Tuesday, June 2, 2009

His First Day Here

He's here! I'd like to introduce all of you to our latest addition! This old gelding is a former racehorse, 17 years old, and in bad condition. He was listed on Craigslist on May 27th for sale. His owner stated that he was underweight, in poor condition, needed vaccinations and hoof care, and had an odd medical issue with his main reproductive organ. (Yes, you read that correctly. Now that I have your attention...)

I just couldn't leave him in that situation, and I decided that Dan and I would do our best to rehabilitate him and find him a permanent, loving home as soon as possible. I hooked up the truck and trailer and drove two hours to pick him up. A friend met me at the farm.

The gelding was in a stall in the barn when we arrived. I turned the corner to see his head sticking out over a stall door. My first reaction was positive; he appeared interested and alert, quite the opposite of my first reaction of Faith, the other horse we rescued in February. He had a plain face with lots of bald spots, but he had a cute curiosity about him. As I rounded the corner of his stall, I noticed his spine sticking out of his back, his hips jutting out. My heart sank...

I entered his stall to get a closer look. He was covered with bite marks and bald spots. He had old scars that were quite obviously had never been tended to. His coat was gross, but it looked too dry and dusty for his living conditions. Having a hunch, I grabbed a pair of latex exam gloves out of my back pocket and put them on. Upon closer inspection I saw one of the few things that will make my skin crawl: lice.

Then comes the one big issue that really sticks out, (absolutely no pun intended... OK, maybe just a little bit of a pun intended!) his penis. The gelding has a prolapsed penis. He no longer has the muscle to retract it back into his body, and therefore, flaunts his goods for all to see. The cause of his condition is unknown, but it is frequently caused by overdosing male horsers (both stallions and geldings) on tranquilizers.

After spending a few more minutes evaluating him, his owner signed a bill of sale and he was mine. All mine. Oh goody...

I have to say, his ground manners were impressive. He was very quiet to lead, and loaded onto the trailer like a pro. He rode quietly and I didn't feel him move at all on the ride home. He even waited patiently to be unloaded when we arrived home, amidst the whinnies from our curious pets that call this place home.

Due to his lice and the fact we'd like him to be quarantined for a while, he lives in his own private stall in the arena. We put rubber mats down so it is more comfortable for him to stand, and easier for us to clean. He had a fresh pile of hay and a full water bucket waiting for him to arrive.

An hour later Dr. George showed up and the exam began. He listened to his heart and lungs, noting a small heart murmur. Everything else seemed normal, and then he began dealing with "the organ". Dr. George explained that biggest issue with the condition of a penis being prolapsed is damage and infection. This part of anatomy is not meant to be flailed about, get dirty and dusty and be exposed to elements. That made sense to me. There are two options to fix it:

After cleaning it and removing excess dead skin and debris, Dr. George carefully placed "the organ" back where it normally lives, and then sutured the end of the sheath partially closed. This will hopefully allow the muscles to regain their elasticity and hold "the organ" in place. Leaving the end of it partially opens allows for him to urinate. Hopefully the sutures will hold, and in a few weeks we can remove them and "the organ" will magically stay put.

If it doesn't.... then the poor guy needs a penile amputation. OUCH... I can hear the collective gasp from all the men that read this blog.Surgeons performing this operation need to have a fully anesthetized patient. There are obviously quite a few blood vessels in this region, so surgery is difficult and bleeding is a concern. The vets will remove the excess tissue and then need to restructure the urethra so it can function normally. It's not a simple process. Nor is it an inexpensive one. Penile amputations run about $2500.00.... Let's pray those stitches hold!

After spending the better part of an hour on Cutter's nether-regions, Dr. George administered vaccinations and drew blood for a Coggins test. While filling out his paperwork at his truck, he asked me what the horse's name was. I replied, "Dick, of course." Thankfully Dr. George has a good sense of humor. Moving on...

I'll post an update on everyone tomorrow! In the meantime, enjoy the photos of the new guy's first day with us.

Coming off the trailer...

Checking out his new home!


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