The Doctor Is In
???Tis it an emergency or ???tis it not? That is the question. Take the quiz and see if you can tell.
Dr. Laura Riley
I’ll list 20 situations, and you mark the box with a big E for emergency or a big N for not! And let’s pretend you discover the horse’s difficulty on, say, Labor Day weekend, Sunday afternoon.
- Ping comes in from the field limping. He is your competition horse, and you have a show tomorrow.
- Pong comes in from the field limping. He is your old pony and has been retired since your grandchildren went to college 10 years ago.
- Colleen has a swollen eye.
- Moose Breath is acting restless, looking at his side, occasionally pawing at the ground and pacing about.
- Crankcase has a 1-inch laceration over his shoulder.
- Sassy Lou is meaner than usual. In fact, she is full of hate. She doesn’t usually bite and kick but is indulging in both today.
- Penny Whistle just developed hives. You used a new fly spray on him an hour ago.
- Fang is 33 and you find a tooth in his feed tub. There are a few drops of dried blood in evidence, as well.
- Dollup is stocked up in both hind legs. She is pregnant, and it has been raining for the past three days.
- Zit stepped on a yellow jacket nest and has 12 stings that you can count.
- Deadbolt is holding his right front in the air. He only toe-touches as he proceeds toward the gate. Pitiful.
- Phantasmagoria is walking in circles.
- Atticus shook his head a lot when you rode him an hour ago.
- Spitball just doesn’t care about anything anymore. He doesn’t pal around with his field buddy and stands off by himself in the corner of the field. This has been going on for a month.
- Passthepeasplease simply refuses to move. She won’t come out of her stall for grain or sweets, and the tug-of-war was a waste of your energy.
- ComDot’s head appears to be tilting. When you take a hard look at him his face looks crooked. His face did not seem crooked yesterday.
- You discover that Maryanne has an extremely nasty case of rain rot.
- Herriot didn’t finish his breakfast. You take his temperature and discover it is 102 F.
- Ophelia has swollen lymph nodes beneath her jaw and yellow discharge running out of her left nostril. Her temp is 99 F and she polished off her breakfast.
- Crunch had a disagreement with Munch. Munch took a bite out of Crunch. The bite is on Crunch’s left flank and is still bleeding when you discover his war wound.
I am going to give you two hints about the game. Four cases are absolute emergencies, and you need to phone the veterinarian immediately. And there are four different instances where the situation might warrant emergency status if the horse has a fever. Does everybody out there know what a normal rectal temperature is for your horse? Do you have a thermometer? Did you know you can use the regular old digital thermometers available at your local pharmacy? Well you can. A thermometer should be a part of every horse owner’s armamentarium.
No Easy Answers
Now, I could just give you the solutions to the game, but that would be too easy. When I take those quizzes with the answers, I look simultaneously at the answers just to see if I am right. That eliminates the time I could be thinking about, pondering on the question. So, my fine readers, I ask you to think about these 20 situations. None of the scenarios are outlandish.
The bottom line is that we, as horse owners or even horse enthusiasts, are the first line of defense when it comes to our horses’ health care. The time to think about these things is before they happen. And don’t most of us have a little hero doctor hiding inside of us somewhere? OK, I know there are those who run at the first sign of trouble. But most of us really want to be able to react with good sense when our horses get into trouble.
Do we intuitively know the answers to these situations? Probably not. The way we become horsemen and women is by spending hundreds of hours with hundreds of horses and horse people. We learn by observation and hands-on experience. We learn by reading good books and watching good videos. So play the game and think about it. Oh yes, thinking helps us learn as well ...
Are you ready for the answers? Have you thought and pondered? Ok… Here they are >>