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CHASITY’S CHALLENGES: Vet Check: 5-13-20

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5-13-20

After 14 days on antibiotics, our veterinarian Greg Farrand came out to see how Chasity’s bacterial infection was doing. He was pleasantly surprised to find that the old, incredibly swollen infection in her udder and teats had gone down a significant 70%! We knew it would take quite some time to deal with something that had been wrong with her for so very long. When we first began treatment, it was as hard as a rock and as big as a grapefruit, but it was now softening into very smaller lumps and shrinking more rapidly than we had originally thought.

Greg asked me what I had been doing with her and I showed him her “diary” where I had documented in text and photographs all the workouts and everything else that we were doing with her.

He asked if we had kept up on the soaking with warm water and we showed him pictures of the rigging we had for her to hold a heated wet towel between her legs and up against her teats and udder.

We all discussed what the protocol would be going forward. I asked if we needed to change the antibiotics to another type, or if it would be okay to continue with what had been working. We decided that another 14 days of the same antibiotics would be okay.

Greg gave my Ranch Manager, Chad, and I another 14 days of EQUISOL-SOT and explained that we would give it once a day in her feed as we had been doing.

Chasity was given a handful of her favorite crimped oats for standing still and for waiting so patiently while we finished our conversation with Greg. She was very grateful!

I asked Chasity to stretch to the right and she did very well indeed…

Then I asked Chasity to stretch to the left and she did well that way, too!

Our final stretch was downward and she does this with ease, following my hand as low as I would like her to go… and she is always rewarded for her efforts!

Then we walked in sync back to the barn, quietly and obediently! Chasity knows we have her best interest at heart and is happy to comply! She is beginning to really trust us!

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CHASITY’S CHALLENGES: Vet Checkup for Mastitis: 4-14-20

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4-14-20

Chasity continues to improve, however, the drainage from her teats was not receding and began to look suspicious to me so I called our veterinarian out to take a look at her. It has been two weeks since she arrived and had it been the result of a weaned foal, she would have been drying up by now. When he arrived, I told Greg Farrand that I suspected an infection of some sort and then I went to get Chasity.

Greg took a look at the discharge and agreed that is was not as we had originally thought, This was not milk, but a small amount of pus and some very hard teats.

Chasity was a star while we poked and prodded to get a sufficient sample to test. Greg and my Ranch Manager, Chad, finally got a large enough sample to be a viable test sample.

In the light, one could see that it was clearly pus and not milk. Greg put the sample in the holding receptacle and took it with him to be tested. He would call with results.

Not all my jennets from past experience were so cooperative and we truly appreciated  Chasity’s quiet demeanor! Greg commented how much better she was looking after only two short weeks!

I mentioned to Greg that I had found some spots on her chest that could have been an old bot-hatching ground. I told him that I had scraped off the crusty scabs and applied Neosporin to the affected area. Most of the scabs were gone, but he said that she probably aggravated the area by scratching her chest on the fence. Donkeys will do that! I showed him her diary. He said that doing the core exercises would also help get rid of the infection.

Greg prescribed a regimen of Uniprim for the next 14 days along with daily hot water soaking.

Chasity tolerated the water, but was not thrilled with the water continuously running down her legs.

I decided if it was going to be a prolonged therapy, I would need to modify my future soaking approach to make her more comfortable during the process. This time, despite her displeasure, Chasity had cooperated and was happy to obtain her reward of crimped oats when it was all over!

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Chasity’s Challenges: Chasity’s Health Check

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3-31-20

Our veterinarian, Greg Farrand, came to do a health check on Chasity the day after she arrived. She obviously needs a lot of core strength work, but it will improve her health and keep her occupied while she is in quarantine. Simple core strength leading lessons will have a dramatic effect on her overall health and welfare both physically and mentally. Wrangler looks on with interest as the vet surveys her condition.

He thought because of her enlarged, fallen crested neck and all the fatty deposits over her body that she may have foundered. But her feet were in pretty good shape…no stress rings from founder.

She did have Borium shoes on the front feet (maybe previously used for parades on asphalt?). They were inordinately grown out and her hooves behind were also a bit long in the heels. She was definitely out of balance.

When we looked at her udder, we noticed that she had possibly been nursing before she came to us. She had what looked like milk dripping from extended teats and dried fluid caked on the insides of her legs.

She has cataracts starting in her eyes which made her a bit head shy…

…but, her teeth had just been floated and they were good.

Her posture is terrible with substantial Lordosis (sway back) even though she is only 13 years old! She exhibits the posture of a jennet after several foals. Her fallen, crested neck will be another challenge. However, she is a very sweet and cooperative girl! She is obviously the victim of some negligence… intentional or not.

When Chasity begins her lessons, we will be employing a reward system of training called “Behavior Modification.” This is a more complex way of training than Clicker Training in that your voice is an important communication element that fully engages the animal’s attention and promotes a more intimate bond between you. She has already been exposed to this training process by asking her to come to be haltered, follow at my shoulder and to stand quietly for the veterinarian. It is the simple beginning to a lifetime of good manners.

When we train, we carry the crimped oats reward in a fanny pack around the waist. When the equine knows you have them, they don’t try to run off and are willing to follow you anywhere. Animals need to be rewarded for the good things they do with more than just a pat on the neck to insure that their good behaviors will be repeated. Food is the animal’s ultimate payment for doing a good job. You just need to learn what food is best to use and how to dispense rewards appropriately for the best results. For equines, the food is crimped (rolled, cracked, or steamed) oats. Contrary to popular belief, the equine that is rewarded with crimped oats is less likely to bite than one that does not get the practice of taking them gently from your hand. Your equine will always continue to work for a reward of crimped oats and the oats will give your equine the extra energy he needs during training. Carrots and other “treats” do not work the same way and will not yield the same results.

