Twas The Night Before Christmas- Foster Animal Hospital Style

 

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house,
All the dogs and cats were sleeping in the house.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that Santa Paws soon would be there.

The pets were nestled all snug in the beds,
While visions of CET dental treats danced in their heads.
Healthy Advantage was the food that they craved,
If fed this, they promised Santa, they would behave.

When out on the lawn arose such a clatter,
They sprang from their beds to see what was the matter.
Away to the window they flew in a flash,
Hoping someone had turned over the trash.

The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow,
Gave the luster of mid-day to the objects below.
When what to their wondering eyes should abound,
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny deerhounds.

With a driver so cute it should be against the law,
I knew in a moment it must be Santa Paws.
More rapid than eagles his hounds they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name.

“Now Doctor Foster’s Steve and Tom, Now Seals, Now Ueleke and Dr. Plott!
On Doctor’s Novosad, Moser, and Lake and the lot!
To the top of the porch to the top of the wall,
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

So up to the house-top the deerhounds they flew,
With the sleigh full of goodies, and Santa Paws too!
With Trifexis, Comfortis and Iverheart in his sack,
Down the chimney came the leader of the pack.

The dogs hoped for Vectra 3D,
To keep them free of annoying fleas.
Revolution for cats is out of sight,
Treating them for heartworms, fleas and ear mites.

In our stockings went Preventive Care Plans good for a year,
To help keep us healthy and full of good cheer.
Plans that included a resort stay,
Where we could be cared for and be able to play.

Adaptil for dogs to decrease fear and anxiety,
And Feliway to calm cats and stop erroneous pee.
We knew that our owners had put these on our list,
Because these gave us both a big assist.

He did not bark, but went straight to his work,
And filled all our stockings then turned with a jerk.
Laying his paw aside of his nose,
And giving a nod up the chimney he rose.

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a bark,
And away they all flew like wings on a lark.
But I heard him exclaim ‘ere he drove off in stealth,
Happy Christmas to all and to all your pets we wish them Good Health.

 

From-

Robin Moser, DVM

Foster Animal Hospital, P.A.

Concord, NC 28027

rmoser@fosteranimalhospital.com

 

No, I Know It Did

 

Well, yo, hey, yep you guessed it, it’s me Ole Bunkeroo, the Bunk man, you know me, Bunker, simply Mr. B to my subjects. Just got back from the mall buying stuff for Christmas. Whew, a lab takes his life in his paws being on the road with all these crazy drivers! Don’t anyone have patience anymore? Cuh-ray-zee I tell ya! I mean some of them folks need to be sent to the lab for testing. Only thing is, don’t send ’em to this lab! hehe!

Anyhoo, speaking of patients, I came across another dad story from his early days. And believe me, as old as he is, these stories were from way early days. I’m talking that old person, Methodloser, or whoever the heck it was. Kind of a touching story I reckon. Shoot, I’ll read anythin’ as long as he keeps feedin’ me and givin’ me them pills. So sit back and enjoy. Oh and Merry Christmas to all y’all!!

 

“Mac”

 

Occasionally in life, if we are so blessed, people come along that touch our lives in very special ways. It may be in a single event or seen over a lifetime. I have been very blessed in this way with my parents, my wonderful wife, our children, friends, and in my professional life by many clients that make it worthwhile to go to work everyday. As in any career, people are good and bad, honest and dishonest, appreciative and unappreciative, important and unimportant. The ones who make a positive statement on life have all of the good traits out front and exhibited, while keeping the bad traits to themselves or out of mind and sight. The day is better when these people cross our paths. One such person in my professional life is Mac.

Mac belonged to the most under appreciated fraternity, the hardest working fraternity, and in my opinion, one of the noblest fraternities in existence- that of the dairy business. Dairy men and women truly have one of the most difficult and challenging careers. The cows must be tended to 24 hours a day for 7 days a week for 365 days a year. Most days start before sun up and end well after dark. No matter the weather- blistering hot, soggy humid, freezing cold, soaking wet, or solidly frozen, work must be done. The hours are long and the pay is less than they earn. The larger the family dairy, the more amplified all this can be. Being a dairyman in the late 1980’s and 1990’s could prove especially difficult. Some weathered the storm, others did not.

