Sunday, April 26, 2009

The heavy sigh of spring...

...occurs when all of these have been safely administered and Hank, Lyle, George and Alan are no worse for wear the following day. Which is today. Can you hear my relief? Nobody has a stiff neck and or other adverse reaction, and I did not vaccinate myself.

I purchase all the vaccinations from our vet, so if there is a reaction, at least he knows exactly what they've been given. In spring, each of my guys gets the Eastern-Western-Venezuelan-Tetanus four-way, the flu/rhino combo, and the West Nile. In fall, they get another flu/rhino and rabies.

I believe the risk of administering the vaccines myself is lower than the risks involved in hauling everybody 180 miles roundtrip to the vet, though I second-guess that decision every time I'm about to stick the first needle in. Yesterday was farrier day, and I bribed him with an extra-large tip to hold lead ropes while I played vet tech. Here I go bragging, but each and every one of them stood quietly and didn't even flinch. And I might add, neither did I! Thinking back 10 years to when I gave my first shot to my first horse (one of us practically passed out), this is no small feat.

And as for Lyle's feet and his backward shoes, I'm ready to proclaim victory. It's been almost four months since we took this approach, and Lyle has not had one foot-sore day since, amen and hallelujah. I got five rides on him last week, and it sure looks like we'll be enjoying many happy trails this summer. Wait...did you hear something? Just another big sigh of relief coming out of the west.


  1. Linda, I just recently found your blog (don't remember how) and I am impressed by the life you have made for yourself and your critters. It takes a lot of guts to give up everything to follow your dreams. We live in the big city at the moment, but have 9 acres in the mountains of CO and the plan is to one day get there permanently. Coincidentally, our rural property is about an hour's drive from the prison where you picked up Alan and George! I hope to have chickens, goats and maybe burros one day, and you are a great inspiration! Thank you for sharing your journey.


  2. Congratulations! I agree with you. Administering medical care in any form is always nerve racking. Way to cowgirl up!

  3. I remember watching my sister give my mom's gelding shots two years ago....her hand was shaking! I'm impressed that she did it. I couldn't do that. I'm so glad your crew was good for the shots. My horse is not, so it definitely takes a steady hand to not only administer them, but to manage his behavior.
    Is the closest vet really that far away?
    I'm happy to hear the report on Lyle's hooves! And that you got 5 rides in last week, good for you!

  4. Lilla, I'm glad you found us. I hope you're able to settle into your mountain property sooner than later. That sure is a beautiful area of Colorado.

    Pony Girl, the closest vet is about half that distance, but I've stuck with the vet who's been with me since the beginning because I really like him.

  5. I use to give my horses their shots and quit doing it a couple years ago. I just figured it'd be easier having the vet do it while out doing teeth. Plus needles and I don't get along too well! They scare me!

  6. So that first shot, who almost passed out: you or the horse?

    It's always frightening how many vaccinations horses have to get. And it makes it more challenging to compost their manure as you have to get it hot enough and cured enough to get all the "medicine" out of it. But that's probably more than you cared to know about the lifecycle of an equine vaccine.

  7. Administering medicine is def. a headache. With many of our horses fighting long-term ailments it always feels like the world is crumbling when someone gets a small scrape or bruise that too has to go on the list of care. I applaud you for toughing it out and being able to medicated your animals solo.

  8. Here's a funny story for you. I had a cat that had diabetes and needed insulin daily. The vet taught me how to do it and it seemed easy enough. At home alone, I got all hot in the face, went down on the floor to pass out and the cat ran away with the syringe in her back. How awful is that? After a few tries and a lot of either we do this your you die I finally got a grip and she lived albeit ok for another six months.
    PS the pharmacy questioned me everytime about why I was buying packages of syringes. They never quite believed me when I said they were for my cat.
    Love your posts. Best always, Sandra

  9. I wish I could do shots but the horses also need rabies and you can't buy rabies shots so might as well have the vet do them all. Happy to hear about Lyle's feet. Reminds me that I better make another farrier appointment. It never ends...

  10. Good job!! I used to do all of my own vaccines too and have administered IM penicillin on more than one occasion. The only reason my vet does my shots now is that 4H requires a vet cert for rabies to show and he might as well do them all while he's doing one.

  11. Hey Linda,

    Good for you (said the John Lyons in me)! I used to be a vet tech and you would think I wouldn't mind doing all those vet-y things. But I do only because I hate the "behavior" I get from some of the horses. Wait, those were the big horses. Maybe I should try to do all those vaccinations on the little guys, huh? And it's time. Spring is really here now.

    It's interesting which vaccinations the vet recommends depending on your area. Here we do E&W, tetanus, flu and WNV once a year and that's it.

  12. So much to know and learn and watch out for regarding our beautiful animals' health and well-being. I love that you innoculate yourself. I was looking forward to learning this with the donks, but the timing didn't work out. I wormed them once, though, so I'm good there if that situation ever comes up again. :-)