adventures with the vet · first aid · tail tumor

The Miracle of the Elastikon

My love for Elastikon is well-documented. I firmly believe that at least one roll of this miracle substance should be in every equestrian first aid kit. I could not begin to estimate how many rolls I have gone through in the last few years.

On Sunday, I returned to see Tristan for the first time in nearly two weeks after the wedding + mini-honeymoon. Before I left, I did my due diligence and had conversations with the vet and the barn manager about our tail protocol.

The plan was that his tail would stay wrapped as long as the wrap held. He could then keep it unwrapped as long as he was not rubbing it. If he was rubbing it, the wrap would need to go back on. Since the first wrap lasted about two weeks, I expected that the wrap would come off while I was gone and we would see whether or not he rubbed his tail. I didn’t hear anything while I was away – the barn manager was very firm that she would only call or text me in case of actual emergency, since she wanted me to be stress free.

I arrived Sunday…

Let me contextualize this for you.
Tails are notoriously difficult to wrap, right? We’ve all been there. They are slippery and if you do them too tight it’s super dangerous. So you have to strike an impossible balance on being snug but not tight, sticky but not anything that will actually damage the tail irreparably.
This wrap has lasted almost four weeks. I thought two weeks was an extraordinary gift. Four weeks!!!
Lest you think that the tail is damaged underneath, I checked carefully for chafing and rubbing, and found none. I’m not saying it will slide right off with zero problems, but I don’t anticipate a complete mess when it’s time.
Here’s what it looked like after I took the old wrap off. Not too bad, huh?

In conclusion:


first aid

Cob Jockey’s Blog Hop: Temperature, Pulse, and Respiration

A day late and a dollar short, as they say, but I’ve been writing “Tristan – TPR” on my to do list every day for the last two weeks, and last night at 9pm after book club finally got the last check I needed to take an average.

SO. Here’s Cob Jockey’s original post announcing the blog hop and the rules.

Tristan’s TPR was a little bit of all over the place, but the averages ended up being:

Temperature: 99.5
Pulse: 30
Respiration: 15

Broken out by day, that was:

Day 1: T 99.4, P 28, R 16
Day 2: T 99.5, P 30, R 14
Day 3: T 99.4, P 32, R 14
Day 4: T 99.8, P 30, R 16
Day 5: T 99.5, P 32, R 16

So there we go! I’m glad to have that on hand again.

first aid

Do you have a horse emergency kit in the car?

A recent post on A Filly’s Best Friend about catching loose horses got me thinking about a similar incident in my own life about 10 years ago. I was driving to my barn in a not-terribly-rural part of Vermont, and a horse came out of what seemed like nowhere to gallop in front of my car. I slammed on the brakes, pulled over, and luckily the horse was so wigged out by everything he came right to me. I grabbed his halter with my hand and led him over to the nearby barn that I knew he’d come from. They had only just realized he was gone and were relieved and grateful.

A few days later, I bought a cheap nylon halter and an extra cotton lead rope and added them to my car’s emergency kit. I keep a few basic supplies in a milk crate in my trunk at all times: a jug of water, extra windshield wiper fluid, a quart of oil, jumper cables, some old hand towels, a human first aid kit, an extra winter hat and gloves, and some reflective blankets. I added the halter and lead rope to it. Of course, now that I’m prepared, I’ve never since needed it.

But reading that post got me to thinking: should I add to that kit? Maybe some gauze and vetwrap? I’ve posted before about my fairly obsessive trailering first aid kit, and I’m wondering if that needs to be expanded.

Do you keep any horse rescuing supplies in your car at all times? What kinds of things do you have?

first aid · trailering

First Aid Kit for the Trailer: Spring Checkup

Okay, so it’s more like midsummer checkup, but still: yesterday, I went through the first aid kit that I keep in the trailer. It’s a fairly obsessive kit, because my theory is that while I’m at the barn, I can find just about anything I need or run out to buy it posthaste. If I’m out on the road, who knows where I might be or what I might find?

I keep it in this tupperware box, which is about 12″x9″ – pretty decent size. It’s not packed to the gills. First up was going through the checklist that lives with the kit itself.

Sadly, because I’m a loser, this checklist is left over from the last time I went through the kit, and is no longer accurate. So I just checked again and made additional notes.

Missing this time: two rolls of vetwrap, the lube, the 60cc syringe, the scissors from the suture kit (huh?), the tube of banamine, one of the two pens, one of the two bags of electrolytes.

The antibiotic ointment had expired, as had the saline solution. I threw away the antibiotic ointment but saline solution doesn’t really expire, thanks marketing guys.

I tested the flashlight batteries and the in in the pen, then the thermometer – I stuck it into my armpit. I once nailed some Pony Clubbers on their horse management inspection because while they had a digital thermometer, the batteries were dead. Since then, I’ve been very careful about checking my own during these inspections, because: karma.

Some things I decided not to replace: the second pen, the second roll of tape, the scissors, and the second dose of electrolytes.

Some things I replaced right away: I had already replaced the banamine and just kept it in my main tack trunk, so I transferred that over to the kit. I have enough leftover vet wrap to cover my entire horse head to tail, so it was easy to grab two rolls out and get them to the kit.

I stopped by Walmart on the way home and bought more lube (which necessitated a fair bit of considering time in front of the personal pleasure section at Walmart while wearing my breeches, earning me more than a few sideways looks), a tube of antibiotic ointment, and one addition to the kit: a travel size tube of antibacterial hand wash.

I am not a big believer in the stuff on a daily basis, but I’ve seen how effective it can be around the barn for biosecurity. Every new horse gets a quarantine stall and a big pump jug of the stuff on the door. Our barn is an interesting confluence of several circumstances – rural area with a few other not-great barns nearby, super-fancy and $$$ horses in for training or sales all the time, one or two pregnant mares or new babies at all times, and a very particular ban manager. It’s really great, but it does mean there’s a higher level of care taken about that sort of thing.

Today, I stopped by Tractor Supply and picked up another 60cc syringe with catheter tip. Pre-surgery, I had a half dozen of these around; during Tristan’s rehab, one after another succumbed to broken parts, staining from betadine, or just plain old got lost. Time to re-up.

All I have left to do is update the inventory list and the emergency contact information inside (new barn, need to add the fiance since he would probably care if something terrible happened).

Always bring peppermints!