Yesterday I was about to give up on ever owning horses. Yesterday I was worried that I’d have to make the same decision with Pistol that I made with Piney just a few short months ago. Yesterday was an awful day that thankfully ended well.
We had noticed that Pistol was lame on his left hind before we went to my husband’s hometown on this weekend. He is and older horse so we figured that maybe he just strained himself, or was sore from kicking at flies. (Nothing works for keeping flies off of him! NOTHING!) So I wanted to give him a day or two and see what he looked like. When we got back, he was worse. Like way, way worse. He was not putting any pressure on it, he had heat and swelling up in his stifle, he was hopping around on three legs and he wasn’t moving very far or very much. He was creaky and cracky sounding and it just didn’t look good. So I called the vet first thing yesterday and the vet came out in a couple of hours. It was a new vet that I hadn’t used before, but I have to say that of all the vets that I’ve had come out and look at my horses he is my favorite. I like when vets can make you laugh especially when you are freaking the f out.
He looked at Pistol and asked some questions like if Pistol and Duke get along and how long he’d been limping. He took a look and started feeling around his stifle area and said that it felt very, very strange. He also said he’d never seen or felt anything like it before. Awesome. He also said that he had been dealing with strange things lately. Like the camels at the zoo he was working with. He’d never worked with camels before but they had him out there to look at them. But X-rays were needed to figure this out. He thought that maybe the patella had slipped, or that maybe there was a fracture. He couldn’t be sure until he got the x-rays back. He was very interested in what was going on so he said he was going to shoot 5-6 x-rays but would only charge us for 2. He said he tried to get the portable x-ray machine and bring it out to the farm, but someone had already booked it for a pre-purchase exam. I laughed and said “what the heck is a pre purchase exam?” Because obviously I’ve never had one done on any of my horses. He gave us the okay to trailer Pistol to the clinic and we could get some better answers there.
I we got Pistol loaded into the trailer, but it took a bit longer than usual. At times like that I am thankful that our trailer has a ramp. Getting him in there was easier because of it. I am also thankful that he trailers so well. We got him settled in and it’s off we went. We live about 15 miles from the vet so it’s pretty nice. When we got to the vet he unloaded quietly and for the most part as easy as he could. Even with a horse tied to a trailer FLIPPING OUT. The horse was climbing onto the trailer’s steps and fenders. I have no idea who would let their horse freak out like that. But not my place to judge I guess. We got him inside the clinic. And the vet started feeling around and said “it looks like it’s fixed itself”. Ummm what? So all it took was a trailer ride? He had another vet come over and take a look. That vet was the one who worked on Piney when he was last there. She is a specialist in horses gastro systems as well as their legs. She said that things didn’t feel so incrediably weird but they were weird. But more than likely his strange conformation had something to do with it. They took a few x-rays and found out that nothing was wrong. Which was a relief but then they took x-rays of his hoof. Sure enough we found the problem. An abscess caused by a nail puncture. Obviously when he said that I feel like a big ass. But he said I could sweep the farm for nails, every single day for years and it still could have happened, It’s just the luck of the draw. He had the same problem when he lived on his grandpas farm. So he cleaned up the foot, and got the abscess to spew puss all over. The vet did have to block his foot and twitch him while the did that. But other than that he got a big gold star for being a great patient. The vet tech said that most horses need to be tranqued when they get x-rayed even when they are as lame as Pistol was. He just stood there like a champ in a strange and unfamiliar place while they poked and prodded him. When the vet was finishing up the vet said that we had a pretty great horse on our hands. I like hearing that. It’s the third time I’ve had someone tell me that about him.
We soaked him in warm water and Epsom salts, and then they put a baby diaper duct tape boot on him. Which is still think is pretty funny. That a vet’s office uses baby diapers to wrap a horses foot. Like there is nothing else that has been invented specifically for that purpose. I’m sure there is, but it just seems funny to me. By the time he was soaked and booted up he was feeling 10 times better. He was even walking on his foot. It was such a relief to be bringing home a loaded trailer. I was pretty sure that we were going to be bringing an empty trailer home with us. I know that sounds extreme for something like a hoof abscess, but if you would have seen him yesterday morning, you would probably have the same thoughts as I did. He looked like he had broken something up in his knee/hip. The fact that he was 3 legged and hopping mixed with some Google induced hypochondriac thinking I was not thinking positively. We had to look deeply into the issue and even though Pistol was a fantastic horse he is old. If he had popped something out of socket and it was going to be a reoccurring event was that something we wanted to put him through often? If he was going to be in pain all the time, was that any type of life for a horse? I am just glad that it was something easily fixable. The vet sent us on our merry way with instructions and a great big smile. We asked if we had to do anything special like put him on stall rest, because we do have stalls, but they are currently a tack room and a feed room. We told him that our horses are on pasture 24/7 and he said that is the absolute best life for a horse. Which if you would have asked me a few years ago I would have fought you to the death that having a horse stalled at night was the best life for a horse.
By the time we got home Pistol was doing even better. Which is such a relief! I’ve never been so happy to see a horse walk on all 4 hooves!
So I am one happy horse mama. The bill was huge but not as huge as I thought it was going to be. I just have to start stepping up my photography gigs to start paying for these beasts! Which luckally I have been lucky enough to be hired by a few different people lately. I’m loving it, but it’s keeping me busy!
Oh and one more funny story from yesterday my cats totally freaked out the vet tech. She said she would see one nearby and then it would disappear, and she’d see it further away almost instantly and that kept happening. She couldn’t figure it out, until near the end when they were getting ready to leave and she saw all three in the same spot at the same time. She thought she was going crazy. It was pretty funny.