Thursday, August 21, 2014

Deja Vu

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!


Lori Skoog said...

Hey Victoria...I know what you are talking about. Don't be afraid to say no sometimes. In the past, the vets have talked my boarders into all kinds of things that did not have to be done because they were not knowledgable. We have one practice that pays a bonus to whoever takes in the most can just imagine how they play on people. Do you ever use ichthomal (sp?). It really draws. I've had abcesses pop out at the coronet band, the heel and on their soles. Let's hope she's ok.

Victoria Cummings said...

Thanks, Lori. I felt like all I was saying to this vet was no. And she kept coming up with more things to do and I knew that the x-rays were the only way to tell if Siete had laminitis or a fracture. I did use icthamol last week - maybe that's why she got worse since it was drawing the gunk out. But I think that when the vet opened up those two places so it could drain, that's what did the trick. Don't want to jinx it. I'll wait until the morning to declare that all is well.

Grey Horse Matters said...

Poor Siete and poor you. There's nothing worse than having a vet who seems to be running up the bill while not coming to a definite conclusion on what the problem is. Mellon just had an abscess and we didn't soak it just gave hin Banamine and wrapped it with Animakintex and duct tape. Yes the vet did come and open it up twice but that's it. We turned him out as usual and it took care of itself. We just changed the bandage each night. I hope she's fine in the morning.

billie said...

So sorry you are going through this again!

We found over the years with Salina that silicea and hepar sulph, two homeopathic remedies, and wrapping with animalintex (no soaking) worked best. That and just giving her time. Usually when the abscess was ready to pop hand walking helped and she was very willing to do it at that point.

We didn't give Bute or Banamine b/c I have read that can make the abscess actually last longer.

The digging for it is imo a bad idea - they all seem to want to do it but imo and experience it creates more problems in the long run.

Once I got my remedies and animalintex as the back-up the abscesses never simmered more than a couple of days before emerging, and generally cleared really fast when they burst out. It's scary to think that something else might be wrong - I got pretty good at being able to feel the abscess and sometimes could smell it - and if in summer months always noted that flies would be drawn to the abscess area of the hoof several days before it burst - so I learned to use those as diagnostic tools and to trust my gut about it.

We did the whole vet thing with the first two abscesses she had - spent a small fortune each time and for no good reason and no real relief for her. In fact, probably more discomfort b/c she really hated the invasive stuff!

I hope Siete is on the road to total recovery at this point. Maybe all this is happening to re-center you in the moment - nothing like a horse with an abscess to get us right there in the barn with them, trying to fix things and help them out!! Big hugs.

Victoria Cummings said...

Arlene - I owe it to you and Jacquie for introducing me to Animalintex - what miraculous stuff!
Billie - I'm going to look for those homeopathic remedies. And you are absolutely right - it did make me re-center myself in the moment and remind me that spending time with my horses is the best way for me to heal my sadness.

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Ditto on the no bute or banamine - my experience has been that they can extend the whole process.

I hope things resolve soon!