Saturday, January 9, 2010
The Latest Twist
On New Year’s Day, the horses were out in the snowy pasture, strolling around just before dinnertime. I went inside for less than a minute to pick up their feed buckets and their hay. When I approached the barn, both of the girls were already waiting eagerly in their stalls. The big problem was that Siete was holding her right front leg up like something was terribly wrong. I had no idea what had happened.
I checked her shoe to see if there was something caught in the snowpad, but couldn’t feel or see anything unusual. I wondered if one of the wood pellets that I had spread in her stall had gotten caught inside her shoe and caused an abscess. I didn’t feel any heat on any of her legs when I touched them. I gave her some Banamine, added extra bedding to her stall so she could lay down and take her weight off for the night. Checking out the corral, I noticed there were some icy ruts that could have caused her to twist her leg.
I was worried, but not panicked. I reminded myself that sometimes these things work themselves out and that if it was an abscess, I could deal with it. We’d have to pull her shoe, which would be a problem in this icy weather, but it was the least bad possiblity of the things that could be causing the lameness. I started to think about other causes, but forced myself to not jump to conclusions.
Saturday, she was still favoring the right leg, but able to stand on it. More Banamine, and I alerted my farrier just in case. We made a tentative date for Monday morning. Sunday, Siete seemed fine, walking normally, so I stopped giving her the meds and cancelled the farrier appointment. Then, Monday afternoon, she began holding her back right foot up as if she had an abscess, and she seemed sore on the front right again. This wasn’t going to magically disappear, so I called the farrier and arranged for him to come Tuesday morning. I soaked the back foot in Epsom salts and warm water and put on a pack with Animalintex for the night.
Next morning, the farrier couldn’t find anything wrong with her hooves. He pulled her front shoe, but there were no abscesses on any of her feet. He used the hoof testers and everything was fine, thank heavens. Siete was really limping on her front right leg, and he did notice some tenderness and a little swelling on the back of that leg. He wondered if she had bowed a tendon or maybe twisted her suspensory ligament. The thought of that sent chills up my spine. I remembered about eight years ago when Silk injured her suspensory ligament and was confined to her stall and only allowed to walk slowly for six months. It was a nightmare. I gave Siete some more Banamine and tried to stay calm.
I headed over to the vet’s office to pick up another tube of Banamine and luckily ran into the vet herself. She told me that lots of horses were injuring themselves in this ice and snow. We agreed to just keep Siete quiet, give her two small doses of Banamine in the morning and at night for a few days and see how she felt on Friday.
I am happy to report that Siete was walking solidly on all four feet by Friday, and getting a bit wound up from all that stall rest. The tenderness and swelling have gone down. So, yesterday, I opened the gate to the pasture and we had some supervised wandering around time. I know I took a chance and fortunately, everything was okay. What I’ve learned is that the horses don’t want to venture out too far in the snow, but they stay calm and happy if they see the gate between the corral and the pasture is open. They know that they have the option to go there, and that it’s their choice. It keeps them from charging around.
So, let’s hope I didn’t jinx anything by telling you that Siete is doing better. Only eleven more weeks until Spring, and it can’t come soon enough!