Saturday, March 19, 2011

Almost Spring at Back Acres Farm

The last narrative on March 3 talked about taking a young horse for surgery in Rheinbeck, NY., and how the owner was beyond anxious for the horse - feeling like a horrible father subjecting his trusting dependent to elective surgery which would make no sense to the horse, etc. The story got a lot more interesting, actually. The boarder got several urgent phone messages from the vet the next day - unfortunately when he couldn’t take the calls - and the messages were simply scary - “Call me NOW”, and “Please call immediately”. The boarder instantly leaped to the worst conclusion, of course - the horse was dead. Actually what happened was that the surgery began as planned - to do a standing surgery in stocks to remove the undescended testicle under local anaesthesia - but the horse could not be safely sedated enough to tolerate the stocks. So Plan B was implemented - that of general anesthesia (less desirable because draft horses apparently don’t do very well with it). They began the surgery, located the missing testicle and attempted to draw it out, and it wouldn’t come. So in went the little camera to see what was up, and there was a TWENTY POUND TUMOR in there, tangled up in the doings. So large, in fact, that the fluid with which it was filled had to be drained out before the tumor could be removed. A routine surgery turned into a five hour surgery under general anesthesia - not at ALL what was planned for. And it was a plain miracle that this enormous tumor, attached at one end to a sort of cord, had not wrapped around a bowel yet. Which would certainly have happened soon, and when it did it would have looked like a very serious colic episode and/or bowel obstruction. This in turn would have meant a horse in agony having to be trailered for a minimum of two hours on an emergency basis, rather than what did happen. It seemed clear to us that the horse’s Higher Power was yanking on his human’s Higher Power’s sleeve, saying DAD, get me some help, please! It’s the only thing that explained the boarder’s weird rush to surgery for his horse, in spite of the fact that he actually did not want to castrate him.

The upshot is that the horse had to spend a week in the hospital with pretty serious incisions to deal with, and now needs up to two months of absolute stall rest at home. He is tucked in to the new barn with an outside window and his best friend next to him by day....the window between the stalls has had its bars removed so they can play Face - which they do. At night his other friend is next door, and it’s working pretty well. The incisions look really good, and a full recovery seems quite likely: what a satisfactory outcome, calloo, callay!!

Other than that - gosh it’s muddy. My weekday barn help has the happy facility of liking to play with water - so there are little berms and swales snaking around all the barns sending water here and draining it there, in a mostly successful attempt to keep the water out and away. Every year we tweak things more and the barns are less at risk - even this year, the watery incursions have been minimal. Life is good.

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