Tuesday, March 30, 2010

No News Is Good News

Right?

My life has gone back to boring... which is fantastic! Lilly is turned out in her small paddock, is sound, and is shedding like crazy. We go for our walks, I brush her, and then let her eat grass before putting her back in her paddock. I've been walking her for about 15 minutes a day to work her back up to the 30 minutes.

Boring...

But you won't hear me complain!

The weather for this week and weekend is going to be gorgeous! Baths are in order for sure, probably for both of my ponies, and I might even venture out on AJ. I'll have to convince him that we'll have a lot of fun.

I haven't been out to see Beau in quite a while. With all the rain we had, and then everything that was going on with Lilly, I just didn't have the time. I wish he was closer to me, but hopefully I'll be able to get out there soon! There's a show on the 17th I'd like to take him to, even if we just do halter. It'll be fun to get out there and do some showing.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Hand Walking Resumes!

I went to the barn today to meet my vet so AJ could get his teeth floated. I always forget about the process and let him eat lots of grass while we wait. It took the vet a long time to flush his mouth... oops!

He was a good boy as always and now has nicely filed teeth. :)

While he was sedated, I had my vet clean his sheath too. I don't mind paying the $35 to have someone else take care of that for me. That's one of my favorite things about having a mare. It's a lot easier to clean her than it is to clean a gelding! Especially one who is bashful!

AJ is a shedding machine too... I brushed and brushed and brushed. He has so much hair coming out that my curry can't keep up. If I can find that Furminator of mine, I'll use that on him next time I go out.

Lilly is losing hair too, but her winter coat is a lot different than AJ's. She mostly has long hairs and doesn't get wooly, where AJ gets a really wooly, thick coat. Lilly's is even less this year because of the time she spend in the stall. That's one benefit, I suppose!

Once AJ was done, I went and got Lilly so the vet could watch her move. We walked, turned, and jogged her in the grass and also on the road. She said she didn't see any signs of lameness (SCORE!) so it's back to hand walking. She thinks I should walk her for 15 minutes on the road and 15 minutes in the arena. I also need to call and set up another ultrasound appointment to see how much progress has been made since the last one. It doesn't seem like her ultrasound was that long ago, but it was just over 4 weeks ago.

This dang abscess put us behind about 4 weeks. Stupid thing...

I can tell you that I'm ready for a break in the finance department, though! Hopefully today was the last bill I'll have to pay for my horses for a good many months! (Except the ultrasound, of course... lol)

Today I shoo'd the first fly from Lilly's face and she ate her first dandelion. Spring has officially sprung!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Making Progress!

I don't really have anything new to post about, which is GOOD for a change! (knock on wood...)

I've been going to the barn to check on Lilly and she's doing great. I haven't been wrapping her leg and there isn't any swelling to speak of so I'm hoping I can put my standing wraps away now! Her icky skin looks fantastic too! It's almost all healed up.

She's still slightly off when I turn her to the left, although I was pleasantly surprised when I took her to the road the other day and turned her around. She was only a tiny bit sore. Since that was on concrete, that's saying something.

Looks like I was wrong and we're back on the road to recovery! WOOHOO! Very rarely do I enjoy being wrong, but this is one of those times. :)

My vet comes out tomorrow to float AJ's teeth (when will the vet bills end?) so I'm going to mention to her how well Lilly is doing and make sure it's ok to start the walking again. I'm curious what the next step is...

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Hooray for Shoes!

I was anxious to see Lilly today. She had her shoe put on yesterday and I was hoping she would be much less lame today. Honestly, I didn't think I'd see much difference, but I did! I'd say she's about 90% better with that shoe than she was without it. WOOHOO! I felt like doing cartwheels! (but no one wants to see that...)

I turned her around and around and around and she showed signs of being a little sore, but she didn't almost fall over like she did last night during the exam. So the question is, will she gradually get better over the course of the next week, or did the shoe help all it's going to help? (I can't just enjoy the now, I must continue to drive myself crazy.)

I sure hope the little bit of lameness that is left gradually disappears and I can get back to walking her to get that tendon healed up. Tomorrow I'm going to take her out to the road and turn her on the pavement to see how she reacts. That will be the big test.