Mac, without a doubt, is one dairyman I have the most respect and admiration for. He is also one person I have the most respect and admiration for. Mac’s dairy was a conglomerate. Not a corporate conglomerate but a family conglomerate. There were multiple families involved, as the father and mother founders had long been deceased. There were more hands in that fire and more hands out for the pie than one can imagine. In addition to milking 200 head of Holsteins, they farmed hundreds of acres of crops for feed and to sell. As organized as they tried to be, disorganization often ruled. The classic “too many chiefs and not enough Indians” scenario applied. The crop farmers often made life miserable for the dairy farmers. In reality, the dairy paid all the bills, including those of the croppers. If it weren’t for the income from the dairy, the whole operation would go under. This became all too true years later.

The one constant through all of this controlled chaos was Mac. His concern and devotion to the family farm was inspiring. His work ethic was the best. His knowledge and love for his “coworkers”, the cows, was amazing. Mac labored so loyally, his health often suffered. He has had numerous strains and sprains, as well as, surgeries for bulging discs. His desire to make his herd and their production better was a joy to see. As busy and as hectic as his pace was, Mac always had time to inquire about me or my family, or Dad, or we would talk simply about one of the organizations he cherished, 4-H. I never left that farm without Mac saying, “Thank you Steve”. He loved his wife and children as much as any man could. It truly was the highlight of my month to go and perform routine heard health exams at his farm. I always left feeling grateful for being there.

Mac’s conglomerate met the fate of many family dairies. There was too little financial return for the farm to be viable.

When that farm closed, it broke my heart. I think it broke Mac’s also.

No, I know it did.

 

 

Holly Collie Christmas

To the tune of “Holly Jolly Christmas”

 

Have a holly Collie Christmas
It’s the best time of the year
I don’t know if there are treats
But I hope they are near.

Have a holly Collie Christmas
When you walk down the street
Sniff the rears of all you know
And everyone you meet.

Oh ho the mistletoe
Stay away from me
Somebody waits for you
Lick her once for me.

Have a holly Collie Christmas
And in case you didn’t hear
Oh by golly
Have a holly Collie Christmas this year.

 

From-

Robin Moser, DVM

Foster Animal Hospital, P.A.

Concord, NC 28027

rmoser@fosteranimalhospital.com

The 12 Dogs of Christmas

 

On the first day of Christmas,
My true love sent to me
A Yorkie in a red sweater.

On the Second day of Christmas,
My true love sent to me
Two Miniature Schnauzers,
And a Yorkie in a red sweater.

On the third day of Christmas,
My true love sent to me
Three French Bulldogs,
Two Miniature Schnauzers,
And a Yorkie in a red sweater.

On the fourth day of Christmas,
My true love sent to me
Four snoring Pugs,
Three French Bulldogs,
Two Miniature Schnauzers,
And a Yorkie in a red sweater.

On the fifth day of Christmas,
My true love sent to me,
Five Golden Retrievers,
Four snoring Pugs,
Three French Bulldogs,
Two Miniature Schnauzers,
And a Yorkie in a red sweater.

On the sixth day of Christmas,
My true love sent to me
Six Beagles a-baying,
Five Golden Retrievers,
Four snoring Pugs,
Three French Bulldogs,
Two Miniature Schnauzers,
And a Yorkie in a red sweater.

On the seventh day of Christmas,
My true love sent to me,
Seven Dachshunds playing,
Six Beagles a-baying,
Five Golden Retrievers,
Four snoring Pugs,
Three French Bulldogs,
Two Miniature Schnauzers,
And a Yorkie in a red sweater.

On the eighth day of Christmas,
My true love sent to me
Eight hounds hunting,
Seven Dachshunds playing,
Six Beagles a-baying,
Five Golden Retrievers,
Four snoring Pugs,
Three French Bulldogs,
Two Miniature Schnauzers,
And a Yorkie in a red sweater.

