Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

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©Katherine Dunn.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Donkey recovery room

Pino, two hours after surgery, still wobbly and groggy, but in the recovery suite with Lucia.

Pino is recovering from his surgery this morning. It all went very well. I thought about taking photos of the process, and opted against this. I didn't want to have a camera there because I wanted to be fully present, not only for my animal, but for my vet. With a camera in my hand, I am an artist, a voyeur. But without it, I can be a better caretaker, consoler, helper, observer and student to the vet. I can be intuitive to the moment.

And all the while, Paco and Lucia watched some 10 feet from us, clearly seeing everything. I will explain the set up. We opted to perform the surgery in what is the main donkey shelter, which is part of Old Barn. If you've ever been to Apifera, it is the first section of the barn, right past the gate and close to the coop. By doing it there, I could keep the other donkeys out of the picture, but they could see through the wood fence. It also allowed a cushy, soft area for Pino to fall and flail on-and work out of the anesthesia. And the vet had good light, and protection from the rain.

We gave him a relaxant, then waited, and gave him the shot that put him under. If you've ever done surgery with an equine, it is a sweetly sad state to watch-they get wobbly, but try hard to keep standing. But once he was down, we covered his head to protect it from light and dirt, and we roped his hind leg to prevent reaction kicks.

The intuition of the donkeys, and protectiveness for each other then came out. Lucia did not bray, but Paco immediately began braying when Pino went to the ground. These were concerned brays. We all know he is the resident worrier. It was not right to see Pino laying, trembling and making little sounds. And there was blood, a lot of it. At that moment, I mentioned I should have thought to hang a sheet or something so the donks couldn't see Pino, but they probably still would have brayed. We didn't mind Paco's brays, but we did end up giving Pino a tish more sedative halfway through the procedure as he seemed to slightly respond to Paco's brays. At one point, Paco began herding Lucia away from the area, I think more out of a protective measure. Matilda was far off during the entire thing, grazing contently, which I thought was interesting.

The growth itself had increased in size since a week ago. Even though we biopsied it once, my vet felt it was just the oddest sarcoid she'd seen, more because of the hardness of the inside and we decided to go ahead and send the entire mass - about the size of a baseball- to the lab again, just to make sure.

Pino came out of his sedation well - a process in and of itself. I will watch for swelling of the sheath, and the one worry would be if the opening to his penis gets so swollen that he can't urinate which could of course be deadly, quickly. He's on pain meds and antiobiotics but we expect a full recovery. Now we wait again for lab work-although none of us should lose sleep, that was a preventative measure-and we watch closely to see if anything grow s back, and how quickly. I'm afraid sarcoids usually always come back-I know, sometimes, they don't-every sarcoid person has their own sarcoid story-but I'm going by what several vets have experienced. If it comes back, we will try a rub on drug to see if it helps.

But for now, we hug Pino, and get him healthy again. It is so good not to see that big bloody mass hanging down there. I feel so much better for him.

It has been a up and down week here, trying to help Samuelle and losing him to cancer, getting ready for Pino. I have two ewes that chronically suffer for cocci in the spring, despite preventative treatments. I learned how to deal with it years ago with my vet so am drenching them 2x a day. I have two elders that are needing supplemental care to get weight on-this is routine. It looks like Old mama Suggee is dropping hay again so I might need to get the vet out sooner than later for another teeth floating. So running this ship sometimes hands you an extra load in spurts.

It is a wonderful way to live though. And I thank the many of you who have supported the spring art sale to help me maintain the Misfits.


NancyGeneArmstrong said...

My husband asked and through supper I had to give details omitting things due to us eating -He was relieved that the surgery was over and now Pino on the mend. I am worried about swelling but I know you know what you are doing and will keep the good eye on him. It has been trying times but as you said -the good life-you were meant to do this. Kisses on the nose to Pino.

Katherine Dunn/Apifera Farm said...

DOn't fret, that's nobody's job right now. He is loaded up on pain meds and other things to keep swelling down. Things can happen, but he is doing well. "I know what I'm doing" - by guidance from my vets, some instinct, but my vets are my guides as a caretaker, for sure. Sometimes you learn the hard way. But Pino had a good attitude tonight. Thanks for caring- and hey, Pig and Pug coming up soon!

Traci Suzanne Marvel said...

Sending LOVING thoughts to the farm ~
Especially to those little donkey's with their "Bray-Hearts." ox

Anonymous said...

Glad it went well, hope he is back to his old sweet self again soon. xox

Terra said...

That surgery was a big process and you sound like you stay calm and helpful, thank goodness. Not all of us are able to be good nurses.

Katherine Dunn/Apifera Farm said...

Thanks everone! Terra, well, I've been here 10+ years and seen a lot, so I think it is a process one takes to get to feeling okay in blood and surgeries. I was there for his castration but at a distance. I witnessed my first autopsy out in the paddock with a dead ewe with my vet and rmember standing there and thinking, 'wow, i could not have done this a few years ago". I wouldn't say I am jaded, I think I just find it all so dang interesting too, and also have a gene in me that wants to soothe a beast. I don't know. I do know there are many that just should never be at the surgery, or even at anything minor! Sure vets see it all the time- but you know, i am horrible at hospitals. Get all wierd and uptight. My mom used to urge me not to come!

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Thank you for reading! The farm and my art/writing keep me hopping, so might not respond immediately. Thank you for understanding. ~Katherine & Apifera ~