Friday, August 22, 2008

It's Almost Official


That wasn’t so easy, was it, Siete? My poor little horse was very lame today when the vet showed up. The vet tried to lift Siete’s front right leg, and my girl squealed in pain. Today, the worst leg was the back left. Siete just wasn’t going to let the vet look at her hoof to see if there was an abscess, so we decided that things might go easier if we sedated her.

There was another vet who was observing or visiting or something. Neither of these women could find Siete’s vein in her neck. They poked and poked the needle into her, and she got more and more upset. I got upset too. Finally, after so much poking, they got a vein on the other side of her neck, but it took two of us to hold her down. Even with the sedative, she fought having the vet hold her back foot. I suggested that it was because the other legs hurt so bad that she couldn’t support herself. The vet agreed and decided that we should just start the doxy and call it a day. She said it was the worst manifestation of Lyme Disease that she’s seen. Of course, it's taken five days for her to get here. The blood test should be back next week, so we’ll know more.

My horses have never been afraid of the vet. They are really good about everything, but all that changed today. My guess is that the next time Siete sees this vet, she’s going to be very unhappy. I’ve had it happen with my dog a few times before. The vet couldn’t find the vein, and it made me really freaked out when it happened. They just kept poking and poking the needle in, and I kept suggesting that they try a different place on the animal’s body that wasn’t so difficult, and they got annoyed, and I got mad. The vets that I’ve loved just know how to do it right every time, no drama.

Tonight, I mashed up 40 doxy pills in the grinder, mixed them in vanilla yogurt, added salt, Stevia (a natural sweetner) and a little molasses. I filled two syringes, dipped the tips in sugar, wet a washcloth and stuck a few bits of carrot in my pocket. My routine is that I give Siete dinner, leave her halter on and lock the stall door. Then, I offer her a bit of carrot and clip the lead rope on. I use the stall door as a brace between us. She knew exactly what I was going to do since we had done it twice a day for 30 days last fall. She objected a little bit, but let me jam the first syringe into her mouth and squirt the gunk down her throat. She twists her head, and there’s so much soupy liquid to swallow. It gets all over me and the barn too. I wiped her mouth with the wet washcloth and quickly shoved the other syringe in. Afterwards, as I cleaned off her mouth and my arms and the stall door, I suggested to Siete that there was another way we could do this.

I pointed out that her mother just eats the pills, coated in molasses mixed into her food. I asked Siete to open her mind to how much easier it would be for the next 29 days if she would try to do what Silk does. The perverse truth is that she enjoys this crazy drill. I could tell last fall that she missed it when I stopped doing it with her. I have to admit that it is a bonding moment between us when she lets me squirt the disgusting sauce into her mouth. I’ve tasted a tiny bit and it is really bitter and gross, even with all my attempts to disguise it. Maybe tomorrow, I’ll explain to her that if she wants to bond with me, I can come up with much more pleasant ways to do it. Maybe she’s a little older and wiser and she’ll listen.

12 comments:

Jen said...

I'm so sorry Siete is in so much pain. It's so difficult to watch our babies hurt, but when my son was in cancer treatment, I thanked God I had some relief for him and was able to provide some kind of comfort. Those pills and other meds do more than relieve the pain of our loved ones; I believe they are a lifeline for us as caregivers to feel as if we have some kind of power over the problem. In most circumstances in the world, as we look at our 24 hour news cycle, we are impotent to help the ones we see suffering, but when it's right out our back door or in the other room, we can be very powerful to heal. Maybe we can only heal emotional suffering, but we can heal in some small way. Good for you that you've found a routine that Siete understands and recognizes...and I think it's often the case that a new and closer bond forms in times of crisis like this. Here's to hoping your bond grows as close as the one you share with Silk. :)

Victoria Cummings said...

Thanks, Jen. I think that my horse's discomfort pales in comparison to what your family must have gone through with your son's cancer treatment. But I appreciate very much what you are saying and I think that a person's belief in the ability to heal can help make it happen.

Janet Roper said...

