Oh Flurry!

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.


Qeulle Horreur!  (but look at his topline!)

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.


Sleepy, well-behaved Flurry!

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!

15 thoughts on “Oh Flurry!

  1. In dog rescue we often find owners who have had their dog chipped but didn’t read the paperwork the vet gave them that tells them they must activate it with the tracking company, and pay for that service.


  2. I don’t know anything about chipping, it is not a requirement here and it is not something I have done for Shy.
    As for the dentist, some vet or equine dentists use power tools for their floats (like the ones the vets in Cork), but mine hand floats with no sedation. Shy doesn’t seem to mind at all. And I just can’t believe how dirty Flurry likes to be!


  3. Chips may be a pain in the behind, but they’re life savers. AT least here in the states, all animal shelters and most veterinarians have scanners. Auction yards are ‘required” to scan all horses coming in for a chip, in order to find out if they’re stolen. Whether that happens or not, I don’t know.
    What I mean by life saving, though, is when your tabby cat escapes from the house and some kind soul catches her and turns her into the shelter, they hold her and call you and say your cat is here. You go and see a dozen tabbies in cages, waiting their turn. Yours isn’t one of them, because you had her chipped.
    Not long ago, I heard of a case where someone’s blue-and-gold macaw escaped her house and was found .and turned into the animal shelter. Our animal shelters routinely put the pictures of animals turned in to the shelter on the Internet.
    The owner of the macaw saw her bird on the internet and went to the shelter…only to find some woman LOUDLY claiming the bird was hers.
    Instead of arguing with the would be bird napper, the owner said, ‘check her microchip’. Yup..it was her bird, alright-and the woman who tried to take the bird was foiled.


    • I don’t resent the requirement for chipping at all… I’m just left doubting myself. Was he ever chipped? He MUST have been… but why is there nothing in his passport?
      Love the macaw story. Justice was served!


  4. Thanks everyone. I think I should have been more insistent that he check all over Flurry – hindsight is 20/20! Under the circumstances, tho, he did the only thing he could when he chipped him again. Fingers crossed that it’s not too much of a logistical nightmare for us!
    @Kris, thanks for the input. I haven’t yet sent off a hay sample for analysis but I will do it after the holidays. As for trimming frogs/not trimming frogs, I’m in two minds. I have a lot of respect for Eric the farrier, he’s been doing barefoot trimming a lot longer than I have… but then again, frogs (and hooves) are designed to grow with exercise and wear away as necessary, right?


  5. That whole chip thing sounds like it’s going to be a pain in the butt. Maybe his chip machine wasn’t working? Anyway glad everyone is trimmed and floated. That’s one more thing out of the way. Think we are expecting rain for Christmas too. We have unheard of temps here today. It’s almost 70 degrees, don’t know the Celsius equivient but it’s high for this time of year.


  6. It’s already been said but chips do move, they also fail. Last year our youngster had to be scanned as the chip manufacturers had sent out a batch with failures around the time he was chipped. His was still working but I do wonder for how long.


  7. Chips migrate! The first generation of microchips here in the US were found to wander all over a dog’s body(they first chipped dogs only.)
    The second generation or whatever generation it is now, tend to move, too but not so far. My four year old tabby cat, Diamond, had her chip placed right between her shoulder blades, as did my Siamese, Sable. they were both about ten weeks old when I had them chipped.
    In less than a year, Diamond’s chip had moved to where you can feel it with your fingers, right underneath the skin on the top (outer) side of the right shoulder blade. Sable’s, on the other hand, hasn’t moved. And a friend of mine had her filly chipped and several years later, when she was for sale, they couldn’t find the chip. The vet said, “oh, here we go with the treasure hunt” and scanned the entire horse until the chip showed up…in her right foreleg, just above the knee.
    So I’m sure your horse is still chipped…it’s just not where it’s supposed to be.


  8. Those chips have been know to “wander”, it is likely somewhere else in the body now.

    As for trimming those frogs…what you are describing is very similar to some of the trouble I have seen. The problems are all going away with corrected nutrition, they never went away with trimming. You certainly want to trim off any loose flaps, but I have found that routinely trimming the frogs causes tons of trouble.


  9. I’m in awe that you do your own hoof trimming! I’m learning how to use a Dremel tool (grinder) on my Doberman’s black toenails. It’s very stressful, to say the least. I salute you for honing your personal farrier skills. Good luck trimming those frogs!


  10. The French Vet’s tool looks like it would be much easier to work with. The horses I’ve seen have dental work done here use similar to the Irish tool, some hold and some with a support. Interesting chip story!


  11. Bureaucratic nightmare in France, eeek! Could be worse though, you could be in Italy =)
    Weather here has been grand, warm and dry, got guests riding over Christmas and you guessed it – the rain is heading for us! Auguri!


    • The forecast is lousy here for all of Christmas week, I guess it’s all over southeast France and North west Italy. Maybe it it won’t be as bad as they expect!


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