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A Day in the Life

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"Horse Doctor" opens with the following introduction ......

How I got here is a book unto itself.  It would make a good read.  But that is another story and will have to wait for another time.     I am an American transplant living in South Australia and I am also a horse vet.  As a not so minor aside I am also a single mother of an eleven (going on twenty one) year old girl.  I have lived in Australia since 1991.  I love my work and my life here.  I thought this was a temporary move and a bit of an adventure. Thirteen years later it is looking less temporary but, no kidding, it is an adventure!  I never planned to stay, but now I will probably finish out my professional career right here in Gawler, South Australia.  One can never tell the future path one may go down. The lure of fly fishing (my third love) in the streams of California or the thought of tormenting my American based sisters might sway me back to the United States when I retire, but for now this is home.  God bless Australian horses and horse owners.

Every day as I head out on my horse calls I think “pinch me; they are paying me to do this”.   Everyone has memorable moments in their lives which if put into stories would make a good read.

Foaling Dystocia on Pony  - A common position to pull out wedged foals

...... Another excerpt from Chapter 1

One afternoon instead of torturing my staff with “old people's” music, I was complaining bitterly about the emergency I was driving to late in the afternoon.  I was probably tired from a prior late night.   My nurse, who had to accompany me, said something like: “Well it might be something to write in the book one day.”   I wondered aloud if many people would be interested in what we did.  My nurse assured me that people would be interested and some day I should write a book. Someday is here and it is time to start writing down some of the things that happen in my daily life here in Australia.

The normal foaling position is the two front legs preceding the head in a “nose dive” position through the pelvic canal.  If the leg is flexed or the elbow is hung up at the bottom of the pelvic brim then the foal becomes stuck.  The forces generated by the mare to expel the foal are incredible.  Mares can push their intestines out the rectum or vagina in the attempt to push a foal out. This is a death sentence.  So when a foal becomes lodged it is usually a very tight area that I am working in.  Often, once the chain is around the leg it is still a hard job to get the leg out.  I have handles that then attach to the chains and usually I and who ever is helping are down on the ground with our legs planted in the mare's thighs bracing ourselves to pull out the body part. On one foaling this year it took two hours to get the chain around the foal's legs. It still took me and two big men to get the leg straightened out.  Surprisingly, that foal lived.  Oh, did I mention I am approaching 54 years of age and I am five foot two inches and weigh one hundred and twelve pounds?  A minor detail.  I may be getting on but I am definitely not giving into nature.

Post foaling: introducing the foal to the mare.

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