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April 4, 2022: Aging Animals

Today, Zach, our veterinarian, came and examined the goats, horses, and dogs. He did not examine the chickens, although he would have had we asked.

All animals got clean bills of health. All the animals were of good weight, and were chipper, this for lack of a better word.

But as Zach did his exams, I became aware of the fact that all the animals are getting older, and in getting older, they have some specific health concerns.

Zach listens to Hrimmi's lungs

The horses—Tinni was his usual patient self. But he’s shedding slowly, a sign that his Cushing’s medication may have to be upped. He also has lost muscle in his back, another sign of age. Zach thinks our hay might be low on protein, so he suggested that we add alfalfa hay to his brome timothy mix.

Zach also noted that Hrimmi and Raudi have lost some musculature, so they are going to get some alfalfa now and then. Raudi will be 19 in a few days, the age Tinni was when we got him. I then thought Tinni was an old horse. I do not see Raudi being an old horse. Some horse owners have 19-year-olds and think their horses are old. Not so me; Raudi in my mind is just a little ways past her prime.

Zach next examined the goats and gave Sassy and Swampy tetanus vaccines. He had not done this before. Perhaps he was thinking of Stormy, and how she became ill, maybe he thought that she would have done better if she had this vaccine.

Zach also looked closely at Ranger who right now is bright eyed but looking rather raggedly. He has a skin condition – he loses hair readily. Zach said to give him a copper bolus. I’m also going to give him the same supplements that I give the horses. Zach added that Ranger, at age 12, is the second oldest goat he knows.

I may get my wish. I wanted Ranger to live until spring so that he could have another season of warm weather and fresh green forage. I don’t think he’ll be able to handle another winter like this last one.

And lastly, Zach examined the dogs. Ryder has teeth like mine – two rear molars are broken as is one canine. I agree with Pete that this is why she sometimes is reluctant to eat. He also examined her eyes and said she has immature cataracts.

Watching him examine her, I thought, yep, at age 8 she is an old dog. It could be because she’s a pure bred. Or she was older than we thought when we got her.

Shadow is a nice contrast to the others, as is Sassy. I put Shadow up on Tinni and took her for a demo ride. Way fun.

So, the old ones, they will not live forever. The best we can do is pay special attention to their geriatric needs.

I suppose all animals should be as lucky as ours. The tradeoff we get for caring for them to the degree we do is that they reciprocate. All are kind and gentle. Can’t ask for more than this.

Next: 93. 4/5/22: Snow, again

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