panelarrow

May 12, 2015
by Nancy Goyert
0 comments

Gators and Tigers and Bears – OH MY!

 Gators and Tigers and Bears – OH MY!

Two Toed Sloth

Two Toed Sloth

Although I have a strictly Mobile Equine practice, I am occasionally called upon by traveling circuses, zoos, and private wildlife sellers to write health certificates for interstate transport of  some rather interesting animals.

In most cases this involves examining wild animals so a thorough physical is often not possible.  I typically will observe the animal in its environment, looking for appropriate activity, appetite and interaction with other animals in their habitat.  I also check for things like clear eyes and a healthy hair coat.  The proverbial bright eyed and bushy tailed.  I also examine any medical records the facility might have on hand.  All of this usually will give me a pretty good indication that the animal is healthy.

Red Rumped Agouti

Red Rumped Agouti

We have a small local zoo here in Tallahassee that often has  guest animals for a few months that then need health certificates to be transported back home. Recently I checked over several South American animals that were on temporary loan at this zoo.  They had a Two Toed sloth, two macaws, several tortoises, 4 red rumped agouti, and a guan.  I had never even heard of some of these animals.  They were all together in the same habitat and were living together in perfect harmony.   Sun bears and ruffed lemurs are some of the other animal that I have had a chance to examine at this facility.

Once I was asked to do health certificates on some tigers and elephants that were traveling through town with a small circus.  The tigers were in cages and all appeared to be slick and shiny.  They were wrestling with each other and scarfing down the meat that was offered to them.  They looked pretty healthy to me.

Next I examined the elephants.  There were four of them in a  50 foot diameter round pen that was constructed of rebar pounded into the ground about 12 feet apart with one strand of white electric fence tape strung  about 4 feet off the ground all the way around.  I commented to the keeper that “the electric fence tape must really pack a high voltage wallop to keep the elephants contained.”   He laughed and told

Sun Bear

Sun Bear

me that the white tape was just a visual restraint—it was not electrified. So a one inch strand of white tape is the only thing that was keeping these elephants from downtown Tallahassee. “Yep, pretty much”

Fortunately the elephants did appear to be pretty docile.  They were being cleaned up while I was there.  This was accomplished by the elephant being given a command to lie down on its side and the groom hopping up on him with a push broom and sweeping away.  Another command and the elephant flipped over to get the other side done.  The elephants seemed to enjoy the process.

Another time I had to write a health certificate for some trained bears that were performing at the State fair.  When I arrived to examine them they were all in their cages napping (hibernating?).  I was a little concerned about waking the bears but I wanted to see them “in action”.  This was not a problem.  The trainer shook a box of milk bone dog biscuits and those bears were front and center begging for a treat.tortoises (Small)_A

Then there were the health certificates on the two alligators that were being sold and transported to Alabama.  They were hanging out in a shallow pool inside a four foot chain link fence in this guy’s back yard.  They were totally immobile, not even blinking.  I needed to make sure that they were at least alive so I asked the seller to “poke them with a stick”.  He was like, “are you sure?”  Yes I am sure. So he poked them with a stick and yes they were definitely alive!

Macaws

Macaws

 

I   often dread getting a call to do health certificates on exotic animals but it usually turns out to be kind of fun and definitely makes for a different and interesting “farm call.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 8, 2015
by Nancy Goyert
0 comments

Finding Florida

 

Finding Florida

Nancy_Heading_to_Florida

Where to start my blog about my equine veterinary adventures……..I guess that the beginning would be a good place.

It was 1988-my senior year of vet school at Michigan State University and I was required to complete a month long externship in a private  veterinary clinic in order to gain some practical experience in actually being a real life equine veterinarian as opposed to the “Ivory Tower” approach that I learned at school.  My mentor and field service instructor, Amy Williams DVM, hooked me up with Cumberland Animal Clinic, a mostly equine practice in her old stomping grounds near Tallahassee, Florida to fulfil the requirement.

Being geographically challenged, just getting to Florida was going to be a major undertaking for me.  This was long before smart phones with Siri, Garmin GPS’s with turn by turn directions, or ipads with Goggle maps with a nice blue line to follow.  It was just me and some scribbled directions from Amy.  The first part of the journey was pretty straight forward, get on I-75 and go south for 800 miles. My problems began in Moultrie Georgia, where I was supposed to pick up Highway 111.  I drove around for the better part of an hour looking for this elusive road.  I finally stopped and asked a guy in a parking lot for directions.  He gave me  long  elaborate  instructions involving things like take a left at the corner were the old Miller place used to be and then turn right at the 3rd light before the white church on the corner.  Well having no idea who this Miller guy was much less where he used to live and the fact there was a church on just about every corner and most of them were white, this was not very helpful. I was still lost.  I then stopped at a gas station and asked the girl behind how to get to 111.  She asked me “well where are you now?”  ???? Next,  I saw a man raking leaves and I asked him if he might know where I could find 111?  He told me that “he used to live around here but he moved a while back”.  After that I gave up asking for help and just drove around until I did eventually find the right road.  Sixty miles later 111 dumped me out at the Florida state line where a big sign with an orange on it said “Welcome to Florida” and   “Fasten your Seat Belts”    That should have been a hint that I was in for a wild ride.

This entry was posted on November 26, 2013, in Dr. Nancy’s Equine Blog. Bookmark the permalink.

January 10, 2015
by Nancy Goyert
0 comments

Red Hills Horse Trials 2015

Entrance to Red Hills

Entrance to Red Hills

The prestigious Red Hills International Horse Trials is scheduled for March 6-8, 2015 at Elinor Knapp-Phipps Park in Tallahassee, Florida.  The event which combines three equestrian disciplines, dressage, cross-country, and stadium jumping will feature competitors from across the United States and several foreign countries. Last year was the unveiling of the brand new course for the cross-country segment of the Trial.  For 2015 the new course will be tweaked to challenge the riders even more and provide the 20,000+ spectators with unique vantage points to view the competition.

My involvement with the Red Hills Horse Trial is as the Veterinary Coordinator.  My main priority in this capacity is to recruit veterinarians who are proficient in equine sports medicine to provide care to any horses that become ill or injured during the event. Some of my other duties as Veterinary Coordinator   include providing personnel to assist the FEI Veterinarians in examining all the horses prior to the event to assure their soundness to compete.   I am also responsible for organizing a crew of volunteers to work at the cross-country finish.  When a rider completes the   course, the team immediately descends on the horse taking its pulse, respiratory rate, and temperature while at the same time; the grooms are frantically removing the tack and icing the horse down.  It is organized chaos and my gang does an awesome job.   I perform many other tasks as Veterinary   Coordinator that I really couldn’t list if I had to but I know they make for a crazy but fun time every March.  For more information on the Red Hills Horse Trials or to volunteer to help check out the website at www.rhht.org and make plans to come out to the grounds on March 6-8 and see what all the excitement is about.  But keep an eye out for me so that I don’t run you over when I whiz by on some errand in my turbo charged 4 wheeler.