Friday, September 1, 2017

A prickly mess

When I gathered the herd for Thursday morning's check-in, Lucy was covered in chunks of cholla.
It's not unusual to find a piece or five stuck on her head, but this was different.
It was like she had slept with a cactus and they woke up and had a big fight,
which she lost so she rolled over on him a few times. 

Anyway, I removed the big pieces without too much trouble, but panicked
when I saw that her back legs resembled vertical porcupines from the knees down.
Lucky for both of us, our vet answers his phone before dawn
and I had a syringe of Dormosedan Gel on hand.
The sedative gave me a 90-minute window to sit underneath her,
pulling out the spines without her killing me kicking out in pain.
I think/hope/pray I got most of them.
She'll be on antibiotics for awhile in case I didn't, since the vet believes
abcesses might form around any I missed. 

Once all the drama had passed, I headed out to the small pasture
where the herd stays overnight, looking for evidence
that might help me understand how Lucy got herself
into such a prickly mess.

I'd bet the ranch that this is the scene of the crime. 
My theory is: she took a nap in the fluffy soft dirt, 
rolled onto the cactus as she got up,
scared herself silly, then jumped into or over it,
scattering pieces of it willy-nilly across the area.
In other words, she slept with a cactus, had a fight with it and lost.

p.s. Please tell me I'm not the only one who sees a cholla shaped like 
a donkey on her back, rolling with her legs in the air.


  1. Oh poor Lucy! It does look like a donkey.

  2. Looks like a sculpture of adonkey on her back to me.

  3. I do see the donkey and am so sorry to read this, I pray Lucy will be ok and that all those thorns are gone.

  4. Ha ha poor Lucy. Yes it def does look like a donkey. Now you know I feel when I see all those cholla's dancing or waving at me when we drive by in the truck!

  5. yes I see a donkey or a deer with two horns! would she have done tthat alone? I thought they had a fight the two or the three of them and pushed her into the cholla...

  6. You got that one figured out, Sherlock.

  7. Yup, I definitely see the cacti donkey, as well!
    Poor Lucy ... I hope you did get all the spines plucked from her!
    Welcome to September, Linda!

    Hugs from CO ... Marcia

  8. It's cholla kicking time!!

  9. Poor girl.
    And it looks to me like it's a cactus trying to appear like a donkey so it too can get special attention.
    ~ Linda K.

  10. Weird, I only see one picture, the cactus alone.

  11. I've had to deal with a similar situation years ago when I lived in the desert and with porcupine quills in dogs (which are quite similar to cactus). It may take weeks or even months for the barbs to fester up and come out so be on the lookout for them. One of the best things you can do to draw them out now, or if they abscess, is a hot compress with saline water. Just add 2 tbs of salt to a gallon of hot water to make this. Since you have a wide area to cover, you can soak a towel and use a polo wrap or something similar to hold it in place for 20-30 minutes at a time. You can keep it warm by pouring more warm salt solution down the towel while she is wearing it. For smaller areas, maxi pads work great. Just soak them and use a bit of vet wrap to hold in place. They can be rewarmed in a similar manner.

    I hope Lucy of feeling better soon and foes not get in any more fights with donkey shaped chollla.

  12. Totally see it! Hope Lucy's okay; aren't equids ALWAYS getting into situations that make for crazy?

  13. Yes, I see it.
    No pictures of Lucy with porcupine legs? Or were you too worried and sorry for her to take a photo? I can imagine. Good thing you had all the right stuff handy! Well done!

  14. karenk in Portland9/1/17, 12:48 PM

    Poor Lucy! I feel so bad for her, even if the resulting cholla donkey sculpture made me giggle. I used to live in NM and had several painful encounters with those lousy chollas growing up. My mom always said if you got within two feet of one, it would reach out and grab you!

  15. Oww! Hugs to you and Lucy!

  16. An American in Tokyo9/3/17, 7:23 PM

    Oh no!! I hope Lucy gets back to 100% soon!!
    That evil cholla donkey cactus!!