On the ninth day of Christmas,
My true love sent to me
Nine Labradors sleeping,
Eight hounds hunting,
Seven Dachshunds playing,
Six Beagles a-baying,
Five Golden Retrievers,
Four snoring Pugs,
Three French Bulldogs,
Two Miniature Schnauzers,
And a Yorkie in a red sweater.

On the tenth day of Christmas,
My true love sent to me
Ten Poodles barking,
Nine Labradors sleeping,
Eight Hounds hunting,
Seven Dachshunds playing,
Six Beagles a-baying,
Five Golden Retrievers,
Four snoring Pugs,
Three French Bulldogs,
Two Miniature Schnauzers,
And a Yorkie in a red sweater.

On the eleventh day of Christmas,
My True love sent to me
Eleven German Shepherds guarding
Ten Poodles barking,
Nine Labradors sleeping,
Eight Hounds hunting
Seven Dachshunds playing,
Six Beagles a-baying,
Five Golden Retrievers,
Four snoring Pugs,
Three French Bulldogs,
Two Miniature Schnauzers,
And a Yorkie in a red sweater.

On the twelfth day of Christmas,
My true love sent to me,
Twelve Border Collies herding,
Eleven German Shepherds guarding,
Ten Poodles barking,
Nine Labradors sleeping,
Eight Hounds hunting,
Seven Dachshunds playing,
Six Beagles a-baying,
Five Golden Retrievers,
Four snoring Pugs,
Three French Bulldogs,
Two Miniature Schnauzers,
And a Yorkie in a red sweater.

Has the man never heard of a jewelry store?

 

From-

Robin Moser, DVM

Foster Animal Hospital, P.A.

Concord, NC 28027

rmoser@fosteranimalhospital.com

Uh Doc, You’re Things Over Here!

Hey, Yo, it’s me Bunker again. Well you guessed it. I found another story from dad. This ‘un is pretty interesting to me. He’s such a dummy in it. I wish I’d known ’bout it when I was a pup, all that fussin’ and complainin’ about me doing normal lab pup stuff. You know dad, if you didn’t want the bush ate, or the grass dug up, or the flowers, um watered, DON’T HAVE ‘EM IN THE YARD!! I guarantee if I was a vet, this story never, ever would’ve happened to me, you big dummy!

Oh well, gotta run. Enjoy! Later!

Bunk

 

Uh Doc, You’re Things Over Here!

 

Horses always intrigued me. As a young boy, we had show horses and even some backyard pleasure types too. I was fascinated by their beauty and strength and versatility. Dad enjoyed practicing on them and I was anxious to go on horse calls whenever possible.

The horse is a very unique animal. Their anatomy, especially their legs and intestines, can be described as unusual. Horses basically walk on the equivalent of our middle finger. Leg injuries and stresses are quite common especially in performance horses that are worked and trained at a young age. Likewise, the intestinal tract is arranged in such a manner that intestinal pain or colic is a frequent occurrence. Grass overload, blockages, twists, torsions, and impactions are some of the causes of equine colic. Some of these conditions are treated successfully medically, while others require surgical intervention. Occasionally, colic can be fatal.

One piece of equipment that is often used is the stomach tube. We can use this tube to help evaluate the severity of the colic, to relieve gas (horses can’t belch or vomit), and to administer medication. The hard part is in getting the animal to willingly take the tube! You see the tube is passed through a nostril, into the nasal passage, is swallowed by the horse and pushed into the stomach. Imagine that being done with a tube the size of a garden hose! Needless to say, most horses are resistant to this procedure.

Eleven days after graduating from vet school, on a Saturday, I was attending a birthday party for my niece. Jessica was the first grandchild, the first niece, the first everything and her first few “anythings” were a big deal in our family! I was on call that weekend. A call came in from a client whose horse was kicking at her belly and rolling in the pasture. Mrs. Klein was very excited and concerned. She gave me directions to her farm. I instructed her not to let the horse roll excessively and to try and keep her up and walking.

