Here’s an excerpt from the sixth book in the Free Rein series, Contagious.
Kate took in the droopy ears of Captain and a runny nose. The fluid wasn’t the clear colour it should be, but instead was a yellowish-green colour.
Being cautious, she grabbed a thermometre to check his temperature. Standing to the side of his hind end, she lifted Captain’s tail a little and placed the thermometre in his rectum after putting some lubricating jelly on it. She was sure to place the thermometre against the side of his rectal wall, rather than straight into the bottom of the horse. If she did this, the thermometre might be placed in a piece of manure and the temperature reading wouldn’t give her the best indication of Captain’s body temperature.
With it placed on the side in his rear end, she let it sit for a minute until it beeped. Because it was a digital thermometre, the temperature appeared in numbers on a little screen. Kate frowned as she took in the figure of 38.8 degrees Celsius.
Captain had a temperature. A horse’s normal temperature range lay at 37.5 degrees Celsius, plus or minus a degree. Because Captain’s temperature was over 38.5 degrees, Kate knew that something was wrong in his system. This as well as his droopy looking ears and runny nose told her that he had something that made him feel unwell – and something that could affect the other horses on the property.
Kate chose to put Captain away in their quarantine yard, rather than back out in the paddock where he would come into contact with other horses. After she’d placed him there and called the vet, she grabbed a bucket and put some disinfectant and water in it. Then she grabbed the brushes and halter she had used on Captain and placed these in the water, giving them a good scrub.
As Kate worked, she thought about the other horses on the property. She knew she needed to check them all over to make sure none of them too, were sick.
She hesitated, wondering if it was best to wait for the vet to arrive and give a verdict on Captain before she jumped to conclusions about the others.
“But if he is contagious then the others could already have it and need the vet, too,” she reasoned with herself.
She went inside quickly to change her clothes and scrub her arms and face in the bathroom before going out to look at the other horses. Kate started in the paddock Captain had been in, glancing at the others from a distance. If she didn’t need to touch them, she wouldn’t.
When she noticed the animals happily grazing with ears pricked and no sign of lethargy, she decided the rest in the paddock were fine. She made a note to check temperatures the next day and to keep an eye out for any signs of illness.
As Kate checked the other paddocks that housed horses and ponies, she was relieved to find that they all appeared in good health.
“Maybe it’s just Captain,” she said to herself, silently praying that it was and that he wouldn’t get any worse.
She sighed with relief when she noticed a vehicle making its way down the drive. The vet was here.
Like what you’ve read? You can purchase Contagious on Kindle over at Amazon.