April 22, 2012

The Down Side of Vaccinations

First and foremost, let me state the fact that I think the new blogger interface sucks.

Moving on...

Saturday was one of those days where it started looking like everything just might go wrong. The day started out innocent enough. It was one of those beautiful spring Montana morning that is crisp, yet something in the air promises that it is going to turn into a nice hot comfortable day. An eBay bidder had questions regarding my BDH saddle that morning, so I needed to run to the barn and pick up the saddle so that I could take some measurements. I was never so glad that I had decided to heave my 40+ weeks pregnant body out there. When I arrived I found Rose looking rather sullen and not her usual her boss mare self.

Sad mare
I haltered her up and immediately checked her injection sites from Thursday. Sure enough both sides showed swelling, the left side being the worst and most concerning to me.
Right side - 7-way Vaccination
Left side - Rabies Vaccination
Now, it is normal for horses to have a bit of swelling after a vaccination. I would consider the swelling on her right side in the realm of normal. However, I have never seen Rose swell up as much as she did on her left side. The swelling was a solid 6" diameter. It was also extremely sore. The very first time I ran my hand over it in the paddock was the last time. After that she wouldn't let me come within one foot of the injection site. She would literally start shaking when I got near it.

This was not normal post vaccination swelling in my book, and my mind immediately raced to a near fatal vaccination incident that happened to a horse I was working with about three years ago. In that case the mare showed post vaccination swelling, but it wasn't anything unusual. However a week and a half later the swelling was still present and seemed to be increasing. I voiced my concerns to the owner. In the next day or two the owner reported that the mare was showing signs of stress and was rapidly getting worst. The owner immediately hauled her off to the vet. Sure enough she had developed an abscess at the injection sight and was going septic. Only through a lot of TLC and $$$ at the vet hospital did the mare recover. Even at that it was very touch and go for a few days, not knowing if she would pull through.

Recalling that scary incident I immediately called my vet. "Why do these things always happen on the weekend?" I asked myself. As the phone rang, my mind raced. I methodically started organizing the location of my trailer hitch, re-organizing my day, and rolling my eyes at the irony that this would likely be the time I finally went into labor.

Luckily my vet calmed my fears a bit and had me give Rose some bute. She would be out at my barn later that day anyway, and would take a look at Rose while she was there. Aside from that I asked the barn owner to keep a good eye on her and make sure that she was eating and not getting worse. I took a deep breath, administered the bute to Rose, and then put her back in the field. Fingers crossed I was simply over reacting due to a bad past experience and pregnancy hormones.

This morning (Sunday) I finished up a delightful homemade breakfast of Venison Eggs Benedict with Hubs and then, carrot in hand, headed out to the barn to check on Rose. I was delighted to see her eyes perky and her back to her usual self. I quickly ascertained the injection spots and there was absolutely no swelling to be seen. She let me run my hand along her right side, but her left side was still sore and concerned her. I followed up with another dose of bute, per vet's orders, groomed all but her neck and then let her back out in the paddock. As I drove away from the barn, she raced my Jeep along the fence-line on her way to meet up with the other mares grazing in the distance. She definitely feels better, and I feel a little silly.

Raspberry Leaf Tea to induce labor?
Feeling better about the situation, I headed home and my mind returned to the fact that I was still pregnant. At least now it didn't look like I would need to be dealing with a vet hospital at the same time I would be in a people hospital. I had brought home some of Rose's Dried Red Raspberry Leaves and decided to try making tea out of them. Turns out, it's pretty easy to do. I simply packed a bunch of the leaves into a tea infuser and then poured boiling water over it and let it steep. It makes a rather nice flavored dark tea. I added some honey and a little lemon for more flavor and then sat back and enjoyed. Never thought I'd be taking my horse's supplements, but if it works like magic for her marish behavior then perhaps it will convince this baby to make his debut. Could the old wives be right about this one? We shall see.

FYI: I get my Dried Raspberry Leaves for a bargain at www.herbalcom.com.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!


  1. I hate when they swell up from their shots. Pippi normally is sore from her shots for a few days, I always feel so bad.

  2. Glad to hear the swelling was only temporary. Now you can get yourself off to the hospital and have that baby! The sooner you have it the sooner you get to start buying tiny jods!

  3. Ohhh...to have a tiny new baby to dress in all those adorable outfits :)

    I am hating on the new Blogger also!

  4. I just stumbled on your blog. Rose is a gorgeous horse! So glad that all turned out well.

  5. Poor Rose! That's good to hear the swelling went down!! I have been through an abscess caused by vaccinations in my Paint. Just thinking about it now after the fact freaks me out. She was in so much pain and I'd hate to see that again!
    And for some reason I like the new blogger! At first I didn't, I mean having to learn something all over again is not good times! But in a way some of the changes have made it easier for me, like downloading and changing the size of the pictures !

  6. I'm not crazy about the new blogger but I'm getting used to it. I've been using the old editor this whole time because I didn't like the new one (the one we are being forced to use has been available for a long time, but it was optional). I'm getting used to it though and figuring out how to get rid of all the extra breakers in my posts. So annoying though.

    I'm glad Rose is okay! I don't think you should feel silly. You were being an attentive and good horse mom. It's best to catch those things early. I'm glad she turned out all okay though. :D

    Can't wait for your baby to be born!!! Come on little guy!



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