Thursday, May 8, 2008

Spring Is Bursting Out

It’s such a relief to have a quiet rainy day. My garden is exploding with gorgeous flowers. The dogwood, the lilacs, the lily of the valley are just going wild this year. The pollen levels are at an extreme high, leaving a thin yellow and white film over everything. So, it’s no wonder that two nights ago, Siete had another one of her allergy attacks.

Both horses have been so itchy, and the gnats are still attacking with a vengeance. The worst time is at sunset. Tuesday night, Siete was sneezing and rubbing her nose and her butt. I thought she was going to knock the barn down. After washing her nostrils and putting aloe on her behind and her belly, I called the vet again. While waiting for the vet, I put Vaseline all over the area around her tail, which gave her some relief. Since this wasn’t an emergency, it took quite a while for the vet to call back. My regular, favorite doctor just left the practice because she is having a baby. So, this was a vet that didn’t know my horses, and I was really grateful that he agreed to give Siete some dexamethasone without coming out to see her. Even more, I appreciated that he offered to let me run over right away to pick it up.

So, at nine o’clock at night, I drove to the equine hospital to pick up the medication. I realized when I got there that I was wearing my pajamas. There was only a vet tech and a barn full of sick horses, so no one noticed. I can;t get over how lucky I am to have a place like this so close to my home. As I drove down the pitch black country roads, I briefly considered whether it was crazy that I would jump in the car and race over so late to pick up the dex. Then, I thought ,”Hey, what else can I do?”

Siete slurped it down in some bran mash and molasses. I considered giving it to Silk too because she was so itchy from the gnats, but I just did the wash and aloe routine again with her. By eleven o’clock, all was calm, with only occasional sneezing, and we went to sleep. The next day, I gave my little horse a second dose of dex, and I also gave one to Silk. I spoke to the vet again and we decided that if the itching continued, we’d try some hydroxyzine, which is an antihistamine. Meanwhile, I’m also soaking their hay and changing the bedding in the stalls more frequently to make it less dusty.

The baby birds hatched in the nest above Silk’s feeder, so she’s hanging out at the back of her stall. She instinctively seems to know to give them some space. The girls also like to stand in Siete’s bedroom in front of the fan. I was realizing how glad I am that it’s only a ten second walk across my backyard to check on the horses. I’ve been hanging out with them more now that the weather is warm. Thinking about what’s causing Siete’s distress, I am once again confronted by how many mysteries there are in horses, as well as in life. The longer that I live with my horses, the more accepting I become of the notion that there’s not an answer to everything.

While watching Silk as she ate her breakfast, I was thinking again about how the turning point in our relationship came when I stopped trying to “fix” my horse and just began to see who she really is. I am finding that the same thing is true with my mom and her problems. Here’s the reality: I can’t “fix” anything with anyone. All I can do is try to see them for who they really are. And enjoy the smell of the lilacs and lily of the valley.


M. C. Valada said...

Poor horses. I remember too well spring in the east, which left a layer of light-green pollen all over everything.

I do miss lilacs. The one's I've seen out here in higher elevations don't have the same scent as those with which I grew up. I see forsythia, but rarely lilies of the valley (highly poisonous, as I recall.) We had a bed of trilliums outside our house in the Catskills. How they got there is anyone's guess, because they were considered wild flowers and not cultivated. Of course, the house was about 90 years old when my parents bought it, so they may have been indigenous.

Grey Horse Matters said...

The smell of lilacs is one of the best smells in the world to me, and lily of the valley are also one of my favorites. I'm sure the girls will be fine with their 'itchies' and the medicine will help, things should settle down shortly. Go pick a bunch of lilacs and bring the smell into the house. It will make the humans feel so much better.

Callie said...

Hope the girls manage through their allergies soon. All of our flowers are blooming like mad now too. I have nearly a dozen lilac bushes. Love those things.

Strawberry Lane said...

Thank you soooo much for the pictures of my favorite flowers ... lilacs, lily of the valley! Makes me think of the huge bouquets both my mother and grandmother had sitting around on the tables. The air smelled so beautiful and fresh.

Too bad about the allergy attacks. You are so lucky to have such ready vet care!

I'm sure you looked glamorous in your PJ's!

coymackerel said...

I use Omega Horseshine for my horses' coat and hooves and have heard that it's helpful for allergies - can't speak to that as my horse doesn't have allergies, but might be worth checking into. Website is

detroit dog said...

You're a good mom to your girls, and a good daughter for your mom. I think they all know it.

Pony Girl said...

I can relate to your itchy girls. Even though My Boy seems to be better, he was still rubbing his nose on his tree tonight, shaking his head at the bugs, and coughed a little on the lounge line. Like you said, there are mysteries with horses and we don't always understand what is going on with them. It is frustrating because our nature is to be motherly and we just want to take care of them. Regardless, I know I need to relax, breathe, and know that most of my worries are about non-emergencies and my horse will be okay! Thanks for reminding me of that.
Love the flowers...I swear I can smell them now! ;)

Rising Rainbow said...

My horses aren't having any allergy problems yet but boy I sure am.

I got a chuckle at the thought of you at the vet's in your pj's....sounds like something I would do.

Your flowers look lovely. It's still too cold here things are way behind schedule.

LJB said...

I wonder if any of the itching is due to a mite that falls out of the nests of some barn-nesting birds. Sorry I don't recall which bird or the name of the mite. I can tell you ALL about how much they itch though! I am very allergic to their bites. My husband doesn't get a reaction at all. One of my horses gets lumps on his neck from the bites and scratches like crazy. The others don't.

I hope they are feeling better soon. I love your insight about being with versus fixing... at some point might that extend to your horses' itchy state? I know it's hard to watch them so uncomfortable in the here and now, but I do worry about the later effects of the steroids and antihistamines, etc.

It took my body close to 10 years after I moved to Maine to adjust to black fly bites. Those first few years I got hot lumps that lasted a week and often fever as well. Now they hardly ever bite me.

There are some feed through products as well for reducing palatability of horses to biting bugs -- bite free or something like that?

Here I go, trying to help you fix things! *g*

We are some weeks behind you in spring blooms. Trees are just starting to leave out -- I love the soft appearance of landscape as that happens.