Thursday, May 20, 2010

"Tutoring" and Fred Chokes

Yesterday our newest barn cat got snatched up by me and taken to the vet. His name is Night, and he is a beautiful sleek young black male cat with yellow eyes - very sweet and friendly. He was clearly someone's young tomcat who got lost. Right after he came to us a couple of months ago, he got a bad respiratory infection - sneezing and runny eyes - so we couldn't take him in until he felt a bit better for his shots and neutering - "tutoring" as Far Side would have it:

It took him a long time to get well, and recently he's had a bit of a relapse - a bit listless and sleeping a lot. He also had an abscess on his leg - probably from fighting - which looked like it was getting worse. So I took advantage of his being a bit sleepy and stuffed him in the carrier and off to the vet we went.

It turns out he had a fever - over 103 degrees - apparently normal in cats is 100-101. Even though there was some risk in anesthetizing a cat who wasn't completely well, we decided to get everything done at once - he got his rabies, distemper and an antibiotic shot that would last two week, was "tutored" and had his abscess drained. I was able to pick him up in the afternoon and bring him back to the barn - he wasn't very happy with me, and slunk off. But by later that evening, he was his friendly self again. I have to bring him back to the vet in 2 to 4 weeks for a distemper booster, and we'll see how easy he is to put in the carrier then!

* * * * * *
Scout's owner was feeding yesterday afternoon, and called me when Fred had a problem. (That's Fred in the header today.) She was feeding and heard choking and coughing - it was Fred, and lots of chewed food and mucus were coming out of his nose - it was choke, which both Scout's owner and I had seen before. We took his food and hay away and called his owner who called her vet. I spent some time while we were waiting massaging the left side of his neck along the jugular groove - the esophagus is close to the surface there. The vet came within the hour, and my younger daughter and I assisted. He had some Banamine and a quick-acting sedative, and then the vet tubed him and gently flushed out the obstruction with water. The obstruction was very low - just where his neck joins his chest. As the tube moved up and down, it was possible to see it moving through the ridges of the esophagus, which was both amazing and somewhat scary.

A little later that evening, when the sedative wore off, we gave him a couple of flakes of soaked hay to eat. This morning, he had eaten all the hay with no ill effects, although he wasn't as perky as normal. We need to watch him closely for signs of aspiration pneumonia which can be a complication of serious choke - he probably inhaled some of what came back up. No temperature - it was 98.6F - which was good. I gave him a handful of his breakfast, which he ate. When I turned him out, he was grazing normally. Tonight if he's still OK, he can go back to his regular hay and feed. We'll keep taking his temperature a.m. and p.m. for several days.

* * * * * *
My older daughter and I both rode Maisie yesterday. My daughter rode her in the indoor, and they were able to use the whole ring while doing trot work without rushing. I rode outdoors - it was a beautiful day, and we worked some more on our softening work at the walk - we were able to start where we left off with 7 steps, and worked our way up to 9, 11 and 13 steps in both directions. She's still struggling a bit to the right and also wants to fall in - her right hind may be a bit weak or sore and she might also have some knots in the muscles of her neck - I'll do more carrot stretches and some massage today before I ride. Today I'm going to try to get her to refine her head position - she has a tendency to go very low with her head and get somewhat behind the vertical - this is what she thinks she's supposed to do - and I'd like it to be a bit higher and not behind the vertical. I'll have to adjust my hand position and ask until I get what I want precisely. It's supposed to be another beautiful day, so we'll be outdoors again.


  1. I don't really understand your barn setup, but it clearly works .Glad Fred will be OK . And the cat

  2. fernvalley - our barn (the old barn where Dawn and Noble still reside) is in the middle of our housing development (about 360 homes) and is only open to residents. It isn't really owned by anyone - the developer originally owned it but now it's owned by a non-profit corporation with a board of directors, all of whom are boarders - we only have 7 boarders including me. I do the morning feeding and take-out for all 10 horses (we have capacity for 12) and we have paid labor for stall cleaning and bring-in 5 days a week. We have no indoor and don't have the revenue for paying for all the other maintenance that is needed - lots of volunteer work is required. No one wants to invest big bucks in improvements because no on owns it or can get the economic benefit of improvements on a sale. It's a conundrum. We manage, just barely, although it's not ideal. Maisie just moved to another barn - a regular boarding barn with 7-day stall cleaning and turnout, although no pastures. Lily and Norman are retired at Paradigm Farms in Tennessee. Confused? Me, too.

  3. Choke is frightening, I've helped in a couple of instances, the first times (eons ago) with a very well-bred Thoroughbred race mare, in foal to one of the biggest name studs of the day. We pulled her through, but it was touch and go for awhile.
    Did Fred choke on pelleted feed of some kind? That or hay cubes seems the most common culprit, especially with horses who gobble their food too fast. Glad he looks like he's doing okay.
    Glad the kitty is too. He'll be much safer and happier now that's he's "educated" (tutored, get it?).

  4. I had an episode of choke with my little pony. It's a very scary "incident" to go through for humans as it looks quite dramatic and there is absolutely nothing you can do :(

    The vet ended up having touse a miniature foal tube on her and even it only came out when pony was wearing (even doped) and tube came flying out with the material while one of my helpers (not paying attention) had gotten her nose slammed by the back of pony's head. Thankfully a long time ago...

    I've heard that horss that choke have a chance of it happening again. And you have to be cautious as they can get an infection.

    Best to Night Kitty and Scout!

  5. I've never experienced "choke", so this was good to read in case I do. Glad to hear he's okay.

  6. I'm sure Night the Cat will 'forgive' you in time and let you take him for his shots. I've always loved that particular Far Side. Wish Larsen hadn't given it up.

    Poor Fred, hope he'll be okay. Choke is no fun for anyone concerned.

    Maisie is really getting her exercise since moving. Bet she'll be looking forward to her ride outdoors again.

  7. I have *knock on wood* never had to deal with choke. So glad that Fred was okay.

    Good for your for "tutoring" the kitty. So much better for everyone.

  8. Low chokes are the hardest ones to clear. When they are up high just behind the throatlatch they can often clear it themselves. I HATE choke, hence my daily soaking of food for everyone. It isn't a complete preventative for choke but it is a good start. Plus with a high concentration of aging residents we have a lot of horses that are at a higher risk for choke than a typical facility.

    I hope you are loving having several arenas with good footing to work Maisie in every day. It sounds like the move was worth it so far!


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