OK, so, I didn’t tell you all about Dodger and his pneumonia – until I knew he would be OK – for a few reasons.
The first reason was GUILT. Yup. It is my fault he has pneumonia because I have no barn at the new place and couldn’t make him get out of the rain.
Or so I thought…
It was the vet who had the brilliant idea.
I noticed that I could hear Dodger breathing the day before Thanksgiving. Uh oh. I knew I had to call the vet immediately because horses always get sick on holidays. But, who do I call? I hadn’t used any vets yet here in my new town.
Luckily, I had asked around when I first moved here and had a good idea of which vets to call. And, the vet at the top of my list, actually answered! He mans his own phone and does all of his own paperwork, I found out.
Anyway, I told him I was new and would be very grateful if he would be willing to come by on the busy Wednesday before Thanksgiving. He said, “be there in 45.”
And, in about 55 minutes he was in front of Dodger.
Vet (stethoscope in hand): Yep, pneumonia.
Me: OK, how bad and what do I do?
Vet: Let me give him an IV antibiotic, some IV Bute and you start him on antibiotics tonight.
Vet: Call me on Friday if you think he needs a booster or if his temp isn’t down significantly.
And then he was gone.
The best part, the bill was half – HALF – of what I would have paid in Grass Valley.
Point for Paso Robles!
DODGER AND RAIN.
Dodger is a trooper. I don’t know how old he is but I’ve had him for 22 years and it was estimated he was 10 when I got him, so I think he is in his 30s.
Older horses are more prone to pneumonia when the seasons change, the vet told me.
On Thanksgiving, it rained. Dodger, with his pneumonia, stood out in the rain. I could not coax him under cover. And, I had no way of keeping him under cover.
Let me digress: I have always known that Dodger, Slick and Norma will not seek cover in the rain. It has always been this way. However, I never minded because I have always had a barn. When a big storm was brewing, I’d just bring them all into the barn and not worry. Well, now I don’t have a barn and Dodger and Norma continue to refuse to take cover.
So, of course, Dodger didn’t improve enough in the 48 hours since the vet had been here, so I called him out again for the booster.
The vet is amazing in that he looked like her just stepped out of WESTERN VET MAGAZINE, if one existed. He has the handlebar moustache, pressed Wranglers, huge belt buckle, perfectly starched shirt and immaculately clean Carhartt jacket. I felt rumpled beside him…
Anyway, the vet arrived on Friday for the booster shots (which took all of 10 minutes – love that) and I told him of my dilemma. The vet said, “OK, well, use your trailer. Put panels around your trailer and make a divider panel so you can force him into the trailer when it rains.”
Me: But I need my truck and so I wouldn’t be able to attach it to the trailer and…
Vet: That little guy could not topple your heavy trailer. Use it.
Me: Really? My trailer?
Vet: Yes. You couldn’t get a better confined space for that little guy.
And I went about my work… I rigged it so Dodger’s house was my trailer. I put panels all around so he had a nice grazing area. But, if he refused to go inside during the rain, I had another panel set up that I could use to close off the grazing area so that he had no choice. I then set up a shade triangle – just in case it did some good – on the other side of the trailer.
Today Dodger is healthy again! It took 14 days of antibiotics and lots of love and care… but he seemed to thrive in his new little hospital room. Now I let him out during the day and put him back in at night. He seems to like socializing but having a secure meal and shelter at night.
Sometimes I let Norma have a sleepover. But, she tends to eat too much and she isn’t very good at using the potty area. So, when she cannot sleep over, she stands outside of his room. That works, too. Annie does the same. They visit him.
I hope to create a proper, little barn area for him this Spring. It will have the ability to be closed off so I can keep him separate and protected – just like we had in Grass Valley.
Slowly but surely, this new ranch will be built.
And luckily, with the help of a new found vet friend, Dodger is just fine. Even better than fine… he’s happy!
DECEMBER BUCKET FUND! (As I write this, the donation thermometer shows $832.) Let’s help save a family of 23 wild Mustangs (read story here)! We can do it! There is a plan in place! All we need is time to execute the plan. One month of board at $6/day! Please, please help, if you can. Xmas for these mustangs so they won’t leave this earth in a horrible way… Donate here! 100% Tax deductible!