Friday was farrier and vet-dentist day. It was also 24-hours of non-stop torrential rain day, in fact we’ve had two days of rain so far, with more forecast for Christmas week. No white Christmas for us!
Eric the marechal visited in the morning. I’ve been doing a really good job on trimming the hoof-walls (hooray!) but I need to put on my Big Girl Pants and start looking after their frogs. Flurry had a bruise on the frog on his left fore which became visible once it was trimmed and, on two of his other feet, there was some sort of infection starting in his frogs. I don’t quite understand the mechanics of it, but the symptoms were that once Eric trimmed off the top layer of frog, we could see a small drop of pus-y gunk oozing from newly-revealed surface. The frogs are too high, he told me, so this is caused by bruising. It’s not serious because it’s just below the surface and I’m not to worry about it, but I really need to start trimming their frogs.
He uses what looks like a big kitchen knife, with a rounded tip, and a silicon headed hammer to trim the frogs. Set the knife at a slight angle against the frog, tap-tap-tap-tap et voilá! Neatly trimmed frogs. With the hoof knife, I struggle just to tidy off the raggedy bits at the side. There is no way I could do what he does with it, so I am going to be brave and order a knife and hammer like his on-line. Big Girl Pants and all that.
Other than that, he was very pleased with both horses. There is a huge improvement in Aero’s feet, they are nicely concave now and his frogs are improving day by day – or they were until this blasted rain started, anyway.
Once he had finished my two and Mou-Mou, we were heading back to their paddock when Alexandrine had a brainwave.
Leave them in Max and Valentine’s paddock, she suggested. Then when the vet comes, they’re nearby.
Except… the paddocks beside the stables have a different type of soil to the one across the road where my guys & Mou-Mou live. It’s that thick, black, boggy stuff that Flurry loved to coat himself with last year. Remember this post?
I’m sure you can see where this is heading…
I presented two black horses to the Vet for dental treatment.
I’m sure he complained bitterly afterwards, although he just laughed and shook his head ruefully when he saw Flurry.
Both horses needed work – Aero had his usual hooks at the back and Flurry’s teeth wear in a wave formation as a result of the diastema treatment he had in 2010 and 2011. I liked the vet – he listened to me. I said that Aero only needs a very light sedative and he gave him so little that it seemed as if Aero was not sedated at all afterwards, but he stood like an angel while his teeth were done. I told him about Flurry’s previous diastema treatments and that’s he’s difficult to treat as a result, so he gave him a healthy dose which worked well.
This vet used a different kind of float. My vets in Cork use something like this :
It’s like a giant power-tool with dental attachments. Heavy to handle and very noisy. The French guy uses this :
Much quieter and lighter. The horses seemed to prefer it – as I said, Aero was barely sedated and stood like an angel and Flurry was perfectly behaved, apart from snatching his head away once or twice early on, before he was sedated. The vets in Cork also use a rest for the horse’s head, this guy preferred to hold it up himself.
On the downside (potentially) he was much quicker, so of course I’m left wondering “Did he do as good a job?” Time will tell! He assured me that there was no hint of diastemas in Flurry’s mouth, which was a great relief – I always have that particular worry niggling at me.
Finally, once the teeth were done, the vet was to sign off on the paperwork which will allow me to register the horses here for competition. He looked at Flurry.
“Quelle couleur?” What colour?
Well, it really was hard to tell, so I showed him a photo from last year.
Dun is Isabelle in French, by the way!
Then he looked for Flurry’s microchip with his scanner. Checked the left side of his neck, checked the right side of his neck. No comforting BLEEP from the scanner. WTF? I am certain he is chipped, I said, could it be the thick coating of mud, blocking the signal? I’ll wash him and we’ll try again.
So poor Flurry had a quick shower (neck only) and the vet ran the scanner over both sides of his neck again. Nothing. Not only that, but there was no record of a microchip on his passport.
Now, Flurry has a UELN (Unique Equine Life Number) recorded on his passport, which I thought was the same as his chip number (was I right?). Is it possible he was assigned a UELN number without being chipped?
All Irish horses born from 2001 onwards must be chipped – it’s the law. Flurry (foaled in 2004) changed hands in 2009 via Goresbridge, the biggest non-TB sales complex in the country. I don’t think that would have been possible if he was not chipped, as there are always vets in attendance at these big sales.
Then there’s the transport thing. He’s travelled internationally three times – to France, back to Ireland and back to France again, via the UK each time. I’m 90% certain he must have had a legible chip for that to have happened.
And, finally, I’m pretty sure that when my vet in Cork, John Sr, vetted him for me in 2010 (“oh, please don’t fail him John, I love him!!!”) he found a chip. If he hadn’t, he would have chipped him for me on the spot. So what the heck has happened to his Irish chip?
There was nothing for it but for the French vet to chip him, there and then. So now the horses’ registration becomes even more complex. I have one horse with an Irish microchip and no UELN number and one horse with a French chip and an Irish UELN number.
Oh dear, I have a feeling in my bones that this is not going to be straightforward. Thank goodness Alexandrine is helping me!