So now I have a chance to work on something I have read a lot about- teaching Percy to accept/enjoy having a syringe put in his mouth! The vet jokingly said as he left that it would be ideal if I could rinse the wound inside his mouth regularly to try to keep food from getting in it. I know a lot of people who have taught their horses to take wormer tubes in their mouth so this will be the same idea, but at least my goal only includes a water rinse!
I began this afternoon by introducing him to a 15 cc syringe. I let him touch it with his nose, C/T many times as I tried to see if he would touch it with various parts of his nose as well as let me brush it against his lips while he held still. I was careful not to touch the area around his wound as I didn't want anything to hurt and discourage him. Luckily, I think the best bet will be to put the syringe in the opposite side of his mouth and shoot the water in from that side....although I'm not sure if his tongue will get in the way. Since the vet didn't think it was possible at all, I figure anything I do will be better than nothing and it will be a good general experience for him and may carry over to future wormings!
After several C/Ts for the syringe touching his lips, he offered to bite the end of it- yea! I gave him a lot more hay stretcher pellets than usual- he is learning to like mints as a jackpot, but I wasn't too sure if the sugar would be at all problematic with the wound (it might actually help as I know they use sugar to contract tissues for prolapse replacements?!) I also told him how wonderful he was and gave him a good scratching on his shedding itchy neck. I wanted him to get the idea that was the best of all! He did this a few more times since it had been so successful before and then I tried poking it between his lips at the corner of his mouth. He did not like that- whether it was because it was me doing it rather than him, or because the syringe was a little pokey or memories of getting bute paste when he was castrated, I'm not sure. The important thing was that it was too big a step and I needed to figure out how to break it down smaller into steps that we could be successful with.
I put the syringe in my pocket and started touching all over his nose with my finger for several more C/Ts. No problem with that! Then I stopped to really think about how I would approach the actual rinsing and realized that I would probably want to steady his head with my left hand. Not to prevent him from pulling away because that was not the point. Instead it was more to steady myself. So I rested my left hand on the lower part of his nose, CT, slid my hand over the bridge of his nose, C/T. Again, I didn't want to really touch the opposite side of his face where the wound was, so I figured the bridge of his nose would work. When he was happy with this, I started touching the corner of his mouth with my finger tip. Each time he held still, I C/T'd and the next time would stick my finger just a tiny bit further in his mouth. This caused no concern whatsoever and soon I could easily stick my finger in his mouth up to halfway between my 1st and 2nd knuckles. I decided that was enough for that session.