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

Monday, April 29, 2013

Lego Horse

Last night, I went to the barn after work to give Lily her 15 minute walk on the concrete and ice her left hind fetlock. I picked her feet, applying Farrier Barrier per my vet's recommendation. Of course, when I got to the left hind, she had a big chunk of manure stuck in her frog. I went to gently pick it out, and right at that instant, Lily jerked the hoof, and the pick jabbed her in the puncture wound. 

Blood poured down her frog, dribbling onto the floor. I let go of the hoof, and she just held it in the air, while blood pooled underneath it. 

Cue Major Freakout. 

I literally walked 3 circles around her, staring at the blood as if I'd never seen blood before in my life, drawing a complete blank as to what to do next. I am a freaking LICENSED vet tech, for Chrissake's. I went to school for this!... All I could think about was that she was in pain and I wanted to do something to make the pain stop, but she is already on Previcox, and I don't have anything else I can give her anyway. There is nothing else to give, because horses don't routinely get oral opiods for pain. All we give are NSAIDs (what is UP with that? It is one of my big pet peeves with equine medicine.) 

I didn't know how to make the blood stop. I pulled a rag out of my grooming tote and put it under Lily's hoof to try to control the mess, but I didn't really have a clean rag to use to apply pressure. I ended up taking her off the cross ties and walking her to the wash stall, where I blasted the wound with icy cold water from the hose, to thoroughly clean up the frog. I then applied a piece of Animalintex soaked in hot water, and wrapped the hoof with Vetrap and duct tape. 

She finally put weight on the hoof, albeit gingerly.

We still haven't heard back from the lameness specialist. My vet left a message on his personal cell this morning, but by 4:00 pm still no luck. I asked Dr. R if she could forward the rads to someone else to look at. I understand that specialists don't work on the weekends, but it is still 6 days of stressing and worrying. She promised she will call the hospital tomorrow to find out who else she can talk to, and in the meantime forwarded the rads to a classmate who is working at a different equine referral practice.

Have I mentioned how awesome my vet is? And here I was afraid to be the guinea pig...

Today was a miserable day: chilly, windy, and drizzling. Lily was better, but the left hind pastern and fetlock seemed ever so slightly puffy. Ever so slightly. I ripped off the bandage, and off we went for a walk. I had to drag Lily initially-the hoof was sore. :( As we moved, the puffiness in her pastern and fetlock receded. I then put Lily in her stall with her ice boot while I walked Jezebel between the barn and the outdoors, under the steady misting rain. Jez was a really good girl for her walk. 

I removed Lily's boot, and generously applied Surpass to her fetlock. She was really resting that foot a lot tonight. Alex had come to give Lily her Stud Muffins full of Robaxin, and for the first time ever, she bit down on the pills... Robaxin is very bitter, and after that she didn't want to hear about Stud Muffins. I had the brilliant idea of putting the pills in new Stud Muffins and tossing them in her feeder with her grain. 

Of course, she went to eat her grain after her treatments, and managed to bite down on the Robaxin again...so then she didn't want her grain. I started to wig out again when she wouldn't eat her hay either. I know it's because she had a really nasty taste in her mouth, but I was still fretting about the possibility of it being something else. "What if she's in so much pain that she won't eat?" She was reluctant to turn around in her stall. 

Eventually she started nibbling at her hay. I mixed her grain with alfalfa cubes and soaked it in warm water, and she seemed happier about that. As I moved around her stall, she turned her head, looking for her Stud Muffins. We've been doing Stud Muffin stretches (instead of carrot stretches) at night-I'm trying to keep her limber despite all of this immobility. 

So I got 2 Stud Muffins and she was quite willing to contort herself in all sorts of crazy shapes trying to reach for the cookies. The Robaxin had been forgotten. I breathed a huge sigh of relief, leaning my forehead against her withers. She turned her head and nuzzled my leg, leaving a huge wet smear on my jeans.

I left one happy mare in her stall and headed home, feeling defeated.

On the way, the rain started coming down harder. And then this song played on the radio. 

It's kind of incredible how our happiness can ride on the back of our horses. If our horse isn't happy and whole, we aren't happy and whole. This holds true for our relationships with any pet we own and love, but especially horses. They are not just our companions. They are our partners. This is something the outside world rarely understands, but it is the bane of the horse owner's existence: when our partner breaks or dies, a part of us goes with them. 


  1. Hugs Hugs Hugs Hugs Hugs Hugs Hugs!!!!!!!!

    I hope to god that specialist gets back to you today! I don't know how you're holding up this well. What is UP with freaking spring 2013?! So much bad luck is going around! Tell you one thing, I have started noting some good luck seeping back into place. Its about time. I'm certain its going to creep right back into your life, as well.

    At least you don't pass out at the sight of blood, eh? Walking circles is good for calming the nerves ;-). At least you stuck to the "do no harm" mantra in circling her. I'm sure she was all MOMMOMOMOMOM! WHAATTT are you DOING?! HELLOOOO. CAN'T YOU SEE WHATS HAPPENING?! OMGOMGOMG MOM! Or maybe she was giving you the FU face again? ;-)


    1. While circling, all I could think about was, "Must stop her pain." I guess it's just ingrained from work: we stop the pain first, then do something about the injury second. I just had nothing else to give her. It's scary to see your horse standing on 3 legs. Lily just gets this quiet dull look when she hurts. I would prefer if she gave me the FU face, seriously...

  2. It's going to be ok!!! And yes, I completely understand about our happiness riding on our horses. Wish that wasn't the case, but for those of us with the incurable bug... it is. I really hope you get answers soon. 6 days is too long :/

    1. Finally got answers, and it wasn't bad news, but of course now she has cellulitis on the leg and we had to start her on injectable antibiotics...