Since she was doing so much better I took her out of her paddock and let her graze in the pasture just over the fence. There was so much green grass coming up and I wanted her to enjoy mowing it down. Then we went up to the wash area and I gave her a bath. She was SO dirty! I haven't seen "white" on her in a long time. She dried quite quickly in the sun and 78 degree temperatures we had today.

She was very excited about her bath as you can clearly see by the look on her face. :)

Look at how beautiful she is!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Vaccines & Lameness Exams

The vet was out today to give vaccines and check on Lilly.

Lilly is pretty much sound walking in a straight line, but not at the jog, and not turning in circles. It's like we're past the abscess now and back where we were when we decided to take the wedge pad off over 3 weeks ago.

The tendon palpated "normal" and Lilly didn't show any discomfort there or when the hoof testers were applied to her hoof. And no wedge pad... so... the lameness is from?

The vet said her abscess "pocket" looked good and was sticking her finger all under the little flap and Lilly didn't mind at all. So I believe we're past the abscess. She wanted to get Lilly's shoe put back on to see if any of the discomfort is from her being barefoot, and then give her another week to see if she'll become more sound. If she's not in about a week, then she thinks we need to do another ultrasound.

WHY?!

She just had one 3 weeks ago. If the lameness wasn't from the tendon then, why would it be now? It should be healed even more now. Unless it IS from the tendon and has been all along...

So, my wonderful farrier is coming out this evening to put her shoe and leather pad back on. I was hesitant to have the pad put back on because I don't want that to be the reason she's still lame come Friday. "Maybe it's putting pressure on her sole. We need to take the pad off and wait another week." I can see it now...

But that's the plan... shoe and pad go on, wait a week. Wrap her leg every other day and no walking yet till next Friday.

So frustrated.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Green Vetrap

Happy St Patty's Day!

Lilly is celebrating with green Vetrap. :)

I don't have much of an update. Every day I go to the barn and rewrap her hoof with a dry bandage. Her abscess is out, her heel looks nice and dry, and everything looks good. Wrapping seems pointless other than to cushion her heel and sole.

She's still lame.

She's lame at the walk and lame when she tries to trot over to graciously accept the handful of grass I brought for her. Bruised heels? Still healing from the abscess? Sore foot from the missing shoe? Tendon?

Friday my horses will be vaccinated and Lilly is scheduled to have a lameness exam. The verdict right now is that if she's still lame it's from the abscess and it'll take a while for her to be sound again from that. At least another week... That's not what I've heard about abscesses, but I'm tired of beating my head against a brick wall. I'm not even sure what the point of paying for a lameness exam is if they're just going to say, "She's still lame from the abscess. That'll be $50 please..." I don't need a vet to tell me on Friday that she's still lame. I can see that myself.

I'm hoping that after her exam, Lilly can get her shoe back on. My farrier is great and should be able to come out in a day or so to tack it back on for me.

Frustration is setting in... so I apologize if I sound snippy. I'm just tired of seeing my horse limping around on 3 legs and feeling helpless to make her feel better.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Getting Better

Lilly was feeling better today. I could tell from the little buck and squeal she let out when she saw me coming down the hill. :)

Her abscess looks a little more healed than it did yesterday. It was difficult to see where it was on her heel. It still feels a little squishy to me, so I hope everything that needed to come out is out, or will be out by Sunday. The plan was to soak and wrap her (still poulticed) through Saturday and then go to a dry bandage on Sunday.

She was FILTHY today... I think she's trying to make up for lost time by rolling in the mud 2 or 3 times per day. If it would stop raining, she'd just be dusty instead of caked with mud. LOL

Thursday, March 11, 2010

It's Here!

That nasty abscess is here!

I could tell something had happened because Lilly's bandage was soaked with "something". It had dried but it was easy to see it wasn't just mud on that wrap. So after unwrapping her hoof, I found this:

It wasn't easy getting a picture of it that wasn't blurry. Maybe one day I'll figure out how to take close up pictures with my camera. Until then, we suffer. But you can see that little ruptured area right below the little tuft of palomino hair. Honestly, I'm not impressed. As much misery as my horse was in, and that's it?

I was able to squeeze a little bit of stuff out of it and Lilly seemed ok with it, so I'm thankful it doesn't hurt too much. I soaked her in epsom salts and wrapped her back up.