They lived out past Mt. Pleasant, about half way to Gold Hill. The ride from my sister’s house was about 25 minutes. The Chevy Blazer was a dependable truck, but was not equipped with an air conditioner. The temperature was about 95 degrees and the humidity felt just as high. My shirt was soaked and clung to the vinyl seats. The windows were down and the hot thick air swirled through the truck. Nonetheless, the ride was a pleasant one through the rolling hills of Cabarrus County.

Colic can be a very serious situation and often times needs expert care. I was excitedly nervous as I made my way to the Klein’s. What would it be? A “routine” spastic colic, caused by mild constipation, excessive gas, or parasites, was a likelihood. However, a severe impaction or twist could be a possibility. I reviewed my steps before I got there. Assessing the patient’s vital signs, severity of pain, as well as getting a complete history was a must. Then passing a stomach tube would be in order to relieve any gas and to assess the severity of the condition. If needed, intravenous pain medication could be administered. Most spastic colics will respond to this type of treatment.

I made my last turn onto the narrow asphalt road. I could see up ahead two people in a pasture, on the right, walking a horse. The horse was evidently painful because she would try to lie down every few steps. I pulled through the open gate and into the pasture. I got out of the truck and gathered my belongings.

The Kleins and I quickly exchanged pleasantries and got to the task at hand. “ Thanks for coming Dr. Foster, she’s very uncomfortable”, Mrs. Klein said. I began the exam and found most of her vital signs to be good. The constant was the mare’s desire to lie down and roll. “ She’s pretty painful. I would love to pass a stomach tube, but she’s up and down so much that it will be hard to do,” I explained to the attentive owners.

I decided to give her an injection to control her pain and quickly did so. “ It’ll take just a couple of minutes for effect.” “How’s your father?” Mr. Klein asked. “He’s doing great. Thanks for asking.” “We just think the world of him. He’s the best”, said Mrs. Klein. Nodding, I agreed. Dad was very popular and had helped hundreds of people. He had some associates over the years. No matter how competent they were, in the clients’ eyes they were not Dr. Tom. It might be a little easier for me to be accepted because I knew many clients already, as well as, the fact I was the son. But, inside I was nervous as hell.

The Banamine began to take affect and the mare began to settle down. “This is probably a good sign that she has responded so well, especially since her vitals are good. Let’s pass a tube and see if there is any gas on her stomach.” I retrieved the stomach tube and lubricated the end. She was so relaxed by the medicine and her absence of pain, I decided to try and pass it without putting a twitch on her nose. Slowly I inserted the end of the tube in her right nostril. The mare pulled her head away. I tried this 3 more times but she withdrew each time. I then placed the twitch on her nose and tried again with the tube. Because the twitch occupied her attention, she did not withdraw when I placed the tube in her right nostril. Slowly, I advanced the tube towards the opening of her throat. At this point, the tube met normal resistance. Typically the horse will then swallow, whereupon the tube is quickly advanced, with slight resistance, to the stomach. If not careful, the tube would enter the windpipe, have no resistance, and the horse would cough. I pushed slightly on the tube but the mare did not swallow. I pulled the tube back out slightly and pressed forward again. Still, she did not swallow. Nervously, I repeated this again and she gave just a quick swallow. I began advancing the tube.

I had the opportunity to pass a stomach tube several times before, but never had a horse failed to swallow the first time. The resistance I felt was firmer than usual. I knew I wasn’t in the trachea because, I had resistance and she did not cough. The mare did not seem to care what I was doing so I carefully pushed on. After advancing the tube about a foot the resistance became firmer. Unsure at this point of what to do I stopped momentarily. The owners watched me as if I knew what I was doing! Quickly I decided to carry forward since the mare was not acting painful or annoyed by my actions. Slowly, I advanced the tube. Suddenly, the resistance I felt had subsided. Gleefully, I pushed the stomach tube further in.

“Uh, Doc. Your thing is over here.”

