Sunday, June 16, 2013

Rockin' the Silver Bootie

Monday evening, as I was sitting at my vet's office waiting for my bill to be done (annual vaccinations for my dogs), I received this text:

LA:  Gem is reported to have a swollen knee.  Kathy (her daughter) is icing it.  I am driving back from Montreal and will look at it when I am back.  Jeff (the vet) is out tomorrow. 

The bottom of my stomach fell out.

Me:  A swollen knee???  Is him limping?  Is he able to stand OK???

LA:  Not worrisome.  He's standing fine.  I think it's an abscess not a knee problem.  Will check.

Me:  I am freaking out.   I want Jeff to look at him tomorrow and I want to be there.

LA:  Will call you after I look at him.

Gem has never been sick (I am knocking on wood as I write this).  He seems to be resistant to the odd colds that go through the barn, rain rot, thrush, hives - you name it.  His feet are good and strong.  His teeth are great.  In fact, my vet is amazed at his hardiness.  :-)  He is a true "easy keeper".  He has also been fortunate to have never had an injury.  You can imagine how worried I was.

LA called around 10:00 p.m.  She told me that he was fine Monday morning when he was brought in (he has night turnout), but when they went to put him out Monday evening, he hobbled out of his stall.  She checked him over and told me that she believed it to be an abscess because there was heat in his hoof; his knee was not really swollen.  She believed the barn help over-reacted because Gem has never had any ailments and they assumed it was his knee.

I arrived Tuesday afternoon as the vet was unloading his bag of tricks.  Gem was in his stall and LA warned me not to freak out as she walked him up the aisle to Jeff.  Out hobbled Gem, trying hard to walk on three legs.  Well, I did sort of freak out.  :-)

Jeff confirmed what LA suspected;  an abscess.  He explained that with the torrential rains that we have had the last two weeks, the wet conditions have caused hooves to soften up making it easy for little stones or a bruise to take hold and fester. In addition, the flies have came back in droves once the sun poked out, so there's a lot of bruise-creating stomping going on.   He is anticipating quite an increase in abscesses over the next few weeks.  He used his hoof pinching thingy and located the sensitivity on the right side of his right front hoof.  He let me feel Gem's hoof so I could feel how it was slightly warmer on that side of the hoof.  Jeff did a little scraping, trying to locate where the abscess might blow, but couldn't readily find anything.   He left instructions that I am to soak his foot in an Epsom salt water solution and then apply a poultice of iodine and sugar, held in place with a baby diaper and lots of duct tape.  This is to be changed daily.  He thought that the abscess would blow in a couple of days. 

Fortunately, LA gave me the shopping list prior to Jeff's arrival, so I was prepared to take care of Gem right away.  LA helped me, showing me the correct amounts of the soak and the poultice and wrapped his foot up.   It was horrible to watch Gem so lame.  It appeared he could barely put any weight on his hoof.  I worried about him being in pain, but it was recommended not to give him any bute.  

After LA wrapped his foot, I went down to the arena to give DH's Mom an update.  If I was gone 10 minutes, that was all.  I came back up to the barn and as I walked in I saw Gem's stall wide open.  WTH?  I thought LA wanted to keep him in???  As I walked down the aisle, a movement caught my attention.  There was Gem, parked at the hay storage, chowing down like there was no tomorrow!!  Obviously, I had neglected to shut the top part of his stall.  Good grief.  He had opened his stall and hobbled all the way down from one end of the barn to the other.  Pain obviously does not stand in the way of a good buffet!

Since Tuesday, I have solicited the help of DH's Mom and another boarder to wrap Gem's foot.  It is a two person job.  He's actually a pretty good patient.   When I bring in the bucket to soak his foot, he lifts his leg and puts his foot in the bucket. Good boy.  (Note to self:  to avoid a bright yellow hand and green coloured nail polish, never mix up sugar iodine without wearing a glove.)   LA turned him out Wednesday (he was getting stir crazy) and he managed to keep his bootie on, so he's back on regular turnout.  I think he's making quite the fashion statement, don't you??

As of today, the abscess has not burst. In fact, each day his limp gets less and less pronounced. He's still in some discomfort but I have been told that sometimes abscesses actually go away, particularly if it is bruise induced.  This is what I am hoping for; that it will simply go away.  I think Gem is, too. 


