Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Lone Butte General Store Burned Last Night

This morning I left home around 6:30 a.m. for a trip to Kamloops before the heat of the day. I was very surprised to see six fire trucks and an ambulance in "downtown" Lone Butte! The store had caught fire in the night. Because it's a metal building, it's hard to gage the damage, but I'm sure it's pretty much a total loss. Three volunteer fire departments responded, and their efforts helped prevent disaster, as there are gas pumps and a huge propane tank on the lot.

The loss of the store is a big loss for a small community. It also serves as a gas station, and a liquor store. I hope they'll soon rebuild.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Cody Amos...before and after

Little Cody was getting a tad too he had a very serious haircut!

With his long hair, he looks like a quintessential teddy bear. With the very warm places Cody and Mike go on their travels, he needed something a little cooler for summer...

And here he is, fresh from the beauty parlour! He'll be much more comfy during the warm months.
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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Catching Up

Sorry to leave you looking at an ugly wound for over a week! My rock garden is much prettier.

Life here is ticking along as it should...Buck is doing fine, and though he needs daily dressing changes, he has full mobility and is very comfortable. All the creatures are well

Mike will be home in a couple of days! He has been to Pennsylvania (or was it Ohio?), to Winnipeg, to Texas, then Minnesota, and will finally be delivering in Kelowna. He avoided the most severe weather and flooding in the midwest, but was within areas with tornado warnings for three consecutive days.

My parents have been here for the past week; the weather improved a little for a few days, but today we have relapsed to cold and wet. Late morning, the rain stopped long enough for us to go on an outing; we circumnavigated Green Lake, and had a pub lunch before coming home. We saw a ground squirrel, bluebirds, an eagle, a deer on our travels. This afternoon I went into town to the feed store and on the way home, a lovely red fox darted across Horse Lake Road in front of me!
More soon...hope all is well with you!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

The Not so Pretty...a basic lesson in equine wound care

The above photo is a bit gross; it's Buck's wound. It looks a slightly revolting, but it is progressing as it should. Horses' lower leg wounds are tricky to deal with. There are plenty of bones, tendons, ligaments and blood vessels, but very little muscle tissue. They are not often stitched because the strain and movement of the limb will generally tear out any sutures. Neat tidy wounds that are sutured heal quickly by a process called primary intention; the edges knit themselves together and soon all is well. Ugly wounds like Buck's can't heal that way. Instead, they heal from the wound base to the surface, and from the wound edges to the centre. This is called healing by secondary intention. It can be a long, slow, tedious business.

Buck hurt himself two ways, first with a traumatic injury, and then with prolonged pressure, which caused further tissue damage. Tissue denied blood flow for a long period will die. The dead stuff can present several ways; as hard black leathery eschar, or as grey or yellowy stringy slough, either loosely or firmly attached. Before a wound can heal, the dead tissue needs to be removed. The best and most conservative way to remove it is to keep it moist, but not wet, and it will gradually come away from the wound, once that stuff is out of the way, the wound can heal.
Horses are different from people and other animals in that their wounds will often hypergranulate, or form excessive tissue ("proudflesh"). Some of the wound products we use on people shouldn't be used on a horse because of this.

Buck's first week of treatment has consisted getting of a bucket of grain every afternoon and happily munching while I cut away the old dressing. Next comes cleaning the wound with water. We don't take a garden hose to people wounds, but it's just the ticket for a horse. It helps clean the wound, and wash away any sloughing necrotic stuff. Next comes an antimicrobial silvercoated dressing which fits right into the wound, then a non adherent dressing, followed by kling gauze bandaging, and finally an outer layer of vetwrap, which is among the best things ever invented.

I'll be watching Buck carefully for signs of infection. A wound that is unhealed for any length of time will be colonized with bacteria, and that's normal (actually, we're all covered with bacteria all the time!). If they become invasive, or if the wrong bacteria are introduced to the wound, then problems can arise. The dressing is a bit stinky when it's removed, and that's normal too. It's absorbing drainage from dead tissue, and dead stuff smells after a while! What you need to do is get rid of the dressing, clean the wound, and then have a shouldn't smell. I'll be noting the amount and colour of the drainage. I'll be checking his leg by comparing it to the healthy one for warmth or swelling. I'll be noting how he walks, and whether he favours the leg. I'll be checking to make sure he's eating and drinking well, and if I was concerned about any of these things, I'd check his temperature and call the doc. We might then swab the wound to see what bacteria are growing, and put him back on an antibiotic. I don't expect these complications, but they may arise.

I'm awaiting a product called Equaide to arrive, and then we'll switch to that. That little pink nub near the front edge of the wound is hypergranulation tissue.

Thus endeth the lesson. You probably didn't want to know all that, but perhaps you learned something new today.
(Sorry for the odd paragraph spacing, Blogger won't let me space them with a blank line tonight!)

Pretty Things...

I meant to post these pics early last week, but got involved with horse nursing and forgot about them. Buck is doing well; he had his last shot of penicillin today, thank goodnes. He has gotten quite "needle shy", and gets antsy in anticipation of the injection. Nadine came by for the last two shots to hold him, it made a very big difference!

Molly hiding out under the weeping birch. She spends time here hoping for birds to land in the tree. Fortunately, they prefer a nearby spruce.

Heart-leafed arnica. They are very prolific here this year, and thrive in recently disturbed soil.

Early blue violets.

A slightly blurry fairyslipper orchid. They bloomed very late here this year due to the late, cold spring.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

An Update

Again, it seems I only posted a couple of days ago.

I have been going full tilt for the last little while; firstly learning the ropes of the new job I started last week (home care nursing), and secondly nursing poor Buck. He has a very nasty leg wound which he sustained from pushing the fencing down and then tripping and getting tangled in it. I found him down and motionless on Monday after work. Rupert quietly kept vigil, offering some comfort, I'm sure. Buck was incredibly good and quiet while I made an emergency phone call for help and while I cut the fencing away from him. I had to break off a fence post, and then he was able to get up just as Nadine arrived. Bernie and Cliff came next and soon we had Buck medicated for pain and had his wound cleaned and covered, and Bernie and Nadine patched the fence back together. I was so grateful for their help.

Our vet Gord came by within the hour, sedated Buck and examined the wound. It is deep and nasty with bone, tendon and artery all visible, but thankfully intact. Gord elected not to suture the wound as the stitches would almost certainly tear out, based on the location (just below left hind fetlock). So my afternoons all week have involved wound care and dressings, and giving huge injections of penicillin. Buck is very tolerant of having his leg messed with, but not so much about getting needles in the a$$.

The weather has been mainly cool and wet for the past days. The garden is slow to get established, but the weeds grow rampantly. The back meadow remains under water, and the standing water left after snow melt keeps getting replenished, so we have several temporary ponds on the property.

Things are good today, and I am content.