Monday, September 29, 2008

When work keeps me from riding I get grumpy.

I have much to write, but I've been really busy. Work kept me from being able to ride my horse for an entire week, and then the one day I was able to ride I found Kaswyn had pulled off one of his front shoes. I was already pretty frustrated that I hadn't been able to ride because of work, but then to finally get out there and only be able to groom my horse really made me want to bang my head against the wall. However, I saw something in his stall that day that made me pretty happy.

Looks like Kaswyn has resumed the Dip and Sip. Just in time for the horse dentist to come out tomorrow. Figures! I'm keeping the appointment, since I want him to check out that questionable tooth, and fix the developing wave mouth that Kaswyn is getting.

Since he's seeing the dentist I rode Kaswyn today instead of tomorrow. Fortunately a week off doesn't seem to have affected him and we had a great ride. I'm thinking that sometime in the middle of next month that I'll call my trainer for a lesson. I'm excited at the thought of a lesson, even if it will be in a small arena!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Wonder Cream

My spider bites were itching intensely and looking very inflamed so I went to my doc to make sure they weren't getting infected. While my doc didn't say if he thought they were spider bites, he said they were certainly insect bites of some kind. He prescribed me a cream to put on the bites twice a day.

I saw a distinguishable improvement after just one night of applying the cream. The itching was greatly reduced as was the redness and swelling. The cream is betamethasone, which is almost identical to the dexamethasone that I gave Kaswyn for his hives (for all you science geeks, the difference being the location of one hydroxyl group). Since I'm using it topically I shouldn't have any side effects, which you can get if you take it orally.

So I'm taking (almost) horse drugs! Well, applying it to my skin anyway. Which reminds me it's time to reapply. The itching is almost, but not completely gone, and I know when I'm ready for my next dose. I have to say this stuff has been wonderful and I'll be sure to use it next time I get nasty bug bites or poison ivy. A must have!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Apparently, I'm delicious

This is a current picture of my stomach.

You will notice a few small moles, but mainly you can see four huge red splotches. I think these are spider bites (at least that's what I've had two people tell me). I haven't been to a doctor, but I'm pretty sure that's what they are. This is not the first time this had happened to me. A few weeks ago I had them on my legs, and about a month before that I had some on my stomach and two big ones on my back.

Craig is not convinced that these are spider bites. He has no marks on him at all, and thinks that I'm getting bitten at the barn. I think if something flew up my shirt and bit me four times, while I was riding or grooming or whatever, that I would have noticed it. He thinks that if spiders are biting me in our bed that he would be getting bitten too. I say that he's probably getting bitten but I just have an allergic reaction to them, and he doesn't.

Either way, these damn bites are extremely itchy, even after I've been using Benadryl cream on them. They take a really long time to go away, too, so that makes it really pleasant. The bad thing is that one of them is right where my bra sits and it gets rubbed all day. I'm sure that won't make it heal any faster.

Damn spiders. I think we're going to bug bomb the house here soon. That should take care of them!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Dip and Sip

Dip and Sip (verb) Coined by either Blair or Cheryl in the 1980's. The action by a horse of plunging dry hay into a water bucket before eating, therefore wetting the hay and fouling the bucket.

I've known many a horse to Dip and Sip. The first one was Blair's (and later Cheryl's) horse Llano. I can't remember if he did it a lot, or even all the time, but I do remember that he'd get his mouth all wet by doing the Dip and Sip and then, outside of his mouth covered in little fragments of alfalfa hay, he would stick his tongue out a little bit and flap his lips to make this flapping, sucking, slurping sound. He would only do it occasionally and it amused us all to no end. That's how he got the nickname of Squid Lips, which morphed into Squidly, and finally just "The Squid".

Wow I just laughed out loud writing that. It's so absurd! But fitting, cause this horse had a great sense of humor.

Anyhow, back to the Dip and Sip. From the very first day I got Kaswyn he did the Dip and Sip. And let me tell you he meant business. This horse stuffed his water buckets with hay. If he would eat all that hay then it would not be a problem, but lots of it would fall to the bottom, uneaten, only to make the water nasty and smelly in just a few hours.

I tried everything to break him of this habit -
I put the hay on the other side of the stall. He dragged it over to the bucket, making a huge mess in the stall.
I hung a hay bag. He dragged the hay across the stall to the bucket.
I put up a second bucket, but he dunked in both.
I wet the hay. He dunked it anyway.

