Friday, May 16, 2008

My horse's spring vet visit

Today my horse had his spring vet visit.

The barn's owner set up a "spring vet clinic" with her vet, and six other owners (including me) joined in. As a result, each of us only paid a five dollar trip fee — but some of us (like me) had to wait quite a while to be seen.

Here are the various outcomes of Panama's spring vet visit:

Vaccinations: I am switching over to this vet's suggested schedule, which reduces reactions to certain vaccines by giving the West Nile and Rhino flu vaccines in the spring, and the rest (along with the Rhino flu, which only lasts six months) in the fall. Panama got his spring vaccines today, and he'll get the rest in three weeks (so that he'll still be covered, but won't have a reaction from getting them all today). In the fall, he'll get a booster to keep him covered all winter and put him on the spring/fall schedule.

Teeth: Panama has never had his teeth floated, but the vet said he usually doesn't do horses under three, because their teeth are changing so quickly. He said in the fall I might consider having his teeth floated, though.

Deworming: The vet was out of dewormer today, but that's okay because I can worm my horse myself. The vet wrote out a deworming schedule for me to follow from now on.

Sheath cleaning: Male horses, but apparently geldings in particular, usually need their sheaths cleaned once or twice a year to prevent dirt from collecting and forming painful "beans." I asked the vet if he would clean Panama's sheath, and after feeling around a little up there (ew), he confirmed that Panama needed it. So he gave Panama a shot of something he called "horse Viagra" to make him drop his penis, and then scrubbed it all clean with warm water. He did find a couple of beans, so Panama definitely needed the TLC!

I wonder if Panama's girlfriend will be impressed?

General health: At first, the vet thought Panama looked "a little wormy" (meaning he thought my horse had worms) because his belly was so big even though he was slightly underweight. After I explained Panama's history, though, the vet changed his mind. He said that sometimes when horses have their growth stunted (as Panama's almost surely was in his first year, since his mother was underfed while nursing him and carrying another baby at the same time), their intestines grow to the same length anyway — so Panama's belly is probably housing intestines that were meant for a bigger horse, which is what gives him the round-bellied look.

Despite Panama's round belly, the vet said he was slightly underweight, because his ribs were too visible. He told me to triple Panama's grain, from two cups a day to six. I'll probably start by doubling it, though — I have noticed that he's dropped some weight lately, since I've been riding him more often, but prior to that his weight was holding pretty steady with just two cups a day. Besides, since the pasture is now turning green, my horse will have plenty of extra grazing every day!

I've found my new vet! I had a different vet out last fall, when Panama banged his face and it swelled up like a grapefruit, scaring the crap out of me. However, there were things about that vet that bothered me, so I'm glad to have discovered one I like better!



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