As if 2020 wasn't enough with all of this *gestures wildly around*, my horses seem to have decided they want to have a contest for who can rack up four-figure vet bills in the weirdest ways. Jack came in REALLY STRONG with needing all his incisors extracted, but apparently Trigger decided it was his turn to throw a wrench in my financial planning. I'll throw the graphic images in at the bottom and warn you first, so you can still read the top part if you're squeamish about blood.
Saturday, DH and I finished mounting the first of my arena mirrors (post on that coming, once I've covered this far more interesting incident), and I wanted to ride in there for a minute to check the height/angle before we mounted the next one. It was also 55 and sunny, and relatively beautiful, so we decided a dual-purpose ride would be perfect and that we would hack out on our trails after. So we started tacking the horses -- me in my Brockamp bareback pad, and DH in his normal western saddle. Trigger was saddled and I was feeding him and Ruby some handfuls of Outlast, when he suddenly spooked at something and sat back - I couldn't reach the quick release on his tie in time before he hit the end of the line, slammed forward, and sat back again. The second time, his halter (you know, the NEW ones I just got from THT) broke, and he took off, broncing. He ran for my horse's normal escape route behind the hay shed (because it's like they KNOW precisely where you don't want them to go, and make a beeline for that area). DH and I ran back there to corner him between us with a spare halter, and DH called out to me that he saw blood and that Trigger was limping. I assumed he lacerated himself on the side of the lean to, or that he had clipped his own front legs with a back hoof in his joy over being free..... but no. Sigh.
|I guess on the plus side, the buckle nose halter comes standard with a completely standalone crownpiece, so I should be able to replace just that and keep using the halter. |
He punctured the sole of his left front foot and it was bleeding PROFUSELY. I quickly stripped tack and tossed it back in the shed, and threw Ruby in a stall while DH hooked up the hose and started rinsing Trigger's hoof. I came and assessed the hole, and told DH to call the vet while I ran and got my first aid kit -- I packed gauze in the hole and threw some vet wrap around the entire hoof to try to keep it from getting contaminated any further, and parked him in a stall with a flake of hay while we discussed with the vet whether or not it would be preferable for them to come here, or us to go to them. Due to a lot of factors (including COVID closing the hospital to clients, so he would have had to go in alone, and he can be kind of a twat for people he doesn't know, my concern over how he would handle the long trailer ride, and the knowledge that regardless of what we found, he wasn't a candidate for any serious surgery), we opted to have them come out here, and they arrived about 1.5 hours after the initial injury.
|Ignore my hastily wrapped foot. |
|Initial assessment. |
While we waited, DH and I walked the area of the incident back to where we caught Trigger, looking for what caused the puncture. My worst fear was that he had stepped on a nail behind the hay shed, since there are some construction leftovers back there (and now fencing it off has moved to the top of my to-do list). Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it?) that wasn't the case, and we quickly found the culprit.
The vet seemed appreciative of both our quick rinsing/wrapping, and the fact that I had located the source of the puncture and photographed it for her. After getting some drugs on board for Trigger (a sedative and injectable bute) so they could clean it out, she blocked his foot and stuck a probe in to see how deep the hole was (VERY DEEP). She was worried about coffin bone involvement due to the location and depth, and wanted to take some rads. I was expecting that, so we got all the supplies and she set Trigger up for the x-rays. I didn't photograph the screen for all of them, just the gnarly one, but I'll update this post once they email me the rads (which they're supposed to do today when they update me on my hefty bill and charge my CC).
|Cleaned out foot hole. |
|Not sorry about his life choices at all, clearly. |
|The x-ray gown adds 50 lbs lol|
The initial side angle rads didn't show anything unusual (not that we really expected them too), so we did some juggling to get a shot with the probe in his foot. Trigger was a little bit over all the fussing at this point, and really the vet needed about 6 hands to hold his foot, hold the plate, hold the probe in, etc etc, while the student shot the x-ray, but we got it done!
|Well..... FUCK. |
Womp womp. That confirmed what we were all afraid of, that it was coffin bone depth. So she took some additional shots from the front angled down (forgot to get photos of those, sorry), to check and see if he fractured the bone or displaced any of it. Those all looked relatively normal, so as best she could tell from the rads, he just punched a REALLY DEEP HOLE in his foot. Obviously the hoof has a lot of stuff going on in it and without way more in depth diagnostics, there was no way to be sure he hadn't injured anything else. For the time being, the vet felt the best route would be to cast the foot to try to keep it clean, and throw a lot of drugs at him in hopes of preventing any infection. Because nobody needs to remind me that an infected coffin bone in a geriatric trail horse would basically be a death sentence :(
|So his neck is relatively unattractive on a daily basis (don't BYB stock horses kids), but when he was super drugged and tired and resting his entire weight on DH, it looked like the world's worst cross between a camel and a cow. |
So she wrapped his foot up in about 15 different layers of gauze, cotton, casting material, elasticon, more gauze (and then I threw some more vet wrap on it after they left just because I'm paranoid), and we settled him into his triple bedded stall. I am calling up to the hospital today to schedule his follow up appointment, and we'll see how things go. So far he's being pretty chill about the stall rest, and he's eating his 3.5 large scoops of antibiotics/bute with every meal without complaint. He's kind of a pig in his stall, particularly with hay, so I'm trying some new combinations of hay bags trying to keep food in front of him at all times without simultaneously creating a mess I have to scrape out of his stall daily. I also had just so happened to find my local feed store carrying Outlast (at nearly $15 a bag cheaper than TSC) and had picked up a new bag last week, so he's getting that regularly to hopefully help keep his tummy happy between the stall rest and the bute.
So. Fingers crossed we can keep it from getting infected and he makes a full recovery -- even if its only to being pasture sound and his trail horse days are over, he deserves a long retirement full of his favorite things (sunbathing and stuffing his face with alfalfa), and I want to be able to give him that.
Got the rads this morning at about 10:30, so I'm adding those :)
I'm nesting the bloody hoof hole photos below, so don't scroll any further if you don't like icky photos.
Seriously, don't scroll if you're squeamish. You've been warned!