Monday, April 13, 2009

Sycamore Sickness

Spring is beautiful. The flowers are incredible, furry babies are being born, and the promise of summer is just around the corner, but Spring has its downfall. Allergies. They have begun to wreak havoc on my poor Jessie and they are beginning to bother me.

The disappointing and recurring symptoms for her are swollen areas above her eyes, sometimes an eye is half closed, sometimes clear watery tears drizzle down from an eye (no, the flies aren't around yet to drink out of the corners of her eyes but will soon gather, I am sure), and now her left lymph node is swollen. I don't believe the lymph node was problematic last year. I have put her back on a daily ounce of the anti-histamine called Tri-Hist. Last year it worked well for her. I pray the same goes for this year.

When Jess is turned out in the cemetery paddock, the symptoms worsen. When she is turned out in the small paddock close to the barn, she doesn't seem to react as badly. So, what is out there in that big bad paddock? I think I know. Had the tree cutting crew not been at the farm a couple of years ago maintaining the power line land, then I would not have been told this little jewel of information. One of the guys said that the Sycamore trees present some of the worse reactions for them. I was stunned. I remember jogging down the lane near the pond and I would sometimes have to stop and cough. It was like I couldn't breath and the cough was a dry cough. I would go inside and drink water. I hadn't heard of this before, and yes, there is the most gorgeous tree at the entrance of the cemetery paddock. There are also a few here and there in the woods, but none near the barn nor the house. So there it is...that may be one of the causes.
Some might say watch that lymph node and I will, but last summer, my right lymph node that is tucked under my chin at the side of my neck suddenly swelled July 28th, I believe...Pop! There it was, 1.3 millimeter long! Scared to death, I immediately got in to see my internist and at my insistence, he ordered a needle biopsy. Too many cancer victims in this state and I wasn't going to take any chances. Not much resulted from the prodding. Nothing truly definitive. They were unable to get to the 'core' so the cells they wanted were unobtainable since it was so close to the carotid artery. By late fall, the node shrank and I could no longer 'feel' it when I moved my neck. I went to an ENT specialist who said sometimes salivary glands drop or it could very well be allergies though most allergists will not agree. He was right. I believe it was allergies for me.

Back to Jessie...she is a picky eater so mixing strange medicines in her feed will cause her to go off her grain. I forgot and that is what she did! So, I remembered to put the loose granules in a plastic syringe, add a healthy dollop of molasses, plug it up, turn it over and drizzle a tablespoon or so of hot water in the small pointed opening, and shake, shake, shake! My finger must be positioned on top so it doesn't come out! I have to keep shaking until I insert the syringe in the side of her mouth to avoid thickening and separating. She likes the molasses so she doesn't offer much resistance. I found a good way to relieve her swollen eye, too. Run the hottest water possible on a small clean terry cloth towel, quickly wring it out, and gently cup her entire eye with the moist hot towel for maybe 30 seconds. I do not press; there is no need too. I do that a few times in a row, wait a couple of hours and repeat. The eye is fine within hours.

It is raining. The horses are in the cemetery paddock which is the only paddock that has decent grass. I want to see if Tri-hist is giving her relief. I wonder if the rain helps diminish the pollen? She was turned out there all last summer. If she has problems today, then we need to immediately work on building another paddock in the big field. We should probably do that any way!

I checked on her several times and she wasn't as swollen as two days ago. She was perky on her way back to the barn. She showed interest in her all natural 'Mrs. Pastures' cookie that sits in her feed bowl awaiting for her return. She nibbled on some hay and seemed happy to be in her bed. I pray she will be able to endure the pollen season. I pray all will be well on the farm.

1 comment:

Pony Girl said...

Interesting post about allergies. I believe my sister's mare gets spring allergies, she tends to get a cough and drippy nose. My gelding had a strange reaction a year ago too, not sure if it is molds released from the dirt after a muddy/moldy winter? We have a lot of cedar trees too, I heard those can cause issues. Sounds like you take great care of your horses and have some good solutions for helping them to be comfortable.
Funny about mixing things in the difficult to paste-worm gelding was letting me mix it in his grain w/applesauce for the last 3 wormings. But last time he totally turned his nose up at it. Stinker! I'll have to go back to pellet wormer when I can and have someone help me twitch him for the other (yes he's that bad.)