We have been in the throes of it...again. Hopefully it is over now. I never want to see Pigeon Fever again. It is no fun. It is gross. It is painful for my horse and for the Man in Charge's wallet. Well, I will actually have to defer on the latter because I haven't gotten the bill from the vet yet. The good or bad news of it, it hit the same horse again. The consensus is that it never actually went away the first time.
Public Service Announcement: If you find yourself having to deal with Pigeon Fever...insist that your vet do a sonogram of the area before lancing the abscess. It is the only way to truly know the size and orientation of the fluid. Things drain down. If you lance above a pocket of fluid, it will heal and then return later. This is a lesson you do not want to learn on your own.
Once again, at the onset of the issue, we had no idea what was going on. All I knew was that my horse was refusing to walk and she looked off on her back end.
For you city folks, that means she was walking funny on her back legs.
In a panic, not even having pigeon fever on the radar, remember funny on the back end? We called the vet out. It took us a few minutes and then the Man in Charge realized our error. Upset and relieved, the vet prescribed an ointment to be applied 3-4 times a day to draw the abscess to the surface. Keep this up and let him know when it was ready to open. This lasted three days. She was in so much pain she would not move. I called the vet out again, a younger one came this time, and guess what he did? Yes, he drug out the sonogram and took a look. It was a huge pocket and it was very deep. We lanced it, and I use the term "we" loosely, then he looked at me and said, "I hope you aren't squeamish?"
I now know to run for the hills if this man ever says this to me again.
I replied, "No, I'm not squeamish. I'm pretty tough, and I have done some things others may feel are a little gross." I had no idea what he wanted from me. If you have a weak stomach and you do not have horses, you may want to look away. Stop reading now! Just shut down your computer because you can live without this knowledge. If not, you have to understand that it is very important to keep the abscess open until the infection is all the way gone when you are dealing with pigeon fever. If the wound closes too earlier, guess what happens? You will get it again. Considering this was my second go round with the ol' pigeon fever, I did not want to take any risks. So, I pulled my big girl panties on, and asked what I needed to do?
This man looked at me in all seriousness and said, "Come hell or high-water, you are going to have to glove up twice a day for ten days, and stick your finger in this hole." I wish I was kidding. I took the medicine he prescribed and wrote down the dosage and the directions. I wrote down all my instructions. I swallowed really hard. Then I told myself, "Okay. You've got this. You can do this thing." The first time, the thing that I did not count on...the way it would feel. This made me more than a little ill. I then begged the Man in Charge to take turns with me. He seemed anything but eager to agree. Then on second thought, I told him I would take the first five days because I was certain we would reach a point where she was going to try to kill me. Looking back, he didn't agree or disagree. By the fourth day, I did it that morning, but it took a long time to get up my nerve. That night, I begged him to do it. I mean begged!
His exact words,
"I ain't doing that."
"Not doing that."
she needs it?
"She'll be fine. Enough is enough. Only so much you can do. I ain't doing that?"
I was shocked. I know I stood in the barn with my mouth open just looking at him forever.
"I ain't doing that."
Needless to say, no one did it that night. I managed one more morning, then that evening she tried to kill me. That was it for me. I scheduled the vet to come back out. I was very honest with him. I simply explained that I suck. I tried, but I couldn't make it. He laughed. Then, he went in there and gave it a try. She tried to kill him. Guess what he said?
"I think we are going to give her some tranquilizer."
The long and the short of it...the antibiotic shot I had been giving her once a day can cause irritation in some horses. While her chest was hurting, her neck was becoming very sore as well. Every time I touched her chest, she raised her head causing extreme pain. I will never give her that medication again. She can't handle it. The good news, he said I did not have to do that any more. Thank you, thank you, Lord. He also thinks we are over the pigeon fever. Hopefully. We will have to wait and see. If you are of the praying sort, please say a prayer that we are over the pigeon fever? Pretty please?
The even better news, I had him x-ray her feet while he was here. I wanted to at least get my money's worth on this trip. My poor little foundered mare only has minimal rotation in her feet now. Like, not enough to say anything is wrong. Like, no more orthopedic, crazy expensive shoes. Like, she could work. Like, we made it through a year of hell and it all worked out. I can't believe it. I really don't feel like I have celebrated this moment yet. I won't feel like I can until I get the pigeon fever out of here, but it is worth celebrating. She still has a controlled diet and will have to watch her weight, but don't we all?
Yippee! One crazy year of hoping she would make it, and here she stands!
With pigeon fever, but still standing!
As if this mess wasn't enough, during this whole event the Man in Charge was not feeling very well either. So much so that he wanted to go to the Doctor.
What? I don't know about you, but if a man says he would like to see a doctor, you better make that happen right away.
As we were sitting in the lobby waiting for our appointment, we started talking about different tests and procedures he had had done, and when did they take place? Well, being older like we are, we can't remember crap anymore. The Man in Charge recommended that we start writing all this stuff down in a book. We actually have a book in the barn that we write down all the horse's information in. Like that antibiotic that I will never give my mare again. It is a good idea if you have large animals to keep those records because your vet is not going to pull up with a their medical records on his truck. It is also a good idea if you have a lot of medical things going on in your own life, and you see various doctors for various things, to keep a book for yourself. I had no idea we were at this point in life, but I guess we are. I did not know that we needed a book yet.
"My horses have a book. Why can't I have a book?"
It did however make me realize a point about the horses and their book. When I started the book system back in the day, we had all four horses. When our old stallion died, I wrote everything in the book. It was a little upsetting to grab the book to jot down worming schedules or shot records for the others and see his last day staring me in the face. I managed though. When we had to put our old mare down, I wrote down all the information leading up to and her last day. I have not opened that book since. I started keeping all the information on my computer. Problem with this, computers crash and there goes all your stuff.
Now, as we were sitting in the doctor's office waiting for our appointment, the Man in Charge was discussing how he needed a book. The horses had a book. Why couldn't he have a book? I took this moment to explain to him that I felt like we had made an error in our book management. I felt like all the horses needed to have their own separate book, so when they die, I can take their book and throw it in the file cabinet and not have to relive it over and over again.
This did not go well.
He is convinced that this is what I will do with him.
Having a book - great idea!
Talking about sensitive subjects at inopportune times - no bueno!