Monday, October 31, 2011

Live in a Fever, Raging inside of Me, part 4


Over the weekend, Yalla!s chest swelled even bigger and she began to walk stiff again. She liked having me massage her neck and chest pockets- probably to relieve the pressure- but otherwise, she was lethargic and moody. I could tell she was still running a low temperature too.

I knew that soon I would need to call the vet out to lance it and begin antibiotics but I didn't want to start her too early on the antibiotics. I gave her bute a couple of mornings, several days ago, but was advised that this may prolong the infection so I stopped giving it to her. She seemed to have no problem eating, and I didn't want to call the vet out too soon. These pictures were taken Sunday morning when I borrowed my daughter's camera. Having no camera is driving me absolutely crazy.

This morning, when I went out to feed the horses, Yalla!s Pigeon Breast "pocket" had burst open and was beginning to drip fluids. I decided it was time to call the vet in order to lance it and clean it out better.

The dripping looks like sap from a tree, thick and amber colored.

I called the vet and he said he'd come by around 10:30. I went in to work for an hour or so (it's a half hour drive each way) and arrived back at the house before he showed up. He looked at her chest and worried that the pockets weren't fully developed. He gave her a sedative because he said this Pigeon Fever is very painful for the horse and most horses resent having the pockets even touched. Then he lanced the pocket, digging around, and I was surprised/disappointed that it dripped more blood than pus because that would mean he's not getting all the infection out. Notice that the fluid is brighter in color than normal blood, because it is mixed with the infectious material.

He dug around inside and again commented that it seemed to be entwined in channels. The pockets can channel up in all different ways so unless the right part is opened up, it just keeps growing and spreading into new pockets. I asked him about the flabby one at the bottom right hand corner and he said that no, that one didn't seem to be a pocket. It was more like where fluids are just settling from gravity.
I was disappointed that he just left them to drip rather than purging them with a saline solution like the other vet I've used in the two previous times with Annie. I was actually getting nausious as I watched the blood and stuff ooze out of her chest. I can't stand the sight of blood. AT. ALL.
As Yalla stood, swaying in her drug induced daze, she left nasty puddles all over the ground. The vet suggested disinfecting the area with clorox. I did sprinkle some on the various puddles of blood/pus that were forming but I think I'll need to do a very thorough cleaning when she is done with this. Unfortunately, it may be several more days, or even weeks until she is recovered. He gave me some antibiotics to feed her (once a day) and prescribed more bute for her until she is recovered.

Poor Yalla! She is such a mess right now and in so much pain too, I'm sure. I'm praying that I won't need the vet to come back out again but I half expect that I will.

 This PF is for the birds!

Oh yeah!

Happy Halloween!!!

Live in a Fever, Raging inside of Me: song: Fascination, artist: David Bowie, album: Young Americans

Friday, October 28, 2011

Live in a Fever, Raging inside of Me, part 3

Yalla! looks no better- no worse with her pigeon fever. She still has a good appetite and is walking better than the first couple of days with more neck flexibility.She has a large, hard pocket on the lower part of her neck and a flabby pocket between her forelegs. The button won't depress. It may have drained a little on the underside because there is some matted material in her hair. It could also be from laying down in the muddy paddock. We had a couple of inches of snow yesterday morning and a heavy frost this morning. The horses enjoy rolling in the muck, much to my displeasure. Sorry, no pictures. My camera is kaputs.

Scout also seems to have a touch of it. He has a six inch long edema on the underside of his belly. He had that last year too (or was it the year before??) and I took him to the vet. She put him on low grade antibiotics and it took about three weeks for it to clear up. I believe I'll keep to my holding pattern for now as far as calling the vet. I have tons of work and personal business in town so this is a really bad time for me to be staying at home, nursing a horse. 

I have heard that horses don't get it more than once. Not in my household. This would be Scout's second episode and Annie has had it twice too, big pockets both times, in past years, not consecutive years either. I've also read that this is the wrong time of year for it. Well, in my last three episodes, it occured in October, after the first frosts. Go figure, the flies have dwindled but the bacteria remains.

I really do appreciate everyone's comments on this ailment. It is a rather controversial topic and anybody's personal experiences are helpful for me to decidewhat course of action to follow. If I don't follow any particular advice, it's probably because I'm usually a "wait and see" type of person. I know many Native people who rarely treat their animals with medications and believe it is in the hands of the Great Spirit to be cured. So let's all fold our hands together and say a healing prayer...

Live in a Fever, Raging Inside of Me: song: Fascination, artist: David Bowie, album: Young Americans

Friday Foto

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...

Monday, October 24, 2011

What's Skyy got?

There's always something for a puppy to play with.

