This is supposed to be a writing day, or at least 2 weeks ago it was supposed to be, but, one of my horses caught a cold. If you aren't a horse person, you might think, big deal. If you are a horse person, you think, I'm glad that's not my horse!
When a horse gets a runny nose, cough and fever, alarm bells go off. They don't do well. Most virus' with these symptoms are highly contagious, so the horse has to be kept away from other horses, you have to make sure you don't carry the germs from the sick guy to the others, and his exercise has to be limited. That means he stays in a stall, and you get to clean it, at our house I get to clean it, over and over again for as long as the horse is sick. It is not fun.
A horse can hemorrhage his lungs coughing and exercise makes him cough more often. That's the reason for stall rest. He can be hand-grazed, where the others aren't allowed to graze. More time for his owner, me in this case, to spend with her precious animal. Standing in the cold, holding the end of a lead-line so he won't romp about. You hope he doesn't decide to do pirouettes from being stall crazy. A 1200lb animal on his hind legs, steel shoes flashing over your head, while you try to hold on to a rope attached to his halter, makes you sweat, but doesn't do much to warm your heart when it's 30 degrees outside.
Sometimes, the virus causes a secondary bacterial infection in the sinus, etc. Then you, me again, get to dose the stir crazy, stall-bound animal with antibiotics. In the powder form, the medicine is mixed with his grain, which you've reduced to a minute amount to try and cut his energy level. It does not taste good. The half that gets left in the bottom of the feed bucket can be mixed with molasses to make it palatable. Of course, molasses pours as slow as, well, molasses. So your hope that you might have five minutes to do something besides take care of a sick horse ticks on by.
One thing, I always get asked is: HOW DO YOU TAKE HIS TEMPERATURE?
Just like a baby. Stick it up his butt! And, hope he doesn't decide it's time to get rid of that grain and molasses before the four minute incubation period is over.
After almost three weeks, I decided my horse, his name is Bargaining Chip, and I needed to have a talk.
I said, "Get well. NOW!"
Bargaining Chip shook his head no, he does not live up to his name, and then, blew snot all over my coat.
I wonder if I'll find time to wash it, after I clean the stall, graze the beast, mix the molasses, take the temp, clean the stall...