Monday, January 26, 2009

With The Help of Friends and Some Benadryl, Life Goes On

When I left you last week, I shared story of The Big Meltdown between Argus and me. Since then, we've sailed along nicely using the blindfold method. All week, Argus has stood for the black sweatshirt, and I very carefully administered the medication.

I say "carefully," because most of my attempts were made with the homemade equivalent of a HazMat suit. Gloves. Goggles. Face-covering ski mask.

Saving Argus is not always fun.

Last Monday's antics were not without consequence. During my struggle with Argus, that lovely sulfa/rifampin mixture was splashed in my mouth and face. Despite a desperate rinse in the water bucket, those mucous membranes sure do work fast to absorb drugs! Yes, they do.

And so, on Thursday, itchy beyond belief and covered in welts, I found myself making another embarassing call to the advice nurse:

NURSE: "You called before about this same type of problem," came the voice of the perturbed advice nurse at the other end of the line.

ME: "Yeah, well, it's just that I have this horse who is really, really sick. Have you ever heard of pigeon fever? No? Well, he's got it and I've got to get these drugs into him orally for TWO MONTHS, and it's just...well...challenging at times. I protect myself as much as I can."

Secretly, I feel like such a fool.

NURSE: "Well, you know that each time you have a reaction, you are increasing your risk. The next reaction could be very serious."

ME: (Embarassed) "I know. I know. It won't happen again."

My husband Ken, who has suffered long, and patiently, in his life with his crazy horse-loving wife, recounted all the little injuries I've suffered over the years because of my involvement with horses. "This," he pronounced, inspecting my impressive welts with admiration, "beats everything."

So Thursday, Friday and Saturday had me popping Benadryl, with my trunk, armpits, breasts, and scalp covered in a flat red rash that seemed to change and move by the hour. Dazed by the benadryl, I felt like I had cotton stuffed in my head all weekend. Not even coffee made a difference. By Sunday evening, a few lonely patches of red were all that remained.

And, out of necessity, I had perfected "The New And Improved Method For Medicating Argus."

Since Argus is feeling better, he is eating better. I dissolved the TMS tablets in hot water, added lots of strawberry jello, mixed the rifampin in, and sprinkled this mixture into Argus' all-in-one. He ate it! A miracle! We are syringe free since Saturday night, and the risk to me of further reactions is greatly diminished.

That, and Argus stopped believing in "the powers of the great black blindfold" right around the same time. He is one smart horse.

This is my father. He pets Argus' nostrils very softly. Argus likes this very much.



And this is Argus and his good friend, Odie the Mule, out in pasture yesterday. Argus stays in the stall/paddock at night and goes out during the day now. He is happy to go out again, but equally happy to come back in at night. In fact, he stands in front of his paddock gates and weaves at dinnertime. That's new!

Argus is starting to feel so much better. Over the weekend, he cantered in the pasture. He tires easily, but he has a lot more energy than even a week ago.

It's only January, but already the yellow mustard is starting to bloom in the vineyards. February is a wonderful time in Sonoma County, as so many vineyards are full of mustard.




Here's rescue horse Caleb during a schooling ride last week. He's moving along well in his training, and he is looking for an adoptive home! Caleb is starting to do some really nice lateral work: shoulder in, haunches in, leg yields. He loves to learn and is fun to train. Caleb is located at my farm in Santa Rosa, CA.



Grey Horse Matters said...

I can just imagine the nurse at the other end of the line rolling her eyes. Anyway glad you are both feeling better and you've found a new way to administer his meds.

Holly said...

*smiles gently*

it sounds like you and he are on the mend together.

Lucky lucky Argus.

KD said...

Bully for you ! Glad you are hanging in there and the itch is going away. I wondered when I read your last post about getting that stuff all over you.

excaliber813 said...

"Saving Argus" may not alway's be fun, but oh what adventures and stories you both have to tell. I can just imagine Argus telling Ridge, Odie, and Half-pint all about his tricks, and that wonderful "strawberry jello stuff" or what's with Mom and that "get-up" she has on!
I'm happy to hear you are feeling better, along with Argies!

Love the pictures today,for all he has been through, Argus looks good, and happy to be out and about!
Caleb looks fantastic. He is a beautiful horse.


Anonymous said...

Thank God for the better days and better behavior-------you are both Brave!! And we can breathe again------for awhile!


Sport's Mom said...

Odie is so cute! Not that I have a weakness for long-ears or anything. ;)

Anonymous said...

Argus is looking better in every photo!
And I must admit... Caleb is quite drool-worthy...

Anonymous said...

i used to use cherry kool-aid to get my horse to take his meds. kool-aid might be cheeper and is worth a try if the jello stops working.

Anonymous said...


I've been following your blog religiously and am SO glad that Argus is feeling better! You're an amazing horse mom and have done such an incredible job with him (and all your other babies).

One thought about the reaction to the meds - you should consider getting an EpiPen from your doctor in case this happens again and you have a more serious reaction. I have several serious food allergies, and I always carry an EpiPen in my purse just in case. Unfortunately the nurse is right - your next reaction could be much more serious. (Ask me how I know this! Stupid peanuts.) You could also ask for a short course of prednisone if this happens again - that really helps to knock the hives out.

Hopefully, though, the Jello will do the trick and you won't have to worry about this anymore! Thanks for everything you do for Argus and all your babies.

Totally Timmy said...

Glad to hear he is feeling better!

Schnitzie said...

Hi Katie,

I hope you'll take up the advice of the 9:21 Anonymous poster and get yourself and Epi-Pen and a course of Prednisone treatment, just in case you have another close encounter with Argus' meds. You are the most important ingredient in Argus' recovery, and your well being is very important! Please take care of yourself, dear lady!

I am so glad to hear that Argus is beginning to get his groove back. Nursing a beloved animal is an exhausting enterprise. Those little signs of progress are so encouraging.

I'm continuing to send Megatons of PAWSitive juju to you and Argus and lots and lots of LOVE.

Brooklyn, NY

buckpony said...

Passing through to check on you and Argus. So happy to hear he is eating the medicine with his grain now and will pray he keeps it up (for both your sakes!) :). Loved the photos of Argus and your Dad.
Caleb sure looks like a lovely fellow. You are so wonderful to do what you do.

pchoofinit said...

Sure isn't easy medicating a horse for a long period when they won't just eat it. My horse knows whats coming and plants his rear in your face, so you can't grab his head to medicate him!
I am glad you found a way for it to work.
Best of luck to Argies.

Anonymous said...

I hope you and Argus are well!

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