This time, it's a whopping big grasshopper. Hmmm, wonder what it tastes like?

I guess it's better to just look at it than eat it.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Live in a Fever, Raging inside of Me

I went out to visit the horses this afternoon. I've been concerned that Yalla! seems to be spending a lot of time in the barn. She usually roams around looking for things to see and do.

When I approached her, I saw why. She has Corynebacteria Pseudo tuberculosis, or pigeon fever, dryland strangles, or pigeon breast, as it is also commonly called. (Click on the previous two links for more information). She has a huge swelling in her lower chest area, one higher up, towards her neck, and possibly one on the left side of her neck. She is lethargic and finds walking very uncomfortable. Annie, her mother, has come down with this at least two times over the years. Both times, her swellings were lanced and drained, numerous times, to release the pus that forms the swellings. It is supposed to be a highly infectious ailment but only Annie has had it. It is nearly impossible to quarantine Yalla!, especially since flies are purported to be the carriers. This ailment is more prevalent in the dry southwest  region and always seems to occur (in my barn, anyway) during October.

This is the topping on the cake for me. I had a brake job done on both the front and rear axles on the Hyundai last week to the sweet tune of almost $600. I had the plumber out two weekends ago for $500, repairing a leaky water heater faucet and an outdoor faucet. (I still have a leak in the barn and must keep the water turned off unless I am using it.) Last month, I had tires put on the Hyundai and the month before that the Subaru needed tires and a front brake job. And now...Yalla!

I thought about calling the vet but after doing research and thinking about Annie's episodes, I decided to wait until morning. Oh yeah, when I went to start my truck, it wouldn't. For three weeks now, I have been trying to get my oldest son out here to look at it (he's a whiz at fixing cars) and he's just too busy. I've called friends and mechanics but I couldn't get anyone to take a look at it. It starts, just won't turn over. My daughter's boyfriend finally came over and took a look and we decided that it might be the fuel filter or pump, after trying to hit the restart button. Who knew there was one? Anyway, we've been to Auto Zone twice now and I've got my fingers crossed it will work. I really need to get it running so that I can
  1. Take Yalla! to the vet in the morning to find out what to do for her.
  2. Go get some wood
  3. Go get some hay
  4. Take stuff to the dump
The vet will probably lance the abcesses (if they're ready) and give antibiotics. I believe it will run it's course if left untreated too, however, there is a risk of internal abcesses and peritonitis from ruptured abcesses getting infected. What should I do?

Pigeon fever is like a PITA ailment but it can also be life threatening, in rare circumstances. Does anyone else have any more information for me?

Live in a Fever, Raging inside of Me - song: Fascination, artist: David Bowie, album: Young Americans

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Sunday Stills (10/23/11 Rocks)

This week's Sunday Stills challenge is to post rocks and rock formations. Here are my offerings, taken a few days ago:

This photo was taken in the deep southwestern United States, on Native American tribal lands.

This interesting house is in the Zuni Pueblo, right on the main street. It is certainly not typical of a Pueblo dwelling, not even for modern times.
When you reach out the window to snap a picture, this is what you get. But I always get a kick out of seeing the school bus parked on the edge of this big rocky hill.
This is a very zoomed in photo of the green house on the edges of the canyonlands. They must have amazing views but I still wouldn't want to live there.
Check out the layers, or strata, in these striped mountains.
I believe these are the Zuni mountains. Notice the stripes and unusual rock formations? 
Check out previous posts on my blog for some more interesting rock formations, such as Garden of the Gods, Camel Rock, petroglyphs, Canyon de Chelly, and oh, so many more.

For other people's Sunday Stills, please visit here.

Cowgirl Meet up

Yep, it was a Cowgirl Meet up last weekend. Me and BrownEyed Cowgirl, that is. She had a barrel racing clinic with Ed Wright out in the booming town of Moriarity and, since that's in my neck of the woods, I couldn't pass up on the chance to meet up with her.

She called me Friday night and said she was settled in from her trip down from Colorado, but had the opportunity to ride with Ed, so we agreed to meet up the next day. I was amazed when she called me Saturday afternoon after a looooonnng day riding, that she still wanted to meet. I probably would have just wanted to crawl into bed under the covers after such a mentally and physically stressful day. But she cowgirled up and we had a wonderful steak and enchilada dinner at Buford's Steakhouse and chatted like old friends. Unfortunately, it gets dark way too early so I wouldn't be able to see her "boys" until Sunday.

It's a terrible photo but, oh well, my camera is acting up something fierce. I click and click and click and finally, maybe, it takes the picture. I'm trying to get to photo #10,000 before I retire it. I haven't got many pictures to go either. As you can see from her beautiful tan, the sun was shining and the weather was warm. For mid October, the weather has been just beautiful. All one needs are short sleeves and sunscreen.