I quickly looked around to the other side of the mare’s head and there for the whole world to see was the lubricated end of my stomach tube exiting the left nostril. “Oh crap”, I thought. The owners now looked at me as if I was the biggest buffoon in town. “Is it supposed to be here?” Mrs. Klein exclaimed. “No it’s not”, I responded. “It’s supposed to be in the stomach!”

Slowly, I pulled the tube back through the left nasal passage and back out through the right nostril. The tube was clean with no sign of blood. “Well, at least we won’t get a nosebleed,” I stated with relief. Suddenly, as if on cue, a splashing sound could be heard. I turned to look and see the brightest stream of red blood running and forming a puddle on the ground. “Or at least I didn’t think we’d get a nosebleed,” I said trying to make light of the whole messy situation. Now the Kleins not only looked at me as if I were a buffoon, they knew I was one! I could envision it now. Tomorrow at the Klein’s church, the whole story would be told over and over with everyone agreeing: Dr. Steve was definitely not Dr. Tom!

I grabbed a towel from the Blazer and placed it over the left nostril while applying pressure. “I t should stop in just a minute,” I reassured the owners. They both cradled the mare’s head with sympathy and glared at the mean old vet. Without warning the horse jerked her head back causing me to drop the towel. At that instance, with the three of us at point blank range, the mare sneezed. And sneezed again! And again! There we stood covered in horses blood. I quickly grabbed the towel and again applied pressure. The Kleins this time kept their distance! After an eternity, the bleeding stopped. The mare began eating grass. What a relief!

Enthusiastically, I told the Kleins she should be fine, but if the pain returned to please call. Coldly, they thanked me.

I assume the mare lived happily ever after. You see, I was never called back to their farm again.

 

Steve Foster, DVM, CCRT

Foster Animal Hospital, P.A.

Paws in Motion Canine Rehabilitation Center

Concord, NC 28027

sfoster@fosteranimalhospital.com

(Please do not reproduce this article without permission from the author)

Keep Your Pets Christmas Safe!

 

Let us remember to keep our pets safe this holiday season . Keep toxic plants, tinsel and electrical cords away from the reach of our little ones.
Here is a little song to the tune of Jingle Bells to help remind us of some of the Christmas toxins and dangers.

Mistletoe, Mistletoe
You I should not eat
The vomiting and diarrhea you cause is not a treat.

Poinsettias, Poinsettias
Your leaves make me sick
Keeping these plants away from us is the healthy trick.

Ornaments and tinsel
Sure look pretty on the tree
But please remember they get very expensive if they end up inside me.

 

From Robin Moser, DVM

Foster Animal Hospital, P.A.

Concord, NC 28027

rmoser@fosteranimalhospital.com

 

Oh Christmas Tree- As Sung By Your Cat

 

Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree
How I want to climb your branches
Your ornaments and lights I must destroy
You have become my favorite toy
Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree
How I want to climb your branches.

To see you topple is my goal
Even though my owners will scold
Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree
How I want to climb your branches

Until next year I bid you Adieu
Wait until they find my present under the tree -Pee yew!
Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree
How I want to climb your branches.

 

From Robin Moser, DVM

Foster Animal Hospital, P.A.

Concord, NC 28027

rmoser@fosteranimalhospital.com

 

I Thought He Was Dead!

Hey, Yo, it’s me Bunker again. I found this story my NC State lovin’ dad wrote. Pretty interesting story. That heifer would have behaved if I’d been there. Just sayin’!

Later,

Bunker

 

I have many wonderful childhood memories that are as pleasant now to think about, as they were then to experience. Our family was, and still is, a very close knit. Because he worked 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, my Dad had never developed a lot of hobbies- golf, hunting, fishing, etc. His main distraction from work, his main getaway, was always NC State Wolfpack football and basketball. A season ticket holder in both sports for as long as I can remember, it was not unusual for us to jump in the car, high tail it the 2 hours and 10 minutes to Raleigh from Concord, watch State play, and then zoom back home so Dad could be available for his clients if they needed help. I watched Dad cheer for and support his beloved Wolfpack and certainly learned to do the same. To this day, we still have tickets and make as many games as we can.

