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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

What's Up with that Mask?

Lots of people have asked why Paj wears a fly mask in winter.
Oddly enough, it's because he has allergies, lots and lots of allergies.
What does this have to do with a fly mask?  His allergies are airborne.  When he comes in contact with an allergen, his eyes swell shut and we have to flush his tear duct with a solution of Carbocaine and saline.  About half an inch of a catheter goes in a tiny hole in his nostril.  Keeping some pressure on the nostril, you depress the syringe, and the solution goes up his tear duct (the entire length of his nose) and out the corner of his eye.  If you don't keep pressure on the nostril, the solution just flows out his nostril and down your arm. 
Why do his tear ducts clog?  Because he over-produces gunk as a response to the allergen.  How does the fly mask help? It helps to keep wind-borne allergens out of his eyes.  And since his eyes itch and he wants to rub them into the ground when he rolls, it helps to keep dirt out of his eyes.  I hate allergies. 

We try to prevent reactions by keeping him on monthly allergy shots.
 When it's clear something is irritating him, he gets a dose of Dexamethasone.  When the wind comes whistling cross the plains, we put a prescription ointment in his eyes.  If it's really crazy, he stays in.  We also keep the barn really clean, only sweeping when he's turned out.  And of course we feed a hay that he's not allergic to.

When we were at a big boarding stable and couldn't control his environment at all, Dr. Gary was coming out about every 10 days to flush his eyes.  When we moved him to our own place, we went from August 2009 to December 2010 without a blocked tear duct.  Yay!  But then in December, we inadvertently got some brome hay, and he had several reactions before we got it sorted out.  Thus the post.  Poor baby!
This face is too pretty to cover up all the time!

12 comments:

Sharon said...

Poor Paj, that's terrible! To be allergic to so many things, awful! He does have such a beautiful face, a shame to have to cover it up!

Canyon Girl said...

I second Sharon's comment. Exactly what I planned to write. Isn't that strange?--Inger

Texan said...

Yes I was one of the ones who asked about his face mask. I didn't know what it was :O)... poor fellow. But it sounds like he is lucky to live with humans that care about his health and how he feels! Sounds like a lot of work. He is beautiful for sure or that would be handsome wouldn't it!

From the look on his face I suspect Paj knows he is a very good looking fellow :O)... tee hee

Kate said...

Good for you for figuring it out and getting it mostly under control. A old horse at our barn used to wear a fly mask year round because he had uveitis, and the bright light bothered him, and he also had poor vision due to cataracts and would poke his eyes on things - the fly mask really helped with both.

Louise said...

Wow! That's quite the list of allergies. I'm glad he lives with you, so that he is well taken care of, and we get to see his pretty face in pictures.

in2paints said...

Poor Paj! I can't imagine dealing with all those allergies, especially because of how challenging it must be to control his environment. It's nice that such a small item can make such a big difference, though. :)

Lori Skoog said...

Paj is one lucky boy to have you in his corner. Seems like you really have it figured out.

Funder said...

Poor guy. Even in the winter? It's the best season for my allergies :-/

IsobelleGoLightly said...

Oh, he's lovely! What a dedicated friend you are to this beautiful horse!

Janet said...

I was wondering the same thing-glad that by wearing a mask you can control his allergies- a lot of work but worth the trouble- he is such a lovely horse ! x

Jabacue said...

Paj is a lovely horse! Just like the rest of us as far as being vulnerable to things in the air! ood luck with him.
Jim

Sandy said...

Paj has a beautiful face. We have several horses around here that where the mask but mostly in the heat...