So I gave up and just resigned myself to the fact that I'd have to change his buckets in the afternoon if they were gross. Sometimes they were not that bad, but other times I would get to the barn and they would be foul, stinking and stuffed so full of hay that I would dump it out in one solid mass. The barn staff would see me dumping the buckets and they'd say "We just scrubbed those this morning, I swear!" and I'd say "I know, he's a gross little thing isn't he?" I learned to accept that it made my horse happy to dunk his hay, and that it was probably good for his digestion anyway.

So for fourteen years my horse has done the Dip and Sip. About ten days before the tooth problem came to a head, he stopped dipping.

I thought it was a little weird, but then I figured that maybe we were into a batch of hay that was really soft and didn't need dipping. Then he stopped eating the hay at all and I had other issues to deal with. But when he returned to eating hay he didn't want to Dip and Sip. I was concerned. I find it very odd that a horse would change an eating habit that he's had solidly for fourteen years! I forgot to mention it to the vets, but I'm sure they would just think "Yeah, that's another check mark for the CRAZY column for this broad."

But I know my horse. And if he's not doing the Dip and Sip then something is wrong. The past few days he does seem to be dipping a little hay, but not like he used to. I've been watching his buckets carefully, and the gals at the barn agree that his buckets have little or no hay in them.

I never thought I'd say this, but I wish my horse would start dipping his hay again!

Friday, September 19, 2008

You're not funny.

I've written here before that I work in an In Vitro Fertilization lab. Due to the nature of the work, we are extremely careful about labeling everything correctly so that the eggs get fertilized with the correct sperm. We are also very careful that the embryos get put into the correct patient. There is tons of paperwork and every sample and piece of paperwork has at least two patient identifiers on it, usually name and Social Security number or name and birthday. In the lab we prefer to use Social Security numbers, but the nursing staff uses birthdays. We do this because we have patients who have the same name and we have to be very careful.

Today I was set up to do an egg retrieval. The nurses brought the patient into the room, and asked her to give me her name and birth date. She said (not her real name and birth date) "Jane Patient, August 4th, 1975."

I checked my paperwork. The name was correct, but the birth date on the pre-printed hospital sticker read

DOB: 01/15/75

I stopped for a second and reread the sticker, then looked through her chart and found that all of the stickers said that. This was a problem.

I said to the nurse "Could you come over here for a second?" She came over to look at the paperwork and I said to the patient "What did you say your birthday was again?"

The patient started to laugh. She said "I told you August 4th, 1975, but that's wrong. I was just seeing if you were paying attention. It's really January 15, 1975." She was very smug and happy with herself.

I told her "Okay, really now, you need to verify that your birthday is in fact January 15, 1975." She said yes it was, and I said "We really don't think that kind of thing is funny around here." and the nurse said something like "Yes, we really can't afford to joke around about things like that." The patient just shrugged, still smiling, and she was prepped for surgery.

Let me be perfectly clear. THIS IS NOT FUNNY. Not in any way, not even a little teeny bit. We live and die by double checking that things match up. If they don't match up, we have a problem. Possibly a big one. And for a patient to lie just to test us? NOT FUNNY. If you don't trust us then either go someplace else or don't have IVF.

One time I was doing an embryo transfer and the patient was brought in to the operating room with her husband. I brought my paperwork over for her to sign, and asked her to verify that her name was written at the top of the page. She said "Yes." The husband looked at her and said "No, your name is Lisa!"

I looked at him or horror, and his wife said "Ned, stop fooling around!" and I said "Yes, Ned, don't fool around like that. We don't really think that's funny." He then made a couple of cracks about freaking out the embryologist, and I said "Well, you did, and for good reason!" I said it all in a lighthearted way, but I think he knew that I really was not amused. I know he was just trying to get a cheap laugh, but again, NOT FUNNY.

So leave your jokes at home, people. If I want laughs I'll watch South Park.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

End of summer clinic trip

I went to work on Wednesday and waited for a call from the clinic. They called to say that Dr. R would be late getting there so he might not even see Kaswyn until 2:00 or so. This would be an issue because Trailer Man had to be back at his place at 3:00. I told them that I would call Trailer Man and tell him just to drop Kaswyn off there and if Kaswyn didn't need surgery that he'd come back and get him later. When I told Trailer Man the plan he said that would work for him.

