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November 4, 2019: Veterinary Administrativa

A blustery, cold day—an indication that winter is on its way. A good day for taking care of animal administrativa. Maybe not such a good day for a veterinary visit, at least weather-wise.

Dr. Zach Kaiser rolled into the driveway at 10 a.m. His practice is situated in what he calls an ambulatory unit—it’s a huge white RV. Items on the agenda included doing a blood draw on Stormy the Goat, getting fecal samples on the four horses, and a routine examination on Tinni, horse, age 30.

Dr. Kaiser first examined Stormy and did the blood draw. On the basis of his exam, he said that he did not think she’s pregnant. He said that if she is, she might possibly have one baby. I suppressed my disappointment as we showed him the goatel and the maternity ward and the outside playpen. I honestly felt like an expectant mother who miscarried. Expectations were dashed in a short visit.

Next we put all the horses’ individual manure samples in containers. They are now in an envelope with a form and ready to mail off. It’ll be interesting to see what transpires – we occupied areas this past summer where there were a lot of horses.

Dr Kaiser exam of Tinni's teeth
Dr Kaiser examining of Tinni's teeth

Lastly, but not leastly, Dr. Kaiser examined Tinni. The exam wasn’t scheduled – it came about because I had a lot of questions, one of which was, what are the correspondences between equine and human exams? What I learned is that both follow the veterinarian/physician’s established order, and that the doctor in charge does a routine check of all the systems, some including the respiratory, cardiac, gastro-intestinal, and muscular-skeletal systems.

The focus was primarily on Tinni’s respiratory and muscular-skeletal systems. He took vitals – his respiratory rate was 20, a bit high, his temperature 99.4, normal, and his heart rate 60. Dr. Kaiser also auscultated Tinni’s heart, lungs, G.I. tract, and as well, checked his capillary refill time, which was about two seconds. The good doctor said that it could be up to eight seconds in very dehydrated horses.

The lung auscultation included his lower and upper airways. Dr. Kaiser determined in listening to Tinni’s trachea that he is wheezy, which could mean that he has an upper respiratory infection. His diagnosis was bronchitis, which is a form of COPD.

Dr. Kaiser also did a flexion test on all four legs and said that he isn’t lame. Based on my description of how he moves – slowly at first, later warming up, that he is arthritic. In addition, he did what he called a carrot test, meaning he gave Tinni a carrot, in order to see if he’d bite down in it with his incisors. He did not. Dr. Kaiser then surmised that Tinni’s upper incisors might be bothering him.

We will have his teeth floated in the spring and then we’ll decide whether or not to have the teeth radiographed. If they are problematic, an option might be to have the front teeth pulled. To this I said whoa – I’m very dental phobic, so I see this as an absolute last resort.

And Dr. Kaiser did a blood draw – we agreed to have him tested for Cushings Disease. I think he’s okay, but we just want to be sure.

I was, at the conclusion of the exam, quite proud of Mr. T. He just stood there patiently for a half-hour and let Dr. Kaiser do what needed to be done. It was like he knew we were acting in his best interest.

Next: 306. 11/5/19: Problem Solving 101

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