Fall Colors Between Rhio's Ears

Fall Colors Between Rhio's Ears

Friday, July 17, 2015

It's Been 48 Days

7.3.15.  It is a beautiful tail, but the treats go up here, please!
It's time for a Red update!  It's been 48 days since his injury, and 28 days since diagnosing his fractured splint bone.  Red has been living in his stall 24/7 since June 19.  Mostly, he has been doing extremely well with the confinement, however three days ago the barn owner found him bucking in place in his stall in the morning!  One of the worst things about an injury like this in our equine friends is the need for confinement in a 12' by 12' box.  Horses are NOT made to live in boxes, and they know it.  They are herd animals, requiring companionship, and their entire physiology is designed to walk, walk, walk all day, nibbling bits of forage as they go.  Nothing about living in a box can replicate this, or even come close to truly meeting their needs.  And yet, we put them in boxes, often for our own convenience, and they (mostly) do well.  What wonderful, adaptable creatures they are!
7.6.15  I love the window in my stall!  And I love to wear my breakfast, in case I need a snack on the fly. 
Red is no exception, and has shown amazing adaptability.  I am doing my best to maximize his physical and emotional comfort, but I know it is not, truly, enough.  I want, so much, for him to be a horse again!  But in this, I, and he, must have patience, a lot of patience.  He has hay in a slow-feed net all the time, which allows him to "graze" in small amounts throughout the day and night.  He has horsie friends right next to him at night, and every day I bring Rhio in to visit with him.  He has a fan, to help him stay cool and to help reduce the bugs in his stall.  Tomorrow, I'm going to put up a Jolly Ball for him to play with.  He gets yummy, antibiotic-laden beet pulp mashes twice a day.  I keep his stall bedded in sweetly smelling fresh shavings.  I brush his shedding hair and comb his thick mane and tail.  I hug him and tell him I love him each and every time I see him.  I suspect anyone who walks by him says hello, as he is very gregarious and will stick his head out his stall window to check things out.  But he is not free to be a horse, and he won't be for a long time yet.
6.29.15 Canoodling with my brother!

7.15.15 Mini herd time

7.13.15 You gotta use your lips to get hay outta this thing!

The day he was bucking in his stall, I decided he needed a mental health day.  I took him carefully out of the barn to the hose, and bathed him (while he ate grass and clover).  We walked along the pasture fence, grazing.  He had a nice, satisfying roll.  And then he reared, bucked, and starting carrying on like a wild two year old!  I cannot blame him, at all.  But I also cannot let him do that, as he is far from healed, despite the fact that he now walks without a limp.  We walked in hand, with him snorting and spooking at every little thing.  Thank goodness for his excellent ground manners, as he did not run me over, step on me, bump into me, take off without me, or any of the number of things a 900 lb critter could do to a wimpy human at the end of a rope attached to his head.  But let me tell you, given the inkling of a chance to take off running, bucking, cavorting, and generally carrying on, he certainly would have love to do so. 
7.15.15 First green grass in weeks!

7.15.15 Grazing in the small pen.

That day, and the next day, he got about an hour of grazing in a small pen, only a bit bigger than his stall.  He loved it.  At the end of his second day of this, he was just discernibly limping on the bad leg, and it swelled again, both clear indicators that the exercise and extremely limited freedom were too much for the level of healing.  Man, what a disappointment!  I was sure hoping he could have a little time each day outside in the small pen to eat grass!  Alas, it is not yet to be, and he is back to 24/7 stall rest.  I do let him wander around the barn aisle while I clean his stall, and he loves that. 

7.13.15 Anything in this stall?

7.13.15 Can I stick my head in here and see if there's grain in this bucket?

7.13.15 Anything to eat in the garbage?

7.13.15 Mom, do you have any treats for me? I can't find any food here!
The wound itself is nearly completely healed, and looks wonderful.  I have been trying to begin weaning him off the bandage, as after this many weeks in it, the leg tends to swell when left unbandaged for any length of time.  The system by which tissue fluid is returned up the leg is a series of very weak vessels called lymphatics.  The pressure of the bandage has essentially been doing their job for them, and they need some time to start working properly again.  Hence, the attempt to wean the leg off bandage use, rather than just stop bandaging all at once.  His little setback from too much freedom the past couple of days, however, has hampered the weaning process, and today I had to put him back in his full limb pressure wrap.  

7.15.15  Nearly healed!
What's his prognosis?  I still can't say with any certainty.  He has about a day left on antibiotics, and is currently off of his pain reliever/antiinflammatory.  It appears as though the infection is cleared up, since the wound is healing very fast with no drainage and he has been sound at the walk; I am hopeful, but only time will tell.  I expect the fracture to have a bony callus around it, stabilizing it, about 6-8 weeks after injury (so, around now) and then the fracture must heal within that callus, which will take at least another couple of months.  Possible complications include a piece (or pieces) of the splint bone working their way out of the leg (best possibility) or into a vital structure such as the joint or the suspensory ligament (worst possibility), due to the pieces being dead and the body needing to 'get rid' of them.  Also the fracture may continue to be unstable, and/or the carpal-metacarpal joint it is a part of may be unstable, indefinitely.  The bone may not heal.  And/or, the joint which was infected may break down into degenerative joint disease rapidly and irreversibly, leading to permanent pain and disability.  Any combination of these things could occur, or none of them might happen.  At any rate, it will be a long time until he gets to be a horse again.

7.14.15 Bug bites causing a huge swollen, crusty, hairless area on his belly.  This is when it was mild!  It is about 3x as big now. 

7.14.15. Chilling in the aisle, looking for the herd.

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