Today has convinced me that if I ever did want to be a large animal veterinarian I now do not. It is so not my calling. Not that I really ever thought it was but now I feel even more convinced of it.
The vet came out to check Sinatra and see if she could tell if his lameness is starting to subside. The plan had been that he would get a lameness check and see if he could go out in turn-out again. I hadn't cleaned his hooves since last Friday and then they seemed a little softer than usual, but I've also never dealt with a barefoot horse so other things were unusual like his frog sluffing off and that looked horrendous to me, but is apparently normal. Today when I was cleaning his feet they seemed really soft so I asked Dr. H. to check all of them first. And sure enough he has thrush. Ugh. Bad foster mom. But what was more upsetting is he has an abscess in his front left foot (which is the one he was limping on the worst) and thrush so bad in his back left foot that it started bleeding when I cleaned it. Which would explain why he tried to kick me when I cleaned that foot. Which ended up being nothing compared to the rest of the afternoon.
So, while Dr. H. was getting the supplies to clean out his feet and then soak them in epson salts I was convinced I was a horrible, negligent foster mom and she was going to have to call the rescue and tell them to take the horse away from me. Luckily, a couple other people in the barn assured me that horses get thrush and abscesses without being horribly neglected. So, of course I told Dr. H. that I was afraid she was going to have to tell the rescue I'm a bad foster mom and she scoffed at me and said I'm doing fine. Still, I feel bad that I was not able to recognize the thrush sooner. The abscess I can forgive myself because that was harder to find, but even though I've read about thrush I'd never seen it in person. At least now I know what to look for.
Cleaning out the abscess was a major pain in the butt for Dr. H. Sinatra is not too keen on having his feet messed with to begin with but having them messed with when they hurt was definitely awful for him. I spent a lot of time petting him and talking to him but he doesn't know me and trust me like Girlfriend does yet so it wasn't that effective, I don't think. I have found a place near his forelock that if I massage it, it will calm him down for a little bit though.
Then it was time to go in the washroom and soak his feet and of course, he balked at the washroom and set us back at least 20 minutes. After trying a variety of things he finally when in when Dr. H. pulled out the big guns and swung a lead rope behind his butt and he finally acquiesced. Getting the Davis boot on to soak his foot was a bit of an issue which almost sent Dr. H. flying a few times. After she got it on and filled it with water we both left the wash room - her to put away some stuff and me to get something (I don't remember what) and Sinatra completely freaked out. So, I went back in to calm him down. I was surprised, he was rearing and thrashing about, but the minute I walked back into the stall he calmed right down. He kept looking at me with these wild eyes but his breathing went back to normal and he sighed a couple times.
Dr. H. came back with gauze, epson rub and duct tape and showed me how to put the epson rub on his foot and where to put the gauze and how to wrap it. Sinatra was being a bit of a butt and trying to pull his foot away, but then things went crazy when Dr. H. started ripping off pieces of duct tape. After the first piece he tried to pull his foot away, but she didn't want to drop his foot and get the bandage wet (and have to start all over again), so he started kicking his back feet and yanked his head away from me and spun himself around so that he was pinned in the corner with his right side against the front wall and his butt smashed up against the side wall of the wash room. So, Dr. H. smashed her body against his so he was pinned against the wall and I grabbed his halter to hold his head down so he wouldn't rear and he shook and kicked the wall while she finished wrapping duct tape around the bandage on his hoof. That's when I thought, "Surely someone is leaving this situation bleeding ... it could end no other way!" But it ended just fine with none of us bleeding or even broken (thank god!). It was one of those situations where massaging his forelock and talking quietly too him really didn't seem to help much. Although maybe it helped a little. When I could reach his forelock when he wasn't pulling his head away and flailing.
After that we let him rest while Dr. H. took a break to go get something and I stayed in the wash room with him and let him play with the duct tape and kept tearing pieces off to show him the sound wouldn't hurt him. By the time Dr. H. came back I was standing right next to his hind leg pulling pieces of duct tape off over and over again and he didn't care anymore. We expected wrapping his hind leg to be much worse but in fact it was much better since he knew by then the duct tape wasn't going to hurt him.
Dr. H. said, "He'll probably behave better for you," but I am dubious. I'm not looking forward to changing out his bandages tomorrow. I'm thinking of taking my friend, Scientist-Girl for moral support because she doesn't have anything to do until she has to present a paper in the afternoon. I have permission to wait until the farrier comes out as long as it's not more than two day but since I haven't heard back from her today I fear she might be out of town. And I have to change them out Thursday at the latest. I will check on him in the morning, check the bandages, wash off the other two hooves and see if they look like they should be changed or if I can hold off until Thursday. I also have the worst headache tonight because all that set off my strained muscles in my shoulder/neck strain. But some naproxen and a heating pad should take care of that. And hopefully I'll be back to normal tomorrow.
I went for my six week check-back today with my doctor about my shoulder/neck strain and she was very happy with the improvement since I was last there. I also got the results of my annual physical blood test and everything is working perfectly and all my levels are perfect. So, that was good news. It looks like both my and Sinatra's stall rests are just about over!
So, once Sinatra gets some EasyBoots to keep his feet dry he can start going out on turn-out again. After some investigating it looks like the main cause of thrush is because he always pees in one spot in his stall and then he stands in that spot. So, turn out is going to be better for him. After his big ordeal with Dr. H. I took him outside to eat some grass, then let him out in the first paddock by the barn which was totally dry (and dries out faster than the pastures because it's a bit elevated and has amazing drainage). He seemed very happy and only jumped and bucked a couple times. Then he went over to talk to the horses in the pasture next door and walked around and stretched his legs and even had a nice long roll. He seemed a lot happier when he got back to his stall.
For my relaxation, I picked up my daughter and went straight to a cafe in town where my friends meet weekly to do art. Scientist-Girl and her daughter were there too so the kids ran off to look at comic books and us adults sat around and talked and drew pictures and had a lovely time. I'm practicing drawing horses for my project I want to do - portraits of rescue horses that hopefully someday will be good enough to sell with the proceeds going to local horse rescues. Right now I'm just working on pictures out of horse magazines. Here's one of my rough practice starts. I've been playing around with water colors and I don't actually know what I'm doing. But I figure it can only get better.