"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Monday, February 6, 2012

What Do You Do With a Drunken Pony?

The last time the farrier came out, he was unable to trim Rosie's back hooves. Rosie, remember, is my rescue shetland, who has some sort of abuse in her background and is absolutely terrified of having her feet touched.

With much patience and gentleness, my wonderful farrier (Glenn Hallberg of Broken Bit Farms) was able to get to a point where he could trim Rosie's feet with a minimum of trauma. He patiently forbore being kicked in the shins and knocked down into the mud. The last several times, in fact, Rosie was acting almost normally, just needing to be cross-tied.

Then for some unknown reason she went bat-shit crazy. It might have been that she had had a touch of laminitis and her feet may have been a little bit sore. Then again, we had had to cancel a couple of appointments and were running about two weeks behind schedule, and her feet were quite long. Maybe that was it. Also, it being the dead of winter, Rosie just hasn't been handled a whole lot lately and she gets skittish when I don't groom her regularly.

Whatever the cause, Glenn and I tried for over an hour, but those back feet were not getting done. I eventually made Glenn stop for fear he might get injured. She's a small pony, but she can kick like a mule. We decided we would have to have the vet come sedate her.

Both ponies have been in high fettle lately - might be the turning weather, I don't know, but they have been kicking up their heels a lot lately. On the morning the vet came, it took her ten minutes just to get the shot into her, and it was purely a "grab-and-stab" intramuscular injection. No way to fiddle about with an IV.

After fifteen minutes of Rosie prancing about not noticeably affected by the drugs, with the whites of her eyes still showing all around, the vet said "looks like I'm going to have to bring out the big guns." Fifteen minutes after that, we had a pony who was stoned out of her gourd. She stood quietly with her head hanging down and a fine string of drool hanging from her lip. When Glenn lifted her back foot, she didn't seem to notice, but she did list dangerously to the left.

Except for having some trouble staying upright, Rosie offered no resistance at all, and the vet and I decided it might be a good time to make an examination of her teeth (need work ) and also to irrigate her tear ducts, because she has chronically goopy eyes and the vet says they are caused by blocked tear ducts. Did you know that a horses tear ducts open into her nostrils? If you look inside her nose, there is a small opening on the ventral surface of the nostril which is the terminus of the tear duct. The vet used a small syringe to shoot saline up through that duct until it squirted out of Rosie's eyes.

Rosie didn't give a crap.

The most difficult part of the whole event was trying to get Rosie to walk back into her corrall. Her front legs kept crossing and I was pretty sure she was going to go over like an overloaded ferry boat. But no: weebles wobble but they don't fall down. She made it back. The funniest part of the afternoon was watching Poppy check out her mom. She walked up and sniffed her, she whinnied, she nudged her with her nose. Then, a calculating look came into her eye, and she lowered her head and began to nurse.

"Poppy!" I yelled, and threw a clod of dirt at her. "Cut that out!" Poppy is almost three and hasn't nursed in a year. But obviously, she hasn't forgotten, and she must have realized her mama was in no shape to stop her.

Rosie is fine now - trimmed feet, de-gunked eyes, and up to date on vaccines and boosters. But this is not a sustainable solution. The vet's bill was $415. That's an entire year's worth of the farrier's bill. That's an entire year of hay, for all the animals. I can't afford to do that again. In fact, if my husband reads this post and finds out what it cost, I am going to be a load of trouble.

I did ask the vet if she could prescribe me something to put in Rosie's feed before the farrier shows up. "My sister's dog takes valium before he goes to the vet," I said, "And so do I before I go to the dentist. Don't they have valium for ponies?" She hesitated, and then said "there aren't any really good options."

Okay, but are there any options that are better than giving her up as a bad job and sending her to the dog-food auction???


Laura said...

You can give shots, right? Get your vet to issue you a shot - whatever it took to take her down. Then, you do it. Way cheaper.

I had a Haflinger mare with a seriously blown hock. It was very painful for her to have her feet done because she couldn't bear much weight on that leg. My vet gave me a syringe of Ace, and 20 minutes later, she was snoozing, her feet got done, and I helped keep her upright...

If your vet won't do that, get another one. Every vet I've worked with, once they have a relationship with you, will give you stuff like that (you pay for it, but they let you get it "to go").

Hope said...

Thank you Laura, I will ask.

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