The most important thing when training your equine is to learn to dispense the crimped oats reward promptly and generously in the beginning, and only when your equine is complying. This will solidify the connection between you, insure that the positive behaviors will be repeated, and will begin to facilitate a strong, and mutually satisfying relationship. If your equine tries to pull away, just let go of the rope (if he is already haltered), call his name, reach in your fanny pack and offer the oats to coax him to return to you. Do not chase him! Be patient and do not try to progress through lessons too quickly as this is usually what causes disobedience.

It will take some time to strengthen Chasity’s core (the muscles, tendons, ligaments and soft tissue that support the skeletal frame), get her into good equine posture so her joints work properly and obtain her trust,  but I see no reason that it cannot be done…and I am pretty sure I can do it!

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Wrangler’s Donkey Diary: Sarcoid Treatment Again

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1-29-20

Wrangler had his first sarcoid removal on 7-20-18, but we found another one just a few weeks ago starting under his right side. It looked like he had been rubbing it as it was a bit crusty. I had a mule that did that to a sarcoid and it eventually disappeared as did the other two that were on his body. He apparently built immunity against the sarcoids. So, we opted to wait and see if this one on Wrangler would also just go away. It didn’t and it was now the size of a golf ball and would need to be removed. We treated Wrangler’s prior sarcoid with Xterra because of its location in a vascular area, but this one could safely be surgically removed.

Our veterinarian, Greg Farrand, shaved the area for the IV catheter.

We opted to do the surgery in our tack and groom area where things could be kept clean. Kim handed Greg the catheter while I kept Wrangler steady. He wasn’t exactly thrilled, but he was a good boy!

In order to make sure he landed on his left side so Greg could reach the sarcoid that was on the right side, Chad and Steve took their positions on each side and guided him to the floor.

I shaved off the long, thick shaggy hair from his barrel around the sarcoid with my #10 blade and then Greg came back over the area with his closer cut blade. We put a fleece saddle pad under his head and covered his eyes with a bath towel.

Kim prepped the area while Steve held the rope that was anchored around his hind leg to prevent any kicking if he began to wake up. Chad held the IV drip while I watched his head for unnatural breath and movement. But Wrangler just snored!

Greg carefully removed the sarcoid paying attention to getting it all. Wrangler just kept snoring!

After the sarcoid was removed, we opted not to do stitches and Greg used his Hyper Thermic machine that would trigger his immune system to fight any cells that might have not been removed. It could even cause the old sarcoid that was now dormant to drop off later if it worked to that extent. This treatment is one that replaced the old injections that used to be the follow-up treatment in sarcoid surgeries.

Kim cleaned the area afterwards and blotted the sponge onto the area to help the blood to clot.

The she removed the IV drip system from the catheter in his neck. It wasn’t long after before Wrangler began to wake up.

We kept him on his sternum and patiently waited until he was ready to try to get up. At first, he was a bit wobbly and stayed in a sitting position for a few seconds before rising to all four legs.

Once he was on all fours, we held the sponges up against his belly to further stop the blood until it could lot. Wrangler just “hung loose!”

When the blood finally clotted, we pulled the IV needle from his neck and then held sponges on that until it stopped bleeding. Wrangler was grateful to be awake again…well, sort of awake!

When he was showing some stability on his feet, we took a few circles around the room to get his circulation going again. We kept him walking intermittently around the room for about 30 minutes before putting him back in his stall and run. We removed all the bedding for a few days so it would not get stuck in the open wound that we would clean twice a day and treat once a day with Panalog until it is healed.

Wrangler didn’t have the where-with-all to be able to let out a full-fledged bray, but he did let out several grunts of appreciation to Dr. Greg as he left!

 

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Wrangler’s Donkey Diary: Sarcoid Treatment

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7-20-18

Wrangler has almost completely shed out and during my last weekly grooming, I discovered a small sarcoid on his left forearm and decided to consult with my veterinarian, Greg Farrand. Wrangler munched in the fanny pack while we talked.

Dr. Farrand Carefully inspected the sarcoid and determined that it was not a candidate for removal because of it’s precarious location. There was no way to grab loose skin around it like there was with prior sarcoids on other animals.

I shaved the area around the sarcoid so we could get a good look at it and so it would absorb the treatment the most efficiently.

In 2011, Rock had a sarcoid on his neck in front of the withers where there was a lot of fatty tissue and the skin was loose enough to pull the sarcoid away from the body. So, we shaved his neck and removed the sarcoid with surgery. We then had it biopsied to find it was not a serious sarcoid (Better to be safe than sorry!) and it eventually just went away. In the eighties, if we removed a sarcoid, it would have had a follow-up of injections to be completely rid of it. In the nineties, veterinarians discovered another way to treat sarcoids that involved taking a piece of the biopsied sarcoid and reintroducing it as an implant in the neck to prompt an immunity response. Before he could remove one of three sarcoids the from Lucky Three Eclipse, he rubbed one and tore it open. Before we had the chance to biopsy one of the sarcoids for an implant, as if a miracle, his immune system was stimulated by HIM, kicked in and all three sarcoids just disappeared…and no, they were not anything else.

Lucky Three Cyclonealso developed a sarcoid on his jaw which we successfully treated with surgery since it also was in a fatty area where we could pinch the skin around it easily. No follow up was necessary…just stitches removal.

Since Wrangler’s sarcoid was in such a delicate area, we opted to use a topical approach with Xterra, applied with a Q-Tip.

We will apply the Xterra once a day for a week, then stop for a week.

Then we will resume applying the Xterra for another week, stop after a week again and then see how it is progressing.

We will continue like this until it is gone. Xterra is surely a better way than the way we had to treat these in the eighties! Wrangler will be sure to keep you posted on his progress!

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