Then I waited for another call, but never got one. I left work as soon as possible and ran over to the clinic. I went to the front office and they said that they didn't think Kaswyn had been looked at yet. They showed me to his stall, and he looked pretty miserable because they had put a muzzle on him. They didn't want him eating anything if they had to do surgery. Poor boy!

Dr. B was ultrasounding a horse's leg when I got there, and he had one more horse to look at before he could see Kaswyn. Also Dr. R was currently in surgery so we'd have to wait for him to finish up. I hung around in Kaswyn's stall for a bit, but then he started to push me around and pester me so I left. I know he was hungry and bored but he got really obnoxious by shoving me with his head (which didn't feel good because it was covered by a plastic muzzle) and almost stepping on me that I just had to leave him alone.

It seemed like forever but finally both Dr. B and Dr. R were free and they went to look at the images. Then Dr. R went with me to the stall to examine Kaswyn. He looked in his mouth with a flashlight for a bit, asking questions about how this all started and what was the current situation. When he was done he said "Okay, I don't think this horse has a cracked tooth or a tooth infection. I don't see any evidence of that on the radiographs, and the physical examination only shows one tooth with a little discoloration, but that would not be causing him not to eat. We won't be doing surgery today."

I was surprised. Since I was told he had a cracked tooth and an infection I had assumed that he would confirm these findings. I asked if he was sure that the images showed him everything he needed to see, thinking that the images might not be that great and they could take more right there on the spot, but he said he could see everything clearly. Dr. B thought he saw something on the suspected cracked tooth (upper right 4th cheek tooth) in the images, and coincidently that's the tooth that has the discolored spot on it. Dr. R was pretty sure that there was nothing physically wrong with the tooth, but asked Dr. B to send the images to a specific radiologist at OSU just to be sure.

Just to see what would happen, they took the muzzle off of Kaswyn and threw him a flake of hay. He went to town, eating like there was no problem. I said "Oh that's great. Look at him make a liar out of me!" Dr. R said "Well, he's probably hungry and would eat even if he was uncomfortable. He doesn't look like he's being that cautious though, and doesn't look like a horse with a tooth problem. I'm guessing that he might have had a little gum infection or sore in his mouth that the doxycycline helped to clear up, and the banamine made feel better. This just cements in my mind that this is not a surgical case, so no surgery for him today." Then they called Dr. R into his next surgery and off he went.

Dr. B stayed behind and we talked about the plan. Since Dr. B doesn't look at head x-rays all that often, he trusts that Dr. R knows what he's looking at, and if Dr. R says no crack or infection that there is probably no crack or infection. As far as pulling the tooth Dr. B is against it unless it is extremely bad. So he said to finish out the doxycycline and just watch him. And if he does anything weird while eating, stops eating, or loses weight, then I'm supposed to call him.

I've decided that if I need to call Dr. B that I'm calling his cell phone and not the office. The cost for those two other vets to come out, scope him, x-ray him, and misdiagnose him was $600. The emergency farm call alone was $125!! I already had a balance from Kaswyn's little splinter episode, so I just paid the whole thing off before I left the clinic. Thankfully, they didn't charge me at all for my trip and exam at the clinic that day.

Not that the trip was free. Trailer Man came back and picked Kaswyn up and when we got to the barn and unloaded him, I asked "So, how much for today?" He smiled a little and said "One hundred dollars." I thought he was kidding, so I said "A hundred dollars? Ha!" and then he said "Okay, well how about seventy-five?" and I said "Oh, um, err. Okay.", suddenly realizing that he wasn't kidding feeling like a real jerk. He explained that it was 120 miles for him, round trip, with the trailer - a trip that he made twice. I had no idea that it would be that much, but he has a diesel and it's going for like $4.50 a gallon or something stupid like that. Like I'm made of money!

The next day I lunged Kaswyn and he looked great. Lots of energy, nice stride, no sign of any lameness or shortness of stride. And it looked like he had been eating his hay, so that's a good sign. I was going to ride him today, but I had to stay home with Pink-eye Macey. The little girl and I had a great day, so I don't mind. I'll get out there tomorrow morning and we'll have a nice little ride. Susan says he's been eating fine since he got home, so that makes me happy. Maybe it was just a mouth sore or gum infection. Still no word from the OSU radiologist, but I'm not as concerned as I was before.

