Taylor, the north Klamath County large animal doctor (and a former boyfriend from my youth) came to the ranch today. It was good to see him, as it had been nearly a decade. He looks older than me, though I know him to be 5 years younger. Still a man of few words and a vet of calm, cowboy ways, he quickly affirmed that Eddy was fine. Yeah sure, the wound looks bad and Taylor was able to stick a gloved finger nearly two inches into Eddy’s chest cavity to make sure the nerves were A-okay, but he declared him a fine, healthy colt with a fine confirmation, good legs, alert, nice size. He’s fine, great, quit worrying about him. No, he doesn’t need antibiotics or stitches or anything. To give me something to do Taylor said to clean it with plain old water once or twice a day and put some special vet spray in it and he tossed me a can.
Then, without fanfare he moved on to Brumbie. Bad news I’m afraid, the tumors are basal cell carcinomas and growing fast. Yes, he has cancer, certainly it has spread throughout his body, but this cancer can be very fast or very slow growing. Unpredictable. Brumbie could be dead in weeks or live to be 35 like Smokey Joe did. Few horses live beyond 30, and Brumbie is 30, so if he succumbs to this cancer quickly, it will be okay. Still, it makes me sad because even Taylor said Brumbie has the heart and teeth of a much younger horse. I wonder if he was thinking something similar about me, though he didn’t get a good look at my teeth. If it weren’t for the cancer, Brumbie very well could live to rival Smokey’s near record age.
Now most vets would have said it wasn’t worth doing much for Brumbie at 30-years-old even though excising the tumors could very well slow down the cancer. But it wouldn’t be worth a trip to Klamath Falls to a sterile, surgical facility. Not Taylor. He gave Brumbie a big dose of drugs, waited until he got wobbly on his feet (the horse, not Taylor), numbed up the tumors and, right there in the meadow, took a scalpel and whacked the tumors right off. Each one was the size of a golf ball and Taylor wanted to get as much of them as possible so he cut deep. There was quite a bit of blood but he cauterized the wound and put some magic vet spray on it and said, ‘That’ll do ‘im’ (One of his longest sentences of the day). While Brumbie was doped up Taylor did some dental work on him then said to keep the surgical would clean with water for a few days, and keep an eye out for the tumors to grow back; which would be a bad sign.
Before leaving he gave Missy a quick once-over. He said she was fat, had lice, needs a dose of fly spray in her mane to get rid of them, but over all was okay. The surprising thing is she isn’t 7 or 8 like the folks who gave her to me said, but more likely about 20! I questioned whether that was too old for having babies. He gave Eddy a little pat on the rump and said, ‘Reckon not’. Then he packed his truck and drove off into the sunset. Guess it might be another ten years before comes to call again.
Yahoo, Eddy is going to be fine, and there was nary a cloud in the sky all day.