She's embarrassed about the hot pink Vetrap I used. I'm embarrassed that she lets herself get THAT dirty.

When I got back to the truck, I had a voicemail on my phone. It was my vet, the one who couldn't come out yesterday to evaluate, calling to check on Lilly. I called her back and told her Lilly was about 99% sound at the walk. She was happy to hear it. Then we started chatting about everything... she said she had spoken with the other vet, and also called my farrier because she thought there might be some confusion and wanted to make sure everyone was "on the same page". I thought we were all on the same page... I'm not sure if that came about because of my inquiry into the tendon issue yesterday with the other vet or not.

Long phone call short, she said she's sure the lameness we saw before removing the wedge was from bruised heels. The abscess resulted from the bruised heels, and once the abscess is healed, we'll have no more lameness. She doesn't want her back in a wedge because the x-rays showed she doesn't need to be in a wedge. While her hoof might look like it needs a wedge from the outside, it doesn't need one according to the inside, low heels or not. She's going to bring the x-rays with her next time she comes out so she can show me.

Next Friday my horses get their vaccinations. The vet that came out yesterday will do a lameness exam then and if Lilly is still sore it will be because of the abscess and we'll give her another week to get over that. After the second week, she'll for sure be sound and I can resume hand walking in the arena for 30 minutes per day.

Ok...

But being the annoying horse owner/client that I am, I am just not that optimistic, and I don't think her lameness is all related to the wedge/bruised heels/abscess. Again, I am not a vet. I am not a farrier. BUT, I feel that if my horse had bruised heels, caused by her wedge pad, and they were bruised badly enough to cause her to be 3/5 lame on a longe line and later pop an abscess, that she would have shown discomfort when hoof testers were applied to her hoof and heel. She showed nothing, two different times.

When we took the wedge off, she did look better when I turned her in a circle to the left. However, I didn't test her before we took the wedge off. I wish now I had just to compare. The wedge was off for just over 24 hours and then she started showing signs of lameness, and along comes the abscess. The abscess is probably from a bruise, I agree with that, but I'm just not so sure she's not having some other issue that's causing the lameness we saw prior to the abscess. Is it the tendon? Not necessarily... I don't know what it is, but I just don't think it's from the wedge/bruise/abscess.

I hope I'm wrong, and I hope in 2 weeks my horse will be able to walk on all 4 hooves without issue and turn in circles, and jog, and play.

I just don't know.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I Can See the Light...

The one at the end of this tunnel of darkness! Or so I hope, anyway...

When I got to the barn today, Lilly was standing in the corner, resting her leg by standing on her toe. My heart sank. I wanted her to be better today!

When I started walking down to her paddock, she started walking too, and I noticed that she seemed to be walking better. And when I got closer, SHE TROTTED over to see me! It was ugly and gimpy, but the effort was there! She was carrying on too, nickering like crazy. Trot, trot, nicker, nicker. :)

I gave her some hay and brushed her while I waited for the vet to arrive.

When the vet got there I walked Lilly around a little bit so we could see how lame she was. She looked almost sound when I walked her in a straight line at the walk. So the vet took the hoof wrap off and evaluated Lilly's foot. We think we know where the abscess is now, but it isn't where I hoped it would be. It's on Lilly's inside heel, just above the coronet band, on the bulb of her heel. It's really squishy and soft there and it is easy to feel the fluid under her skin. My vet thinks it will pop either today or tomorrow.

I guess since it has worked it's way up and out of the hoof, she feels a lot less uncomfortable. I hope it isn't too messy when it pops out of there. So the vet wants me to keep putting the poultice on, but I'm cutting them in half and placing it right over the area we think is the abscess instead of on the entire hoof. I'll keep it wrapped and soak it each day until Saturday, and then Sunday (assuming the abscess has popped) I'll put a dry bandage on it to keep it clean. Today was her last day on bute too.

I was asking about Lilly's tendon because I'm terrified that this abscess may be masking an issue there. I'm paranoid, what can I say. Her leg is slightly swollen and it was quite warm today. Lilly doesn't show discomfort when my vet palpates it, and she said it feels enlarged, but would expect it to since it's still healing. So she thinks it is just fine. She said there needs to be some stretching going on with the tendon so it's good to take her out of the wedge. I guess I'm not convinced, (and neither is my farrier... he and I chatted about it today) but I'm trusting the vets' opinions.

