Friday, August 16, 2013

Getting My Ducks in a Row - Hopi


In the last few weeks, Hopi started to look a bit funky - he's not thin exactly, but his hip bones were poking out, ribs peeked through, and his top line started looking very prominent. In addition, the hair on his rump got peculiarly tufty.

To complete the picture, he seems to be having an all-out war with "someone" (thinking Small Thing) and is covered in scuffs and bite marks. He's not bottom of the pecking (biting?) order - that spot is reserved for Uno who just wants the quiet life - and Hopi and Small Thing regularly eat together, so it doesn't appear to be that he's being chased off the hay. Hum.

The strange thing is, during this time he has become the most relaxed and cheerful I've ever seen him. He's talkative, friendly, and plays a lot.

Hopi's Tufty Butt:

After eyeing him for a while, I concluded maybe he needed a worm purge, so duly purchased 1,000 ml of fenbendazole (10% suspension) - enough to purge four horses should I feel the need to do so. Otherwise, enough to treat my five horses for about the next decade.

'Course, as soon as I ordered the stuff, Ann pointed out that I should probably get him a fecal exam to make sure that's what was really going on. She even gave me a kit* to do the deed.

(*Kit = small pill bottle with a pokey spoon attached to the lid. Instructions were "Take some poop off the top of the pile, keep refrigerated".)

Thursday was the day and I set about getting Hopi to poop on command. This used to be a simple matter of looking at him or putting a halter on him. But apparently nowadays that wasn't going to cut it. He ambled along behind me, quite happily, looking around at the world, totally relaxed.

Hopi acting like the highly-strung arabian he is...
Ah hah, I thought, and loaded him in the trailer. 

Most self-respecting horses, at this point, will poop within four seconds of getting in the trailer. Nope. Loaded and unloaded him several times and took advantage of the situation to impress upon him that leaping out of the trailer as soon as the door was opened wasn't appropriate. Manners about jumping out were instilled, but still no poop. 

I ran him up and down a bit. No poop.

Finally realised it was getting late and I needed to get to work, so tied him in the barn with a hay net and ran indoors to get ready. 

Wondering what to do now - to alarm him sufficiently into production,
but not enough that he wonders what he did to deserve such treatment.
Now nice and tidy, but still no poop in the barn, I decided to try and load him one last time and - voila, finally he produced the much desired substance. Put him away and then squatted in the dust in my work clothes with the pill bottle and the pokey scoop and retrieved a sample.

At Auburn Animal Medical Large Animal, I handed over my prize. Apparently if you send your poop sample to the lab, they will charge you around $200 for the privilege of inspecting it under a microscope. Auburn Animal Medical realised the stupidity of this - who's going to test for worms when you can pick up a tube of wormer for less than $10? So they purchased the necessary equipment and now do "fecals" in-house for a mere $25.

And here's the rub. The vet office called that afternoon - Hopi is negative for worms. 

So now what? I should test him again in a few months to make sure they aren't at the encysted stage. But in the meantime, this morning Hopi got stationed in front of a large pan of sloppy feed - Elk Grove Pellets and Ultium feed, with a helping of E-Se-Mag (Vitamin E, Selenium, Magnesium) and we'll try that for a month and see if it helps. And I'm waiting to hear from the vet as to whether I should go ahead and administer a five day fenbendazole purge anyway.

* * *
Edited to add 08.26.13:

Hopi tucking into his enormous pan of goodies. Note offending ribs in the background. He's been gobbling this stuff once a day for ten days now, and I'm not convinced it's done much so think that a worming purge is in his future. However, I'm going to wait until after we get back from vacation so I can supervise in an obsessive manner. 


  1. I suspect allergies. Do you have lots of biting bugs right now? Fiddle is plagued by no-see'ums, and she gets that kind of tufty look sometimes.

    Of course, *nothing* puts her off the food. A fully-fed Fee is a happy Fee.

  2. No real bugs right now - it's so dry. Small Thing is plagued by them sometime and looks like he has mange, but even he's free right now. The tufties are odd - it's more like his winter coat never fell out properly. I scraped at the areas, but the hair didn't come out - it's still affixed securely.