I went today and Lily's left hind leg looked fine, but her right hind was slightly puffy, and the tendons were sore when palpated. Not good-this meant she had been putting all of her weight on the right hind overnight. I took her out of the stall and placed her on the cross-ties, and she immediately cocked the left hind. Sigh. I looked at the foot again, and brushed the frog off with the hoofpick brush, and she flinched. I applied more Today into the crevice in her frog. I introduced the tip of the syringe (Today is primarily a mastitis medication, actually a topical cephalosporin antibiotic, but very effective for thrush, and is available in dosing syringes with a very thin, flexible plastic tip, easily inserted into cracks in the hooves) into the crevice about 1/2" and as I was applying it down the length of the crack, the syringe tip suddenly slipped all the way into the crack. Lily immediately jumped and kicked back in pain; the syringe tip came out bloody. Yup, no wonder she's holding that foot up-the infection is pretty deep.
I hosed off her right leg, placed her on the other wash rack so she'd be standing on dry mats, and put her ice boot on her right hind. I mixed some bute with a couple of crumbled Stud Muffins horse treats (she LOVES them), and let her scarf while the Today dried on her foot. I called my vet and left a message to schedule an appointment ASAP, and picked Lily's stall, at the same time debating whether I should wrap the foot or leave it exposed to air. Thrush is usually accompanied by anaerobic bacteria, which thrive in moist, dark spaces with no air. But the crack was so deep I didn't want more dirt and manure getting into it. In the end, I chose to treat it as an abscess and wrap it.
By then Dianne and Mark had arrived at the barn, and were concerned with me when I told them what was going on with Lily. I decided to use it as a teaching experience and showed Dianne how to wrap a hoof: I applied more Today inside the crevice (this time blood came to the surface and dribbled down her foot...this upset me, but I guess it's better than pus coming out of such a deep hole), poured iodine over the frog, then soaked a couple of gauze squares with iodine and placed them over the frog. I did a figure-8 bandage with Vetrap around the hoof, then reinforced it with plenty of duct tape. I then applied Sore No More gel to the tendons of her right hind leg, and proceeded to place standing wraps on both hind legs for extra support. I dumped extra shavings in her stall for additonal cushioning, and decided to keep her locked in until Wednesday. The poor thing is going to go stir-crazy cooped up, but her walkout and turnout were still damp from all the rain.
Hopefully the vet can come Thursday morning at the latest. I think it was too short notice for him to make it out Wednesday. I just need to know how to treat this infection-should I keep it covered or exposed to air? Should I soak it? Should I let her walk (for thrush and abscesses, you WANT the horse to continue to move to promote circulation, growth, and push the infection out), or confine her because she hurts? Is it ok to ride her at a walk, or should I hand-walk her? And I think she needs a tetanus booster and oral antibiotics. But then that's also the ER vet tech in me talking...hopefully this is easily resolved. And how did it get so bad? I'm guessing having a wet stall for 2 days in a row (despite stripping it and giving her fresh dry bedding each of those days) aggravated an already existent problem. I'm just upset that it got this bad...I'm really diligent about her feet, and had been applying Durasole (which has formalin in it, another thrush treatment/preventive) to all 4 feet almost every day for the last 6 weeks. I have to post pictures of her frog. I've battled some really nasty chronic thrush where the horses' frogs were flaking off. Lily's frog looks great other than the one fissure down its length.
So for now it's watch and wait, keep the foot dry and clean, and try to keep my fatalist inner voice quiet!