Friday, May 28, 2010

Panama got his shots and Mozart colicked

Panama has his shots and spring checkup this morning, and the vet has sent his blood away for his Coggins test. It was a hot morning for a vet visit, and I'm pretty sure I'll be sunburned from standing out in the sun talking to the vet.

One of the first things the vet said when I brought Panama out was, "Is he growing?!" He is the fourth or fifth person who has said that. I actually checked a week or two ago, and with the tape it looks like he is just shy of 14.2hh. Assuming the tape has been correct in all instances, he was just shy of 14hh a year ago, so he has grown about 2 inches in the past year. However, I suck at measuring with a tape, so I'd like to stick him and get a precise measurement — if I can get my hands on a stick without having to buy one!

The vet said Panama is looking great, and his teeth don't need to be floated again until fall. (He had his teeth floated last spring.) Panama tolerated the mouth exam pretty well, stood like a champ for the shots and the blood draw, and even permitted the quick exam of his private parts (the vet said I just need to get some more of the crusty stuff off; I did a quickie sheath cleaning myself about a month ago, but focused more on beans than the crusties).

Mozart's owner was originally going to have my vet look at his teeth; he's had a hard time gaining weight, and his owner doesn't know when his teeth were last done — she isn't even sure her parents ever had it done. She had to work, but my vet went ahead and took a quick look anyway, and said they did need done.

Ironically, after my vet left Mozart's owner got a call from the barn's owners: Mozart hadn't gotten up for his breakfast the past two mornings, and they were worried that something was wrong. They were thinking he had an ulcer, but he has a history of colicking at the drop of a pin, so his owner got the vet out right away. Turned out he did have a partial impaction; the vet tubed him, and his owner had him moved into a box stall for the time being, so that she could monitor his water intake.

The vet that came, however, told her that his teeth don't need done — she said he is just skinny because he is old (21). I kept my mouth shut when Mozart's owner told me this, but I couldn't help but feel frustrated — I trust my vet's opinion, for one thing, but I also don't buy into the attitude that horses just get skinny when they get old. I think old horses get skinny because they have some sort of medical condition that is not being treated, whether that be teeth, diet, or something else. In this case I very strongly believe that her horse needs his teeth done, particularly since she doesn't think it has been done at all in the last 8 years, but I've already done all I can do to point her in that direction.

Sadly, Mozart might end up leaving us — not the barn, but the corral where Panama and Daisy are kept. I'm disappointed because I really like Mozart, and I think the three of them do well together, but I also have to admit Panama will probably do well no matter who he is with. He is just that kind of horse. And in any case, I am just glad Mozart is okay — today could have been so much worse.



At May 29, 2010 at 5:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Horses don't have to be skinny because they're old - they're skinny because they need to be fed specially due to changes in their metabolisms and digestive systems and aren't getting what they need due to ignorance. Skinniness can also be a sign of endocrine issues, such as pituitary or thyroid, which can be treated. A horse in the final stages of a terminal illness like cancer will be skinny, but otherwise it's not a given - that's just bad information. As you know, we've got a lot of seniors at our barn, including two over 30, and we manage to keep them at a good weight.

At May 29, 2010 at 11:41 AM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

Kate, your old gentlemen are some of the ones I think of when people say a horse is just skinny because they're old. I know from your posts that it takes a lot of work to monitor their eating habits and watch for signs of disease, but how successful you (and others I know of) have been is downright inspirational. What irritates me most about this is that it was a vet who told her he was just skinny because he was old -- a vet ought to know better, in my opinion.

At May 29, 2010 at 3:55 PM, Blogger Reddunappy said...

Boy I wouldnt use that vet again, sounds real old school, sad in an "educated" professional.
Old horses do not have to be skinny! even toothless old horses! Inorance is no excuse for a skinny horse. Our old mare is 25, I have put her on Purina equine sr, and she is fat! she acts like she is 10! When her condition started changing because of age it took me some trial and error to figure out what she needed, she has it now!

At May 30, 2010 at 6:17 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

Pam, it wasn't my vet who said that but I agree with you, I wouldn't use her again either if I were Mozart's owner! But I think she is going to follow that woman's advice, probably because it's the easier course of action. Poor Mozart, I feel so bad for him. He's also not losing his winter coat very fast, so he's hot and skinny.


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