One beautiful, almost hot September Saturday, I was at the office working away. I was eagerly watching the clock, not only because we were extremely busy, but also because the Pack was scheduled to play Georgia Tech in football. State was having a great year and I would have been in Raleigh were it not for my veterinary duties! At least the game was on TV. I couldn’t wait to get home to see it. We finally saw the last patient, with 5 minutes to go before closing. Lisa, one of our fine receptionists came to me and said,” There is a Mr. Langley on the phone. He has a cow in labor.” We had many cattle clients over the years, but I could not recall a Mr. Langley.

“ Hello, this is Dr. Foster”. “Yeah Dr. Foster, this is Fred Langley. I live out past Georgeville towards Locust. I’ve got a heifer in labor and she can’t have the calf. I usually use Dr. Spann’s clinic, but they can’t come right now and I’m afraid I might lose her before they can get here. She’s awfully weak. Could you come as soon as possible?” What’s a loyal State fan to do? It would have been so easy to turn him away, but I knew that calves mean income to their owners and with a heifer in labor there was no time to spare. Her weakness was certainly a sign that trouble could be looming for the heifer and her calf. I obtained directions to his farm, finished closing the office and off I went. It was 45 minutes to kickoff and with any luck, I could get home by halftime!

I arrived at the Langley farm. Mr. Langley was an elderly man. He was probably 75 years old and of slight build. He was dressed in overalls and a big straw hat. I will stop short of calling him frail, but he certainly was not a man of size. “She’s in the corral Doc”, he stated after we shared introductions. Great I thought that’s half the battle! She’s confined! We approached the corral. I fully expected to see a small heifer, laying down, in intense labor.

SNORT! I looked up as we neared the fence only to see 1000 pounds of angry flesh circling the corral. Weak? Not going to make it? This fine beast was the picture of health! And she wasn’t happy about it! “She’s a little nervous”, he stated. “Do you have a chute and head gate we can put her in?” I questioned with great hope. “ No sir, just this corral. I think we can slip your rope on her and tie her up though”. Well, I’ve slipped a rope on cows before but they were usually tranquil or down. Slipping a rope over the head of this crazed bovine was going to be a challenge! The corral was easily 75 feet wide and 50 feet deep. I wasn’t overly eager about getting in the pen with her! And apparently Mr. Langley wasn’t either! Besides, even if I could get the rope over her neck, it wasn’t long enough to hold on to if she decided to go to the other side of the enclosure.

She continued to circle. With each pass, she would get closer to us, threatening to ram the fence. “If she’ll keep circling by us I may be able to inject her with a tranquilizer.” “Yeah, that sounds good to me Doc. I’ve never seen her like this” I was beginning to wonder when the last time was he HAD seen her! Or better yet when was the last time she had seen a human! Or if she ever had! I carefully climbed the fence rail. She sensed my encroachment and charged straight for the fence. I jumped off just before she hit the fence with all of her might and force. Phew, I thought, that was close. “Let’s try this again”, I said. Carefully, once more I climbed the fence again only to be met with the same reaction. Quickly I jumped back avoiding the brunt of her frustrations. “All right, one more time”, I said with nervous determination! Once again, I climbed the fence. She watched me as I reached the first boards. Suddenly she charged again. This time though, as if bored by my weak lack of resistance to her previous moves, she only came at me with half speed, stopping short of hitting the fence with her powerful head and neck. I quickly reached over, pierced the thick skin of her neck, and injected the tranquilizer. Angrily she spun around, kicked up her heels and trotted to the other side. “It will take a few minutes for effect”, I said.