On Sunday, I drove over to the arena to watch the barrel racers study with the master horseman, Ed Wright.
A long, long time ago, as a teenager, I ran barrels, poles, and all the other speed events that they have at  gymkhanas. This was on my first horse (pony actually), Alfie, a 13.2hh Palomino Appaloosa that I got when I turned 13. The second year we had him, I trained him to ride pleasure as well as gaming. When we bought him, he didn't know what taking a correct lead meant. We ran games and general all-around riding in a tom thumb snaffle. Then I bitted him in a low port curb to train him for showing Western Pleasure and Trail. I taught him to back up properly, slow jog, and lope both ways around the arena on the correct lead. It was a huge improvement from the beginning, when we bounced around the arena, in a wildly fast trot, trying to get him to break into a canter. The funny thing is, he already knew how to do alternate flying lead changes from pole bending. He could do a perfect rollback in the chalk outline of a keyhole during a race. But he was ignorant on etiquette and proper pleasure riding. We learned a lot together in those early days.

At a gymkhana that summer, I rode the junior game events and my brother rode the senior events. They were divided by age: 15 and under, 16 and up. I also rode Western Pleasure and Equitation. We cleaned up with High Point Trophy and lots of beautiful rosette ribbons. It was great! Everybody knew us and the handy, little, yellow and white horse. I think I was especially proud of winning in the Western Pleasure class, however, because I had worked so hard for it.

But that's all in the distant past. I haven't ridden any speed events in decades. lol. It's intimidating to me now.

Anyway, I watched as Ed worked with each rider, having them "rate" as they approached the barrel and then proceed with the tightest, smoothest turn possible, lowering their speed as little as possible. When it wasn't correct, he'd have them stop, back, do it again, keep turning, or whatever it took to get the desired results. It was interesting to watch him work them through their issues and I usually saw some slight improvement. Whereas, in my barrel racing days, I pretty much pointed at a barrel and ran full out, letting the horse do all the work, I noticed how much the rider can help the horse prepare and round each barrel. As is the case in barrel race training, there was no all out running; they varied their speeds and mixed the patterns although I would have loved to see them really perform in a real barrel race. In between warming up, cooling down, and working with Ed, there was a lot of standing around. Barrel Racing horses are actually some of the calmest horses around, when they're not racing. How well I remember those days of sitting atop my horse watching the other riders run, like this girl, with her leg slung across the pommel of the saddle. I love her turquoise boots, btw. Also, notice the over the knee boots on the girl next to her. Nice, huh?

Since I wasn't in the clinic, I will leave a lot of the technical stuff to BrownEyed Cowgirl and just share some photos I took with my poor worn out camera. Please visit her website to read her very interesting and informative posts. Her horses, Frosty and Moon, are BIG and gorgeous boys and she is a very sweet, knowledgeable, and down to earth person.

This horse has the biggest butt I've ever seen on a horse. The lighting actually doesn't do it justice. And he could run too! I think he belongs to the arena owners who were also participating in the clinic.

 Sometimes, Ed rode the other person's horse to better demonstrate what he was talking about.

He firmly believes in riding with your hands high on the horse's neck as you run the barrels.
After the clinic I invited BEC over for some homemade pizza and to see my animal gang. We visited the alpacas who, unfortunately, became very shy and wouldn't come up to us. And then we visited the horses, or should I say, Annie and Yalla! Yalla! wouldn't leave us alone and she wouldn't let Scout or Nadia approach us. BEC showed me some leg stretches that she had learned about in her clinic and we tried them out on Yalla! who readily allowed us to play with all four legs. I was glad she was there to show me the proper way to do it because I was trying to pull the back legs up way too high, which could cause soreness and damage instead of therapy.

Lastly, this is what happens when two bloggers get together. lol.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Foto

I was taking the coyote fence but the head popped into view just as I snapped the photo.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fearful Hands

Every morning, I hand feed the alpacas with a large plastic bowl of alpaca pellets and I've been able to catch Thelma by reaching under and grabbing her catch lead while she's eating. But still, both alpacas are really timid and keep shying away. I want them to reach through my two open hands for the feed. They don't want to. At. All.

Eventually, desire for the feed won them over. Louise got brave, reaching through my open hands and began to feed. I was able to gently touch both sides of her face. Then Thelma reached all the way through my open hands to the feed too. I was able to stroke both sides of her neck and poll. They feed one at a time, taking turns. Progress!! I am thrilled that I am getting to lay hands on them at last. I love touching their soft fleece. The catch lead dangles enticingly between my fingers each time one of them puts their head in the bowl. I decided not to try to catch them all the time and hopefully it will get easier to catch either one of them as time goes by. Here are some photos I took of Skyy and the alpacas. She usually comes in with me and lays down under their necks as I feed them. The alpacas don't seem to mind her although once, when she got too close to their hindlegs, she received a swift kick. Poor Skyy, she didn't know what happened but she learned not to go back there.

