Tuesday, October 30, 2012

It's Baaaack!

On Saturday, Alex went out into the field bucking and leaping and I thought "ladies and gentlemen, we've got a sound horse!  He finished his SMZs on Sunday, on Monday I called my farrier and told him Alex was ready for a shoe...

On Monday night everything crashed... I went to get Alex out of his paddock and he was only lightly standing on his foot.  I tried to dismiss it, but when I started leading him to the barn there was a familiar limp.  I cursed to myself and went to find the hoof testers.  Sure enough, he was sensitive on the other side of the same foot.  Just like the monster in a horror movie, this abscess just won't die!

So we're back to soaking and wrapping with Animalintex poultice pads.  I'm hopeful that this one has been caught earlier and will therefore burst earlier.  I've also thrown it a curve ball by putting a Thermacare heat pad under the Animalintex tonight, to see if I can bring it to a head.  We'll see, I'm using all my tricks in the hopes that we can kick this thing's ass once and for all.

Oh the joys of horse ownership!

Monday, October 22, 2012

October... month of the abscess

Well it's been a long journey since my last post... believe me, no one knows this more than me! 

As mentioned in my previous post, Alex had his shoe pulled Monday (10/8/12).  When I arrived at the farm to meet the farrier, they had put Alex out in his paddock.  I went out to get him in the dark (it was early in the morning) and found that he had decided to lie down.  I patted him on the face and clipped the shank to his halter.  Gently I tugged on him to get up... he put the bad foot out and made a slight effort to get up... I tugged again, and again he rocked but didn't offer to get up.  Finally after a moment he laid down on his side legs straight out head flat to the ground as if to say "Mom, my foot hurts SOOOO bad, I'm going to die, I can't get up, just leave me!"  If it hadn't been dark, I'd have taken a photo of him because, although I felt horrible for him, it was so funny!  Finally after some more prompting he managed to get up and began hopping on three legs toward the paddock gate. 

After Alex had his shoe pulled on Monday (10/8/12) we started soaking and wrapping his foot.  Poor guy wouldn't bear ANY weight on the afflicted foot (left front).  I wasn't sure how he would react to having his foot soaked.  I have had horses who didn't care and horses who literally tried to run me over the moment their foot touched the water.  Alex it turns out was quite the model patient.  With limited fidgeting/protest, he tolerated having his foot soaked and wrapped.  Since he wouldn't bear any weight on his foot, he stayed in from Monday to Saturday, which meant I got the particular joy of not only soaking and wrapping his foot each day, but cleaning his stall twice a day, before and after work.  Monday to Friday continued in this fashion.  As Friday night came and went, I was starting to think this damn abscess was never going to burst!

Saturday morning it FINALLY burst through his coronary band over the right heel bulb.  He experienced immediate relief, finally offering to stand on the foot.  I felt relieved too :-)  This also meant that he could start going out in his paddock, so that the abscess would continue to drain.  And drain it did... for nearly seven days!  In the mean time, Alex was also started on SMZs to really deliver the knock out punch.
Foot in the tub
Alex patiently enduring his foot soak
The Monster Abscess!  To the left is where it burst. (no worries, he has white feet and he'd
 just been soaked, he's not red because he got burned!)

The finished product, not too shabby if I do say so myself :-)
Over the last week while the abscess has been draining, I've been changing his bandages and wet poultice pads twice a day, but thankfully not having to clean his stall since he can go out during the day.  We've gone from very gingerly walking on the foot to walking sound; from a hot foot to a mildly warm foot; and from a swollen fetlock and pastern to no swelling.   It has been a LONG road, but I think we are finally getting there.  Tonight was his last Epsom Salt soak, as I haven't seen any significant drainage for 24+ hours and I've switched him over to dry poultice dressings. 

Hopefully after this week and giving the hoof time to dry out and harden up, if he's completely sound, I can get his shoe put back on.  Not sure how long it will take the abscess drain site to heal up, but he will have to remain wrapped up until it does. 

Although this has been a long, trying and at times thoroughly frustrating experience, I will say one thing for it... Alex and I are now very bonded.  We've spent a lot of hours staring at one other, sharing nuzzles and hanging out waiting for his foot to soak.  He's endured soaking his foot in a tub, in a soaking boot and even having a trash bag duct taped around his leg while following the protocol for CleanTrax as well as having his meds administered orally and he's done it all without much complaint while he endured the pain of what I think must have been a monster abscess.  Now he knows I am going to take care of him and I know he's going to let me.  So although I would much rather have been riding, it's still been time well spent.

More updates as things progress!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Unexpected Hiatus

Well it's been entirely too long since my last post and the only excuse I can give is things have been really busy!

My best synopsis of the last couple weeks, is that Alex has been doing really well with his training.  We tackled the indoor while it was raining, which brought out a little bouncing around, and we started trot poles which brought out some confusion.  Then things came to an abrupt halt... Alex came up lame this past week after having his feet done and I thought it was probably a hot nail, but then things went down hill in a hurry.  My poor boy is now three legged lame with what I am sure is an abscess... had his shoe pulled and now we start the soaking and wrapping... oh joy... I get to train my super sensitive OTTB about being treated for a hoof abscess :-)  More updates as things progress.