"And, when you want something, the entire Universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." -The Alchemist, by Paulo Coehlo



Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Abscess

So on Friday, I went to the barn after work with Charles, and I took Lily out for a 30 minute walk in the indoor. I had made arrangements with BQ to have her turned out in the little "round" (rectangular) pen next to Jazzy's paddock for 4 hours during the day over the weekend (only 4 hours because I figured Lily would get bored and pace in the pen after too long, and also because Jazzy had to be brought in for this, since she eats mares for dinner and I wouldn't be there to watch, and I didn't want to limit Jazzy's turnout unnecessarily).

I had Lily trot on the lunge for a few steps to assess her lameness. There was a slight improvement, but she was still shuffling along on her hind legs, and this freaked me out-I kept seeing something off about her hind legs. Of course I was dumb and didn't check her leg pulses until AFTER walking her, so of course there was  a strong pulse in the left front, and both hinds felt warm. The horses had just been fed grain while I had Lily in the cross ties soaking her foot, which made her antsy (yup, more routine disruption!), so while I was palpating her hind ligaments for the bazillionth time, she wiggled her legs in protest. So of course I didn't sleep much that night, thinking I had a horse with only one sound leg, and the next morning I put a call in to the vet to have him come out on Monday.

Wiggling her lips when I was scratching her neck Friday night. 

She hadn't done this in a long time-I scratched her neck, and she turned her head and scratched my leg. :)
Saturday another slight improvement. Only a little warmth on the left front, no bounding pulse, and no reaction when hind legs palpated. I soaked the foot again after her 30 minute walk. My gut instinct kept telling me that I needed to keep doing this routine, even though it was costing me an hour of sleep a night. (I work on weekends.)

On Sunday, I put her on the cross ties to inspect her before taking her for her walk in the indoor and while looking over her left front, I found this:


Can you see it? This is her left front seen from behind. There is a small red spot right above the coronet band on the inside heel. 
It was very sore to the touch, had give when I pressed on it with a finger, was oozing serosanguineous fluid, and it was a perfectly round little shape, so I knew she had not clipped herself being silly in the pen that day. I didn't dare breathe in relief until I put her on the lunge and had her trot...there was a 75% improvement! YAAAAAAY!!!! She got soaked after, and then I dried her foot off and applied Betadine to it. No wrap-she likes to chafe in precisely that area when her hooves are bandaged.

The vet and my farrier both came out today anyway to check her. My farrier/trimmer tested all 4 of her feet while we waited for the vet to arrive (the vet was running late) and discovered that all FOUR of Lily's hooves are solid and pain-free. She was very happy with this, and agreed about Lily's abscess, and figured this is probably from her bruising herself  after over-reaching. She answered 10 million questions I had on Lily's hooves, her current trim, the length, the unevenness of her fronts, her occasionally standing parked under, etc. I liked her responses and they made sense to me; I felt much better. (You should see her trim job on Jezebel-Jezebel is an OTTB who has been barefoot for the last year! PERFECT feet! And she's a TB!) She has Lily down to be trimmed again on the 27th, but said we can always bump her up if I feel she's getting too long too fast. I just might do that. I think she's ready for another trim NOW, but my trimmer said that she had left her hooves a little long on purpose because she was afraid that with the winter footing, Lily would wear down too much hoof too fast and she didn't want her to be sore.

The vet, Dr. S, arrived almost an hour late (he had been booked solid that day, so I wasn't surprised. They were nice enough to call beforehand and let us know they were running late), and he hadn't been at the barn for more than 5 minutes when he got called for another emergency! BQ had asked him to check Cody, so he took a look at him, and then, to my surprise, took his time with Lily. He had me walk and trot her in straight lines, then lunge her a bit in both directions, and she actually hopped into a canter going to the right! I didn't see a head bob at all today. The vet confirmed she wasn't lame anymore. I mentioned the location of the abscess, and he also agreed that that's what it was. He cut off a bit of her heel under her hoof, trying to create another exit hole for it to drain, but discovered only a teeny tiny hole (literally the size of a speck!) going through to her white line as a tract connecting to the abscess. Dr. S would've had to dig out a lot of hoof to open the abscess more. He felt confident that there wasn't much more fluid left in there, so he left it at that. I was instructed to soak it like I had already been doing, wrap it, and boot her if I wanted to turn her out. I only have to do this for the next 3 days.

Dr. S apologized for this visit not being more eventful, but I told him I totally prefer less eventful visits, which made him laugh. My wallet especially appreciates it!

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