I had taken a day off work today to work on my health. I have a number of bones, joints in particular, that are in need of surgery. I took the day off to try to come up with a priority list for their replacement. It was coincidentally the 75th day since Bruno had surgery on his front hoof and has been confined to his stall. Seventy-five days-we were making it.
I had gotten home and was settling in to write a nice post about my new poodle. Lauren had gone out to clean Bruno’s stall and check his water. It was almost time to go to my mom’s. I was startled as Lauren pounded on the living room window. I thought she was just trying to scare me. Then she did. She screamed through the closed window that Bruno was hurt and there was blood everywhere.
I raced to the barn. In those moments when disaster befalls you it is difficult to know what to do first. There was so much blood. I knew we needed a vet and we needed to stop the spray of blood that was like a fountain from his back left hoof. First, I thought it would be best to give Bruno a sedative because if we were getting him out of his stall he was going to be excited. I gave him Ace at 3 pm and noted the time. I got on the phone to the vet to see if they could come here. The vet was in surgery so it would be at least 20 minutes. We decided to first try to bandage the hoof and curb the bleeding and then load and make a run to the vet. I held one foot while Lauren tried to get a wrap around his foot. It was immediately saturated with blood.
Fortunately, the truck was already hooked up to the trailer. We locked Kid in a stall and headed to the trailer. Bruno was feeling the Ace by then and also in pain so he loaded easily. Of course, our road is under construction so we had to drive 10 miles out-of-the-way while running fast with our flashers. We kept giving the vet updates with our ETA (expected time of arrival).
The picture above is right after we arrived. We tried to keep the “other” bad hoof dry as the we tried to clean the hurt foot. We built a dam out of bath towels to divert the flow of blood around his “other” foot.
In the end, we were lucky. The cut was deep but superficial (probably caused by him catching the back of his hoof with his shoe on the other foot) requiring several stitches right above his hoof. The vet carefully tended to his stitch making as we had told them that we were headed back to Texas A&M on the 11th and he wanted to be sure he was doing a good job.
A big vet bill later, along with multiple shots, wrapping and follow-up instructions we were just waiting for Bruno to have enough sedative wear off to safely get him in the trailer and home.
We made the trip home without incident. Bruno was whinnying for Mr. Kid as we pulled in and we thought this dreadful event was about done. I hurried to scoop a wheelbarrow full of bloody shavings out of his stall and Lauren led him in. Immediately when we took off his halter, he went down to his knees and lay in his clean shavings. If this was a person, you would think, okay, he is just tired and overwhelmed. With a horse, you think they are dying. I called the vet back but it was after hours and he was in another emergency surgery. I told him Bruno was down on his side and unresponsive. He was breathing in this horrid jagged way and was just motionless on his side. I was pretty sure he was dying. It was so horrible. I just couldn’t understand why this young, beautiful, strong animal had to endure so much.
But time passed (infinitely, slowly) as Bruno improved over the next hours. I am immensely grateful that the big guy is still with us. I will see his red river in my dreams for a long time.