So, let this be the last little bump in our road to Nationals 2009! Woo!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Short on time

I got busy with work yesterday and today I had a kid full of pink-eye at home with me, so I haven't had time to sit and write the outcome of our trip to the clinic. I'm trying to get it done!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Complete change of plans

Going on the assumption that Dr. Dentist at OSU was going to want to see Kaswyn, I started making some calls to see if I could get someone to take Kaswyn down to Columbus soon. Susan couldn't do it because she was scheduled to work every other day, and if the tooth was pulled I already knew that he might have to spend the night there. I called my friend Z, but she was on her way to an event with her horse. She suggested that I call Dr. G and see if he could take a look at him, since his place is much closer than Columbus.

Now, Dr. G is the lameness expert, but he is also an excellent all around vet. And if he'd presented with something that he doesn't think he's the best equipped to handle he will send you to one of the many doctors that he holds in high regard. He is also the co-owner and senior vet at the practice where Kaswyn's vet, Dr. B works. Everyone knows how talented and knowledgeable Dr. G is, including his staff. He is the only one who is referred to as simply "Doc". Many of the vets also call him "Poppa" since he had his practice when most of them were born and they grew up watching him.

His staff isn't the only one who thinks he's the best. I think he's the most trusted vet in the area, and he's always been very nice to me personally. Marge says "If Dr. G told me my horse needed a fifth leg, then I'd go looking for a donor and sew one on." Marge had the pleasure of having Dr. G make barn calls. He has since stopped doing that, and only sees horses at his clinic, where it's always booked. He runs a tight ship, but still has time to sit and discuss every x-ray and answer every last question. And I always have lots of questions.

I took Z's advice and called Dr. G's clinic. I asked the gal who answered the phone if Dr. G saw dental patients. She said that he worked closely with other vets who did dentistry. I think explained to her that Kaswyn was seen by two vets at the practice, that they were going to send the images of his teeth to some dentist, but that it's been a week and I hadn't heard anything so I wanted to bring Kaswyn over and have Dr. G look at him. She put me on hold.

Dr. G picked up the phone. He told me that my horse needed to see Dr. R, who was very good and would be out at the other clinic location the next day (that's today, Wednesday). I asked if this vet did dentistry, and he said yes. Then I asked if he was experienced with dentistry, since you don't need to have a degree or license to do dentistry on horses. Dr. G said "Dr. R was s surgeon at OSU for 25 years. He is the best there is, and I would let him operate on my wife if she needed it." Then he told me to call the other clinic, ask for a certain person, and get it all set up.

Great! The other clinic is much closer than OSU, and with Dr. G's recommendation I felt comfortable sending Kaswyn over there. I called the clinic, spoke to the specific person, saying that I was instructed by Dr. G to call, and got Kaswyn an appointment at 12:00. However, there were two problems. I still needed to get a ride for my horse, and I had to work Wednesday.

First I tackled the trailering issue. Susan was nice enough to ask a friend of hers to take Kaswyn over there for me. Trailer Man needed to be back home at around 3:00, which should work out. Assuming that Kaswyn gets seen by the vet at 12, we should know soon after that if he needs surgery. If he needs surgery then he'll need to stay for two or three days, depending on how extensive the surgery is and how well he's recovering. So if he needs surgery, Trailer Man can just go home. If not, Kaswyn can just go back to the barn.

Then I had to ask my boss for the day off. I knew this would be a problem because we are short staffed on Wednesdays because someone has the day off if they are working the weekend. When I asked my boss said that she wasn't going to be in tomorrow so she couldn't help out, so I couldn't take the day off without really screwing everything up. I told her I'd try and work it out and went to think it over. Rescheduling the vet is not an option, since I was told that he is only at the clinic twice a month.

It got complicated with lots of phone calls and changing plans back and forth, but the final plan is to have Marge go with Trailer Man to the clinic with Kaswyn while I go to work all day. I really really want to be there, but I can't take the day off and I can't afford to get fired over this. I will call the clinic to tell them what the story is and have Dr. R call me to discuss his findings with me. If Kaswyn is going to have surgery I will be able to run over there after work to see him and maybe get more info from the vet if he's still there.