I have a four stall barn but it is not your typical layout of stall plus run, stall plus run, etc. The first and second stalls are a double pen with the two adjoining stalls sharing one door into the barn from the second stall, and no pen divider. The third stall has a small run and barn door access. The fourth stall has no barn door access, but a large run and an outside gate with access to the arena. I keep Nadia in the first and second stalls so that she has privacy from the other horses and she can eat her food in peace but she doesn't need both stalls. The other three horses live in the fourth stall with the arena access. Unfortunately, it gets crowded when they all try to squeeze into the 12x12 stall during bad weather. Poor Scout usually ends up part way outside. I'm thinking that by adding some pipe rail fencing and gates I can make the whole set up more functional.

If I add a gate on the outside fence of the first stall and run a pipe rail pen divider through the first two stalls, then I could put the alpacas in the first stall for the birthing and the winter months. I can reinforce the fencing with portable panels in the beginning so that they would have safety from predators too. Remember, I did that when Yalla! was born because she kept going through the pipe rails? I wouldn't want coyotes or even Sandy sneaking in and hurting/pestering the alpacas. They would have adjacent fencing to the horses but they would have area away from them, as well. Nadia charges at the alpacas but I imagine they would get used to each other over time. They'd have too, right? The second stall could be Nadia's. I could put a gate on the pipe rail divider between the third and fourth stalls to open it up and allow access from the barn to those two stalls for the other three horses. Or, I could take down part of the stall (gate?) so that they have one large stall. Or just leave Yalla! and Scout together in stall #4 and give Annie her own stall #3 next to Nadia's stall #2. Hmmm, still thinking about the layout there. . .

For now, with Louise due to cria in the next couple of weeks (I think!) building the shed would take too long. I decided to go back to my very original plans, when I first bought the alpacas, of placing them in the barn with the horses. For now, this is an easier and cheaper way to go.Okay, so this past weekend, we moved the alpacas to the barn. During the past week, I've been pulling round pen panels over to the barn and and then my son and I set them up in the first stall. We sat in the alpaca pen, offering feed until we finally caught Thelma. I also seized the opportunity to treat her back with the MTG that was recommended to me for her skin condition.

We tied Thelma up and tried to catch Louise but she was just too skittish. I suggested to my son that he walk Thelma over to the barn and then maybe we could catch Louise easier. They are like Siamese Twins, always doing everything in unison, as if they are joined together.

After Thelma left, Louise became frantic, but she wasn't going to come up to us to be caught, even though Thelma was gone. My son and I joined two ropes and tried to corner her. It took a couple of minutes because she would dart around a tree and we'd have to start over again but, soon enough, we caught her. Then my son led her over to the barn too.

The horses were excited to see the strange creatures up close.

I expected the alpacas to cower in the corner of the stall but they didn't. Yalla! came right up to the pen and she nosed the alpacas right through the rails.

Soon enough the novelty wore away for all the horses except Yalla! She seems to enjoy standing just outside their pen so that she can get closest to them.
First night in their new pen and all went well. However, I woke up at 5:30 AM, in a panic. I could hear lots of coyotes howling just out back, near the barn, and I was afraid that they were going after the alpacas. The panels are high enough on the bottom for animals to crawl under and I'm not so sure that coyotes won't make the attempt. I told my son about my fears and we decided that tomorrow he would move the panels and the alpacas into the third stall in the barn so that they will be surrounded by the horses and then he will put some wire up along the bottom of the panels for extra protection.

This morning, as I fed the girls handfuls of pellet feed, Sandy came in and stood around watching me feed them, picking up whatever pellets they dropped. I was glad to see that she wasn't chasing after them but it reinforced my fears of how accessible the alpacas could be to the coyotes, especially with a newborn cria coming soon.

Oh, and I put on cowboy boots for the first time since I broke my ankle. It hurt like the dickens! Although I only wore them a half hour or so, I now have a raw spot on my ankle where the plate and screws are. That's why my son walked the alpacas to the barn. I had to do as little as possible to save my poor ankle from getting torn up worse.

Fearful Hands - song: Blackout, artist:  David Bowie, album: Heroes

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sunday Stills (10/16/11 Focus on the Foreground)

This week's Sunday Stills challenge is to focuson the foreground. I'm not sure if I got this right, but her goes. Here are my offerings:

For more Sunday Stills, please visit here.