Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Live in a Fever, Raging Inside of Me, part 2

Yesterday morning I called the vet's office and spoke to the receptionist. Not much help. She said I'd need to bring Yalla! in or have a vet come out to my place for a diagnosis and treatment plan. Then I called another vet who I actually spoke with. Of course, without seeing her, it IS hard for a vet to discuss an ailment but I wanted to discover what his general course of action is when treating Pigeon Fever. With Annie, we called the vet right away, who either lanced the abcess right then or came back in a few days. I can't really remember. However, he did put her on antibiotics and I remember that he had to come back numerous times to drain and lance new pockets. Annie had multiple holes of draining nastiness for at least a couple of weeks each time. Well, that vet has since retired so I now had my choice of either the large and small animal practice with multiple vets or the solo mobile equine vet who I was able to talk to.

We discussed several options, antibiotics right away or wait, painkillers, when to lance, etc. He thought the best time to lance it was when it had developed a soft area. The first days, the swollen areas are extremely hard to the touch. We agreed that I would keep watch a few days and then call him when I thought the time was right.

This morning, I went out to feed and inspect her chest and the swelling seems to have spread, thinning out. She is still having lots of trouble walking and moving her neck up but it doesn't really seem to be worse. I took a couple of photos with my obnoxious camera. Fifty tries before it takes the photo! And, of course, the morning sun is at the worst possible angle on a dark horse. Oh well, maybe you can see it.

I dug around in my refrigerator and came up with some bute from a few years ago. The medicine was expired in March but I figured it still had some potency. She felt good enough to turn away from me and the tube of medicine but I knew she was hurting because she can hardly walk. I dosed her a little higher thaan prescribed and then worried that I might have overdosed her. She seemed fine, however. 

Now, what to do next? I've been reading everything I can about this and everybody says something different as far as treatment. My conclusions are:
  • Antibiotics given too early can prolong the illness and possibly cause additional swellings?
  • Some advise lancing. Vet said it's better for him to lance and clean out abcesses than to let them burst on their own.
  • Lancing spills lots of contaminated fluids and is absolutely gross. Trust me on this or google videos for pigeon fever in horses. There are some outstanding videos of pus spurting from the horse's chests if you are into that sort of thing. 
  • Contact with contaminated fluids could cause additional infections in other horses, alpacas, and possibly even humans?
  • If the infections internalize, it can be life threatening, otherwise, just a PITA affliction.
  • No treatment and the horse recovers okay? Some say "yes".
  • Pain killers administered only if horse is in excessive pain. Otherwise, may prolong affliction?
Okay, so now, my course of action. I am tempted to see what would happen if I don't have it lanced. Nobody else has come down with it, so far, and they've all obiously been exposed. I hate to spread more contaminants around. Also, I worry that cutting them open can lead to worse infections, yeah, right!! And then there's the time and money factor. I have been working long hours with no end in sight so time off from work is difficult to get. And money, there is none. lol. I've had a lot of extra expenses lately and still more to come. But this is Yalla!, my baby, although I don't really think it makes a difference who it is. Last year, I took Scout to the vet with an edema on his underbelly. The vet prescribed a slow acting antibiotic and sent us home. He recovered just fine with no slicing and draining. Matter of fact, it was around this time of year. Coinidence? Or did he have a bout of it? I wonder? And talking to Lisa, Baby Doll had a mysterious swelling that eventually went away on it's own. Maybe, we are just too quick with medicine sometimes and the body will heal itself all on it's own?

Maybe I'll decide what to do in the morning...


Cheyenne said...

What ever you do, it will be in Yalla`s best interests, that is obvious from all your posts, so your plan looks ok.

Dan and Betty Cooksey said...

I wish I could help, but I have no experience to offer. Best wishes and I know you will do what you think is best.


Laura Crum said...

Voyager--I have dealt with pigeon fever several times. You seem to have all the right info. The abscess needs to come to a head before it should be lanced. We gave antibiotics after lancing. If left untreated, it can cause serious problems in older/weaker animals (I have known two old horses who were euthanised due to the degree to which it pulled them down). We have always let the vet at least have a look and determine if it needed lancing/antibiotics. We never tried to isolate infected horses, but we did try to bury all the fluids from lancing. I have had one or two horses in a group get it and not the others. As you say, the flies spread it. Good luck to you--I hate pigeon fever. I don't think it hurts to wait a little bit if you watch the horse closely. But I wouldn't give any more bute. They say that prevents abscesses from coming to a head. I hope Yalla recovers quickly and easily.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Peeked in on Yalla! today over the fence. Poor girl, she's so lonely and bored. She's started calling to me when she sees me enter Apache's paddock or come up to the barn. So I just had to come over to visit.
She seemed glad to see me and looks to be doing better and is walking easier. The swelling is visible down between her front legs and appears very soft and loose, sort of baggy.
Yalla! is a strong, healthy filly and will bounce back from this infection. Just keep doing what you're doing. You've done the research and have a Vet on call. You'll know what to do if Yalla! requires extra care.

On a different note......As I was walking back up to my barn afterwards, Yalla! called out to me and as I turned to look at her, your alapacas were scuffling and then screamed at each other. I've never heard anything like that before. What a strange sound!


Reddunappy said...

Well with the cold weather coming, it will keep the flies under control!!!
Hang in there, its such an aweful messy sickness!!!

BrownEyed Cowgirl said...

Wow-That looks an awful lot like what Beretta got on her chest earlier this year. Someone did ask me about Pigeon Fever on the blog and I called the vet to see if that was a concern. He said there hadn't been any cases and it was extremely rare around here, so we concluded it must have been caused by trauma. Vet said if she got soft and squishy he would come out and lance it to get the puss out. It never did do that. But man, it took months for that to go away and still if I press around in there I can feel a hard spot.

The vet recommended plenty of exercise, even if I had to lead/pony her, to keep the circulation going...does exercise help with the Pigeon Fever swelling or do they need to be kept quiet?

achieve1dream said...

Ugh! Don't you hate having to make these calls? It's such a fine balance between doing things early enough, too soon, wasting money, etc. If I have the money I usually just see the vet for my peace of mind. Otherwise I worry myself sick. However there are things I treat on my own. I haven't ever had to deal with pigeon fever (thank goodness) though so I don't really know what to suggest. It sounds like the information online is contradictory. If you feel like you trust the vet you spoke with (has he treated this a lot?) I would go with his advice. Good luck!