Monday, January 31, 2011

waiting on an abscess

At least we think that's what we're waiting on. We woke up Saturday morning to find Cody lame on the left front. No swelling or heat in the leg itself, some heat around the heel bulb area. He was as eager as ever for his breakfast tub, and went out with the herd for after-breakfast hay.

I walked the back field where they'd been turned out Friday night. There was no evidence of any accident or wildness on the part of the herd. The ground is still very soft and I knew I'd see it if they'd been running or doing anything overly strenuous.

 Fortunately, too, my daughter rode Cody on Friday and I was out there to watch - he looked fine, if anything, better than usual in movement. So it's clear the onset was sudden.

We brought him back in after an hour or so on Saturday morning to soak the hoof, mainly to get it really clean so we could see if there was anything to be seen - there isn't. The primary clues are that he does not want to put his weight back onto the heel, and that seems to be where the little bit of heat is.

He *will* put his full weight on it periodically, and when he does, it doesn't seem like the discomfort dramatically increases- there is an increase until the weight goes down and then it seems to ease. He also seems to enjoy the soaking - puts his weight down into the water.

We've done two wrappings with Animalintex and reconfigured the barn set-up so that at night and for some time each day he and Rafer Johnson share the barn aisle, one stall, and the big barnyard and arena. Salina and Redford are on their side with the neighboring stall and grass paddock, and Keil Bay and Apache Moon are in their regular place, but with three stalls instead of two and their paddock.

Mainly I didn't want Cody to get upset that the herd was out of sight - this way they all get turn-out as usual but they are always where he can be adjacent to them.

During the day they're turning out and he goes out with them for some portion of the day.

The hoof seems to get a bit more tender after the wrapping, so I think the drawing action is doing its job - but the abscess just isn't coming "out" yet.  I've given two different homeopathic remedies - should know today if the second one has had an effect.

The most interesting thing about this is that we've never really had an opportunity to experience Cody as a "patient." He's the youngest of the horses, and although he does have the PSSM issue, we've not had the occasion to treat him for more than the occasional very minor thing.

I'm not sure why I'm surprised at how good a patient he is being. When his hoof is being soaked, wrapped, examined, etc., he is cooperative and very interested in what's going on. He loves the smell of the VetWrap, wants to know exactly what it is we're soaking his hoof in, and he's the most enthusiastic homeopathic remedy taker I've ever seen. He almost seems to be enjoying the special time he's getting.

All that said, I am of course ready for this thing to either reabsorb or burst out so that Cody can get back to normal. If we don't see some positive movement in the next day or so we'll get the vet out.  But meanwhile, I'm taking the time to stop and notice how flexible my herd is. They've all cheerfully switched their routine around to accommodate Cody's needs, and Rafer is being especially good about staying with Cody (when he could easily go through the fence and join the others).

When an equine is sick, or off, time seems to pass differently. It feels like days and days since Saturday morning, but it's only Monday. I've been thinking about spring and all the pre-spring chores that need doing. I've been looking at seeds and sketching out plantings. And getting myself a few months ahead of where we actually are - the middle of winter.

As horses seem particularly gifted at doing, Cody has brought all of us back to the present, where we watch and treat and wait with him for his hoof to heal. And when it does, and the herd is back to the usual routine, I think we'll all be extra grateful for "normal" again. Whether it's cold or hot, too wet or too dry, there's no question that all of those things are infinitely tolerable when the herd is healthy. And we have the luxury to complain about something like the weather.

10 comments:

Kate said...

Does sound like an abscess. If it's wanting to come out at the coronet, it may take a long time to "mature". I know what you mean about the time perception issue when you've got a horse you're worried about!

billie said...

Thanks, Kate. It seems like it's aiming for the coronet back at the heel, but we'll see. I'm glad it sounds like abscess to you too - and hope we don't have to wait too long!

jme said...

ugh, abscesses! they are my nemesis. but it sounds like you've got it under control. now it's just the waiting... :-(

i really love the animalintex. i wrap the whole foot, coronet and all, with the big one rather than just the hoof shaped pad at the sole. if i can, i also put on an old mac's boot, or if they are really sore they seem to appreciate the soft ride boots... but really it's just time. all that waiting can be so frustrating, but it's great your herd is so adaptable so the poor guy doesn't have to be locked inside by himself until the thing comes out.

time here has sort of been put on hold also, due to molly's recovery and all the extra work brought by the bad weather. seems like all the grand plans i had just went out the window. taking care of these critters does tend to focus us on the here and now for sure!

Grey Horse Matters said...

From your description I'm thinking abscess too. You never know with abscesses it could be quick to heal or take some time. Waiting for a horse to be well seems to take forever. I'm so glad that he's got Rafer and the rest of the herd to help him cope. Cody seems like a special guy to deal with. I think it's funny he likes the smell of Vet Wrap.

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Hoping it will be a short wait for the abscess resolution, and that Cody continues to enjoy his special attention.

Time does seem to be especially flexible these days... compressing when there are worries and expanding when we have a warmish day and delightful springtime thoughts take over. :)

billie said...

j, thanks - I was actually thinking of molly too when I typed in the last two paragraphs about time and animals needing us in the moment. How is she?

billie said...

Arlene, I'm glad this is sounding like abscess to you all - and I agree - him liking the smell of the VetWrap is too funny. But very much like him.

billie said...

Thanks, C. I hope it's quick too.

jme said...

thanks for asking - she's hanging in there :-) we'll know in 3 more weeks when her orthopedist takes another set of films... fingers crossed!

billie said...

So glad to hear that she is hanging in - hope the films reveal better than expected great news!