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Digital Subscriptions > Horse Illustrated > February 2019 > Nerves of STEEL

Nerves of STEEL

Sometimes even the pros get butterfl ies.

My hands were shaking, but I couldn’t let my clients see, or they might lose confi dence in me. That would probably fi nish me off. Some days, I was totally fi ne; calm and confi dent when faced with the same procedure. But not today. I readied my equipment and laid out my instruments slowly, hoping that the ritual would calm me, but my heart was racing and my vision was blurry.

| Scary Complications |

It was only a few castrations. No big deal, right? I’d done many in my career, and generally they went well, although there were a memorable handful that had not. Over the course of 18 years, I’d lost two horses when their intestines had pushed out through the scrotum during recovery from anesthesia. This was a dreaded event known as evisceration, and every horse vet I knew had it happen at least once in their career. It was impossible to predict, and it was totally devastating for the owner and for the veterinarian who’d promised to prevent and relieve suffering in their veterinary oath.

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