A Quick Guide To Choosing Your First Family Pet

Brown Horse

One of the most wonderful things you can do for your child is to give them a pet to care for. Learning responsibility and empathy for living creatures is an essential life skill they need. Sadly, vets and animal care professionals continue to be called upon to intervene in neglect cases. Many of these animals are pets that the owners simply couldn’t manage. There are many reasons for this. It’s not always about cruelty.

So how can you be sure your family doesn’t take on too much when it comes to taking on a pet? Start by considering your budget. All pets cost money to care for. This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy pet ownership with a small income. But it may mean you need to choose an animal that won’t break the bank in veterinary, food, or care costs.

The next thing you need to consider is your accommodation. If you want to own a horse, do you live close enough to the stables for an emergency or to regularly tend to them? If you live in a small apartment, do you really want a juvenile Alsatian? Even if you have a large house and a good sized garden, you might prefer a pet that doesn’t run around a lot.

Allergies and lifestyle choices will also have some bearing on the suitability of different pets. Dogs must be walked twice a day. Cats can be quite active at night. Lizards aren’t keen on the cold, and tortoises might choose to hibernate.

Pets also need a lot of accessories. It’s not just food bowls and collars you need to worry about. You might need extra bedding or things like a horse fleece rug to ensure they are comfortable if it gets cold. There are also accessories to curb unwanted behaviour. For example, a bell on a cat collar can reduce their chance of catching unsuspecting wildlife. Chew toys for dogs will give your pup an alternative to your favourite shoes.

You might be considering a particular breed of cat, dog or pony. However, please bear in mind that there are thousands of rescued and homeless animals out there. They could offer you just as much love as a pedigree breed. Charitable organisations are not funded by the Government. Maybe you could consider purchasing your pet accessories from their fund-raising stores? Why not offer a donation of pet food from time to time?

One of the most important considerations for your first family pet is the age and future size of your human family. While it is very rare for any pet to deliberately harm a baby, it is important you never leave your pet unsupervised around small children. Equally, your toddler may not fully understand that the cat’s tail is attached and painful when pulled. Managing their interactions can reduce the risk of unwanted behaviour. Don’t forget to keep pet food and medicines out of sight of children (and vice versa!)

Pet ownership is wonderfully rewarding. With a few careful considerations and a little planning, you can enjoy a lifetime with your new family pet.

What You Should Know Before You Get A Horse

Horses in paddock

For many countryside homeowners, adopting a horse is a dream come true. The natural elegance of a horse attracts many animal lovers who research an animal that is both a way of making a statement as well as a fitness friend. After all, riding remains one of the most elegant and freeing activities that one can think of: Is there anything more attractive than riding through the countryside and jumping above obstacles like the hero of a Victorian novel? But, before you start choosing who should be your next equine friend, you should first consider what it really means to own a horse.

Foals Versus Adult Horses

The opinion is divided about what the best age is to adopt a horse. Indeed, older horses would have been pre-trained and will be easy to work with. They often come from riding clubs where they would have been used to work with children and adults of all riding levels. While this can make your life a lot easier, this also means that you will not be able to develop a bond as strong as those who choose to adopt a foal and train it themselves. However, adopting a foal can be a difficult experience at first, as youngsters tend to be unaware of the dangers around them and are more likely to get injured, and specifically to hurt their legs in the fence.

You will need to make sure that the place you keep your foal will be completely foal-proofed until the training is over.

Horse in its stable

You Need To Have The Right Gear And Stables

A horse requires regular care and maintenance and is much more demanding than other pets such as cats or dogs. As you plan to adopt a horse, you need to make sure that you have all you need to take care of it: Start with feeding equipment such as a feed tub and water trough! Then you also need to think about grooming and handling your horse with the purchase of a body brush, a mane comb, a halter-leather with a lead rope, and a hoof pick. Finally, unless you live in a place that has kept horses, you will need to find a way to build a stable: You can find beautiful stables that can be completely tailored to your terrain and your space, or you can even consider renting a box in an existing livery that is local to you.

Remember One Thing: This Is A Costly Pet

Adopting a horse is not like adopting a house pet: This is a costly investment, that will naturally be a rewarding experience as you start training and riding your horse, but you need to carefully plan it in your budget. Indeed, the cost of hay, straw and shavings to feed your horse throughout the cold months where there is no grass has to be planned alongside the cost of additional feeding requirements. You will also need to take an equine and livery insurance to protect your horse and the place where it lives at all times. Finally, further maintenance costs for the services of a farrier, dentist and a worming expert (who can be your vet) also need to be taken into consideration in your equine budget.

Trying to save a horses eye…

Inspecting the equine eye

Today’s Diary Entry is sponsored by Chart Stables

So this morning at around 6am I got a sms for emergency surgery in the equine clinic, as always there was no indication of just what the surgery was going to be. Jumping out of bed I did an hours reading before then heading down to clinic so that I could be in on the pre-op. Heading into stables i found our equine surgeon talking with our ophthalmologist so realized it was eye related. I then found the patient, a foal that had sustained trauma to its right eye hiding in a stable behind mom.

Now i am not sure if i have written about foals before so I will include a few notes here. When working with foals you tend to also have to deal with mom, this can make it interesting as sometimes mom is not so keen on you touching her baby. Also adding another horse into a procedure just automatically doubles the danger. However to get the foal to go somewhere normally if you take mom the foal will follow, downside here though is that if mum gets nervous or scared then the foal will as well.

Because of this it is sometimes chosen to also sedate mom. So after mom leading the foal onto the scales to get the weight, and then the preparation of drugs it was time for the surgery. Now mom led the foal into the operating theatre, and the foal was positioned so that she would be able to have a controlled fall on the operating table. She was then given anesthetic drugs and carefully positioned onto the surgery table. Careful attention was given to mom during this time to ensure that mom did not freak out when her foal fell onto the table. Mom was then moved back to the stables whilst surgical prep started.

The area around the eye was cleaned and shaved whilst the anesthetic team monitored the foal and the ophthalmologist scrubbed and then prepared her instrument tray for the surgery. Something really important is balanced anesthetic and in this case it was also decided to use local nerve blocks around the eye to reduce the amount of general anesthetic needed. At this point it was uncertain whether the surgery would be to repair the eyeball or to remove it. The first thing the ophthalmologist did was to clean and examine the eye, unfortunately in this case the damaged was too severe and so the decision was taken to remove the eye.

Now this is a relatively simple procedure with several different techniques possible to achieve the goal of removing the eye. In this case because of the trauma what is called a transconjunctival approach was selected. This is where the conjunctive tissue (this is the tissue inside the eyelids) that surrounds the eyeball is cut to release the eyeball from the socket before the nerve and blood vessels are then cut. On this occasion the vessels were not ligated but compression used to achieve hemostasis by filling the empty socket with gauze to apply pressure until the bleeding stopped. A surgical drain was then placed to allow any fluid to drain from the wound. The eyelids were then trimmed to remove the eyelashes before these were sutured shut.

The foal was then taken to recovery. Now this is also different as we do not leave a foal to recover alone but support the recovery with the foal being restrained on the ground until the drugs wear off. Once the foal is reasonably awake we then help the foal to stand and support them until they can stand alone. After this mom is then brought back to be with the foal as this helps reduces stress in the foal.