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My Weekend with the Vet


I love my vet.  His name is Michael Ridlen and he is fabulous.  He works just as happily with cows, horses, goats, llamas, alpacas, sheep.... you name it, he's comfortable with it.  OK.  I'm not sure about condors or boa constrictors but I think he would be fine with them too.  He is full of facts and figures and has lots of experience.  He shares his knowledge and experience with me as a client but he does something else that I really appreciate.  He will give me his opinion when I ask for it.  Sometimes the options are obvious to me but sometimes what I really need is "If this was my dog, I would do this...".

All of that being said, I spent way too much time with him this past weekend.  Paxton, my youngest goat and the one most likely to get sucked down by parasites, hasn't been doing very well.  We had the best vet-tech ever, Stephanie, come out and pull fecals on all the goats, llamas and alpacas a couple of weeks ago.  Most everyone was fine but Paxton and Orion needed to be wormed.  Orion took his worming like the grown-up goat he is and has been out in the pasture happily ever since.  Pax, on the other hand, just didn't bounce back.  He was slightly lethargic and wasn't eating well so I've kept him in the barn.  He's been getting thinner and thinner and obviously wasn't very happy. 

So Saturday morning I called the vet to see what I should do.  We discussed all Pax's symptoms and Dr. Ridlen decided he was having a bad reaction to the worming.  It can happen when all the worms in a goat's gut are killed at the same time and get flushed en mass from the goat's system.  There can be sores on the inside of the gut which are painful and not eating or drinking enough is a common reaction.  I drove over to Dr. Ridlen's house and picked up some steroids for Pax and started giving him Vitamin B complex.  I went to bed on Saturday night feeling calm and happy - Pax was getting what he needed and would be better soon.

Sunday afernoon I was sitting on the studio porch and I heard a noise coming from the pastures.  When I looked up I saw Jazz, Peggy's Welsh Pony on the ground and Steele, my Welsh Pony in the adjoining pasture having a hissy fit.  Horses do lie down so that's not necessarily an indication that something bad has happened.  I watched for a few minutes and then walked over to make sure everyone was OK.  Jazz got up off the ground as I walked through the gate but he looked liked he had been tranquilized.  He looked very unsteady - like he wasn't quite sure where his feet were.  And there was blood coming out of his left eye.  Well, crap.

I verified everyone was breathing and ran to call the vet.  After examining Jazz, Dr. Ridlen determined he had jammed something long and narrow  into his eye socket - he scratched the underside of his upper eyelid - and in the process of getting himself off whatever branch impaled him, managed to fling his head into something really hard.  He looks like he was hit with a baseball bat!  By the time the vet arrived the eye was hugely swollen.  Once the swelling goes down we will know if there was permanent damage to his eye.

The course of treatment is pretty straightforward - one medication in the eye once a day and antibiotic ointment in the eye as many times a day as I can manage, ideally 4 or 5.  Ice on the eye would help keep the swelling down.  Sounds easy enough although "some horses resist this procedure" as Sally Field says in Murphy's Romance.

Sunday evening I went out to treat Jazz and feed the horses just as it was starting to get dark.  No sooner had I walked through the gate and gotten a halter on Jazz than a storm blew in.  It was immediately dark as pitch with the wind howling, lightening striking over and over again, thunder booming and torrential rain.  Jazz was freaking out.  He couldn't see out of his horribly swollen eye and all in all he'd had a pretty rotten day.  I didn't want to turn him loose and have him run into anything in his panic so we walked into the horse shelter.  I had a strong grip on his halter and spent about 45 minutes rubbing his neck and telling him it was all going to be OK.  Of course, it was.

After the storm blew itself out I walked Jazz back to the gate and turned him loose.  The storm brought us 1/2" of much needed rain.  That's a good thing although a nice soft gentle rain for a couple of hours would have been easier on both Jazz and me.

I felt like I had spent the entire weekend with the vet.  I'll bet he felt the same.  Now we have a couple of days off - until Friday that is, when our new kitten Pedy goes back to the clinic for the last of his kitten shots.