Ma Under The Knife
Wow, this evening was one of the most intense Maria and I have had together. Dr. Jen Marsh of the Granville Large Animal Service came and we worked on Ma for several hours. It was bloody, exhausting and difficult work. Red's bites pulled some of Ma's skin away from the body and all three wounds – they were not deep, fortunately – had developed pus-filled pockets, not unlike human blood blisters. Jen said she got there just in time, and it was fortunate that Ma was shorn yesterday so that we could find the wounds shave them, open them and scrap the pus and infected tissue out bit by bit. These wounds can get uglyu in a hurry. She said it was good we called her when we did.
We sedated Ma, but she is strong and big and she fought us every step of the way. She bucked and banged into us, and I had to hold her head straight up in the air to keep her still. Maria held her head some of the time, and then I took it over. It was like wrestling a bear and I will not be walking upright for a few days. I wanted to get more photos, but couldn't let go.
It was painful for Ma, difficult for Jen. She had to open each wound, get inside the sacs, clean them out with scrapers, stuff each wound with anti-biotic soaked gauze. Ma got four kinds of shots and we will be giving her pain-killers and penicillin twice a day for at least a week. We also have to pull the gauze out of her wounds tomorrow. Red pulled the outer skin out, and the wounds began to heal before they have drained, were starting to get infected, so we also have to squirt saline solution into the wounds to keep them open and draining. The good news was that Ma did not have a fever, so the infection probably had not gone deep. The bite wounds were not deep either, another break.
I went back over my video and I saw what happened clearly – Red was close to the sheep, he had been working a lot that day and was excited. I should have slowed him back, he is very strong around the sheep. Ma charged at him, then veered suddenly off and he ran after her and tried to grab her wool but couldn't get a purchase as she had just been shorn, so he grabbed at her side and stomach.
Jen did a great job and Maria and I were both just dazed and sore and covered in feces and dirt. Jen said she wasn't sure if Ma would survive-she said it will take a long time to heal. I thought she looked much better tonight, she was moving around and eating. We have some hard work with her, but I feel optimistic about it. Ma was living in a tiny space and hadn't been shorn in years, she has had a rough time, she is happy here and we are fond of her. I brought Red out to the barn and he sat next to the sheep while Jen worked on Ma and she said he was extraordinarily calm and businesslike.I do not fault him a bit for what happened, but I have to say it upset me, perhaps more than I might have expected. I'm not sure why. As I wrote this morning, life happens, every single day. It's how we deal with it that matters. And I have learned some things from this. I am wrecked, going to sleep. Yet one more chapter in the real world of real animals. Sounds like a book to me.