Wednesday 13 April 2016

Annual Vet Check

On Monday this week Kachina had her annual vet check and vaccinations.

No photos from the vet, but we took a road trip this weekend so here are some of a place
we stopped for a hike - it has the super original name of Red Rock Coulee for obvious reasons

The vet I've used for the last couple years is on an extended leave, so I had to find someone new to go to. I thought about going to a different vet at the same clinic as my old vet, but my vet was the only one there who specialized in horses. Instead I tried out a new clinic. Dr. W has been practicing for a few years in the area and I've heard good reviews from a number of horse owners. She just built a new clinic just down the road from my barn so I decided to give her a try.

Part of the badlands, it looks pretty desolate and dead from a distance

I arranged to leave work a bit early and got to the barn with just enough time to throw Kachina in the trailer and haul to the clinic (I love that Kachina is so good with loading). Of course it's calving season, so once we got to the clinic we waited for a full hour while Dr. W dealt with a prolapsed cow. Fortunately it was a beautiful day, so I sat on the bumper with a book to read while Kachina got a lesson on standing in a trailer quietly (she's usually good when the trailer is in movement, but she gets impatient once we stop, it was good to let her chill in there for a bit before unloading). I never mind when I have to wait for a vet, I know that when a vet is helping me in an emergency, someone with a regular appointment is probably left waiting too,

Mini hoodoos

This was a pretty routine appointment but essentially had 3 parts:


I talked about Kachina's recent visit with the dentist here. I thought that getting the dentist to look at Kachina was the right decision at the time. Unfortunately, since then I've learned that A) it was kind of sketchy considering he sedated my horse and legally isn't supposed to do that, and B) the equine dental accreditations he had don't mean as much as they seem to. 

As soon as I learned those things, I wanted Kachina's teeth checked by an actual vet. The vet disagreed with the dentist's approach of "balancing the mouth" and thought that too much had been removed from the incisors. Essentially though, she's fine, the teeth will grow back, and we can do a proper vet float next year. Despite the questionable parts of what he did, it seems the dentist did do a good a good job of taking off any sharp edges so nothing more needed to be done.

I'm really glad that no permanent damage was done, but I've definitely learned my lesson and will be even more careful in choosing equine "professionals" in the future. 

Some interesting landforms


 Kachina was due for her annual vaccinations. Rather than having a set list of shots I want, I always discuss things with my vet each year to determine what they think makes sense. This year, that was:

West Nile + EWT (West Nile virus, Eastern and Western equine encephalomyelitis viruses and Tetanus)
My understanding is that the encephalomyelitis (sleeping sickness) isn't too much of a risk, but West Nile has been an issue in our area in past years. It's really dry so far this year so mosquitoes and West Nile might not be too prevalent but better safe than sorry. Also Tetanus is always good to vaccinate against.

Though a lot of the area looked dead and dry,
there were a surprising number of flowers blooming when you looked carefully

EIV/EHV (Flu/Rhino)
Since I do take Kachina to shows and events with other horses, this is smart to get. Actually one of the venues I am showing at this year requires it so that was an added reason.

We climbed halfway up this to stop for lunch

This was a new one for me. My last horse Ellie had strangles when she was young, so the vets didn't recommend that she get the vaccine. Even Dr. W said that she hasn't recommended this in the past, but last winter she saw a number of cases of strangles in the area so now she does. I've seen first hand what strangles can do and I don't know Kachina's history of exposure or resistance so I decided to go with the vaccine. Kachina hasn't actually had it yet though. Dr. W recommended that we book a separate day for the Strangles vaccine, because the virus in the vaccine isn't completely dead and some of it gets airborne, so if it gets into the needle pricks from the other vaccines it can cause bad sores. We'll go back for this in two weeks.

Pretty tiny white flowers

General Health Exam

Dr. W also did a general check up on Kachina.

Her temperature and heart rate were good. Gut sounds were normal. I mentioned Kachina's habit of gaping her mouth and tipping her head, so Dr. W did a quick check of some muscles in Kachina's face and neck, everything seemed even on both sides and Kachina didn't react to pressure at certain points so those are good signs.

These red boulders are scattered around the area from when this used to be a large inland sea

The only thing that the vet was concerned about at all was the colour of Kachina's stool. She thought it was darker than she would like. I could see it was dark but didn't feel that was abnormal for Kachina. Dark stool can be the result of blood in the GI tract, so the vet thought ulcers may be a concern. However, Kachina has hay 24/7 in a slow feed net, and doesn't lead a high stress life so that doesn't quite add up. Tape worms are another thing that may cause the dark colour, but all the horses at the barn get dewormed 4 times a year and the last one was fairly recently. She recommended I keep an eye on it but didn't think any more serious steps were needed for right now.


Since the appointment, I've been paying much more attention to poop colour. It seems to me that even though Kachina's is dark, it matches with the colour of most of the rest of the horses at my barn. I will continue to monitor it, but I wonder if there is higher iron content in the water or hay or something that is resulting in that darker colour.

The red boulders (technically concretions) are impressively large and round

Overall I was impressed with Dr. W. She was friendly, competent, explained things clearly, and liked Kachina. Her facility was also very nice. 

I was also impressed with Kachina. She stood very nicely for the whole appointment and got lots of cookies.

Inside a broken concretion - the rings indicate age kind of like a tree
The boulders formed in the ocean by sand rolling around a small piece of
organic material in the centre and they grew and hardened over time


  1. I'm glad that the dentist didn't cause any problems. I hate how there are so many opinions in the horse industry and not a lot of ways to figure out what works without trial and error.

    1. Agreed. We all want to do what's best for our horses, but it's tough to know the right decision when it's so hard to determine all the facts in advance

  2. It's great that your vet takes the time to explain things clearly! It's also nice to know that the dentist didn't do anything detrimental, even if your vet doesn't agree with his philosophy/technique. Glad to hear Kachina is in good health!

    1. Yes, I do feel lucky on all of those counts! Thanks

  3. I'm glad that it all went well and that you've found a good vet!

    1. Thanks :-) I'm glad I've had a routine appointment with the Dr. W so now I have a vet to call out if anything non-routine happens *knock on wood it doesn't*