Gentle Readers, the Retired Spook writes:
Dear Dr. J.,
Thought you might find this story interesting.
Tuesday night, I got home from work to find that only one of the horses had showed up for feeding, so I grabbed a flashlight and went looking for the errant member of the herd. Followed the nickers, and found her standing on three legs, looking so pitiful it would break your heart. I had to go get a feed bucket and bribe her to move at all, and she refused to put ANY weight on the right forefoot.
Got her to the barn, cleaned the injured hoof, and could find nothing wrong, but a lot of heat in the hoof, and heat w/swelling in the coronary band (the hairline above the hoof). Called our family vet just after 7 PM, described the situation, and he said he’d be right over. It’s nearly 20 miles of rural roads from his office to the house, but he made it in 25 minutes.
He diagnosed it as an abscessed hoof, and spent nearly an hour with a hoof knife and tester trying to determine the best way to deal with it, the options being to drain it through the sole of the hoof, or if the abscess is too high up in the hoof, to let it work it’s way out at the coronary band. Finally decided on plan B, and he loaded her up with injections of antibiotics and painkillers.
Before he left, he gave me oral antibiotics, oral pain meds, and a probiotic (while also recommeding cheap fruit-flavored yogurt, to help restore intestinal bacteria) as well as instructions on how to soak the hoof.
He also spent a few minutes to calm me down, and assure me that this would be ancient history by next month.
So, he made an after-hours farm call, did an examination of the hoof, injected meds, left more meds, and needed a bandaid because he’d cut himself with the hoof knife. Total charge? $205.00
I got home from work Friday, and it took me five minutes to catch the mare in question because she wanted to run around and play silly-buggers. Yes, actually running! Not quite Derby territory, but a far cry from that pitiful creature who wouldn’t let that hoof touch the ground three days before!
If you had any idea how panicked I was on Tuesday, you’d understand why Dr. H is my hero today.
Just thought I’d share,
Thanks for writing in!
A great vet, like a great doctor, is worth his (or her) weight in gold. Dr. J. is blessed to be surrounded by a number of great choices. Loki J’s breeder used one vet who Dr. J.’s spoken to to get old records, and she is kind, gentle and has a tremendous bedside manner. Dr. J.’d switch to her but he’s been using his vet group for 13 years (for 3 cats and 2 dogs) and is equally happy with them. Even when a tech was a little unprofessional with Mrs. Dr. J. and then with Dr. J. regarding Lady J.’s spaying last year, the senior partner received Dr. J.’s negative feedback constructively and used it as an M&M conference on professionalism. After all, feedback is a gift.
He also apologized on her behalf, mortified at her lack of sensitivity to Mrs. Dr. J. and the kids in graphically describing the procedure to them, and for referring to Lady J. as a drama-queen to Dr. J. If she were our first pet with them, we’d not likely have returned for follow up. As we have a long track record, Dr. J. knew it was an anomaly, provided fraternal correction, and moved on.
Indeed, a month ago, Loki J. got corneal abrasion and had to take a trip to the puppy ER followed by close follow up with the vet, and they were fantastic. Sounds like you have a winner too!