Friday, February 10, 2012

Be Still My Heart

Toby with Heather Carlin aboard.  Heather is a student at the University of Kentucky who needed a horse fix.  She recently was accepted into an internship with Hagyard Veterinary program.  Congrats Heather!
"Wow what a heart murmur!"  My heart sank.  Straight to my stomach.  Those words came from my new vet. 

I had Dr. Jennifer Fiener come out to check my boys out for their health certificates and pull coggins.  In Kentucky, in order to move your horse ANYWHERE, you must have both a coggins and a health cert.  In Michigan, only the coggins was necessary.  Health certificates were only needed if you crossed state lines.  So my boys were getting both so I could possibly take both to a show or two.

Dr. Jennifer Fiener of Hagyard came out at the recommendation of the other boarders.  She's terrific!  But when she said "Wow!  What a heart murmur!"  Well let's just say I didn't know what to think!  She made me listen to Toby's heart.  It sounded like "badoom REEEEE  badoom badoom REEEEE."   Instinctively I wanted to grab some WD40 for his heart valve!  Doesn't WD40 and duct tape fix everything?! 

Dr. Jen was entirely too interested in the sound for my comfort level.   I was in an unknown area of equine care.  Quickly, (because she must have seen my OMG expression on my face) she said that it's not a big deal.  She felt that he's had a heart murmur for a long time and that he's gotten on well with it.  For what I'm doing with him - which is not much at all - he's just fine.  She did say that it was only important that I was aware of it and didn't push exercise levels to things he's can't really handle.  No chance of that happening.  I only hope to take Toby to a small dressage show and compete at the low levels.  I think keeping him active will do him well at the age of 22 and he can keep Ollie company (read "babysit"). 

After the initial shock of the heart murmur, Toby checked out just fine.  He needs his teeth floated, as I expected and otherwise was just great!  Ollie was the picture of health.  Even his teeth seem to be good which surprised me.  

I was very pleased with the professionalism and horse sense that Dr. Jen has.  I feel privileged to have her as a vet!  I also think it's cool that I can get a vet from a place like Hagyard!  Way cool after living in rural northern Michigan.  I had great vets there too but there's a ton of good vets here in Lexington.  It's a bit of a culture shock for me to have so many choices. 

My boys have been doing really well and all I'll say is that I'm busting with pride over Ollie and how I'm riding Ollie these days but I think I will leave that post for another day.


  1. Aw, Toby!!! Hagyard is a great clinic! Very good hands!

  2. Ozzy also has a heart murmur. We discovered it at an endurance ride when he suddenly crapped out on me at mile 20. I will never forget that intense fear when the vet called for the EKG machine. It took everything I had not to burst into tears with everyone watching. Thankfully, it hasn't affected him much. With the proper e-lyte management, he even went on to complete more endurance rides after the diagnosis. SCARY feeling. *hugs*

  3. Don't stress about the heart murmur too much. Bugsy has had one for years. Since being diagnosed with it he has completed several long format 3 day events, and countless horse trials at the prelim and intermediate level. Right now he's 23 and still going strong packing me around at the beginner novice and novice level as well as doing some training and first level dressage. It can be scary getting that diagnosis I know, but with proper management he'll be fine.