Day One-Starts Now!-A Bruno Story

Mimi is a 13 hand Welsh pony.  Bruno is big.

Mimi is a 13 hand Welsh pony. Bruno is big.

It has been a long day waiting for the call from Dr. Marsh.  The surgery was scheduled for 1:00 pm.  I had been watching the clock all day.  Two o’clock came and went as did three and four.  When 5:00 rolled around, I tried to call the vet hospital knowing it was unlikely I would get cell reception once I got out in the country near my home.  A polite receptionist told me Dr. Marsh was not available.

Finally, the call came in.  Dr. Marsh reported that the surgery had gone well.  He had said yesterday that he doubted the infection would go to the bone, although Dr. Criner had felt it was involved from the start.  The infection did go up through his hoof directly into the coffin bone.   There was abnormal tissue, pus and other signs of infection along the way.  They were successful in totally cleaning all the infection out of the area leaving clean, healthy bone in its place.  So, more of the hoof got cut away than we had hoped but all the infection is now gone and we can go forward with new, healthy tissue. 

Due to the way the hoof was cut, it will be possible to get a special shoe on him, one with a treatment plate that unscrews off the bottom so we can dress and treat the hoof but keep it protected as well. 

Dr. Marsh said Bruno was a trooper.  He handled the anesthesia and the surgery well and was resting comfortably now in a big stall.  He did say tomorrow might be a little rougher for him. 

Just like at the people hospitals, Dr. Marsh was urging Bruno’s release as soon as he could handle it.  Maybe Sunday or Monday, we will see how he is doing and what the bill is so far and then decide if it is time for him to come home. 

As far as I am concerned, I am marking this as day one of his recovery and his road to the show ring.  Maybe my Christmas present next year will be seeing him soundly walk, trot and canter.  That would be pretty terrific!

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!