Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Mustang and the Rattlesnake

When I got to Leslie’s place I still hadn’t seen any horses so I kept an eye out as I walked in from the road where I had parked. Coming to the barn I could see parts of three shadowy mustangs moving idly about, and in Mick’s stall stood Billy next to his feed tub which solved the last two mysteries. After dragging Billy’s tub back around the corner to where it was yesterday I led billy out with a nudge or two... and let Mick into his stall. Mick went right over to his feeder and waited to be served, but something about his mouth made me take a closer look at him. At first it was only a little swollen, but hard and he was drooling a little foamy bit. In the light I saw two distinct bloody holes about an inch apart, almost in line with his nostrils. 

So I walked around the yard but found no signs of people about. I called dad to get his opinion and a phone number for Leslie as my contacts have not all been transferred to this new phone... I walked down to Leslie’s house and knocked on the door. 

The still and quiet erupted with two dogs that came charging out of the dog door. They were acting tough and a little scared maybe, aggressive.. but I’d been there before and didn’t really worry too much, though I was glad to see movement in the house because these were dogs acting in such a way as I didn’t want to turn my back on them. Then suddenly the intact male came and bit me on the ass! Just then the door opened and Ray came out telling the dogs to behave in some fashion. I was pretty startled at having been bit, more in shock than hurt. I have a little 1/2 inch bruise below my left cheek, a little dog hicky is all...  

Anyway, Ray apologized for Leslie’s dog and made sure I was ok, then came up to the barn to look at the horse. He was already much more swollen and serum was dripping from his nostrils as well as more wet in the more swollen mouth which now drooped a bit. I grabbed up some Snakeweed I spotted just outside the pen, which was flowering, on the way down to Ray’s truck via Leslie’s house to get her number from his phone. I called her and she said she was in town, but would be there as soon as she could, about a half hour... 

Ray got me a pan to simmer the Snakeweed in and a towel to apply it. When the brew was ready I took it up to the water trough to cool down. When it was still warm but not too hot I took the towel and held it to Mick’s bite. He reared a little at first, but after a few attempts he stood and appreciated it, leaning into my hand a bit. I stood and added more tea now and then until Leslie arrived. She came in and assessed the situation directing Ray to find some spent hosing and cut it into two strips about 8 inches in length. I stayed with Mick continuing to keep him calm while Leslie went off after some supplies. He is a very good boy, and trusts his people, a few times he got agitated, but I was able to calm him back to standing still. 

When they returned Leslie first injected Mick with some antihistamine pain drug and then inserted the hose into each nostril while Ray and I held Mick. The hosing was taped to his halter and his breathing was immediately easier. The oddness of nostril tusks was balanced by the ability to breathe. Leslie then lanced his nose and face in about 6 or 8 places. These bled some, and more bloody serumy liquid came from his mouth and nostrils. Leslie went off to find some cold packs which came in the form of frozen blueberries. These she put into a bag and taped it onto the front of Mick’s face with one on each side above his nose. Even this he took with little fuss. A touch to the face from Leslie sent him turned on a dime and facing the opposite side of the stall. Impressive move! But then he was fine and seemed to appreciate the cold on his swollen face which now swelled to just below his eye with the top lip very big and hard. 

A little later Leslie gave him a shot of some tougher pain medication. I am really glad I was able to spot it right away, it was a nasty place to get bit, but it looks like he will be ok. It is a good thing I had both my dad to confer with on best available aid and what to watch for and Leslie as a Veterinarian to be there before long to stabilize his breathing.

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