The vet had me walk her around in a circle to the left and Lilly was back to being gimpy, like before we took the wedge off... remember, she was walking almost completely sound in a straight line today. She thinks there's just too much else going on to evaluate any issues she may be having with her tendon and we just need to wait until this abscess issue is worked out and we get a shoe put back on her hoof.

I am ok with waiting as long as there is no danger of her tearing that tendon again. Perhaps tomorrow I'll find the abscess has popped and we can get back to the main issue at hand!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

No Progress

I forgot my camera today, so no new pictures of Lilly's foot... I'm kicking myself for that.

She was still VERY lame today. Typical of Lilly, though, she hopped over to the gate nickering. I'm glad she's still chatty and not so miserable that she doesn't want to talk or move around. I almost think she was slightly worse today than yesterday, but I can't decide if she just seemed better yesterday because she was SO lame on Sunday. She is putting some weight on the foot but I noticed it's mostly on her toe and not on her heels. In fact, her hoof wrap was ripped up in the toe area of her hoof, so I think she's been walking around on that toe so she doesn't have to set her heels down.

I took the wrap and poultice off and am still seeing some black stuff on the pad. It doesn't look like pus as I think of pus, but more of a black mucous type of substance. And it stinks like you wouldn't believe. So I don't know if that's abscess material or not. I hope so.

I soaked her hoof in epsom salts again today and she was much better about leaving her foot in there. I wrapped her back up, putting a little extra duct tape on her toe, and gave her a gram of bute.

When I took her leg wrap off, I looked closely at her tendon and I think it's swollen. It was also warm... I read online, though, that both of those issues can be caused by abscesses, so is it swollen because her tendon has inflammation in it again, or from the abscess? It's been wrapped since Sunday, so any fluid should be out of there by now.

I was using those Animalintex pads, (which I see online for $6.50 - I paid $12 for them from my vet) and put the last one I had on her hoof today. I wasn't sure what my vet wanted me to do with her tomorrow, so I called her and got voicemail. Later she called to set up a time to come out but she could only come after I would already have been at work. We were both available Thursday, but I didn't want Lilly to have to wait that long. So one of the other vets called me and she'll be coming out to take a look at Lilly tomorrow around 2pm... It's actually Lilly's "usual" vet who was unable to come out when I initially called about Lilly's tendon.

Maybe it'll be good to get another pair of eyes... they're both working for the same practice, so I don't know if one will suggest something the other has not, but we shall see. I'm not sure what's going to happen tomorrow. I think she's going to try and find the abscess since Lilly's hoof is softer now.

I'm going to need to get a second job...

Monday, March 8, 2010

Hoof Soaking

First of all, I'd like to thank everyone for their advice and suggestions regarding Lilly's abscess! And I am glad it was an abscess and not her tendon, but boy an abscess can bring a horse to their knees, can't it? I can't believe the pain my poor horse is in!

She seemed less lame today... she was still really lame, but she was walking and putting weight on her leg. I called my vet to let her know that Lilly seemed better and asked if she thought the pus we saw yesterday was all there was of the abscess. (Wishful thinking on my part, I know, but if she is better today, that could mean the abscess is already out, right?) She said she didn't know for sure and wanted to see how much more pus might come out on the poultice pads.

So I gave Lilly a gram of bute and took her hoof wrap off. I took a picture of the bottom of her hoof but it didn't turn out very good. There was some pus on her hoof and also on the poultice, so maybe we'll be able to get it out the bottom and not have to worry about it coming out the top.

Here she is soaking her hoof. I love the look on her face. :)



I hope it doesn't matter if it's dirty epsom salt water because it took me a few times to convince her to leave her foot in the tub. I soaked her hoof in the warm water and epsom salt for 15 minutes.

After soaking her hoof I tried my hand at hoof wrapping. It doesn't look as good as my vet's, but I think it will stay on!

Hopefully I won't get much practice doing this...

Since it was such a pretty day, I decided to get AJ and spend some time brushing him. I grabbed the clippers too and trimmed him up. I still can't believe he tolerates the clippers now. Back when I was showing him he was TERRIFIED of them and we had to use scissors all the time. Somehow, over the past 18 years or so, he decided they weren't too bad after all.

