Today I had to give some new horses their vaccinations here. Which made me think of Dr. Damon O’Gan and Dr. Matt Evans, our terrific vets at Austin Equine Associates. They have been the LOPE Ranch vets since 2004 and have been not only great vets but also wonderful teachers.
See, I used to be really squeamish – about everything. I couldn’t even give shots! One day, when our 6-month vaccinations were due, Dr. O’Gan came out and personally taught me how to give the injections properly. He was so patient with me, as I ineptly wielded the syringes – I’d flinch with each shot, afraid I’d poke myself or the horse in the eye. But by the fifth horse, I relaxed and was able to copy Dr. O’Gan’s technique – and by the eighth horse, I wasn’t even the slightest bit squeamish.
So my vaccination chores today were no big deal – thanks to Austin Equine Associates.
I’ve also learned a ton about diagnostics from Dr. O’Gan and Dr. Evans. Since they have a digital X-ray machine (and are completely mobile), they have the ability to come to the farm, X-ray a horse, and show me the X-ray right there on their laptop. This allows me to view the X-rays right along with them as they explain in detail what it reveals. We get so many horses donated here with injuries like slab fractures, sesamoid issues and ankle chips – it’s been fascinating to be part of their rehab process.
One of the new horses here, Vienna Circle, has an old knee injury – he had chips removed years ago, but arthritis has set in. His knee is sore and needs rest – and will soon be X-rayed and assessed. You can learn more about Vienna Circle on our adoption page.
And we might have a horse coming in a few weeks who fractured his cannon bone several months ago – his race owners paid for expensive surgery to put pins and plates in his leg – just so he could have a chance at being a riding horse. He would be our most complex fracture case here – although the surgery was done several months ago, he’ll need a detailed examination and a carefully structured “return to light work” plan.
Thanks to Austin Equine Associates, we can give horses like this a chance.