Siete and I are taking a trip through Abscess Hell this week, There’s something wrong with my little horse’s front left foot, and she’s limping. Two weeks ago, when Johnny, our farrier, came to trim the horses, I thought he would find an abscess in her front left, but he didn’t . There were some tiny abscesses in all of her three other feet. So, he released those, and for about five days, she was fine. Then, last week, she started limping on that front foot, so I began the process of soaking in Epsom salts, poulticing with Animalintex and booting her foot.
The lameness got better, but didn’t go away. Then, it got worse. Dramatically worse. I called Johnny on Tuesday, and he said he wouldn’t be able to come until this Sunday. Yesterday, Siete was really hurting and quite lame. I admit it. I panicked. I was worried that it was something worse than an abscess, like laminitis or a fracture or Lyme Disease again. I didn’t think that waiting five days to find out was a smart idea. So, I called the vet.
It’s always very expensive when I call the vet. Plus, this is a new doctor at the practice I’ve been using for the last ten years, so I was wracked with anxiety. Once you start to go down the road with one vet, if you disagree, it gets into a whole awkward thing where the colleagues often don’t like to step in, potentially go against the diagnosis and help figure out what’s best. As I was agonizing over the wisdom of my decision, the vet arrived with two assistants. Too late to turn back the page.
She gave Siete a little shot in her foot to numb a part of the hoof. If the horse walked normally, that would be a sign of where the abscess was located. Nope, Siete was still lame. So, she tried again, and again and again. Finally, the whole foot was numb, and my little horse was in a frantic state, sweating and fighting. It didn’t help that it was the hottest point of the day, and we were all in the sun, just getting fried. I insisted that they give Siete a sedative to make it easier on her and all of us, and we moved into her stall. Then, the vet decided to draw blood and test for Cushings, which made me want to cry while I mentally beat myself up for being inadequate and so full of self-doubt. This can happen to me when my animals are hurting, and the vet bill starts sky-rocketing.
The vet began digging around in Siete’s hoof to find the abscess. There were two possible pockets, but neither drained. Just as she mentioned taking x-rays, her phone rang. There was a colic emergency, and they had to go. Nothing had been resolved. She said I should just soak the hoof and use the Animalintex and give her Banamine. Which is exactly what I was doing before I called the vet. And then, she gave me the bill. I almost passed out. There goes the money that I had finally saved to fix the drainage ditch and the corral so it won’t flood. And I was right back where I started with the hoof drama. So, she offered that, for no charge, she’d come back on Friday to try to dig on Siete’s hoof some more. Okay, then.
Not knowing what else to do, I did one of the things I do best – worry. I didn’t sleep much last night, but was relieved to see that Siete was a bit improved this morning. She put more weight on the hoof and limped less, so I decided to go against the vet’s orders to soak her foot again. The farrier doesn’t like to soak the hoof because it softens it too much. He thinks walking on it can often make the abscess drain faster. I trust Johnny. I just gave Siete some Banamine and let her go out in the pasture like she normally would do. I kept feeling strong deja vu. So, I went back in my records, and sure enough, six years ago, Siete went through the same thing with the same foot. It was crazy expensive, involving special shoes and Thyroid medicine and a severe diet, but it worked and she was fine. I resigned myself to letting the vet do the x-rays on Friday.
While I was walking out to check on the horses a few minutes ago, I thought about how sometimes when I don’t want to worry about certain big problems in my life, I transfer that worry onto my girls. Sort of like sponging up all that worry so it doesn’t drown me. I was so wrapped up in the worrying that it took me a minute to notice as Siete walked towards me.
Miracle of miracles, she seems to not be limping. Please, dear Lord, let it be true!