Somewhere in the middle of the arranging I got a call from Dr. B. He wanted to know what was going on with my horse. Now, I had told the two vets last week that Dr. B was Kaswyn's vet and that Iw anted him to know what was going on. Every time in the past week that I've called the clinic I've said that Dr. B was Kaswyn's vet and to please keep him updated. However, talking with him on the phone it felt like he didn't know how Kaswyn was or that I had called a bunch of times. I'm irritated that he didn't seem to get all my messages. This didn't happen when I was dealing strictly with Dr. B and would just call his cell phone if I had a issue. Maybe I just need to do that in the future, because there was obviously a breakdown in communication somewhere.

When I told Marge about it, she said that she thinks that Dr. G called the other clinic and rolled some heads. She has been appalled about how I've been treated as a client, and said that Dr. G will not put up with blowing off a patient. Whatever happened, it worked, because my horse has an appointment with a former OSU surgeon who carries Dr. G's stamp of approval, I've spoken to my vet for the first time since this all happened, and I have good people to take Kaswyn over there while I work so I can keep my job. The situation is as good as it can be, considering Kaswyn might have to have the tooth pulled.

I'll post more when I have more info about what the vet has to say.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Waiting by the phone again

Yesterday afternoon I got a call back from the OSU vet. I explained the situation to her, and at one point I said "I hope you don't get offended by this question, but do you have a lot of experience with dental cases? Because my vets haven't seen many dental cases and I really want someone with some experience to look at my horse."

Dr. Dentist was very nice, and said "Oh I'm not offended at all! It's a perfectly reasonable question, and of course you want the best care for your horse!" She went on to tell me that they don't do routine floats but they do surgical dental work. She said that she could look at the images and decide if she needs to see him or not. If he needs to come down there then they will probably want to remove all or part of the tooth. I told her that I wanted to be as conservative and only pull the whole tooth if absolutely necessary. She said that with an older horse they would want to do as little as possible. If they just take out the cracked part of the tooth he'll be able to go home the same day, but if they pull the whole tooth he'll need to stay overnight. That will make me feel better to have him under observation at a hospital after a tooth extraction rather than have the tooth pulled in his stall and then hope he didn't have excessive bleeding or other complications.

Then I called my vet to have them email the images to Dr. Dentist. The office gal said that they don't email them because the images come out fuzzy. What? Seriously? It's DIGITAL. How could they come out fuzzy? She said they could send a CD. So that would mean a few more days for it to get shipped down there. I told her that Dr. Dentist wanted them emailed so Office Gal said "Oh, okay, well we can do both, I guess. But it won't be today. We'll try and get this done for you tomorrow." Yes, please do.

So now I'm sitting here, hoping that they emailed the images to Dr. Dentist. I'm wondering if I should call and see if they got it done or not. Still no phone call from the dentist that they have supposedly already sent the images to, which makes me wonder if they got sent or received.

I hope Dr. Dentist calls soon. If I have to take Kaswyn down to OSU and possibly spend the night I'll need to start making some phone calls. And take a day or two off of work. My boss will love that.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Getting antsy

After one week and three calls to my vets office, I still haven't heard what the dentist had to say about Kaswyn's x-rays. I'm more than a little frustrated in their cavalier attitude towards my horse's problem. I can't even get anyone to give me the name of the dentist that they sent the images to. I'm fairly certain that it's still bothering him, since I missed a banamine dose on Saturday and when I got there Sunday afternoon he was just nosing his hay around. I gave him the last dose of banamine that I had on Sunday, and he's getting nothing today. I'm guessing he'll need something tomorrow. I guess it will have to be bute, which is okay for a few days but really worries me to use long term.

I called OSU to speak to their surgeon who handles the dental cases. I'm not sure how much dental she does, so I'll ask her when she calls me back. I want to find out if she would look at the dental images or if she thinks she would need to see Kaswyn. If she needs to see him I'm not going to screw around with this. I'm pissed that my horse is in pain and the only way he can eat comfortably is to be on medications that will ultimately trash his stomach. If I speak with the OSU vet and she will agree to see the images I'm going to ask that my vet send them to her. Or make me a copy on CD and I'll send them down to Columbus.

