This weekend was definitely a roller coaster for me. It started off really great; I got up very early Saturday morning and loaded the horses up for a trail ride. We met some friends for breakfast and took off to this absolutely beautiful trail right off the Brazos River.
It was just a weird morning to start with. One of our friends horses broke lose while saddling and ran out in the middle of the highway, while trying to catch him, my horse decided to start tossing her head until she eventually managed to toss her hackamore (it’s a type of bridle that doesn’t use a bit, for those of you who don’t know anything about horses) up over her head, somehow breaking the throat latch (which is designed specifically to keep this from happening). So here I was with absolutely no way to control my horse and she was on a mission to get this trail ride started. My step dad finally heard my pleas for help and managed to catch up with me and fashion a makeshift throat latch and I once again had control. We had a few more issues on the trail, caused mainly by my mare who decided that being on the trail with three geldings was the perfect time to come into season, geldings may not be able to do anything but when a pretty mare is winking at them, they still go crazy!
I was so excited about this trail from the beginning. It was lined with bluebonnets and wildflowers, the trees hung over the trail, there were hills in the backdrop, and you could hear the Brazos just on the other side of the tree line. It was an absolutely beautiful ride.
Sadly, it got cut short because as we got about a quarter of the way in we found that all of the recent rain had caused the river to rise just enough to cover the trail. The ground leading up to the water was just too boggy for us to risk getting a horse stuck so we turned around. It was sort of bittersweet for me. I was happy that I got to go for a couple hour ride, but just disappointed that we didn’t get to finish it out. But there’s always next time!
I returned home to find that my demon dog, Winston, was very sick. He had been acting very puny the night before and I actually had my mom take him to the vet that morning since I was on the trail. The vet looked him over, gave him some fluids and medication and sent him home.
The fluids and meds must have helped him out a little because he seemed to bounce back some during the day Saturday however, when I woke up yesterday morning he was feeling bad again, this time the vomiting from the previous day was coupled with issues coming out the other end.
After church, I brought him to my parents’ house so I could keep a close eye on him. This is where he seemed to get sicker and sicker until finally I resolved that he had to go to the Animal ER. I was terrified that he had Parvo even though he is current on his vaccinations against it and Parvo typically attacks puppies and dogs under a year old. Since Winston is 19 months old, it would seem unlikely.
The parvovirus is a nasty little critter and I’m actually pretty familiar with it. We had a puppy die from it when I was young and after that I became very interested in it began researching everything that I could about it. I actually used this gained knowledge in later years to write a thesis for my animal science major.
Because I know how nasty Parvo is, and because I know how horribly rough the treatment is on a dog, and the fact that even with treatment they rarely survive, I had told myself that if Parvo was the culprit, I would have Winston humanely euthanized. I just couldn’t put him through that torture.
The vet agreed with me that Parvo seemed highly unlikely in a vaccinated dog his age and determined that he had a disease known as Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis, or GTE. This disease mimics the symptoms of Parvo, bloody vomiting and diarrhea, lethargy, and dehydration. The vet seemed fairly optimistic that it was treatable with IV fluids and hospitalization. At this point, I’m pretty sure I heard a scream come from inside my purse; I later realized that this was the sound of my checkbook having a heart attack.
I left my little demon with the vet last night, called twice to check up on him and was told both times that he was doing great. I went to sleep last night feeling better about things and knowing that when we picked him up this morning he would be fine however, I just heard from my parents after they picked him up from the vet and they were on their way to my normal vet because it seems he took a turn for the worse last night. I went ahead and came to work this morning because I was convinced that he would be okay and my step dad was going to be home all day to keep an eye on him.
Now my mind keeps going back to my original fears. What if it really IS Parvo and the emergency vet just didn’t catch it? I’m sitting here waiting for them to call me back and let me know what is going on, I feel helpless.
On a happier note, we added a new member to the horse family yesterday!
My mom had pretty much sworn off horses after she caught the raw end of “pecking order” debate between two mares which resulted in a kick to the head, a week and a half in the hospital, a shattered jaw, and a few broken ribs. She wanted nothing to do with them and the only horse I could even get her to pet was my Cheyenne.
I can’t completely blame her for not being crazy about horses after what she went through but we have been trying to get her back in the saddle for some time now. Some friends of ours, the same ones we went with this weekend, had this mare that was dead broke and would have been perfect for mom. Sadly, we didn’t know that they were selling her until they had already sold her to someone else we knew.
As fate would have it, the original owners of the mare got wind that the people they sold her too were not caring for her properly and they worked it out to where they were willing to sale her to us. We went to get her yesterday and were disgusted by what we saw.
First of all, you can tell that she definitely needs some weight put on. This could be because when asked what they were feeding her, the husband answered, “half a scoop of senior feed a day.” That’s just not enough to keep a horse healthy, this is a 1000 pound animal and you are feeding her 1.5 pounds of food a day? I’m pretty most people eat that much or more a day themselves. To top it off, she had absolutely no forage made available to her.
Secondly, she has a nasty gash on her leg that obviously is about a week old, even though the guy tried to tell us that it “didn’t look like that last night”. I didn’t get any pictures of that because we immediately medicated and bandaged it as soon as we got home. I don’t think it’s a horrible wound, it does have her lame for the moment now and my step dad is on his way to the vet with her now to have them check it out.
I just don’t understand how people can do something as senseless as harm an innocent animal. For those of you that don’t have the pleasure of owning or being around horses, the bond you get with them is completely different from any other “pet”. They have very unique personalities and each one has something special about them. However, just like dogs, they constantly aim to please and once you have earned their respect, they will be loyal to you till the end. They truly are amazing creatures.
I’m excited to get her up and running and hopefully get mom back in the saddle but even if that never happens, rest assured this old girl will retire fat and happy out in our pasture.
Meeting the Crew