Saturday, November 29, 2008

Six months, a year... it's all the same to the vet

So much has happened in two months, and yet so little...

After Snoopy's bout of colic, he went back to exercise, and promptly started limping. The doctor was again called out, more x-rays were taken and we all held our breaths. Dr. Pollard said the plate and screws looked good, but we'd have to wait for Dr. Fischer to make the final call.

(Insert sound of crickets chirping.)

Dr. Fischer is, I'm sure, a wonderful surgeon. Unfortunately, he has the manners of a monkey. He's spoken to me exactly once, when he referred to Snoopy as "it". Not a warm, fuzzy feeling. Mostly, our communication is via Bridget (Dr. Murphy), who chases him down, x-rays in hand, and hounds him until he looks at the pictures and gives her a diagnosis. Bridget found out that Dr. Fischer wanted Snoopy to walk, on flat surfaces only, for 45 days. Then more x-rays.


In the meantime, Tina thought it would be a good idea to wear Snoopy down a little before trying to put him on the hot walker by tying him out to our Patience Tree. It's a large tree by the roundpen, where we tie the horses to teach them to stand still. Snoopy had other plans. He found the only large bolt sticking out of the roundpen and rubbed his neck. By rubbed, I mean he scraped himself up and down until he wore a big gash in his neck. Tina tried to butterfly it together, but it needed stitches, so the doctor was called again. This time, Dr. Wasserman came out - she's the one who inseminated Frostie. I call her the Fertility Goddess, which she really gets a kick out of. Four or five stitches and another vet bill later, and Snoopy was still walking on the hot walker, although we had given up on the Patience Tree. I must point out that no other horse before or since has managed to find that bolt and injure themselves. Only Snoopy could do that!

Snoopy managed to walk on the walker pretty quietly, until one Wednesday, when he decided enough was enough. I was just about to give a lesson, when I saw him rip himself off the hot walker. Fortunately, my student hadn't mounted the horse yet, so we waited while Niki caught my big, black baby. First, he galloped straight up the hill toward the paddocks. The workers, Umberto and Raoul, tried to corner him, but he escaped and started to run down the hill. Then, he saw Niki coming up the hill with a lead rope in her hand. He stopped so hard, he sat down and slid, like a reiner. All I could do was watch and think, "Not the foot! Not the foot!"

Amazingly, he was no worse for wear. We decided not to try the hot walker anymore, so now Snoopy goes to the top of the hill everyday and wanders around in the large pipe stall. He likes it, so he walks up and back pretty quietly.

When Dr. Fisher looked at his x-rays, he told Bridget that he's known horses to take a year to come back from this kind of injury. Back in April, he told us it would be a six month recovery. I guess he can't tell time.