Coping with the loss of veterinary horse care is challenging after a long hospital stay

By Yogi Fell

From Jan. 19 I spent much time in the Prince County Hospital with a broken leg, torn ligaments, and a torn hamstring. It was a painful time. I know now why they shoot horses with these ailments.

I am in debt to the wonderful and caring staff who got me through all the pain. After 72 days I am home now, not travelling very much and with great difficulty. But it is getting easier and much less painful. Now to horses: We have lost our veterinary care from Kensington Veterinary Clinic, which includes chicken, sheep and swine as well. The implications to our horses’ health is huge, it is a great loss.

A group of concerned owners has been formed, headed by Julia Smith. In the meantime we have to survive. Our horses have to survive. Spring is upon us, deworming the herd is a must. We have vaccinated the herd with a five-way vaccine. To me the most important is for Tetanus (Lockjaw) and Rhino (Equine Flu).

I am lucky this was done at our annual health clinic where the vaccines were provided by AVC Clinician Dr Tammy Muirhead. I have been providing this health clinic for 30 years or more. Having no veterinarian means no access to many medications, especially vaccines, because vaccines should be prescribed by a veterinarian.

Other veterinarians outside our area cannot accept any more clients. Emergencies will have to be trailered into the AVC, and they are reluctant to take on new clients. In my experience, emergencies usually happen after working hours.

It is now up to us. We have to arm ourselves with knowledge. This means understanding pulse, respiration, temperature, heartbeat and gut sounds. Important barn tools would be a stethoscope and a thermometer. Learn what to do with them.

You should have come to the clinic. It was open to the public and education is free at Handibear Hills Horse Sanctuary, Inc. Growing up on an isolated ranch in B.C. provided a lot of skills. We were 16 miles from the train lines.

There were no veterinarians in our area. There were no available antibiotics. We did much healing with nutrition and grandparents’ herbal remedies.

Seventy-five years later and I am still using a modified version of those remedies. I will expand on these simple available herbs and what we use them for. Dr Green is a great help with herd health when they can move to summer pastures.

Until next time, love and hugs from Yogi.

Yogi Fell shares her love of horses with all Islanders

I have a horse sanctuary that owns me. This is the final home for our adoptees. We have many old horses now and I am old too. I have always had too many horses to fit the pocketbook. I had to stop adopting and focus on the health and horsekeeping of the herd.

I feel that if I can share the things I have learned and am still learning, I could save more horses.

There are simple things I do to keep them healthy and sound. It was a long way for a vet to come to our ranch when I was young. I was raised amongst a family of herbalists and much common sense. I am always grateful for that knowledge, it helps the pocketbook. Although there are always emergencies that need the veterinarian.

The Sanctuary also shares the herd with young people and anyone that needs a little bit of comfort. We all learn and grow through skills we gain at the farm. As I prepare for the big winds of the fall, I think water is not going to be an issue.

I call this time of year the colic season. As the horses transition from the moist pastures to dry feed, we must make sure they have enough water to prevent an obstruction (constipation). They need a minimum of 10 gallons of water per day. I give them a little extra salt with their minerals to make sure. I am sneaky like that.

An important routine in the fall is deworming. Bots are the problem. Bots are flies and they lay eggs in the grass and on the horse. The larvae I have seen are about 1/8th inch in diameter. You know there is a lot of them in the horse when you find them during crap inspection. I wait until a good hard frost before I treat the horse. I check with the Atlantic Veterinary Clinic to find the most effective dewormer. We do not need these parasites eating our hard earned feed.

That is it for this time. Love and hugs from Yogi.