A week ago I was feeding the horses their breakfast and noticed that Shadow had three wounds on his neck. Small ones, each round and about the size of a dime or less, but scabbed and pussy. That they were round was strange - most bites and cuts are rips. I took him into the barn and washed them off, then told Ginger about them before she left.
Wed and Thursday I was in California for work (I swear - I have never traveled this frequently for work before!) and on Friday Ginger said he'd gotten more spots so she'd called the vet. He said it was most likely ringworm - a skin fungus that erupts into round scabby wounds. And, is very contageous - to humans and dogs as well as other horses. Ginger called David and had him pull him out of pasture in order to quarantine him in a stall.
That said, it isn't dangerous or even debiliatating, just messy if left untreated. So Friday night we dove in to get Shadow cleaned up. This routine consisted of shaving all of the wounds. Since the fungus feeds on hair, depriving them of such is step one. Then scrub them with betadine, let that sit for 10 mintues, then rinse, then rinse with a vinegar solution (to make an inhospitable environment), DRY - as in blow dry or thoroughly towel dry - each area and then apply an athlete's foot treatment. Woowee! Sounded straight forward enough, so we donned rubber gloves and got started.
What we quickly discovered, however, was that Shadow's spotted coat was an extremely effective camouflage for these fungus wounds. Many were as small as a pea and only puckered up a little bit. The more we examined him, the more we found! It got pretty absurd, us not wanting to touch any un-affected coat, yet we couldn't find affected areas with out doing so. Poor guy looked like a very raggedy patchwork quilt by the time we were done, having shaved probably 25 areas. Then for the next 6 steps, multiplied by 25 areas, by a horse whose incredible patience was more than wearing thin - made for a very long evening.
Before the light disappeared entirely I went out to feed dinner and do a once over on the other horses. Chaco got to come in to a stall as well. We didn't have time to do the full regimen on him so we scrubbed his 3-4 spots down and sprayed with Lotramin.
In the morning we checked all the horses more thoroughly, and found that Romeo also had 5-6 infected areas. Jordan, Rio, Shoni and Harley all appeared clean, so they stayed out in pasture. Romy and Chaco got their first treatments and Shadow got a second. We also washed and sterilized all of our grooming tools and tack boxes.
Meanwhile we'd talked with the Vet again about our findings on Shadow, and he suggested we might bathe him with medicaided shampoo. We decided that all the horses probably should be bathed, though the 'clean' ones could probably skip the medicaided shampoo part.
I picked up the shampoo from the vet that afternoon - while Dave and Ginger were taking Harley over to a 5-year-old's birthday party to give pony rides! We advertise for doing B-Day parties, but our plan is for people to bring the party to our place. Bring your cake and such, and get pony rides as part of the deal. This person called only a week or so in advance, and really wanted to find someone to come to her place. We hummed and hawed for awhile - but after our insurance rep said that our policy would cover us off property we decided that revenue is, after all, revenue! Harley aparently was a huge hit and behaved absolutely perfectly for the kids.
Because we needed another project for this weekend, we'd also emptied the two shelving units in the tack room with the thought of painting them. We got paint, so I started in on that just as Dave and Ginger returned from the party. We got one coat on both units and left them outside.
Sunday the temperature plumeted to in the 60s and threatened rain. We finally decided we HAD to bathe at least Shadow, so we did. We don't have a water heater in the barn, and again the poor thing was subjected to an hour of not-so-comfortable ministrations in the washstall. He was shivering like mad the whole time. But goodness does he look beautiful and shiny-white now! It isn't the last bath for him, but he is much improved. That afternoon it rained, and then got even colder and poured down rain Monday - no more baths took place. No Memorial Day BBQ either, nor painting, I might add. But Ginger has spent what seems like days in washing the saddle pads.
Yesterday we took an assessment and decided that Shadow's wounds all look noticeably smaller and in the process of healing! We went a head and turned Romy and Chaco out today -- because we have a new boarder arriving today and we needed the stall! Because of our lack of preparation the three of us got up way early to prep the stall for our new arrival today.