Springtime: Coggins, Shots, and Good-bye, Juncos

I realized today that if I wait until I have enough time to sit down and compose something thoughtful, spring will have come and gone already. These seventy-five degree, breezy, and longish days in Virginia have got me practically living outside – at the barn and in my garden.

So, it really is springtime here. The juncos have disappeared, and I haven’t seen a bufflehead at the river for, oh, a week or more. (Come the first of November, my daily vigil will resume for the return of this smallest duck !)

Other rites of spring: shots and Coggins for Albert and Mia. This marks the first year that Albert’s Coggins will come with photos – left profile, right profile, and face on. He can strike a pose! (I think I lost my camera at the barn, somewhere, so we’re sans Albert pics.)

Nothing spectacular about this visit from our vet, and that’s what made it the best vet visit in a year. Albert feels back to himself and is adjusting to life on the dark side. His vet watched us in the ring for a few minutes and pronounced, “he looks fine, I think he’s just feeling pokey.” That’s my boy. He’s back! She gave him a BCS of 5. After all he’s been through, well take it.

And Mia – who was rail thin last spring – is fine, too. While Albert spent the last year recovering from two back-to-back major surgeries, Mia struggled to keep weight on. We tried adding corn oil to her grain. Nope. Then, we added cocasoya oil and saw some improvement. The turning point came when we started her on beet pulp. Even after the weight evened out, she just wasn’t herself.

Mia is a fretful, anxious horse. She’s not a cribber, instead she kind of acts colicky when she gets nervous. Her eyes roll around; she paws at her barrel; she paces. Sweet talking her, patting her, or whispering in her ear will get her through a farrier visit or a teeth float, but all the comforting in the world wasn’t giving her relief from whatever was bothering her inside. You could just tell.

Our vet diagnosed ulcers, and sure enough after three months on Ranitidine, she is more settled and relaxed. And, of course she is – she feels better! Her BCS – 4.5 – might indicate she’s still a tad thin, but again, we’ll take it.

Well, what a difference a year can make. I feel so fortunate that Albert and Mia have got a great doc, an attentive and knowledgeable barn team, and supportive boarder community who care about all the horses at the south barn.


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