Thursday, June 4, 2009

Up and Down a Slippery Slope

Misty developed a thick milky discharge during the day Tuesday (she had it all down her legs when I got home from school), but she wasn't running a temp., so vet put us on the schedule for this morning (rather than emergency call). The vet who removed her retained placenta was from the other clinic that shares after-hours duties, but had faxed his notes to my clinic. Different young vet was on duty, but she's worked with my horses before (and rode against Maddie at one of last month's shows).

First trick, however, was to get Mama and Baby TO the clinic! I do like my babies to learn to load fairly early on, but I hate it when they have to learn. Al needed to help before he headed to work, so I went out and got halters on both of them. Jackson is not all that crazy about being caught--he'll kick out if you approach from the rear, and is pretty handy at ducking around Misty. But in the confines of the stall, it didn't take too long to get my arms around him, at which point he is usually pretty good. Halter on without too much fuss, then Al led Misty out to the waiting trailer (obviously, no pictures, as we both had our hands full). Misty walked right up into the trailer for him, but baby did an abrupt stop at the foot of the ramp.
Jackson has so far done well in moving forward from the butt rope, but this was different. He sat down twice, then managed to get his front feet on the ramp without being eaten. About this time, however, Misty started to panic that the baby wasn't in with her, and turned around--Al doesn't have the equine instincts to anticipate such a move, nor could he convince her to just stand there where she could see the baby. So out she came. Turned her around, and baby almost followed her back in. But then changed his mind. He threw himself over backwards--well, more like he sat down, then rolled over backwards, and then just lay there for a few, thinking through the situation. Finally scrambled back up, and with just a bit more butt rope persuasion, and a heave-ho on his hind end, made it into the trailer. Al tied Misty and went back to put the ramp up, and as soon as that was secure, I removed Jackson's lead rope. I had considerable qualms about leaving his halter on while he was loose in back, but I also wanted to have some sort of control available as quickly as possible, if needed.

Drive to town was uneventful, other than all the vehicles that passed us, as I was taking all the corners at absolute minimum speed. Sometimes, babies will lie down in back, which is, in fact, the easiest way for them to travel. But I know that the first trip is stressful for them, and often they will stand if it's not too long a trip. (Even the sick one-day-old that we lost a few years ago was still standing when we got to the clinic.)

Jackson walked right out with Misty, without the giant leap that some will do to avoid the slope of the ramp. He hesitated a moment at the change of footing going in the clinic door, but then stood almost patiently while Dr. Joan worked on Misty. The discharge had actually slowed down a bit since Tuesday, but in checking her out, it turned out there was blood in the uterus as well! Dr. Joan flushed her out, then infused a dose of antibiotics. I was to give Misty an IM shot of oxytocin, every two hours for the rest of the day, to again stimulate some contractions, to help her system empty out (darn! no school!).

So back to the trailer we went. Again Misty walked right in (she has not always been so good at loading--we had some serious training issues here when we first got her). And again, Jackson stalled at the ramp. Sat down once, but then seemed to be going--got almost to the level floor of the trailer, where I think he would have settled down fine, when he suddenly sat back again, and rolled off the side of the ramp! I jumped after him, pulling on both ends with the lead/butt rope, to flip his legs away from the gap underneath the ramp. He scrambled up, and the vet tech, who had Misty, and I decided to send for reinforcements. She brought Misty out and tethered her to the side of the trailer. While she went inside, Jackson and I practiced proper leading techniques. With tech #1 leading Misty again, and me leading/pulling butt rope, and tech #2 just providing a little encouragement from the side opposite of me (and closing that exit), Jackson did a fairly decent job of one-step-at-a-time into the trailer. The techs closed up the back, I secured Misty, and we were off for home. Thanks, ladies!

At home little Jackson strode down the ramp like nobody's business. The girls (Kate, Maddie, Beth, and Amy) had all come up to see who was in the trailer, as they usually do, and because of where I parked, they all got their first up-close look at the baby that they knew was here, but hadn't been very able to eyeball yet. Oohs and Aahs all around!

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Quite the process to get them both to the clinic. I'm very glad they both made it safely, and hope Misty will be okay.