Funny how something as simple as a vet visit can set you on a high. Well, it does me, when things are deemed good and all the questions I had written on my list were adequately answered. Plus, once again, I learned a few things. This particular vet is strictly an equine vet. We're lucky to have him. He does alot with local breeding programs and power dentistry. He's a local "boy" who worked at the University of Kentucky and at the Lexington horse farms before returning to his home town. I decided after the choke incident, with Spirit, that maybe it was s good idea to try to stay on Dr. R's client list since it's difficult to get any of the other vets in the county to come out on farm calls.
The main reason for the vet call was that I have put off giving my two horses their vaccines this year. I usually do it in May, myself. This year though, I don't know, I just decided I wanted a vet to do it. Then the weather has been so bad with storms and rain, I kept putting off calling Dr. R. Then I decided since I had the vet out here, I was going to make good use of his knowledge and add to mine. I've learned alot over the past six years, but there's always more.
I keep a notebook on my horses. I log their de-wormings, vet visits, farrier visits, any problems I run across with the horses in general, how I dealt with it, what worked, what didn't and hay purchases. I was able to show Dr. R when I gave the vaccines last year and what they were. He was fine with the vaccines I'd used, which I bought from one of the local vet clinics, but said he was adding the West Nile to it. Well, I can openly admit, I actually thought I'd been giving West Nile but he told me it came in a separate injection. So, I learned that the vaccines I'd asked for at the local clinic which were 5 in 1 did not have West Nile. That was an eye opener. I knew what they had in them when I bought them (East and West Equine Encephalitis, Equine Rhino, Equine type A2 viruses and Tetnus) but didn't even think about WN and "assumed" it was covered. Sometimes it does pay to have a vet visit once in a while to get educated.
After the injections were given I started asking him my laundry list of questions and concerns. Oh, actually, it wasn't that long of a list but since I had him there I was going to hit him with them. One thing about Dr. R, he enjoys explaining things. I told him about Spirit's choke incident. Once again I was reassured that most choke events take care of themselves. He advised me, if needed, to use water into the mouth to help the horse salivate so the food, or as it was in this case, hay cubes, can soften and the horse can then swallow. When the episode is going on, the horse is still trying to swallow. Dr. R said he hasn't run across any serious scarring issues. He told me he hasn't run across a case of choke where the horse hasn't been able to handle it, but there are always those cases where the obstruction may not be food. He just hadn't run across one yet.
From that point I told him that I was pretty sure Spirit needed his teeth floated because he was exhibiting some of the signs: dropping food, turning his head, and I thought the choke incident may have also been and indication although part of that was brought on by him being startled from behind when he was trying to grab a few cubes from Bo's pan. I also mentioned that Spirit was drooling in the evenings. Now this was something I thought was part of a teeth problem but Dr. R told me that right now white clover has developed a fungus. The horse eats the clover with the fungus and it in turn irritates their mouth. He said the drooling would probably last a week or so then I wouldn't see it anymore. It's nothing that affects the horse in any way, other than the drooling short term. Makes sense because the drooling happened in the late afternoons after I'd brought the horses in from their grazing field. I never saw Spirit do it in the mornings when I was feeding, brushing or preparing them to go out. Mystery solved.
I made another appointment to have Spirit's teeth floated next week. After that, we should be good to go for a while and I know I'll feel better.
Dr. R also eased my mind on Bo's weight issue. I was shocked at the amount of weight the big boy had lost over winter. He looks good now but I'd never seen him that skinny in the six years I've had him. He's always had plenty, probably extra, meat on him. I showed Dr. R a picture of Bo when I first brought him home six years ago. He laughed and said "He looks pregnant" Yeah, that's how fat Bo was because he'd come from a big open pasture home where there was more than enough to eat. Dr. R said he knew of many horses who'd lost extra weight this past winter because we'd had a pretty cold one. He said horses in our area cannot keep weight on through January and February no matter how much they're fed because in very cold seasons their bodies are busy trying to keep them warm. So, I felt better about that knowing I didn't do anything to cause it. He told me he prefers to see a horse on the thin side anyway because it's easier on the joints especially on big boys like Bo.
I felt satisfied when Dr. R rolled out of the driveway. I looked at the receipt and even though it was more than my last doctor appointment I had a sense of relief that we were all in good health.