We left for Auburn University early on Thursday morning. Of course we were stuck in rush house traffic. Our appointment was 10:30 Central time, so we had allowed ourselves for this circumstance, but with a car as well as the truck and trailer it was nerve wracking for AJ as well as Vince and Connor.
Connor had come along for two reasons. First and foremost he appeared to have a possible ulceration on his right eye. A month previous he had injured the eye, and after the medication had cleared up the large pimple, there was a small white cloud in his lens, resembling an ulcer. Second, he had impaled himself on a fence post last June and we were never confident there wasn't something left in the wound.
I know it sounds strange that would be the lesser issue, but after more than seven months, the wound was closed and scar tissue had closed the large gaping chest piercing. The possible ulcer was more urgent - we were afraid on top of his other scar Connor would lose his eye as well. Our little rescue had already come through so much none of us could bear more loss.
Once past the morning chaos of Atlanta our trip passed uneventful. Gaining an hour when we crossed the state line we arrived in Auburn at the Large Animal Teaching Hospital at 10:20am. Check in was similar to any vet, excepted the part where the trailer drove into a gate controlled parking lot and vet techs and students descended upon Connor and Vince, separating them into two different areas: Surgery and Neurology.
While AJ went with Connor, as she was more familiar with both his issues, M and I went with Vince. The resident in Neurology began asking questions as they ran their hands over his legs and back, then began trotting him back and forth over the asphalt parking lot. The students conferred and muttered and did more trotting and then the decision was made to draw more blood for more significant testing.
Bad move - the only living thing I have ever seen more afraid of a needle than myself was my horse! As AJ was walking up to join us and attempting to tell them not to come at his face with a needle, Vince saw the offending implement. What followed could only be described as a cluster. Somehow they managed to get the needle into his neck but before they could connect the collection tubes, he took a cue from another of our horses and played "Spin A Pony"! For as long I as I live I will never stop snickering every time I think of him spinning the tech and newbie veterinarians with the needle hanging out of his neck.
Next the Surgical team came to tell us Connor didn't have an ulcer, all the while the Neurology team was attempting to load Vince into the exam chute. Another bad move - having lost all respect for everyone around him because of the needles, Vince had decided this wasn't any fun and took a page from the mule handbook and refused to cooperate further.
Taking Vince back outside Dr. Groover, the Neurology vet and AJ and I have a further conversation about Connor. The clouded spot in his eye is scar tissue, which is fusing a portion of his lens to the cornea. The eye is functional and his vision does not seem to be affected. They took a sonogram the chest area and there were no foreign bodies or pus pockets in the chest. For the first time, we are given an official okay to let Connor have a job.
Vince's journey, however was about to take a wide detour.
After more conversation and conferences Dr. Groover decided to bring the Surgical team into Vince's case. The key to the was becoming something we attributed to the EPM - a bad attitude. What we discovered was a long step in a couple of other directions.