Thursday, August 25, 2022

Vet Bills

Lest you think it is all rainbows and unicorns over her in Exploringdressagebiomechanics land, let me tell you about my vet bills.  We started out the year with routine maintenance in April.  Shots, teeth floated, Coggins pulled for Cruise.  Normal stuff and frankly it was quite nice to only have two.  

Then in June Jet became unable to chew hay.  Grass was fine, but he couldn’t chew hay almost overnight.  Drooling, with a lack of ability to chew.  This led to the second vet visit where the vet did a neurological exam, messed with his jaw quite a bit, then doped him up, prowled all around his mouth, and took a blood sample.  Quick conclusion was the vet couldn’t find anything wrong with his teeth, but there was a small abrasion on the interior gums on one side.  Antibiotics and painkillers dispensed, fingers crossed.  Jet seemed fine for a couple of weeks and then couldn’t chew hay again.  Vet came out the next day, said he had consulted with a vet friend who specializes in equine dentistry and that it might be Jet’s TMJ which can be difficult to diagnose.  So, long story short, Jet had some signs of TMJ discomfort, and the vet injected both joints.  Let me tell you that was a trip.  The joints are right above the eyes and you can visualize the rest.  Jet was doped to the gills and very very good.  So far, he is eating hay again comfortably except for the first bite where he makes a funny movement with his jaw.  Then it is down to business.  Fingers crossed this does the trick.  The literature says 50% of TMJ injections never have to be done again.  I’m also(another bill!) getting my chiropractor out to take a look at him because it is a joint, right?

So on to Cruise.  Just when I started to get confident that the TMJ injections had done the trick for Jet, Cruise didn’t finish his food last Thursday night.  Slightly elevated temperature.  I have had Potomac Horse Fever on the farm before(it’s fairly common in this area) and I got right on the phone to the vet.  Bless him, he is always busy but came out within 2 hours, hooked Cruise up with Banamine and antibiotics and left me with more of the same.  After a couple of hairy days feeling for hot feet, an increased digital pulse, and looking out for the diarrhea that indicates things are going towards laminitis(a fun side feature of PHF), Cruise started perking up, temperature came down, eating a bit, and is now over the worst.  Huge sigh of relief.  Interesting thing, he passed some roundworms on his third day of Doxycycline and that’s how we found out he has a resistant roundworm infection.  The Doxy kills the bacteria in the adult worms guts.  So that was kind of gross.  We’ve been following the vet’s worming and FEC recommendations but apparently the roundworms can be resistant to the ivermectin and moxidectin class of wormers that we’ve been using.  The vet recommended worming both horses with Strongid once, then thirty days after that, and then a FEC.

I have to say after rereading this how grateful I am for my vet of 20+ years.  He’s sort of old school, doesn’t talk much, and tends to start treatment without discussing a diagnosis (!!!) but he is a super good guy.  Very competent, very calming with the horses, willing to consult with other vets, and most importantly always comes out when I call, even when it’s inconvenient.  He lets me yammer and then answers my questions succinctly.  You better bet I pay my bills on time and also thank him profusely!


  1. Yikes! And Yikes! Seems like when it rains it pours, but sounds like you have it all under control. With the banamine watch for ulcers too. Been thru that one before. Not fun. Hope they both get thru the issues quickly and without anymore vet bills. Tell the horses they've exceeded the quota for the next few years on that. Lol

    1. TY for the heads up on the Banamine, I did not know that. Fingers crossed on the quota!