Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Best We Have Is 'Probable'...

What a day this was!  I couldn't sleep last night because I was really worried about Chester (shocking as that might be). I was up, bright eyed and bushy tailed at 6:45 this morning as my SO was heading out the door. He thinks I am crazy.
Since I had nothing better to do, I went over to check on Chester. (I am lucky to have him about 7 minutes away.)  I walk into the barn and look to his stall anxious to see his head and neck up, ears pricked and eyes bright as he always is when he knows I am coming...and am greeted with an empty stall?! And then I proceed to count to 10 in my head.  My horse, who was supposed to remain inside on DVME's orders, was, clearly...outside. As I am walking around the barn to his field I grab him and give him the once over.  Looks okay, left leg is a little puffy.  I stick him in the crossties, look at his leg and notice something wrong...that 'something wrong' is the fact that my horse was outside for NO MORE THEN AN HOUR and he had managed to rip half of his left shoe OFF, there was a chunk out of his outer hoof wall, a nail missing, another nail bent and sticking half out and a suspicious looking red mark along his coronary. I stared at him in disbelief. I swear this horse is going to be damn bubble wrapped as soon as he can start to go outside again...acutally, I might confine him to his cell for the rest of his life considering he chooses to act like a complete moron when he is outside.  Not to mention the heat I could feel coming off his hoof and back of his heel.  I again, counted to 10. (That is twice now, before 9 in the morning.) Oh - and the best part - because I had already txt'd my wonderful and patient farrier - he was in Florida. (He is so good at what he does, that the big expensive rich people who own big expensive jumpers fly him down there monthly...that is a whole other post...don't get me started.)  So, after calling him an ass for being in Florida and turning down an offer for him to send me a picture of him in his man thong on the beach, I updated DVME as to what had happened.  Calm as always, she says: 'That's not a big deal, I can pull the shoe.' Phew, crisis one this point BO has come into the barn and is devastated because she completely forgot to tell the barn worker to leave Chester big deal, I am over it.
DVME and assistant show up and because I could write a flippin dissertation about what happened this afternoon, I am going to attempt (haha) to use point form and keep it short.
  • Pulled said shoe that is half torn off - break out the hoof testers, there is a small amount of reaction to cause suspicion.
  • Assistant walks/trots in straight line, turns in tight circles, lunges both directions.  He is stiff, in both legs. The best way to describe what we saw was: stiffness, ouchiness and it looked like he was kicking the dirt with his toe.
  • X-Rays - 6 different views were taken...and I think...I just decided I am going to write a whole other post about that in particular because it was so interesting...AS soon as I have the jpegs, I will add them in! UPDATE - Here is one of the views!!
  • He has extremely thick soles, perfectly symmetrical joints/bones and over all incredible feet for a TB. Yay Chester! BUT - the fact he HAS extremely thick soles is more then likely the reason it is taking an absurd amount of time for the damn thing to come to the surface...Catch 22 much?!
  • The one view that caused concer was a side view - where black showed up on his coronary band...a-ha!!! RIGHT?! Well, Probable.  Because his soles are so damn thick, it made it very difficult to really 100% positively confirm if that is where the damn abscess was.
  • Did I mention - I learned to pull a shoe today..and pulled his right one....? And, it also confirmed for me that I never, ever want to be a farrier. Ever.
  • Concern of laminitis....simply because he had a high digital pulse in his right leg...which I think is from over compensating for 6 damn weeks...which DVME agreed with me...AND, he has also only had one shoe on for the past 10 days...when the other shoe was taken off, he was standing better. Instantly. When farrier is back, he is going to come and square his toes up a little bit.
  • Bute - 2x/day for 5 days.
  • We are giving up on the animal intex pads and are now poulticing with: bran, DMSO, Epsom salt and Listerine.  Which apparently is what a lot of the race track guys up here use, which can also stay on for 48 hours. For the next 10 days. 
  • For the next 10 days, he is confined to his cell, with 'turnout' in the indoor for about 20 - 30 minutes...sigh...poor dude.
If anything, the x-rays give me somewhat piece of mind that it IS confined to his foot. There is NOTHING in his joints, legs, etc that should cause me any amount of concern.  Now, because 'probable' abscess is the best we can do, there is also a potential secondary issue (not even getting into the whole laminitis thing). DVME said that there could potentially be some torn ligaments in his foot, which x-rays wouldn't show. However, considering that he is on again, off again, on again with the lameness, that is a very far fetched possibility...simply because if he did have torn ligaments, he would be off 100% of the time.

So, now, I have a barefoot horse (who looked instantly happier when both shoes were off), who is once again confined to his cell, with a risk of developing laminitis in his RF, who will have to endure poulticing for another 10 days (at least). Not to mention one of my barn mates went through this last summer and it took her 6 weeks for the abscess to blow...Geeeeze...I don't even want to think about that.  What is WORSE then ALL of we are not even sure it is an abscee in the first place!!

DVME also said - look, if it was going to happen, now is the best time. It is winter, you are not showing next weekend and he will be fine!

When it comes to the risk of laminitis, because we are starting him on bute, it will take pressure off of that RF and help to minimize that risk. She was also quick to mention that any long term lameness can cause it, so we are going to have to watch him carefully.  She also thinks that he will be okay.  Which can fall onto somewhat deaf ears when you are dealing with a somewhat frustrated/worried owner.

The best part about this whole experience, was when we were taking the x-rays. I was standing at his head, he lowered his face to mine, looked at me, then I swear it, he pressed his forehead into mine, sighed, and just stood there, without moving, for the 15 minutes it took to take the different views.  I almost started to cry.  Then when everything was done, it was just he and I in the barn.  I was putting the poultice on, he sighed again, this time as if to say 'Really?!'

I know I am doing EVERYTHING I can to get the damn stubborn abscess OUT of my horse...and you know what, I think he knows it too.  The rest, is up to him.

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