The good news is that Kaswyn is still working fine for me. Bad news is that I'm a dope and I rubbed all the hair (and a tiny bit of skin) off of his nose from riding in the halter. A halter fuzzy and a little bit of zinc wound cream will fix that, but I should have thought of it before I rubbed a sore in my horse's face. Not very smart, I know. Ugh.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Progress, but still in the dark

I've been trying to ride both Kaswyn and Albert four times a week. I thought this tooth issue was going to slow everything down, but riding Kaswyn in a halter has gone very well. Amazingly I'm getting much less resistance from him when I use the halter. It makes me suspicious that this tooth thing has been causing problems for a while. Maybe I'm just imagining it, but Kaswyn seems much more willing to go to the "bit" when in a halter.

Most everything I ask him to do has not been a problem at all. There have been a few little miscommunications on some things, however. Just little things here or there where he thinks I'm asking one thing but I really want another, which I think are due to the fact that he's used to a little input from my hands to tell him what to do. For example, we were coming through a corner and I wanted him to do a shoulder in down the long side. When I turned my body and his shoulders onto the diagonal for the shoulder in he didn't have the supporting outside rein to tell him not to go across the diagonal, and he headed that way. I stopped him, and restarted the trot and shoulder in on the quarter line, which worked out fine.

On the upside, since I can still ride Kaswyn I feel like we're making progress on getting back in shape. Yesterday was the first day that I rode both horses that I didn't fell like I was going to fall over. Sure I was tired, but it wasn't the winded, gasping kind of tired, only the "I just finished riding" kind of tired. Susan watched her horse go and asked what level I was showing hin next year. I told her that she was the owner, what level did she want him to show? She said "Fourth!" I said ah, no, he's not ready for fourth. After four or five moth months he could do first level, but he's not ready for second, let alone fourth. But he can get there eventually.

On the downside (because there is ALWAYS a downside when there is an upside) I still haven't heard from the vet about what the tooth specialist said. I have some questions so I really hope they get back to me on Monday. I called on Friday and left a message but nobody called back. What I want to know is how long could this have been going on? Do we have to pull the tooth or not? If we don't pull it what do we do? Can we do some kind of filling or banding to keep the cracked part from moving around and causing pain? Yesterday I talked to two different people who had or knew of horses with cracked teeth. One person said they pulled the tooth and it resulted in them having to do a lot of mouth maintenance because the missing tooth was no longer there to meet up with the opposing tooth, so the opposing tooth needed frequent filing to keep it in line. The other person said that pulling the tooth was the best solution and not a big deal. So I need more information from the vet before I can decide what to do.

But I do know one thing. I'm not going to rush into this tooth pulling business. I think I went too fast and nerved my horse because everyone was telling me it was the right thing to do. Now I suspect that if we'd just looked a little harder that we'd have found the knee problem and I wouldn't have needed to nerve him. Pulling that tooth is a permanent as the nerving was, so I'm going to make absolutely sure that it's the best thing for me to do.

Does anyone have any experience with this that they want to share?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


The new vet headed out yesterday to take x-rays of Kaswyn's teeth. The firs thing she did was give him a handful of hay and he ate it perfectly fine. She said that was probably because he was getting banamine for the pain and swelling, and also because the doxycycline might have kicked in too. She asked if I thought Kaswyn needed to be sedated, and I said no, he'd be fine.

Well the first time she came at him with the x-ray machine he took two steps back and gave a little snort. The vet tech was holding him in his stall, so I stood in the aisle I told him to whoa. He had his head way up in the air like a giraffe so they were trying to reach up high and take the picture that way. It wasn't working, so finally I stuck my hand in, gave the halter a slight tug, and said "Put your head down."

Immediately my horse did as he was told, and lowered his head to about hip level. they both said "Wow!", and were able to get a few good pictures. After the first few shots Kaswyn figured out that nothing was going to get him, and stood like a bored little statue. I had to tell him to lower his head two more times, but after that he got the drill down. A few times they had the plate jammed up against his head, smashing his eye, and the horse just tolerated it by squeezing his eyes shut. At one point I thought he was going to fall asleep. Such an amazing animal.

