounds, including this Mo-huahua:

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Awesome.

Last Saturday night was the SVS Sport Horse Auction, where approximately 25 horses were auctioned off from various hunter/jumper farms. We didn’t have much to do with the actual auction itself, but we did have one set of pre-sale radiographs to take for a late addition to the sale, and a “post-purchase” exam after the sale.

To kick things off, this little guy was auctioned first for charity:

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He went for $5,500!

The rest of the sale went pretty slowly, with only 8 of the horses actually selling during the auction.

Since this week has been so slow, I’ve been spending a lot of time on wedding planning and spying on my pets back home. My fiancé got a camera for Christmas that he hung in our house so that we can watch our pets during the day. They get up to some crazy stuff:

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(It has night vision.)

Jordan also tries to be funny when he sees me moving the camera around remotely.

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I can tell my cat is thrilled.

He also likes to send me pictures showing how much my pets don’t miss me. This one was from last night when apparently everyone got in the bed.

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That’s about all I’ve got today! Hope everyone is having a great week!

Something New

I’ve been in California for three weeks now!

We had our first changeover between senior clinicians, and I was really sad to see my friends go.

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We had such a good time together the past couple weeks, and I was a little apprehensive about the next few, since the new clinician isn’t as easy going as the last.

Over the past few weeks we’ve done some pretty crazy things together.

My friend got a tattoo on her wrist:

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(Her horse’s name and tattoo number.)

And I got my first tattoo:

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(The name of my horse who recently passed away.)

I was nervous about getting tattooed, and I was really worried that I was going to wuss out or move and mess it up. It turned out great though! I was also nervous that my fiancé would be upset with me, but I texted him after I got it done and all he asked was if they used sterile instruments or not (he’s such a doctor). I sent him this picture in response:

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Work has been pretty slow this week now that the other senior vet is here, so I’ve had lots more time to make doggy friends:

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And also to do more shopping:

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I bought the belt and the peach shirt I’m wearing today.

That’s about it for right now, things are pretty quiet. I’m off to grab some breakfast and then hopefully we’ll have some work to do!

Horse Show Dogs

I make a lot of doggy friends while working at horse shows, however, bringing your pup can definitely be a controversial topic.

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Pictured below is Molly, a super sweet pup we met on our rounds one day.

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I love dogs, so I really like seeing them out at shows. Most of the senior clinicians refuse to work on dogs, but I see it as almost a community service. I’m here for the horses, but I’m not going to turn a dog away if it’s in need of help. I also think it can be a practice builder, because if you can make relationships with people through their dogs, they may be more likely to bring you their horses in the future.

So far at the HITS Thermal horse show I have seen:
– a dog with a raging ear infection that was shaking its head so badly the ears were bleeding
– several dogs with bloody diarrhea from dietary indiscretion and/or parasites
– a puppy with an infected toenail

My biggest advice to people who wish to bring their dogs to horse shows is to keep your dog on a leash or in a play pen. If they are off scavenging through who knows what, they are likely going to eat something they shouldn’t and you are going to have a big mess on your hands. Also, make sure they are up to date on their deworming, vaccinations and flea prevention. I have never seen more itchy dogs than at horse shows, and 99% of the time it’s because they have fleas. Just because you don’t see them doesn’t mean they are not there. This horse show in particular has lots of loose stray dogs running around who are probably carrying all manner of parasites just waiting to infect your adorable little pooch.

Speaking of adorable pooches…

Meet our friends Stella and Izze! We dog-sat for them for the past couple of weeks.

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These two girls are hilarious. Stella (the Frenchie) is adorable but she is stubborn as can be. Izze (the Jack Russell) doesn’t get as much attention as her sister since she doesn’t have that adorable little smushed face, but she is so well-behaved that you can’t help but love her too. We had a fantastic time playing with these pups.

Snuggling:

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Sleeping:

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Watching the Grand Prix:

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Photo-bombing:

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And with that I’ll leave you with an adorable clip of Stella doing what she does best (being adorable).

Stella the pig dog

Welcome to California, Part II

I’m back again with another California update!

After our trek across the country, we finally made it to our new home for the next two months, which I showed you guys pictures of last time.

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Our first stop was the local grocery store, where we stocked up on the necessities:

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We took it easy the first night and just relaxed and got settled into our new house. The next morning was major cleaning time. The clinic at the show grounds in Thermal is closed up for 10 months of the year, so it accumulates a ton of grime. We worked like crazy sweeping and scrubbing to get the place in working order. We also had to unpack all of the equipment and drugs which were either brought in my car or shipped to the show grounds. It was a fairly massive undertaking but we managed to get it all done.

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During a short break from our cleaning extravaganza we ran over to the local Home Depot to pick up some flowers for the front of the building. It looks pretty nice!

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My friend and I bought some cactus plants as well since we figured they’d be hard to kill (black thumb right here).

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Mine turned out cute! My fiancé has been wanting a cactus for our house and I thought there’d be no better place to get one than in the desert ;)

We’ve done a lot of exploring at the show grounds in between seeing clients.

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It’s a really nice place to be for the winter, especially since Kentucky is getting pounded with snow right now.

This post is getting pretty long so I’ll save the rest for another update later on!