Monday, November 30, 2020

Why We Can't Have Nice Things, Part 172637 (or, eff off 2020 with your weird vet stuff)

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. 

I've seen a LOT of really weird injuries (I spent a few summers in middle school/high school riding with a vet). I don't think I've EVER heard of a horse stepping on a gate hanger. Of course someone on my friends list knew of a horse that fractured their skull with a gate hanger, so I guess we got off easy? 

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!














26 comments:

  1. Oh no!! Poor Trigger! Also what a crazy way to injure himself. Horses are so inventive when it comes to new and different ways πŸ™„

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    1. Right? Just when you think you've seen all the crazy horse accidents, along comes ones you couldn't even have imagined!

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  2. AAACCCKKK. That took some ridiculous silly skill. I hope things stay clean and heal without issue.

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    1. I still have trouble wrapping my brain around how he managed to hit that tiny little space in such a terrible way. I will be paranoid about gates for the rest of my life, I'm sure.

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  3. Wow - that is gruesome! Fingers crossed that it stays clean and heals up.

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    1. I was too busy in crisis mode the day it happened to really process it, but then reviewing the photos the next day to write this post and then walking past all the bloodied rocks in our driveway really drove it home. Poor dude. Fingers crossed for a positive recheck later this week!

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  4. I saw these on FB but once again... DAMN DUDE. WHY. Poor buddy. Hoping for good healing.

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    1. WHY is pretty much the only thought I had when it happened. SO MANY WAYS TO HURT YOURSELF why did you pick this. How did you mash your foot with enough force on this TINY LITTLE HANGER to puncture a hole to the bone. HORSES.

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  5. WTF why do horses have to be so talented when it comes to finding ways to maim themselves?! Find a better life activity! Fingers crossed he heals up without complication, good grief.

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    1. I wish mine could be a bit less talented with their weirdness, but I know you're in that boat too!

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  6. AAHHH that's awful. Poor guy!!!

    If it helps this is almost precisely what Tristan's foot looked like after his surgery and he recovered 100% sound, just with some weird scar tissue at the hole. And his coffin bone was very badly infected. So I will keep my fingers crossed for you but know that even a badly infected coffin bone can have a good outcome!

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    1. That actually helps A LOT. I have actually gotten photos of several VERY GNARLY hoof holes that healed up fine so I'm feeling a little more cautiously optimistic than I was Saturday :) just gotta keep it clean and healing!

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    2. I can send you additional pics if you want! I have a radiograph almost just like the one above with the vet's instrument waaaaaaay further up. He's now missing about 30% of his coffin bone in that RF.

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    3. Oooooh I would actually LOVE to see them, as weird as that sounds. Feel free to drop them to me via any social media site, or at dressagebarbie@gmail :) the vets were out today for a check and seemed pretty positive about his prognosis since he's being a good patient so far!

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  7. Thank heavens you responded so quickly. But honestly, this sounds like something Irish would do.

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    1. I am grateful that at least if he had to do it, it was while we were right there -- I can't imagine if he had done this in the field and then stood in mud all afternoon or something. I do hope our quick response and the vet coming out for treatment right away gives us better odds of kicking this thing!

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  8. Jesus Fucking Christ. That is all.

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  9. GEEZUS. Good on you for packing his hoof but "why can't one thing be normal" is a thing that I oftentimes say. I hope he heals quickly and without any complications

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    1. "why can't you be normal?" and "play stupid games, win stupid prizes" are things I say to my animals on an alarmingly regular basis lol. Thank you!

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  10. Ugh Trigger why! My thoughts are with you guys, I hope that you are able to keep infection at bay.

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    1. Thank you! Anxious to see how it looks at his appointment Thursday, but he seems very comfortable this evening even before his pm dose of pain meds.

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  11. Holy shit!!
    Jingling like mad that he heals without complications!!

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  12. Ugh. I hope he heals up quickly and completely. Shiny had boney involvement with her ridiculous splinter last year and is non the worse for it. Hoping the same for you guys!

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    1. oh I had forgotten about that! It's really reassuring to me to know so many people whose horses have recovered from injuries to the same general location and severity πŸ™ƒ

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