Hi Victoria,
My heart goes out to you and Siete. Sending you both
Peace & Harmony,
Janet

Ewa said...

Dear Victoria,
I feel so sad when I read it...

Victoria Cummings said...

Ewa and Janet - I guess that I'm so used to people and animals having Lyme Disease around here, that I take it as something unfortunate, almost unavoidable, but not as serious as other possibilities could have been - like laminitis. I'm grateful that no one else in my family has this problem. It's almost a miracle that we've lived here for this many years and not had more tick bites. It's so common among horses here that most people don't think it's anything if a horse has Lyme Disease. It appears that what makes my horses react more to the bites is that they lack the built-up immunity that a horse who is born in the Northeast has to it. Now that SIete is on the antibiotics, she should be feeling better very quickly.

Trailboss said...

Poor baby. I'm sure she knows her momma is taking care of her but still it's gross! I have a lot of trouble worming my daughter's gelding, we my daughter and I do. I also have a mare that has to be sedated to be shod. She has a nasty scar on her cornet and I suspect she is tramatized by that injury. My farrier though is great and really works with her. Despite his cussing a blue streak (he is just that way....a potty mouth!) he keeps working w/her each time to try to get her used to being shod. She is a 7 yr old Morgan so she should have a long life ahead. She'll probably outlive me! The last time he sedated her he had the same trouble finding a vein but that is because she is a bit overweight!

I am so happy to meet you. Found you through Grey Horse Matters. I can't wait to tell my brother about you. He is a gay man living in Houston. He will be very pleased to meet you as well, especially with your work with AIDS awareness.

Hop over to my blog if you wish. I post pics of my granddaughter, my 2 boxers and my 2 horses.

Grey Horse Matters said...

I'm sure the doxy will start to help Siete soon and she will begin feeling better. It's so hard when they won't take their medicine. It's like having a child who spits it at you and there is no way to explain that this is going to help you, so just take it. They always give you a hard time even when you're trying to help.

Mrs Mom said...

Come on now Siete, listen to your Mom and your Human Mom! They know of whence they speak;)

Sure hope she feels better SOON Victoria.

We had a client horse who had EPM AND Lymes at the same time. Lots of very expensie treatment later, she was healthy and sound again. We trimmed her for a few years, and they relocated to another state. But last I heard she had no relapsed, and was going strong.

This is what I am going to hope for your lovely lady- that she kicks this in the tush, and does not relapse!

Give her a rub from us~

Carolynn said...

Poor little girl. I'm so sorry to hear that she's been suffering so much. All the positive energy swirling around her, combined with the medication should help her soon. I don't know a thing about Lyme Disease, but it sounds very nasty.

Saddle Mountain Rider said...

I guess i didnt realize that Lyme disease was so prevalent. I hope she gets better real soon. It's hard to watch our equine family in pain.

LJB said...

Oh, dear... you really think Siete enjoys the battle? Gosh, you even use the word "jam" it into her mouth. I feel sorry for both of you!

I do hope you'll try mixing the pills with a teaspoon of cinnamon and putting it right into her grain -- no dinner first, then this conflictual routine. I think what happens is that the cinnamon which has a bitter flavor itself, must disguise the bitterness of the medicine. I wish we lived closer as I would love to help you two find a softer way to do this particular dance...

I sure understand what it's like to want to protect your horse from a vet... Because the horses feel our vibes so keenly, it makes it extra hard on everyone when things aren't going well.

I'm going to hold the vision of you and Siete enjoying this hand to mouth contact. Sure, it will still be messy, but only in terms of goop that doesn't get into her mouth. Best to you in this unfortunate situation.

Won't your neighbors let you get guineas? "Look, Ma -- no ticks!" *g*

Victoria Cummings said...

LJB - I will try the cinnamon with the pills. What she does usually is carefully pick around the pills and eat everything else. "Jam" is what I do, but only because Siete opens her mouth to let me after much twisting and head shaking. If she didn't want to let me, there's no way I could open those steel-trap jaws. My neighbors had guineas - briefly. The coyotes ate them. Having any fowl here is like opening a deli for the foxes and coyotes.