Thursday, February 14, 2008

From mystery lameness to mystery illness

This week, it's Hank's turn to be not right. Yesterday morning, I noticed him standing in front of his favorite tree at the wrong time...30 minutes into the breakfast hour, when I knew there was still plenty to eat back at his feed tub. Sure enough, he had "gone off his feed," as we say.

I went into "vet mode" and shuffled Lyle and the burros around so that I could isolate Hank in the pen closest to the house to keep an eye on him. Now into the 36th hour, I have been on the phone with the vet four times, checked Hank's temperature nine times, given him two injections of banamine, two doses of antacid to buffer his stomach - 100 milliliters each time (as our vet would say "50 for the ground, 50 for his stomach"...what a mess), and gone outside for general checks on his welfare and to anxiously look for poop piles more times than I can count. Oh, and then there was the run to Mountainair this afternoon to buy a new animal thermometer since I managed to drop and break the only one I had.

Initially I suspected I was dealing with colic, but it turns out that it's probably a virus. He's running a high fever - 104.4 has been his highest temperature so far (normal for Hank is 99.5). The vet says he's been treating a lot of horses around Albuquerque lately with this mystery virus; all we can do is keep the fever in check and if it lasts any longer than four days, put him on antibiotics. The bigger mystery is how Hank would have gotten the virus. He hasn't left the ranch or been within miles of any horse except Lyle since mid-November. Go figure.

The scary part now is that the virus is contagious. Hank is the model patient, standing quietly and patiently every time I stick the thermometer up his butt, and he doesn't even flinch when I give him a shot. If I have to go through this with Lyle, it won't be pretty. And if Alan gets it...I don't even want to think about it since I can't even halter him yet.

No comments:

Post a Comment