Wild and Crazy Saturday

Yesterday was CRAZY!

We woke up early, about 6am, to prepare for the people coming to pick up my Volvo at 7am. I was so sad to see it go, but we need the money more than we need an extra vehicle.

After the Volvo was picked up, we got ready for my day at work. Unfortunately my practice schedules Saturday appointments in addition to being on call, so Saturdays can wind up being really busy days.

My first appointment was a simple coggins/vaccine appointment. We finished that one up quickly, and headed to the office to pick up the radiology equipment.

My second appointment this morning was a pre-purchase on a warmblood mare who has been turned out in a pasture for several years and is now being considered as a potential dressage mount for one of my clients. She was actually a really nice mare, considering she hasn’t been handled much in the past few years. I did a thorough physical exam and musculoskeletal exam on the mare, not finding much to comment about. She was stocked up (carried some extra edematous fluid in her tissues) around one hind fetlock joint, and she is fairly obese, but otherwise unremarkable. After her physical we started jogging and flexing her, to determine her soundness. She was slightly off (lame) behind on a straight line, and I made her significantly worse by flexing her hock and stifle on the lame side.

When we took her out to the arena to watch her go on a circle, it became obvious that she was very lame on the right hind leg. This mare has a history of needing her hocks injected with steroids, but she was more lame than I would expect if she just needed her hocks done. Her neurologic status was normal.

The buyer decided she wanted the mare’s hocks radiographed, so we took a few pictures of them. I told the buyer that I really wanted to see some significant changes in the mare’s right hock for me to be more convinced that it was the cause of the lameness. Unfortunately, both hocks looked radiographically similar and didn’t have very significant abnormalities for a horse of her age. At this point I was very uncomfortable with how unsound the mare was with no clear-cut explanation for the lameness. Since pre-purchase exams are rarely black and white (I do not “pass” or “fail” horses, I simply present the facts and the buyers decide what they can live with) the buyer decided to let the seller treat the mare at home for a week and re-evaluate her at that time. I think this is reasonable, minor problems that can be fixed with a week of rest and NSAIDs make me a lot more comfortable than something that looks the same or worse in a week.

We all left the pre-purchase feeling pretty good about our decisions.

After that appointment, I had a slew of emergency calls. First was to a small facial laceration (another one!) in Rockwall, easily cleaned up and sutured. After that was a not-quite-emergency lameness, the father called and said his horse was “in distress”, on further inquiry it turned out the horse was simply lame, most likely due to a hoof abscess. After examination I left them to soak and wrap the foot for several days to draw it out. The final emergency call was to see a swollen eye. Upon examination it was obvious that the horse had a large corneal ulcer, visible with the naked eye. I stained the eye with fluorescein dye, revealing the 4mm ulcer in the center of the cornea. I started the horse on appropriate anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and antifungal therapies, and left the owner with strict instructions to call if the eye was not vastly improved in the morning. It was also due to be rechecked on Monday when my boss visits their barn.

Fortunately the rest of our evening passed fairly quietly. I have come down with a cold of some sort and was feeling pretty poorly by the end of the evening, my husband gave me a triple dose of Nyquil and I passed out in bed at about 9pm. I slept like a rock until 8am this morning, which is something to be thankful for.

This morning I received a call that the owner of the horse with the corneal ulcer was on her way to the barn to treat him, and she was very concerned and wanted me to meet her there. I only live about 10 minutes from this particular barn so it was not a big deal to go check on this horse. He looked a million times better this morning. The eye was held completely open, and he was a lot better for his meds since it wasn’t hurting the way it had been the night before. I treated the eye again, and I am hopeful that the assistant trainer will be able to treat the horse successfully.

We spent the rest of the day out house shopping, I’ll post about that a bit later!


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