Eyes on the prize

 After much scouring of the inter webs and asking for recommendations, two potential barns came up on my radar. Barn 1 was run by a former race-horse manager, and Barn 2 by a local vet tech. I had some reservations about Barn 1, but Barn 2 was neat as a pin, manure was taken off property, all the horses seemed healthy and happy :)

Deposits were made and notices were given, and then when I went out last Saturday, I saw Porsche had a snotty nose. Porsche was not running a temperature, she was eating/drinking/pooping normally, her snot was white, which suggested viral or allergies, so I went home with the plan to give her some benadryl, and if she didn't respond, then start a round of IM penicillin. Tesla, who is her nearest neighbor, looked 100% normal - and so did the paint on the other side.

I let the BM know what I had observed, and how I would be methodically proceeding.  I explained both girls were current on all vaccines,  I requested Porsche be put on "quarantine" and not turned out with the other horses, just in case it was contagious - and even suggested that she could be isolated on the property as/if needed.  Porsche has been at this barn for 4 months - and has not been off property: this is clearly not the start of an epidemic.

Typhoid Porsche, obvs

  I was not quite prepared for the drama that ensued. There was a flurry of texts, I was told that all the horses were now at risk. I again reminded the BM that my horses had been fully vaccinated - and that Porsche had also had a strangles vaccine in December. I brought up quarantine, but was told that wasn't necessary. When I went out on Sunday, and the snot had turned yellowish - I knew we were dealing with a bacterial infection, and as a show of good faith, I called to make a vet appointment/barn call, to calm the rising waves of panic at the barn.

The vet's office told me appointments were weeks out, even in emergency situations. I dropped the BM's name and barn name - still no luck. I explained that this could be an emergency situation, if it was strangles it could move quickly, they advised I call around.

Apparently the policy here is that vets will not see emergency cases for patients who are not current clients. I have also been informed by several folks that even in emergency cases (like a friend's sheep who was struggling during lambing, and a horse colic) the vet will flat out refuse to come out, or be unavailable for hours, even if it is not possible to move the animal....

I have to say I was horrified by this. At previous barns, you could call up a vet clinic and someone would come out - yes, you would get charged an arm and a leg and a kidney, but no-one would willingly refuse to come out when an animal was suffering.

I called the BM, and I don't know what voodoo she pulled (pretty sure it was "EPIDEMIC!!"), but she got us an appointment. I hauled in Porsche - I was strictly told she was not to leave the trailer - and after 2 hours of waiting in the heat, the Doctor came to see us. He diagnosed a sinus infection, and a round of antibiotics. It was a relief to have a professional confirm my suspicions, and calm the BM, but it was not a cheap visit - and a round of IM penicillin would've been $20, and I could've started a day sooner, and spared her a trip in heat. On the plus side - we are now clients, so maybe he would come out in an emergency....

I talked to the owner of the new barn, and we agreed to err on the safe side and have Porsche stay at the current barn for another month. Tesla will move to the new facility on Saturday, provided she is still asymptomatic.

I'm still sorting through my thoughts and feelings on this one. I'm relieved Tesla is moving soon, and wish Porsche was moving sooner.  I'm not sure what to make of the dismissal of simple steps which can prevent disease spread, followed by over-reactive panic.

I also am going to make sure I am well prepared in the case of any horse emergency: cause DIY may just have gone to a level 10 here.....

This is what the arena looked like when I came.....guess they want to impress the next boarder...


  1. Wow. So much drama. So unnecessary. I hope the new barn is more rational.

  2. Ugh. I'm so glad you're getting out of that place. But that's crazy about the vet's office! Did you not yet have a regular vet?


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