Bruno-Post Operative Day 31

Apparently, the supplements we are using for Bruno's hooves are working on his coat.  Pretty Boy!

Apparently, the supplements we are using for Bruno’s hooves are working on his coat. Pretty Boy!

I guess it is just a time of milestones.  I published my 200th post the other day.  That was a big milestone for me-and I guess some of you are still reading along so that is great as well.

Bruno went in for surgery to cure an infection in his front hoof one month ago yesterday.  Although my vet, Lynn Criner, DVM., thought the infection went to the coffin bone, none of the vets consulted agreed.  But when Dr. Chad Marsh got into the hoof, the infection did in fact spread into the bone.  That required more cutting and more down time for Bruno.  I said from the beginning that I was good at growing hoof (I have a special mixture of biotin that makes hooves grow and coats shine) so I felt like if we could get the infection out, we could succeed at growing new, strong hoof in its place.

A quick look through my posts of the last month will tell the story of Bruno’s recovery so far.  To summarize:

  • He spent nine days at TAMU.
  • He has been confined to his stall for 31 days except for a few brief moments when he escaped, rolled and ran.
  • He has been quiet and reserved for his long confinement except for the one night his buddy Kid took a walk-about and he almost went nuts trying to find him.
  • Lauren has changed his bandage ten times using miles of gauze and tape.
  • We have cleaned his stall a minimum of four times a day since he came home using pounds and pounds of shavings.0 112912 crack

Above- the crack in the hoof when we first got him-prior to his diagnosis with an infection in the coffin bone.  All anyone could tell me was this crack would not go away. (Nov. 29, 2012)

0 122112 crackShortly after surgery when they were able to get a shoe on him.  Still big gap between the shoe and any hoof.

Northeast Wharton-20130120-00414Okay, this is not pretty but look how much the new hoof has grown down and how the new flesh is filling in.  It was probably an inch or so from his hairline above and now (look for the white hairs of his leg) it has probably grown an inch plus filling in the old crack.  Lots of work left but WOW!  (Jan. 20, 2013)

IMG-20121231-00361About a week after surgery, you can see daylight through the bottom of his foot. (Dec. 31, 2012)

Northeast Wharton-20130120-00415

Sorry for the shaky photo but what is clear is that the hoof is growing and filling in.  No more daylight to be seen.

We go back to A&M on January 28th.  I am pretty sure that Dr. Marsh will be happy with Bruno’s progress. The best news is we are now 31 days closer to Bruno returning to the ring!

The Wait is On!

The beautiful (and momentarily spotless) hallways of the Large Animal Hospital at TAMU.  Lauren and I were awaiting Bruno to be x-rayed.

The beautiful (and momentarily spotless) hallways of the Large Animal Hospital at TAMU. Lauren and I were awaiting Bruno to be x-rayed.

We headed out for the 100+ mile trip to Texas A&M at 8 am this morning.  It is a cross-country jaunt for us with no major highways.  We pulled in right at 10 am.  We were quickly checked in and a tech went to the trailer with us to get Bruno.  It had been cold when we left our place but Bruno had worked up a good sweat under his blanket by the time we got there.  Kudos to his prior trainers and handlers, as a huge and young OTTB, he could have been dragging us all over, but he was obedient and calm. 

Dr. Chad Marsh was on hand to start the evaluation.  He had seen the previous films but wanted to evaluate the horse himself.  He got down on the treatment floor to take many photos of the hoof and then we went outside to have the tech trot him in hand on both the concrete and in the grass.  Since loosing his shoe on the bad hoof earlier this week, Bruno was showing signs of lameness when trotting on the hard pavement.  He actually moved fairly well in the grass for as bad as his hoof was-all of which was recorded on the camera. 

Lauren and I waited in the beautiful facility as Bruno’s hoof was x-rayed once again.  If you look closely at the picture above you will see the pharmacy off to left about halfway up the picture.  We noted it had metal barriers across both sides of the entrance.  I guess if a horse got loose and crazy running through the halls he would be stopped short of running through the pharmacy.  Probably a good architectural detail (especially if you work in the pharmacy!). 

Dr. Marsh kneeling down and working on the hoof-Bruno was an all-star!

Dr. Marsh kneeling down and working on the hoof-Bruno was an all-star!

Once the x-rays were complete we followed Bruno, Dr. Marsh, a league of other doctors, fourth year students, the A&M top farrier and several techs to cut away at the hoof and see what we could find.  Immediately it was clear- ending all speculation on the behalf of the vets here in Houston or perhaps even in New York, this horse’s hoof was infected.  First, you could smell it.  Second, you could see it.  Using a dremel tool, they cut away some of the hoof to expose the infection.  It is not clear if the infection goes to the coffin bone or not, but I was gratified to see that Dr. Lynn Criner had made a superb catch on the problem with this horse’s hoof.  For at least 20 months, this hoof has been cracked and has not healed.  It has not healed because the infection will continue to destroy the hoof wall until it is removed and healed.  Dr. Marsh said he was not worried about the crack itself.  He will do surgery tomorrow, clean out the infection and depending on how much hoof got cut away in the process, would depend on how long this boy would be out of work but probably many months to a year.   I am okay with that, he is only five-years old and we have plenty of time to let him recover.

Then Dr. Marsh turned to me with a smile on his face and asked, “what if I get him good enough to get back on the track?”  I paused (pretty much horrified with the suggestion-I wanted him at my barn learning to be a jumper not going back to be a race horse) but Lauren didn’t miss a step, telling the doctor, he can race around the jumper course-that would be just fine.

So, tomorrow he will go into surgery.  We will get updates out as we get results.  Thanks to all of you, including so many old and new friends, that have a taken a moment to send well wishes to our big Bruno.  As always, thank you for riding along with us, especially now-your comments and well wishes mean the world to us!

My favorite picture of Bruno and Lauren!

My favorite picture of Bruno and Lauren!