It's times like these when I wish that everyone could know my horse and see just how awesome he is. I get comments all the time about how people are shocked that he is an Arabian, how well trained he is, and well behaved. Not only that, but this horse would do anything for me. When I ask, he gives. This is why I will continue to spend whatever I need to on vet bills to keep this boy in the best shape he can be.

Anyhow, the senior vet, Dr. M came by to give advice on the x-rays. She also made a comment about Kaswyn not needing sedation. Both vets agreed that Kaswyn has a crack in his 4th upper right molar. He has either fluid, air, or pus surrounding the root around the crack which is causing him pain. Since they don't do a lot of dental cases they are going to send the films to an equine dental specialist and get his recommendation. Dr. M said he would probably want to pull the tooth, but she doesn't think we should unless it gets very bad, because once you start pulling teeth it changes the geography of the mouth and that could cause more issues.

So the plan for right now is to keep him on doxycycline for ten days, and banamine for five days. He'll get soaked hay and his grain to eat if he can tolerate it. Once he's done with the banamine he doesn't have to be on any pain meds unless he is uncomfortable. As far as exercise goes, I can still ride him but I have to do it in a halter for a while. It's fine with me, since I can actually work him in a halter without a problem. I really want to keep him in shape.

The hope is that the cracked part of the tooth will grow out and fall out. The missing piece will probably never fill in because the crack goes up to the root, so he'll have a little space there. It's not like the tooth is cracked in half - only the back quarter of the tooth is cracked. So he'll do fine with a little piece missing. He does have a small wave mouth developing, so I need to get the tooth doctor out anyhow and deal with that before it gets too bad.

I really don't want to see my bill. Ugh.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Just when I thought I was going to pay off my vet bill...

Craig, the girls and I went away for the weekend, and when we got back I got a call from Susan asking if I could come out and take a look at Kaswyn's mouth. Kaswyn was acting like he had something stuck in the back of his mouth or his throat, like a stick or big wad of hay. I was planning on heading out there anyway, so I left ASAP, flashlight in hand.

When I got there Susan and I took turns holding his tongue and feeling around in the back of his mouth. Neither one of us could see or feel anything. She had explained to me that he was opening his mouth really wide ans spitting his hay out when he tried to eat. I offered him some hay because I w3anted to see what he was doing, and at first he didn't want to take any. But eventually he took a small mouth full and chewed it up. I thought everything was going to go just fine, but then he started opening his mouth, shoving his lower jaw from side to side, and rolling his eyes in his head. Definately not normal.

I called the vet and settled in for a wait, thinking about how high my bill would be. A vet call on Memorial Day would mean an emergency call, so just to have a vet come on the property would be $100. Yikes. And I didn't even get to have Dr. B come out, because he wasn't on call. They would be sending a new vet out, one who had been working there for three months, which is just about the same amount of time that she's had her license.

When she showed up I convinced Kaswyn to eat a few wisps of hay to demonstrate his issue. Thankfully he did the same thing with her watching so she was able to confirm that this was not normal. She sedated him and put in a mouth speculum but didn't find anything, except for a slight case of wave mouth but she didn't think that would cause these problems. She suggested scoping him to make sure he didn't have something going on with his throat, but found nothing there either.

As we were discussing what could be wrong, Kaswyn reached down and grabbed some hay off the bale and chewed and swallowed normally. She said this made her think that Kaswyn might have a tooth abcess, since the sedative also has a pain reliever in it. once she sedated him, his tooth felt better, so now he could eat. She made a call to the senior vet on call, who agreed with the tooth pain diagnosis. Since the new vet didn't have the x-ray machine, she wasn't able to confirm any abcess or tooth problem, but is planning on coming out tomorrow to take x-rays of his teeth.

The plan until then is to put him on antibiotics (doxycycline) and banamine for ten days. Also he will be getting no hay - instead he'll get alfalfa cubes soaked in water. She gave him a shot of banamine tonight and I gave him a bucket of wet cubes, which he really enjoyed. Then he went out with the boys in the pasture.

I am pretty sure we'll find some tooth issue from the x-rays. If not, I might ask her to call Dr. B and get his opinion. I will be paying quite a lot for this, so I want to make sure we don't overlook something. I'm guessing that today's visit will be around $250. Tomorrow I get to add another barn call plus x-rays to my bill. Whee!

Header Image from Bangbouh @ Flickr