Beginning of this whole horrific episode here
Once I made the decision not to insert a tube into Ebony's nostrils, swollen but still open from the bite of an adult prairie rattlesnake, it was as if an unspoken checklist was started in my head. Later in hindsight, I realized how helpful an actual physical checklist would be in a situation like this. But equine emergencies are just that - emergencies. A colic needs a walk and banamine, a gash needs sponging and betadine, a swollen hock needs a cold water hosing and wraps - but sometimes they dont. They might need more action, or less. What determines what action in an Equine Emergency? It was at this moment that I realized you can be prepared all you want with all your supplies and knowledge, but in the end, it is your horses behavior and physical condition that determines what action to choose, not the procedure itself. This means reading and understanding your horse, and being responsible for their death if you read wrong.
pressure is on, clock is ticking...
The day was only getting hotter, and Mr. Foresterman quietly but quickly relayed the phone call between this large animal vet that we have never used, and himself after I made that first hard decision of no tubing - "He says he can be out, but he's got two horses coming in a half hour for an A.I. (artificial insemination) and he's using fresh sperm with a time limit so it has to be done now - he cant be out until 3:30 this afternoon with the drive and all (remember, we live 44 miles from town, and our zip code doesnt even have a pop machine in it). He said he doesnt use anti-venom as in most instances they treat the symptoms only and that gets good results except for a liver problem that happened like 5 weeks after the bite. In his 20 years or so of treating bites he never lost one except for that liver episode. We could bring him in right away too, but Hon, thats up to you -" As he was talking, I looked back at Baby's wide eyes staring off at the distance, lost in the excruciating pain within. It was now going on 11:45 am and we would have to wait close to 4 hours before the vet arrives. Crap.
Somehow the mama in me wanting immediate action wrestled with the trained emergency dispatcher that I usually am and pinned her down, leaving her immobile for the moment in decision making - never a good thing in my case. I cut him off in mid sentence too soon - "lets trailer him". Mr. Foresterman sprung into action, trotting off to hitch the truck up and remove the partition inside. But being the smart man he is, over his shoulder he called out - "he said you can call him and talk to him right now if you want". I was beginning to like this new vet very much thank you. A vet that tells you that you can call if you want is the best kind of vet there is - he or she is approachable, and is willing to help you help your animal. This thought helped me refocus on what is important, right now.
Taking one last look at Ebony, he still hadnt moved, as if that would be too agonizing. His breathing came in and out in those puffs, and his amber eyes were still wide with pain. But he was in the shade and out of the rising temps, and I had sponged him off with cool, not cold water behind his elbows, chest and groin, sprayed and brushed him for flies - his back foot was cocked at rest again, and that big Morgan belly gurgled its normal gurgle.
I trotted off to the house to make that call.