Thursday, July 03, 2008

A Few Clowns Short of a Circus

We call her "Roxie" but her show name is "Dumber Than Rocks". Before you think I'm cruel beyond measure, I love her to death, but you have to wonder about a horse that'll jump up on your back deck and can't find a way to get back down. She's finally learning to get off, but before she did, I'd sometimes come home to find her standing there, wondering how to get down.

It is in her nature to be sweet and loving to humans, but when it comes to intelligence, she's a few fries short of a happy meal. Still, I've never met a horse with a more loving and bright nature. She is perpetually happy and runs to see anyone who might be interested in scratching her or playing.

Which is why when I got home on Tuesday and saw her laying down in the yard I was concerned. Though sitting up, her breathing was shallow and rapid, and her temperature was up to 104.5 deg F, high for a horse. Lauren, who could be an awesome vet, went down to the house and checked our book, How to Be Your Own Veterinarian (Sometimes): A Do-It-Yourself Guide for the Horseman and the Internet. She returned with a theory that Roxie's illness was related to seeing her eating a branch with leaves the day before.

Ah, see the cicadas had caused "flagging" in the trees, the branches dropped down, blew five feet to the dry paddock where Roxie should have been eating her hay, but instead ate the leaves. Black walnut leaves. Which are toxic to horses, causing respiratory distress and eventually, founder if left untreated. These trees had never before posed a threat to our horses, located well outside of the paddock and pasture, and normally, keeping all their leaves on the tree.

Chiron, Roxie's brother and a good deal smarter but cantankerous, did not eat those leaves. He was fine. So what to do about Rox? A small dose of Bute, a pain killer, relieved her, and she remained fine all night. By yesterday, she was back to her happy-go-lucky style. The farrier came to trim her feet and said she appeared normal, except for her always twisted back hoof, common to mini's. Of course, she wanted that we would hold her while her feet were done instead of having to try to do the splits for the farrier who can barely get down low enough to trim her.

Who knew that cicadas could be so dangerous?


pita-woman said...

Once upon a time, I'd have asked, "what's founders?", but as one of the ponies at the farm developed it a while back, I'm learning!

Anonymous said...

I envy you because you raise horses. I love horses; always have. Oh, and "My Antonia" is a great book.


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