Monday, December 12, 2011

In Appreciation For An Awesome Vet

Sometimes I think that my teaching job is stressful.  And teaching is legitimately stressful for many obvious reasons, like lesson planning for an eclectic group and lunch duty, and some not so obvious reasons, like teaching in a building with malfunctioning boilers (hot!).  However, I am quickly reminded that my job is not that stressful when I spend a few moments on the phone with my vet.  She had to postpone our appointment twice today for two very unpleasant emergencies.  Unpleasant is an understatement, if you are the owner of the horse involved in those emergencies, but I am trying not to go into detail.  I want to keep this blog lighthearted!

Despite her long day, she arrived at our barn with all pistons firing and gave my horse her immediate attention.  She must have been tired, but she didn't show it.  Her and her assistant impress me with their professionalism and sheer endurance.  And we were not her last appointment of the day, even though it was after 5:30 pm when she left the barn.  How do they do it?  Needless to say, I was very happy to see them and very appreciative of their time.

Every aspect of Harley's strange illness and his management were discussed.  We covered a lot of ground and my vet analyzed every morsel of information, culminating in a few possible causes: 
  1. Harley could have come in contact with a viral or bacterial infection (at the Turkey Trot or just from barn visitors, which are numerous).  My vet was especially adamant that strep can be transmitted this way from horse to person to horse.  She looked at my temperature records from this weekend and says that it looks like a low grade fever.
  2. Harley may be suffering from an allergic reaction.  She listened to his breathing and said that there was some reason for concern.  There could be something in the new shipment of hay (or something else) that is aggravating his airways.  Remember the coughing, which I mentioned when he was stalled?  The leg swelling could be caused by allergies, or we may be looking at two separate problems.
So Harley got an early Christmas present: full blood work.
Merry Christmas, Boy!

My vet will send his blood out to test for infection and allergies.  The allergy testing results will take some time, but we should know if he was exposed to strep or something else within a few days.  In the meantime, he is comfortable, his legs are normal, and he does not have a fever.  He is also much more alert than he was this weekend and seems back to his old self.  I am thankful for this.

And I am so thankful that there are people who choose to dedicate their lives to helping sick and injured animals.  The commitment is palpable.  So is the love for the horse.  I am truly in awe of my vet.


  1. Glad to hear Harley is feeling better. I know it wasn't easy to wait all that time for help.

    Hoping his diagnosis is simple and quick... and yes - thank goodness for our vets!! What would we do without them...

  2. There is nothing better than an awesome vet. I know. I blog about mine quite frequently. Here's to all the great vets out there - cheers!

    Again, this helps nothing, but when Speedy was sick last month, we ran blood work but treated him before the results were in. Darn it if everything came back normal. It was quite frustrating, but good at the same time. So I am actually hoping you get nothing from the blood work and that Harley continues to be fine.

    I'd rather chalk an illness up to randomness than get an icky diagnosis like liver failure, kidney failure, or some other freakishly weird disease. I am a huge fan of random crap that never happens again! :0)


  3. So glad to hear that your vet is on the ball and that Harley is feeling better. I miss our old mobile vet terribly--he was always reliable and had a great bedside manner.

    Had no idea horses could get strep! Wow.

  4. Calm, Forward, Straight- Yes, thank goodness for the help, but now I am waiting for test results. Waiting begets more waiting.

    Karen- I like your anecdotes. Keep them coming! I will take some randomness, happily. As long it does not come back, of course!

    Fetlock- Maybe strep is going around, because she mentioned it several times as the likely culprit. I am actually stressing more over allergies, since that could be a long term management issue.

  5. FYI: Strep in horses is called "Strangles".

  6. I was reading Speedy G's comment. I don't have a clue how close horse remedies are to humans, but often humans are "treated" with antibiotics without knowing whether they really need them. That is NOT a good thing as that can make one resistant quite quickly to ever responding to that medicine in the future. Also, I am concerned that many horses are "wormed" monthly. This could easily lead to becoming resistant to the wormer as well.

    And yes, a good vet is a Godsend!

  7. Ugh! I'm so sorry that Harley has been under the weather like that! I'm going to hope that it was just a quick virus like you thought and that he'll be just fine now.

  8. I'm glad Harley is feeling better. :) I hope you find whats bothering him quickly.

    I love and admire out vet too. Where would we be without them?

  9. When I was young (9 or so), I thought I wanted to be a vet. I loved animals and figured that would be the way to go. At the time I had no idea what it took to become one. Wow! I don't need to go on and on about all the variables involved. It takes a real commitment to say the least. Finding a good one is like finding eternal youth.
    I was hoping I would be breathing a sigh of relief for Harley, but I am cautiously optimistic. I am very happy that his issues for now, have abated, but it is still puzzling what brought this on. The waiting is so hard. Hang in there Val, my thoughts are with you both.

  10. Thanks, everyone. Harley's health is all I want for Christmas and all I can think about right now.


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