Archive for the ‘Vet visits’ Category

Started the day with vaccines today. By and large, no problem.  Jax was more concerned about the fly spray.

Dakota was a bit fussier. Not naughty; just has been a little needle-shy since all the injections during our breeding attempts last year. And HATES the Strangles vaccine, which goes up her nose. Good news is, just like last year, she blew it all over me, so looks like I won’t get Strangles either.

AND…Jax took treats! Woohoo! Finally found one he likes. Broke it into small pieces (we’ve been adding little bits to his food to get him used to the taste), and today he took a few from my hand.

We’ve also been getting used to the Jolly Mega Ball. Not afraid of it at all; just not sure what to do with it.


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OK, I have all of the immediate needs taken care of:

1.  Rope halter with lead for training work

2.  Mare and Foal feed

3.  Irresistably cute apple ribbon polo wraps

4.  Stall name plaque

5.  Shipping boots

OMG, this is seriously like having a baby.  Given all of the gear I’ve accumulated for Dakota over the last few years…be afraid.   Be very afraid.


Poor Sir Richard, Jax’s dad, had a really rough day yesterday.  The farrier and the vet were there to do his feet, and the proud, largely unhandled, newly gelded guy freaked, despite sedation.  They were able to address a badly cracked hoof, but that’s it.


Gerda’s Animal Aid is now strategizing for the best way to address his training needs.  I know they’re going to get him the best help they can, but I’m sure it’s going to be expensive for them.


If you would like to donate to a good cause, please consider helping them with their work.

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Several weeks ago, my father-in-law brought his (relatively) new girlfriend to the barn to see my horse.


So I go to get her, and from 10 feet away, the smell nearly knocked me over.  She had this revolting, greenish stank snot that smelled like absolute death.  Needless to say, I warned them off and they looked from a distance.  Had them pet a couple of the others I knew they could pet, and dealt with Ms. Snotty.

Oh, was it gross.

Called the vet, who came out and said that she had a split tooth in her upper jaw, which had abscessed into her sinus.  Solution?  Take X-rays to be sure, but –

  • Best case, remove the tooth at the barn, for several hundred dollars.
  • Worst case, remove the tooth at the clinic for a couple of thousand – they’d have to make an incision, drill into her sinus, and tap it out from above.

Now, I’m not the type to begrudge my horse health care, but I’m not the type to allow having her face drilled through, either, without a second opinion.  I told the vet I wanted her looked at by a horse dentist.

Enter my hero.

Equine Dentist Ron Ross takes care of several horses at the barn, and I lucked out when I called him.  He said he was in CT the next day, and could rearrange his schedule to adjust to my work schedule and come and see her.  Amazing.  Ron’s worked with the Budweiser Clydesdales.  He works across the country, and is a really busy guy, very much in demand.  I was thrilled that he’d move his schedule around to see her.

After a little while, he said that in his (non-medical) opinion, it wasn’t split – the lower tooth had a ridge, and the upper one had simply grown around it – so it appeared to have split!  The pressure from the lower tooth had pushed the upper against the upper jaw, irritating and causing the abscess.  Cause?  Poor floating (prior to my owning her).

He worked on her teeth for a while – just floated them with some extra attention to the problem area.  I was fascinated watching him work.  He has a wonderful way with horses; Dakota was as relaxed as I’ve ever seen her.  No sedation, no power tools, and she just let him do whatever he wanted.  Good horse, and a great dentist.

And best of all, no further problems.  And the final bill?  $140.

Most impressive, he called to follow up and see how she was.

Can’t recommend him highly enough.

UPDATE: Ron came out for Dakota’s 6-month follow-up. The tooth still has a pocket, but is not split. He floated her teeth, and she’ll be staying on a 6-month schedule until we’re sure the tooth isn’t at risk of splitting (which can happen if that pocket gets too big). Kota was, as usual, well-behaved, although a little more feisty than at the last visit. Just a touch of Spring Fever.

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Take Two:

The vet “short-cycled” Dakota a couple of weeks ago for attempt number two.  Short cycling with horses means the vet gives them prostaglandin, which basically tricks the system into going into estrus more quickly – i.e., right back into heat for you, horsie.

So, we give the shot, vet comes out last Monday, we plan to breed for Wednesday, get the shipment, vet comes back, and in defiance of all natural laws….my horse ovulated the day before.

Missed it.  Can’t breed.

To say that I was disappointed is a distinct understatement.  But it happens.  Took me a few days to figure out what I wanted to do.  Talking with the woman who is going to co-own the foal with me, we came to the conclusion that we would give things one more shot – only this time, Miss Dakota is going for a ride to the vet’s farm.  She’ll be moving out there this weekend, with a planned short-cycle and breeding the week after. 

If the breeding doesn’t take this time, I’m done for at least this year, and likely permanently, since I don’t want to risk overtaxing her system.  But we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

Think happy thoughts…think happy thoughts…think happy thoughts…

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Round Two

The vet came Friday, and gave Dakota an injection to induce estrus.  Fancy way of saying she had insta-period, complete with cramping, etc.  I was not there, but I was told that she was not amused.  My riding instructor was there, and texted me to tell me she was not particularly well-behaved for the shot.  She has been a little tweaky about injections lately, after the week she had a shot a day.  I’m not surprised.  And come on, she had her entire period in about 15 minutes.  No wonder she was cranky!

Anyway, we are looking to breed her again next week.  The plan is two inseminations, the second  a couple of days after the first.  I should have more news towards the end of the week. 

Keep your fingers crossed for us! 

This morning, we had a nice, leisurely ride on what was a beautiful day, with the new bridle I bought from Shipshewana Harness.  Nice folks.  I had originally ordered their XL draft size – but Dakota has a REALLY large head, and it didn’t fit.  Shipped it back and they made me a new one specifically to her measurements.  Fits beautifully, and was a good price to boot.  Thanks Shipshewana!

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Dang It.

Vet came this morning to check on Dakota – not pregnant.  Darn. 

We’re going to try again; he’ll check her next week to see where she is in her cycle.

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Breeding Day!

 Wednesday April 13th – Breeding Day. 

Horses are bred using either live cover or artificial insemination.

  • Live cover – a mare, a stallion, a little light music.  Live cover means that the mare and stallion are bred the old fashioned way – with the addition of several people to make sure neither gets hurt.  And they can get hurt.  A number of calamities can occur during live cover breeding.  For the mare, this can include:  vulval separations, bite injuries or injuries from the stallion’s hooves, vaginal laceration or vaginal rupture (which can be fatal).  For the stallion, well, they can…um…fall off.  There’s also “false entry” by the stallion as a possibility, kicking injuries… 


  •  Artificial insemination has several different variants.  Some involve sedation or surgery; others involve a pipette and a syringe.  We went the non-surgical route.  This can be accomplished using either frozen or cooled semen, shipped to the mare’s location.  For Dakota and Gran Casso, we’re dealing with cooled.


Romantic, eh?

All went well with the breeding; I’ll spare you some of the gorier details.  Suffice it to say, it involved some poop, some surprised glances from Dakota towards her back end, and one very long glove.

Yes, that's what you think it is.

The plan was to breed her again the next day, but that got derailed by a slight complication – Dakota developed fluid in her uterus.  It’s not uncommon when breeding.  Dakota’s getting treated with some SMZs (Sulfamethoxazole – basically, it’s Bactrim) and Oxytocin (which is injected).  This means that the second breeding didn’t take place, but the vet thinks we’re in good shape.  He checked her again today, and there was much less fluid, so now all that remains is to wait two weeks until we see if the breeding took!  Stay tuned…

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