Friends of Caring Kiwi Communities (the FOCKCers) own three horses in Carterton, Flynn is the eldest. He developed a tumour on his sheath a while ago, so of course I contacted the vet, who examined him. Since arriving in the Wairarapa over eleven years ago I've used the services of South Wairarapa Veterinary Services, and always been impressed by their professionalism. Peter Morriss examined Flynn. Peter upholds the impeccably high standards set by the legendary Rodger Gillett, who recently retired. The vets confirmed that although the growth was unsightly, it wasn't causing him any immediate harm, any apparent pain, or any significant discomfort, and that he was in otherwise tip top condition and had a very good quality of life for the time being. We were all aware that the growth was growing and that action had to be taken in the fairly near future but there was no need to euthanase the horse. Peter invited his colleague who also specialises in equine surgery to give a second opinion, and after some deliberation it was decided that it was feasible to attempt to remove the tumour. Furthermore, the SWVS kindly offered to perform the operation free of charge, in the interests of educating junior veterinarians and gaining experience.
On 22nd November 2012 Jane, Peter and Emily successfully removed the tumour in a challenging two hour operation, with others observing for educational purposes.
Jane carefully examined him, listening to his heart for a long time, measuring him to estimate his weight in order to calculate the correct dose of the sedative.
It was touch and go a few times, there was a lot of blood, Flynn decided he had to lie down half way through the operation, after all the sedative we had to give him, which wasn't part of the plan (the vets had hoped to perform the operation with him standing up, sedated, using local anaesthetic. The team moved on to Plan B and just got on with the job. Blood spurted from all the blood vessels as Peter and Jane worked fast to stitch them all up, with Emily handing them instruments flat out and providing great support. It was amazing to watch the speed at which they worked, it seemed to take forever.
Flynn stopped breathing a few times, Jane told me to lift up his head, and I give him a jolly good speaking to, telling him to pull up his socks and do his bit and BREATHE. Finally he'd take a breath again each time, and finally, after what seemed like hours (the whole thing took a couple of hours) the stitching was all finished, and Jane administered the antidote for the sedative as they worked flat out to clean Flynn up and wash and put away all the equipment. In a little while Flynn woke up, got to his feet, neatly avoiding the big mass of clotted blood on the ground, and started eating the grass as if nothing had happened. I felt like all my Christmases had come at once.
Please support the work of the South Wairarapa Veterinary Services, they do a lot of work in the community for which they don't receive payment, and the fact that they offered to do this operation for Flynn free of charge says a great deal about their commitment to the community, their high ethical and professional standards, and the character and calibre of the vets who work for their practise. They have looked after Flynn and his mates for over twelve years, and they've always provided absolutely top quality professional services to us, and to everyone we know.
It's good for kids to learn that just because you're old and you've got a lump doesn't mean you should automatically be thrown on the scrap heap. Flynn's always loved taking little kids for rides, he's made it his mission in life and his specialty. I told him years ago that if he looked after the kids, I'd always look after him. And he always has, and it's just wonderful that Peter and Jane offered to operate on him so he can carry on his good work, showing kids how to have fun, make friends, learn to trust, build confidence, etc.
Jane and Peter removed Flynn's stitches yesterday, he's looking as healthy (and handsome) as ever
Donations (fan mail, etc,) can be sent to South Wairarapa Veterinary Services, 8 High Street South, Carterton 5713.