Rain is always the enemy of Six Meadow Farm. I know we need it to grow pastures, flowers and hay but a little goes a long way. It has been a rainy fall. Dev called to check if Lauren wanted to go to a lesson. He asked if Feather and Bruno have been doing well in their workouts. Well, Bruno has a chipped bone and stitches in his face so that is keeping him off the work rotation and it would be impossible to work anyone anyway, with the rain that has fallen and fallen some more.
There was a window on Sunday, where we could have probably taken Feather and Snow out on the fairly dry hay roads. But Lauren was out hunting (I never thought I would utter those words) and with the time change the day ended before we got the ride in.
Mickey, as discussed over the last few weeks, came charging out to the pasture after rain on October 14th and twisted his horseshoe side-ways ripping nails through and into his foot. Lauren made an attempt to pull the nails out. By two days later, Mickey was seriously lame. We did the prep for hoof abscesses (wrapping, soaking, anti-inflammatories and antibiotics). He was x-rayed and found that one of the nails had broken off in the hoof. Five days later he went to the vet and shoer. They got the abscess open and draining. They removed the nail. Mickey was sent home with a hole in the bottom of his foot. We were told by both the farrier and the vet, to keep him in a couple of days, the abscess would drain, he should get better and then could go out. He did not come home with the hoof bandaged or with instructions to bandaged.
Hoof abscesses (think giant pus pocket in the foot) are common. I can honestly say that I have never had a horse with an abscess in all my years of horse owning. I know many people who have a whole abscess care path down to a science. I am not one of them. I took the vet and farrier at their word.
However, while Mick did improve, he never got where he could walk without pain on that foot. I talked to Dr. Criner on Monday and she felt it was time for her to see him.
My life with vets is tricky. I live in a rural area serviced by a hometown vet practice that does everything from cows to ferrets. It is a nice facility. I think all the vets are TAMU grads but it is not a horse (especially performance horse) specialty hospital. I also use Dr. Lynn Criner, a hunter/jumper rider, who is a horse specialist, who is not part of this group (who made the great catch on Bruno’s hoof) but she is 50 miles away with time commitments that do not allow her to run down to Wharton each time something happens to my horses. Like when Bruno had blood streaming down his face, that was not a time to wait for Dr. Criner to make a trip to Wharton. Even if Bruno would have been fine, Lauren needed immediate assistance and Wharton Vet provided that.
So it is hard! Just like doctors don’t always treat the same thing the same way, neither do vets. Probably if I had taken Mickey back to the Wharton vet, he might have done exactly what Dr. Criner did-at least I can tell myself that!
Lauren and I drove Mickey to Dr. Buff Hildreth’s vet practice on rainy Monday evening. It was pouring as we loaded him, pouring as we walked him painfully to Buff’s barn. He would stay over and Dr. Buff and Dr. Lynn would examine him on Tuesday.
Upon examination, poor Mick had at least three and perhaps four areas of infection in his single hoof. I got some amazing pictures of pus running from his hoof (I am only sharing one-you are lucky!). I got video too if anyone wants to see a simulation of a volcanic eruption of pus from a horse’s hoof-just send me a note and I will forward it to you. After the fine ladies of vet medicine cleaned, poked and pushed infection out of the hoof, Mickey was much happier. Yesterday he got to be just like Bruno with a fancy shoe with a surgical plate that we can unscrew and clean his sore ol’foot as directed.
Of course, this comes at a time when Mickey who has been enjoying a sort of semi-retirement was due to go to Dev’s to be leased by another rider. Finally, he gets a job and then look what happens! But he should be good to go in a month or so and Dev is being very gracious about waiting for him.
Dr. Buff started in on precise, detailed instructions on how to use the surgical plate. Little did she know, we had totally perfected that with five months of Bruno hoof care. I understand that she might be a little hesitant given my care of this hoof abscess but when we move on to stall rest, surgical plates and hoof wraps, we have certainly been there done that!
Blue skies are once again lighting up my windows and the rain hopefully will not descend again for at least several days. I hope Mickey and Bruno continue with their recoveries. Thanks for riding along!