- Global Canine Communication




When it comes to giving new life, our animals own lives are often taken out of our hands. That’s when, foaling or whelping, you call a vet and say a prayer.





Sherry L. Shivley, Journalist Award Winner


When it comes to giving new life, our animals own lives are often taken out of our hands. That’s when, foaling or whelping, you call a vet and say a prayer.


Recently my daughter’s beloved mare went in labor. We have whelped a few litters and foaled out many mares, so I KNOW when things are not right.


After 2 hours, I called our Vet. He drove right out (he is 30 minutes away) and helped deliver a pretty red dun overo stud colt. Now, I know what you are thinking, this is a dog publication, why is she writing about a HORSE?


Because as a dog breeder, if you haven’t been through something like this, you will face it one day.


This foal looked immature. I could see all the tendons in his legs, which I had never seen before. After 2 hours he had still not stood to nurse and the mare had not cleaned. So my veterinarian came back with Oxytocin. She writhed in pain, looking at me and whickering for help. There was nothing I could do. You see, unlike other animals, you cannot do surgery on a horse and expect a good outcome. For as big as they are, they are extremely fragile.


We continued to milk and feed throughout the night. The foal never stood, and by 5 AM the next morning, we knew why....


The mare delivered a second, smaller stillborn paint foal. Now the clock was ticking…the mare had not cleaned out from TWO foals, she was shocky, dehydrated, and the first foal was not standing. Horses are not made to produce multiple foals and the live foal should have gestated at least another week if not two.


We rushed the mare and foal to Colorado State University where we were met by a skilled team of students and specialists. They examined the foal, did radiographs, and told us he could never be ridden because the cartilage had not begun to form in his joints. It would cost upward of $10,000 to save an unridable horse. We had him euthanized and turned our attention to the mare. She was in grave danger from having retained the placenta so long. They flushed her twice a day for the 6 days she was there, gave her antibiotics and used ice boots to keep the heat out of her hooves.


The shock for us came when we went in to pay the bill for radiographs, exam, and euthanizing the foal. Even though they were using him to teach the vet students the bill was over $800!! When I mentioned to one of the Senior Students that seemed pretty high, she said they had to raise the rates because the surrounding veterinarians were complaining about the university being so low.


How many times have you been charged for your medical doctor to listen to your heart and lungs? They actually charged FOR THE USE OF THE STETHOSCOPE!! Now, don’t you think that should be an extension of the vet’s eyes, ears and hands??


Then, when the mare was stable and ready to come home, we paid enough that we could have purchased a used car or had a nice vacation. I am not complaining about her care, it was excellent. What concerns me is this – had we been unable to come up with that much money we would have had to euthanize the mare or brought her home and hope for the best.


How do people afford vet bills without pet insurance? The CSU vets called my veterinarian an Old Timer. Perhaps we need more like him to train the younger generation of veterinarians. He does it all, eye surgeries, cruciate ligament repairs, collections and AIs, ear crops, plus his large animal practice. The younger veterinarians want to work with small or large. Period. They want to have all kinds of bells and whistles and charge for them just like the college.


But what if dog owners can’t pay for all the high tech toys they want? Where do you go?


There are Veterinary Clinics popping up in the Denver area that are bare bones, old fashioned, “we treat everything” facilities. They are economical, listen to the owners, and don’t force excessive testing or procedures on owners. Like my Old Timer veterinarian. My vet’s son is going to veterinary school in hopes of taking over for his dad one day. I hope he is half the vet his Dad is. I know his prices will go up… He will have to pay for his college education…


The second incident happened this morning, far away in Nova Scotia Canada. My friends owned a wonderful white Boxer named Zeus. He had his own Facebook page, wrote a book of poems called Through A Dogs Eyes with the help of his owner, Mannie. The proceeds were donated to a local animal charity. Zeus was voted into the Motorcycle club, that Mannie and John are active in, and made Ambassador. Zeus had a special trailer pulled behind the motorcycle, his own leather vest, doggles and a big smile. Just after his second birthday, he began fainting and was diagnosed with ARVC (Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy). He passed away 2 days after his 3d birthday. Funds poured into Dr. Muers clinic for ARVC research in his name and she renamed it the Zeus fund.


Mannie and John, Zeus’s owners finally healed over his loss and decided to take a coast to coast ride, then bring another Boxer puppy into their lives. While riding the bike to town, John hit a deer. He suffered internal injuries, broken ribs, broken leg, injured lung, and more… After about 16 months in the hospital and rehab John is now home, he will have to use a wheelchair as his spine was shattered.


It made me realize how fragile life is. We are all in God’s Hands. Hold your loved ones close, including your dogs.


~ Dog Bless - See ya around the ring!!

Copyright 1708



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