There is no adrenaline rush quite like seeing the barn’s name on your cell phone screen as it rings. And the first few seconds of cheerful pleasantry when you really want to yell OH MY GOD WHAT HAPPENED IS MY HORSE DEAD?
Nope, not dead. But his left eye is a bit swollen and weepy. Not swollen shut – just with some puffiness top and bottom. He is totally blase about the whole thing, per the barn worker who called. She flushed it with saline (I don’t envy her that at all, he is Not Happy about having his eyes flushed) and reports no cloudiness or overt sensitivity.
I can point to you the precise moment he got something in it, too: yesterday, in the indoor, rolling around. See, when Tristan rolls, he shimmies up and down his back too and then he lays his head on the ground, one side then the other, and drags and griiiiiinds it into the dirt. I’ve never seen another horse roll quite like that. Add to that his general tendency to have weepy eyes anyway (I had his tear ducts flushed some years ago to see if that was the culprit and nope, zero change) and it’s not uncommon for him to get a little something in his eye, especially if he’s in a sandy space like an arena or a dry lot.
There have been times when I’ve called the vet in for emergency appointments due to his eye. In one memorable winter he had emergency vet calls on Friday nights twice in one month. Those were bad: swollen shut, weeping and crusty. They took a few days of flushing, hot compresses, and preventive antibiotics. He was also quite clearly a little miserable.
So after many years, if he does this – comes in a bit swollen, a bit weepy, but otherwise unbothered – I don’t call the vet unless there is a progression. I flush, and if I am fussed enough, do a hot compress or two.
Of course, I had just decided not to go to the barn tonight, but I know myself too well – if I don’t head out and check on him I’ll be a big ball of anxiety all night. Ixnay on the relaxing evening spent organizing stuff and baking…