Sweat was pouring from both of us as the hot September sun rained down. Waiting for her to relax, I glanced at my watch. Dang, it was time for kickoff and I had not even examined the heifer yet. Slowly, she began to drop her head as thick ropes of saliva ran from her mouth. “ She’s feeling it now” I beamed to Mr. Langley. Ten more minutes passed and the heifer lay down slowly and rolled on her side. “ Let’s see how asleep she really is”, I said knowing that she was more than capable of playing possum! I noisily slapped the planks of the corral. No response from her. I picked up a couple of golf ball size rocks and gently lobbed them her way. One missed but the other skipped off the ground and made contact with her under belly. No reaction. “Ok, I think she’s ready”.

Gathering my equipment, Mr. Langley said, “ I’ll take the rope and slip on her and tie her to the fence”. Good idea I nodded in response. The heifer was on the ground about 4 feet from a post. “Just tie her lightly,” I said to him as he scaled the fence and scurried towards the patient. I set my bags over the fence and began to crawl over. Suddenly, as if on cue, the heifer jerked her drunken head up just as Mr. Langley slipped the rope over it. Sensing impending doom she sprang to her feet and lunged for him, knocking him to the ground. Without hesitation, she jumped on him, pounding him repeatedly in the chest with her powerful head. Mr. Langley moaned in fear and pain as the heifer repeatedly attacked him. Fearing my own safety, but more so his, I quickly leapt over the fence with the intent to distract her. Unfazed by my presence the heifer never relented. Seeing the rope dangling from her neck, I raced across the corral and grabbed the rope end. The heifer never changed her posture. I grabbed the end of the rope, wrapped it twice around a post, climbed over the fence, and began hollering and screaming at the heifer. Hearing me, she turned and raced towards the fence. I began tightening the rope the closer she came. She stopped half way to me and glared drunkenly at me. Mr. Langley lay on the ground moaning in pain. The heifer, sensing his vulnerability, turned to finish her attack. Thankfully, I was able to tie the rope off to keep her from getting back to Mr. Langley. She pulled violently against the rope over and over again. Fortunately for us the more she pulled the tighter the rope became around her neck. With the lasting effects of the tranquilizer and the tight rope cutting off her air supply, the heifer slammed to the ground.

I climbed over the fence and raced towards the downed farmer. He lay motionless on the ground.

I thought he was dead.

“ Mr. Langley”, I screamed. He responded with a faint moan. “I’m okay Doc. She knocked the breath out of me”. I helped him as he slowly came to his feet. His trembling was noticeable, his face was pale, and his chest was beet red. “I think I’m okay. What about her?” he questioned as he pointed to the downed heifer.

I quickly examined her. The birth canal was narrow. I could feel the calf’s tail but no feet.

Breech births are usually bad news for a lot of reasons. A true breech is presented to the birth canal with the back feet tucked towards the head and only the tail entering the birth canal. Because there is no stimulus from the calf’s feet or head, complete labor is never achieved. Therefore, the calf may die before the farmer notices anything is wrong. “This is not good. She’s so tight, I have no room to manipulate the calf. She may have been in labor a couple of days. I’m afraid without a c-section, I can’t deliver the calf.”

By this point, we were both completely drenched with sweat. Still pale and panting, the bruised farmer softly said,” Kill her. I don’t have the money to spend on her. I can’t have her around here if she’s that crazy. Just put her to sleep.” Obeying his wishes, I administered the euthanasia solution in her pounding jugular vein. Instantaneously, her heart and her anger quit. I gathered my equipment and settled with Mr. Langley. I insisted that he go to the doctor and he assured me he would.

Physically and emotionally drained, I climbed in the truck longing for the cool air conditioner. I cranked the engine, flipped on the air, and instinctively turned on the radio. “And the Wolfpack loses a heart-breaker”, the radio announcer blared. Great, I thought. I had completely forgotten about the game. What an appropriate ending to a frustrating afternoon. My only salvation was that Mr. Langley appeared to be all right. To this day, I have a distinct, and painful, dislike of Georgia Tech!

 

 

Steve Foster, DVM, CCRT

Foster Animal Hospital, P.A.

Paws in Motion Canine Rehabilitation Center

Concord, NC

sfoster@fosteranimalhospital.com

(Please do not reproduce this article without permission from the author)