You know, the one with a massive bottle of bute in their purse. Thank goodness they don’t do drug searches at work. (Actually my boss knew what I was going to pick up at the vet in Cassopolis at lunch, and the Museum Advisory Committee member who was with him when I said I was going happens to own horses, too, so she understands.) Three days on it, 2gm/day, and see if he shapes up, the vet says.
Why the bute? Well, in part, he seems to have dinged himself in the pasture. The BO called on Sunday, I think it was. I was still at my parents’ place, so I couldn’t exactly run over, but the gist of it was on Saturday all the horses had a big fuss–running, spooking, and acting like something scary was going on, and then they all quieted down. Her friend called, and the friend’s horses (not exactly next door, either) had all done the same thing around the same time. Turns out, this also happened to be the same time as the earthquake in Ohio. Coincidence? Or long-range earthquake sensing?
Lucky apparently decided he was not coming in that night. He also appeared to be sore in his hind end. (Though not, apparently, sore enough he couldn’t evade capture.) He wasn’t eating like his usual gobbling self, though he WAS eating. The BO knows what colic looks like, and that didn’t seem to be the problem. When she had his masseuse (I really need one of those for me) take a look, he seemed touchy and resistant to having his flank touched, and didn’t even want a heating wrap on it. Of course, being 200 miles away, there wasn’t much I could do other than say that if he didn’t want to come in, and was feeling well enough he could get away from them, he could stay outside. And things being what they always are, I wound up staying an extra day at my parents’, between the weather (wind and ice) and my mom straining her back and not being able to lift things. (She’s feeling better, by the way.) By the time I got home on Tuesday and got the menagerie (two dogs, three cats, and one fish) unpacked and sorted, I’d have gotten to the barn in time for it to be pitch black. So I took a long lunch Wednesday and drove out to the barn. He was out in the lanes, not staring, just browsing under the snow along the edges of the fence. He did decide to try walking off, but not very seriously, and I was able to get a halter on him. His appetite for peppermints clearly was unaffected, as was his ability to mug for them. There’s several inches of snow, but I managed to find a flat place where it wasn’t too deep, and when he walked all right, I jogged him, and he jogged, without the chain on his nose and the rope slack.
Hokay. So I took him inside, put him in the crossties, and worked on the wooly-mammoth fuzz. He did his normal ear-pinning when I got to his underbelly, and he did have a distinct flinch on his croup, on the left side. But he walked flat on the concrete. He stood, he backed. He shifted weight from one hind foot to the other like he normally does while standing (rests one, switches, rests the other.) I picked his hooves, and he picked up all his feet like normal, put his full weight on all three when one was lifted. His tail seemed rather clamped, but he didn’t object to my lifting it, moving it side to side, or letting it drop. He also was perfectly happy to let me use the little rubber scritchy brush (I’m sure it has another name, but it’s basically a little soft rubber brush for giving face scrtiches) all over his face. I tried leading him in his stall, and he didn’t object. In fact he checked the feed tub and seemed annoyed it was empty. So I walked him around a little, then took his halter off and gave him a pile of hay. He actually followed me for a bit, and I came back out and walked up to him just to remind him he needs to allow people to catch him.
So I was left with a poser. Clearly, he was a little sore, but not especially touchy, and he was definitely able to put weight on all four feet, walk, jog, and try to avoid me coming to get him. I called the vet, and asked what she thought. The conclusion is, he probably dinged himself running around, probably not seriously as he’s feeling well enough to try and get away from people, and to give him the bute for three days and see if he’s feeling better. As for not wanting to come in, he’s not the first horse to do that, and if he won’t come in, leaving him out with hay and water and access to the run-ins won’t hurt him.
Personally, I kind of like the BO’s theory–partially, he’s just sulking because I was gone for two weeks. Don’t worry, Lucky. Next year Dad should have gotten new tires on the trailer, and you can come spend the holidays in the north country, too. And anyway, I still brought you candy canes.
(P.S. For those who may have missed, and by missed I mean avoided my relentless Facebook and Twitter spam, I wrote a book. It’s not about horses, but I’m pretty pleased with it. And for those of you who, like me, aren’t into e-readers, it will be available in dead-tree format as soon as I can approve the corrected proof. So…buy my book, keep Lucky rolling in peppermints.)