"He's broken out in hives!"
No kidding. Canyon looked like he didn't just have hives. He looked like he'd been through a beating by millions of tiny nasty things. Which is what horse hives is, I guess. Here's how he looked when I first saw him.
He was so itchy he had cut open his nose, rubbed most of the hair off his face and had a fever of 104.
I was stunned. All this had happened in the space of four days. Our vet, Dr. Blevins, had me bring him in and gave him a steriod injection. He gave me a special paste to shoot in his mouth and provided antibiotics for his feed because he had so many open wounds. Canyon had even developed a raw spot on his leg which he had used as a rubbing post.
Dr. Blevins also told me to give him regular oatmeal baths to reduce his discomfort. Gave me something to do, I suspect.
If you just came across this horse, you'd think he'd been horribly abused instead of being one of the most spoiled horses in Texas.
Two days later, his fever was down, but he was still itching up a storm. I called Dr. Blevins and he made a stable call, giving him another steriod dose then giving me some antihistimines to put in his feed twice a day and three syringes so I could give him decreasing dosages of steroids over the next three days
Prior to this I hadn't even learned how to worm my horse. Now I had to give him a shot. An intermuscular shot. I never gave anything a shot. I thought you had to have a medical license or drug addiction to handle needles.
Ah, the joys of horse ownership. You learn something new all the time. Whether you like it or not.
So I got my lesson on giving a shot directly into the neck. I'd suggest having someone show you how, but here's what I learned.
- Find the area of the neck where it folds when they turn back to nip at their side. It's just ahead of the shoulder. The spot is halfway between the black of his mane in this photo and the buckskin area of his coloring.
- Aim for the middle of the neck - too low and you'll hit the veins, too high and you'll hit the ligament near the mane.
- Clean the spot with alcohol.
- Stab the needle straight in, all the way to the hub of the syringe.
- Let it flow slowly.
- Pull out the needle and apply pressure to stop any bleeding.
- Go out and have tequila shot to celebrate. (optional)