Cally’s show name is Drama Queen, not because of any psycho beeeyotch tendencies, but because it seemed like forever until I was able to get her to a show as a green horse, because she kept doing something to herself. Since her colic, we’ve had a few very good years of nothing majorly dramatic. Two years ago, she had this weird wound on her leg that looked like a bug/spider bite, but was a deeper puncture, yet showed nothing on X-rays or ultrasound. It seemed to heal up, after a lot of antibiotics and wound flushing.
I got back from Cape Cod on Saturday, and went out Sunday to see Cally, and was somehow unsurpised to find her missing a shoe. No biggie, called the farrier, groomed her, and went on my way. Left hind leg looked a little stocked up, but it was the end of the day and she’d been in since morning, and she stocks up behind if you look at her funny, so this wasn’t exactly an unusual thing. Farrier replaced the shoe on Tuesday, and on Wednesday, I get out to the barn to find this marvel of modern veterinary medicine:
WTF is that?
It was about the size of a gumdrop, midway up her leg, just where she had the Mystery Wound previously. I’d thought the year before, but I was wrong. BO and one of the dressage trainers at the barn look at it, as well as Carol. All reactions begin with “Well, that’s weird.” Somehow, not for my horse. Sheri suspected some sort of errant scratches thing gone mutant, plausible given that the horse also gets scratches if you look at her funny. Carol wondered if a splint might somehow be involved. I handwalked Cally a bit while on the phone to my vet’s office, to find out that coincidentally my vet would be out the next day to do sedations for the dentist, and would be happy to take a look. She does love wounds and weird things, my vet, which is good for me. I then scrubbed at some of the scratches that were lower on the leg, and put a bit of a warm compress on the pimple/scab/nipple/bite/?? and pondered the results. Which was mainly a whole lot of pus. Thick, creamy pus. So infection of some kind, at least. I got as much out as I could, given an understandably not entirely cooperative horse and a not fully strong shoulder, and then clipped around the scratches-y area of fetlock/pastern as best I could. I left the leg unwrapped so it could keep draining a bit overnight, gave her some banamine, put some ointment on it to protect from flies and further infection, and crossed my fingers.
This morning she was still looking like her normal bright, happy self, and in fact, weird leg thing aside, is really looking fabulous, fat and shiny like a hunter.
I walked her around a bit, and she seemed her normal self, then I did some tack cleaning while I waited on my vet. Eventually it was our turn, and my vet’s response was about the same as everyone else at the barn’s has been: “That’s so weird!” She busted out the sedatives right away, because we’ve learned from experience that Cally can be very uncooperative when she doesn’t like being proded in hurty places; the vet then poked it and cleaned it and probed it, then declared that we’d definitely need to x-ray it. I’d figured as much, and took advantage of heavy sedation to get in some good mane-pulling on the usually hard-to-pull top section of mane while the vet retrieved the x-ray equipment from her truck, and sedated another horse for the dentist.
Since my vet’s x-rays are digital, and on a computer, we were able to call up x-rays of the previous injury there, which we were both shocked to realize was TWO years ago. That’s a long time for something to be lingering in there, waiting to make it’s way out. So we said our thanks to Cally for being a totally cooperative x-ray patient and barely moving a muscle while we positioned ourselves all around her to get the shots of the leg that we needed. There were no foreign bodies or bone fractures/chips visible; not surprisingly there was a clearly visible pocked of infection. However, the vet wasn’t able to tell from the x-ray whether it’s just a “regular” infection or an infected piece of splint bone that would need to be removed. The x-rays are going to get forwarded on to Morven for further evaluation by a surgeon, who it turns out is the same surgeon who did her colic surgery. So that makes me feel confident, because I really liked that vet. I really DON’T like the idea of needing to do surgery to remove the bone, but that’s mostly a cost factor; it’s something she should get through easily and recover well from if that is what we need to do. In the meantime, she’s on SMZs, with a wrap over the wound and clearance for turnout and light riding, in the hopes that more movement and circulation will aid healing. My vet says she’s seen antibiotic treatment heal even the bone infections before, if you get the “right” one in there, and if it is just a “regular” infection, it should start to help clear it up pretty quickly. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the SMZs work, because a month of those and some x-rays is much kinder to my wallet than splint removal surgery. Though my vet also said that the surgery isn’t something immediately pressing, so I can get my budget in line and the finances of it straight while giving the drugs a chance. But I’m definitely keeping my fingers crossed that all we need are the drugs!