Friday, December 5, 2008

When simple injuries go south

Horses tend to get injured. They scrape themselves, kick each other, trip and step on their own feet, the possibilities are endless. Most of the time, you clean it off, slap some fura-ointment on it, and life goes on.

A few weeks ago my daughter's horse Coconut (buckskin in previous post) got rope burns on both back fetlocks. She lost a little skin, one had a few drops of blood, but nothing really serious. She was walking fine, no issues for 3 days after the ride. But 2 days after the ride it started to rain. While our fields drain very well, we still had mud at the gates. By the 2nd day of rain, I noticed Coconut had stocked up in one ankle. I examined the foot, and she now had bloody scabs, heat and swelling. I figured she had an infection, and we started the regimen of salt water soaks, and keeping her in a dry stall, away from the mud and wet. I washed the leg off daily, but didn't scrub the bloody scab area as I figured that would be very painful for Coconut.

After a couple days of this, she wasn't any worse, but really wasn't getting better. Then one night she couldn't flex or walk on that leg. All my alarm bells went off, and I realized the cold snap we had was masking the growing infection, by keeping the heat and swelling down. I called my vet the next am and trailered her directly to the clinic. My worry was that the infection was going up her leg, or was in the joint capsule itself.

My wonderful vets took me right in, and after a look at the wound, immediately drugged Coconut into oblivion. They clipped the whole area, took a strip of necrosis off (dead tissue) and cleaned the wound up. They wrapped her to the hock, and sent us home with some serious antibiotics and several other meds, and instructions to keep that leg DRY. Two days later they came to my barn for a check up and a bandage change, and pronounced her healing well.

It has now been two weeks since then, fthree weeks since the original injury, and Coconut is still healing. The bandage is off, but she still has to be on stall rest or dry lot. (Much to her disgust) She has a divot now, where the strip of flesh was cut out, and it's still tender and soft. Probably still a few more weeks before she can be turned out or ridden.

So, minor rope burn turns into 6 weeks off and high $ vet bills.

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