“Puncture wound” on a horse: I had a client call in a panic and demanding that I come out right away for her pony that appeared to have a puncture wound on the top of her rump. Anything other than “I am on my way” was going to be unacceptable. When I arrived on the farm, the owner directed me to the pony and pointed out the puncture wound. The pony is very fluffy, as most ponies are during the cooler months so there was a decent hair coat present. I see the abnormal hair that was stuck together with an unknown substance. I run my fingers over her coat and attempt to visualize the skin. The skin appears normal, of what I can see. The abnormal substance however did not have a typical bodily fluid smell. It smelled distinctly of pine sap. I went back to the truck and grabbed my clippers. I shaved the small 1” area of hair containing the “puncture wound” and removed the abnormal substance. Seeing the skin perfectly healthy underneath, I informed the owner that no puncture wound was present, but the “emergency” was actually a dollop of pine sap that dripped on the butt of the horse. I gave her a bill that included the emergency fee and left the property within 15 min of arrival and back onto my scheduled appointments that were put off handling this life-threatening condition.
“Urinary tract infection” in a horse: One Sunday afternoon, I was attempting to get some much-needed rest and hoping to sleep past 7am since I was out all night seeing a bad colic, but alas that was not to be the case. I received a call from a client that was overly concerned regarding her new and rather expensive mare that is showing obvious signs of a urinary tract infection and she was very much convinced that if I did not come out first thing this morning and get her on an antibiotic she would surely die. It could not wait until this afternoon and most definitely could not wait until Monday. I drag myself out of bed and put on clothes, contacts, brush my teeth, shoes, and grab myself a can of Diet Dr Pepper to get some caffeine in me so that I can sufficiently be coherent enough to drive. I drive the 25min to her stable and pull up to the barn. The mare is in the paddock adjacent to the barn. I observe the mare and notice that she is frequently squatting and squirting out a small amount of thick yellow urine. She has her tail up in the air and she is repeatedly squealing. I also notice the new stallion in the barn that is also calling back to her. The owner says, just look at her. She is so painful. I just can’t stand to listen to her suffer. You have to give her something. I shake my head and start to walk back to the truck with the owner hot on my heels eager for me to dose out some magical pharmaceuticals for me to soothe her blessed horse. I tried to eliminate any hint of aggravation in my voice, but I feel I was unsuccessful. I explained to the owner that her mare did not have an infection of any kind, but was in fact, in heat. Evidently, she was unfamiliar with mares and their typical behavior around other horses especially those of the male persuasion as she usually had geldings. I gladly gave her the invoice for the after-hours emergency fee and farm call for dragging me out of bed on a Sunday morning. Her final question was how long she would be acting this way. I replied, “Oh about a week or so”.