Have a great week!!



26 comments:

  1. Val had his first abscess with me this spring. Three legged lame is s-c-a-r-y. Duct tape + diaper booty construction is a great skill to have! ;D

    Hope Gem's owie blows quick!!

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    1. The bootie construction is a lot more difficult than I thought!

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  2. The silver bootie is a flashy fashion statement for sure. I hope it blows soon or goes away. It's a scary thing to watch your horse hobble on three legs. But Gem is definitely still got his personality in tact. I love that he hobbled down to help himself to the hay.

    Unfortunately, we've been going through the same thing with Nate again. His original abscess is back so he's sporting a fashion statement too. I think Epsom Salt is one of the best things on earth and I'm sure Gem feels good after his soak. Our vet has us make up a solution of Epsom salt, Betadine and water for the soak. Then we put Animalintex on the bottom of the hoof and wrap it up. It does seem to work well. Good luck with Gem.

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    1. It appears that nothing can keep Gem from a good chow down, not even if he has to get there on three legs!

      I believe salt is a cure-all. I spray Gem's feet with salt water as a preventative for thrush. If he has a scrape or bite, I clean it with salt water. It just makes sense to soak his foot in salt water.

      Thanks for your well-wishes!

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  3. My quarter horse had navicular disease and it became quite severe in his later years. I became quite the expert with wrapping legs!

    Later my thoroughbred was prone to thrush and I became quite expert with the baby diapers and duct tape!

    These things happen. L wasn't herself one day and I gave her a mash and she was fine. That's as bad she's *ever* been. I know it's scary and I know it's hard to see them in pain.

    You're expanding the scope of your horse experience. Taking care of them when there's a problem is a big part of being a horse(wo)man. One you're not always adequately warned about.

    What's the saying? This too will pass.

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    1. You are quite right - I am expanding my horse experience. I admit it was quite a shock to see him helpless....well not so helpless that he didn't hobble down to the hay storage! :-)

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    2. He has his priorities in order! I hope he's back on his feet quickly and you can enjoy the sunshine together.

      And oh. Love the chalkboard.

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  4. Get well soon Gem - he's terribly handsome (even when he's poorly and sad :( )

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  5. I love the little chalkboard sign! I hope Gem feels better soon.

    Also, I nominated you for a Liebster Award. http://panicandthepony.blogspot.com/2013/06/liebster-award.html

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  6. :(

    Abscesses suck but he'll be okay. Sometimes turnout helps, the movement helps push the fluid out. Just don't look at him gimping...

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    1. It's awful to see him limping. Nice to hear from you!

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  7. Aaawwww, poor Gem, sending him loads of get-well-soon wishes!!! And poor you, that must have been some shock, especially as you couldn't get to him straightaway.

    Obviously I was coming out in sympathy; my left foot swelled up last Sunday night, turns out its cellulitis, d***ed painful, but I had no silver bootie :o) actually me foot was too fat for anything but my son's velcro sandals!

    Love that nothing gets in the way of food!! We are definitely on the same page ;o) And the sign is just too cute.

    Btw, only just noticed that you've changed your blog-look -- very nice.

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    1. Geez, sorry to hear about your foot problems!!! Hope you start feeling better soon. Like Gem, nothing gets in the way of food for me either! :-) Thanks for noticing the new blog-look!

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  8. Poor Gem, hope his abscess comes right soon!!

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  9. Abscesses must be sooo painful! Paj used to get them, and it was traumatic watching him limp. At least they heal quickly.

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    1. Yes, I understand that it can heal up within a couple of weeks. Thank goodness!

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  10. First, I am embarrassed that I did not realize until now that you had a blog yourself - I am new to this blogging thing and have not figured out how to see if someone else is a blogger! Anyway, love your blog and will be following it in the future!

    As to the abscesses, I have had very good luck with ichthammol ointment pasted liberally on the underside of the hoof and covered with a baby diaper, vetwrap then duct tape. It stinks and seems to really soak into one's skin, but it has not failed to work within a day or two for me.

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  11. Thanks, equutopia! And, I appreciate the suggestion of ichthammol ointment.

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