Dr. Terri Bloomfield at Shasta View Animal Clinic taught kids how to vaccinate their horses Saturday and the benefits of protecting them against diseases ranging from Tetanus to the flu to Potomac Horse Fever.
For the first few horses, Dr. Bloomfield talked through the horse’s anatomy and the best technique to keep the animals calm and administer an effective vaccine. She showed kids the fleshy parts of the neck and chest where they can be vaccinated, in addition to the animal’s rear end.
Jaelyn Ortiz, 12, was the first one to bring a horse into the stocks, and Dr. Bloomfield explained Jaelyn’s 12-year-old mare Sky’s anatomy, pointing out Sky’s spine and arteries in her neck to avoid.
Sky reacted to the pokes well and didn’t startle much. Jaelyn next brought in a rescue horse she cares for named Duke, who also handled the needles well. Jaelyn said she thought the process went better than she expected after warning Dr. Bloomfield that Sky likes to kick. Although she cares for four other horses, Jaelyn said she brought Sky and Duke into the clinic because she wasn’t sure how those two would react after only caring for them for a short time.
Dr. Bloomfield donated her time to the kids Saturday as he has for four years now. She gave the kids packets of information about veterinary care for their horses and reminded them of the importance of nutrition to help the animals cope with the vaccines well.
She assured the kids that staying on top of vaccines for their horses is much more cost effective than treating an illness, along with the benefits to the health of their horses to protect them from diseases.
Soon, though, Bloomfield asked the kids soothing their horses if they wanted to give it a shot.
Twelve-year-old Fayth Bond gave her 15-year-old mare Angel her core vaccines, in addition to the Potomac Fever shot, but let Dr. Bloomfield take over the Strangles vaccine that goes up the horse’s nose.
She was nervous, not for how Angel would react, she said, but of doing the vaccines wrong.
Now, though, Fayth said she feels more confident after doing it under the guidance of Dr. Bloomfield and feels prepared to do it on her own in the future.
The horses weren’t fans of the nasal vaccine and scrunched up their noses, some even blowing snot everywhere, trying to get rid of the liquid shot up their nostrils.
The first step of vaccinating a horse, Bloomfield told the kids, is ensuring the animal is adequately restrained to prevent the horse from hurting itself or others.
Sisters Kieryn, 16, and McKinley, 11, Ruda each coaxed their horses into the stocks, with young McKinley taking over from Dr. Bloomfield and giving her pony Cassie the shots herself, ducking under the side to reach her horse’s chest for the Potomac Fever vaccine.
In addition to the shots, Dr. Bloomfield also taught the kids about deworming practices for horses and tested the fecal matter from the horses that came to the clinic Saturday. She explained that in a herd of horses, only about 22% of them need to be dewormed at any one time, although she said she’ll usually deworm a horse about once a year, even if they have tested negative.
All in all, 13 kids learned valuable lessons in healthcare for their horses Saturday and got their 15 horses their shots.