Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My horse's big vet appointment

Today was a big day, and I mean a BIG day. The vet came this afternoon and saw my horse, as well as two other horses at the barn. It was a long appointment, and an exhausting day. And since Panama went last, I was there for the duration.

All three horses got their teeth done. All three horses got vaccinated. All three horses got dewormed. Panama and the other gelding got their sheaths cleaned. And — well, no, that's a surprise. You'll find out later.

Panama's examination was actually at the end, but we'll start with that first, to preserve the surprise. The vet said his weight was perfect for summer, which is a relief because I actually thought he was getting too fat. Good to know he's not.

Interestingly, the vet thinks he might have some Paso in him — either Peruvian Paso or Paso Fino. The breeder had said he was Arab and Paint, and I saw his mom so I know she certainly looked Arab. And the vet said the flightiness and the tail flagging definitely suggests Arab blood. But perhaps my little mystery horse is part Paso, too.

Of course, the vet did say that because of his history of malnourishment and stunted growth in his first year, it would be difficult to say for sure. I wonder if there's a genetic test I can have done?

He also cleaned Panama's sheath, but was only able to get it about two-thirds of the way done on just the drugs from the teeth floating. He said it was good enough to make it until fall, and wasn't worth me paying the extra for the "horse Viagra."

And of course, vaccinations were done today. The vet gave Panama his West Nile and Rhino-Flu vaccines, and will be back in a month to give him his Eastern and Western Encephalomyelitis. In the fall he'll get Rhino-Flu again (it only lasts 6 months) and a booster for the Eastern and Western Encephalomyelitis. Then next year he'll get Rhino-Flu and West Nile in the spring, and Rhino-Flu and Eastern/Western Encephalomyelitis in the fall. My vet says he gets a much lower reaction rate that way, not to mention a much more effective vaccination against West Nile.

The vet also gave Panama his wormer. I could have done it myself, but I figured why not — the vet only charges $20 for a double dose. I noticed that Panama gave the vet a harder time than he does when I worm him. Method, perhaps — I always put my hand over his nose, talk to him, and wait until he's calm before I put the syringe in his mouth, whereas the vet held him by the halter and just went for it. Panama has more control over his head that way, and let the vet know how much he resented the dewormer!

And finally, the teeth. Panama's first teeth floating actually went pretty well. The vet sedated him, used a headstand and a contraption to hold his mouth open, and fancy battery-run power grinders that looked and sounded rather like gigantic versions of my dentist's drills. His teeth were sharp in places, but not as bad as I feared, and he didn't have many sores inside his mouth. The whole thing didn't take very long, and Panama took it like a champ.

At one point toward the vet was using a file to do the top forward-most molars by hand, and noticed that the rasping sounded different in one place. He took a peek, and guess what he found?

My horse's wolf tooth

A little bitty wolf tooth! I didn't think they came in this early, but he said he usually pulls them when he gelds a young horse, so boy was I wrong! Panama only had the one, and it was tiny, which is probably why it's never seemed to bother him. But I had the vet pull it anyway while he was in there. No sense paying for all that sedation a second time to have it done later!

Yes, I kept the tooth. (I have one of his baby incisors, too.) And yes, that was the surprise. I think it's neat, particularly that it's so tiny — only the white part at the top was above the gums.

So that's it — Panama's biggest vet visit ever, and possibly one of the longest and most exhausting days I've experienced in quite a while!

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