Just Grazing

Mr. Big Put On Injured Reserved List

Mr. Big in stallMr. Big’s bruised leg is slowly mending. The good news is the veterinary quack on the farm who diagnosed a laminitis flareup was wrong about our miniature horse’s ailment that resulted in a limp, or lameness.

It probably won’t surprise anyone that the quack’s diagnosis was wrong.  Isn’t there an old saw about “a man who treats himself has a fool for a patient,” or something like that?

Even better advice came to us a few years ago from Dr. Vivian W. Freer of Freer Equine Mobile Veterinary Service, who is best known to us and hundreds of horse lovers in Western North Carolina and the Upstate as simply “Bibi.”

The first time she made a call at our farm to have a look at the mare Nina, who was suffering from colic, we proudly told her what we already had done. Why, we administered a medicine given to us by a friend.

With an mischievous smile and a friend’s voice, Bibi said, “Let’s have a rule. I’ll be the vet, and you be the client.” She laughed. The point was well taken. Maybe it slipped our mind when we recently diagnosed a laminitis flareup because Mr. Big clearly suffered from this dreaded ailment in a previous life. We’ve seen the symptoms in him before, and we know the steps to take–short of medicine–to help him get back in step. So that’s what we did.

But when he didn’t recover as quickly as before, we began to wonder if he might have injured the leg, perhaps a muscle or a tendon. You see, some little horses don’t know they’re little.

Note that Mr. Big leads

Note that Mr. Big leads

Or, as others like to say, they suffer from a Napoleon complex. Whatever it is, Mr. Big can hold his own in a scrap with the big horses. And, if they want to race around the pasture like Thoroughbreds, he knows how to haul butt. And he stands up to them if they push him around.

Standing his ground

Standing his ground

Knowing this, we recalled a few weeks back when we looked up one day and saw Mr. Big high-tailing it at full speed with the other horses, his Fabio mane and forelock flying in the wind. That might have been the day it happened. He could have slipped or stepped in a divot while pouring on the speed.

Bibi examines Mr. Big

Bibi examines Mr. Big

“You could say it’s like a sprained ankle,” Bibi said after examining Mr. Big, whom we loaded in the horse trailer and took to her facility in nearby Tryon this week. She prescribed “bute” (Phenybutazone, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug), which we administered when we returned to the farm.

And to be certain Mr. Big doesn’t go off to the races with the big horses for awhile, he’s being turned out into one of the small paddocks during the day and put in a stall at night.

We’re blessed in this area with outstanding veterinarians and animal hospitals. Bibi was just elected to the prestigious national board of the American Association of Equine Practitioners.

Becoming a veterinarian must be like becoming a preacher. You feel you’re being called by something in your soul to help those in need. And to do that, you have to be willing to work long hours, deal with a few customers who think they know more than you and be willing to remind them that you’ll do the preaching and they can do the listening.



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