I took him for a little ride in the arena too, but he was such a brat that I got off and let him eat grass instead. Sometimes he's an angel, and other times he doesn't want to do anything but prance around like a goon. Today he wanted to be a goon.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Someone Shoot Me

I got an email from the barn owner this morning that said, "Your girl is sore on her front foot/leg today... perhaps she has an abscess?" So immediately I think, "oh crap... her tendon!"

So off to the barn I go, and when I get there I look down toward her paddock and swear I see her standing on 3 legs. I grabbed some cookies and headed down to get a closer look.

Here's what I found:

She was standing on 3 legs and didn't want to put any weight on her left front leg at all. It looks like I took her picture mid step, but it's really just how she was standing. When she saw me, she hopped over to me, nickering, and looked completely miserable. Her face said, "help me, mom". I burst into tears and she buried her head in my chest. I felt SO bad for her, and I cannot stand to see her in pain like this.

After spending a few moments with her, I checked her leg to see if I thought it was her tendon. Her leg was swollen, but she was also not wrapped, so I didn't know how much of the swelling was from fluid and how much of it might be from inflammation. While the barn owner thought abscess, I was terrified it was her tendon, so I called my vet. The call went like this:

Vet: "Hello..."
Me: "Hi. This is Rebecca."
Vet: "Hi Rebecca. I knew you'd be calling me. Want to know how I knew?"
Me: "Sure..."
Vet: "Cindy drove by the barn and saw your mare standing on 3 legs. What's going on?"
Me: I explained what I was seeing in her leg and how lame she was.
Vet: "I'm finishing up with my horse and I'll be there in about an hour. Cold hose her for about 20 minutes while you wait."

So I got my sweet baby some hay and started hosing her leg and waited for the vet to arrive. I don't think it took her an hour to get there, but it still seemed like forever.

She brought down her hoof testers and some other equipment and Lilly was really sore to the testers. She was slightly ouchie in her tendon, but nothing like what she was showing in her hoof. So my vet went back to her truck and came back with tools to remove her shoe.

There's nothing more exciting than watching a $100 shoe job ripped off Lilly's foot in a matter of seconds. She wore that pad and gel for less than 48 hours. But hey, I've got money to burn.

Once the shoe, pad, and gel were off, my vet looked at the bottom of her hoof and saw some black puss. There was also some puss that came off when the gel was cut out. The bottom of her hoof was also very red in certain areas and looked bruised. Lilly's inside heel seemed the most tender, but she was sore all over.

So my vet said it most likely is an abscess, or was an abscess... she tried digging around a bit in Lilly's sole, but couldn't find where the abscess might be, other than in her heel. Lilly was so good... she was in so much pain, but I could tell she was trying to be a good girl. And she really was... My vet said if it's still in there it might come out the coronary band, or we might be able to draw it out the bottom.

After the digging, Lilly was putting a little bit more weight on her leg, so she was much more comfortable with the bare hoof. The thinking is that the gel sole pack put too much pressure on the bottom of her hoof and heels and that's why she's so lame. She still thinks her heels were bruised and now we're seeing an abscess from that.

So Lilly has a poultice wrapped on her hoof. Hopefully it'll draw the abscess out the bottom of her hoof and she'll be more comfortable. She's on 2 grams of bute per day for the next two days and I'll have to re-poultice her hoof. If she's still really lame tomorrow she wants me to soak the hoof in epsom salts before putting the poultice back on.

Duct tape has many uses, as seen here.

She wanted her leg wrapped back up too, so I'm doing that again as well. That way we'll be able to tell if there's any swelling from the tendon or from the abscess.

She was much more comfortable with her poultice on, but still didn't want to put much weight on her leg. My poor, sweet baby girl... she can't catch a break.

I don't know anything about abscesses. My vet said I've been spoiled... I tend to disagree, considering all that's happened, but I'm reading up on them now. Anyone else dealt with them before? What do I have to look forward to if it bursts out the top of her hoof?

Emergency calls on Sunday are never good for the checkbook, by the way.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Farrier Visit

My farrier came out yesterday to take the wedge pad off. I explained more about what was going on and how she was lame and had been that way since sometime after her second ultrasound where she jogged about 99% sound.

So he pulled the pad off and moved on to hoof testing. Lilly showed no signs of discomfort at all. So then there was more discussion.

Here's my thinking:
Her tendon has not finished filling in yet. I think she needs to keep the wedge to keep pressure off that tendon until it has finished filling in. Looking back now, I think her low heels had something to do with the injury, especially considering it was on the leg with the lower heels. (Perhaps she would have torn the tendon anyway because of her surgeries?) Her right hoof is low (she just has horrible front hooves, although they look the best they've ever looked) but not as low as her left. Which is why we only wedged one hoof as the farrier and I felt it actually raised her up to where she needed to be. So taking the wedge off now is not only going to put pressure back on that tendon, but set her back down. I mentioned before that my vet had suggested we keep her in a wedge from here on out because of the heels and because of the injury. And now we're taking the wedge off..? I would rather have taken the wedge off while she was still on stall rest so she was more confined.

The problem with my thinking:
I didn't go to vet school and have zero experience with tendon injuries.

My vet's thinking:
The lameness is not caused from the tendon. It is a concussive injury from the wedge and from being walked on a concrete road for 118 days straight (which was done in the interest of the tendon, by the way). X-rays showed good angles in the hoof, take the wedge off and replace it with a leather pad filled with silicone sole pack for a "Dr Scholls" type of effect on her hoof.

My farrier's thinking:
That wedge pad, especially the degree of wedge (3 degrees), would not have been enough to cause Lilly to be lame. Testing with the testers was negative, so the issue isn't in the hoof. It can't be from the pad (bruised heels or something) or from a concussive issue because there is no tenderness in the hoof. And he, like me, thinks the wedge is good for her because it set her up where she needed to be and didn't actually jack her up enough to cause shoulder or knee pain.

Vet thinks "hoof"...

Farrier thinks "not sure, but not hoof"...

I don't want Lilly to be sore, believe you me, but my main concern right now is that tendon, not her soreness. And if Miss Thing can hop around like a saddle bronc in the paddock, she isn't that sore. I'd rather not do something that is going to reinjure that tendon.

After sharing my thoughts with the farrier, he agreed and we called my vet. Her response, even after sharing the hoof test results, was "take that wedge off, put a leather pad on, and fill it with silicone."

Okie dokie.

So that's what we did.

After my farrier was done, I took her out and turned her in some small circles. She seemed less gimpy, but she also seemed less gimpy before the wedge came off, like she was less lame than when the vet was out. So if she's not sore at all in a few days, what does it mean? And where do we go from here with future shoe jobs?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Mud

For some reason we got more snow last night. I double checked... it IS March, and I DO NOT live in Michigan anymore, I live in North Carolina. It just doesn't add up.

So what happens when rain turns to snow, which then melts? MUD!

I wish Lilly was still in the stall! She was filthy dirty and her wrap was soaked with mud. Mud also means slippery paddocks, so hopefully she stays calm in there until it dries out. Why does she always give me something to worry about?

Friday the farrier comes out to remove her wedge... I hope it's a good idea. I'm trusting my vet, but I'm worried that if we pull that wedge while her tendon is still not filled in yet, she might re-injure it. I was thinking maybe we could try a wedge bar shoe instead or something along those lines. Hopefully if the wedge is causing her pain we'll be able to tell when the pad comes off or shortly thereafter. Maybe it's her shoulder, or her knee, or who knows! I don't know!

*sigh

Monday, March 1, 2010

Turnout Video

Here's the video! You have to hear my commentary on occasion, and the wind whipping is annoying at times, but otherwise it's all Lilly. :)

It's a bit long, but I took out the "boring" parts to shorten it as much as I could. Those of you on dial up (hi, Mom!) might have to wait a while, but it is so worth the wait.

video

She just could not stop bucking... silly pony!

CMESC Awards

Last night was the Carolina Mane Event Show Circuit awards banquet. Even though we were only able to attend 2 of the 3 shows (and only one day of each show), we won Reserve Champion in the Stock Type division!

We won this great plate and ribbon. We've never won a plate before! :) It was tough to get a picture of it, but hopefully these two show what it looks like and what it says.

Here's a close up of what the plate says.



Yay Lilly!