Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Learn From My Mistakes

Welcome to another chapter of Learn From My Mistakes.  We had a little incident while changing Gabbrielle's leg bandages.  The vet had applied several layers of different types of bandaging while Gabbrielle was under sedation.  First he applied a non-adherent pad, then a roll of gauze, followed by some Elastikon.  He then applied two layers of sheet cotton, some brown gauze, some Vetwrap, and sealed it all off with more Elastikon.  At first I tried pulling off each layer, but everything was too sticky.  I had to use scissors.  I was doing alright cutting down the length of the bandage until I hit the second layer of sheet cotton.  All those layers were just too much for my scissors to cut through.

So, I just cut off the top layer of the sheet cotton.  When I got done with that, I had a huge pile of garbage and decided to throw it in the trash before attacking the second layer with my scissors.  I just didn't want anything lying on the ground that would scare Gabbrielle.  When I turned my back to her, she looked down and saw the remaining layer of sheet cotton sticking out from her leg.  She instantly thought something was attacking her, and started pulling back on the lead rope, which was tied to a metal bracket on the side of the trailer.

My husband grabbed the rope and the two of them got into a tug of war.  Sorry folks, but if it comes down to me saving my horse or saving my husband, I choose my husband.  So, I told him to let go.  Gabbrielle pulled back with such force that she broke the metal bracket right off the side of the trailer and took off at a gallop with this metal piece tied to her lead rope and flying behind her.  In that instant, I started praying that the metal piece wouldn't hit her in the eye.

Fortunately, she stepped on the remaining sheet cotton and ripped it right off her leg, then hit a dead end in a horse pen filled with some spread, dried out manure.  The manure brought the metal piece to a halt before it hit her.  She stood there breathing heavily and waited for me to come get her.  My husband picked up the cotton and threw it out so that I could walk her back to the remaining bracket on the trailer and tie her up again.  Pulling the final pad off her wound was no fun for either of us.  I just had to rip it right off and she jumped back in pain.  There was some yellow fluid on it, but not a lot and no pus. 

I sprayed a little Betadine solution onto her wound, then tried to apply a fresh pad, but she wouldn't let me touch her owwie.  So, my husband brought a wheelbarrow full of hay over for her to munch on while I tried to get the pad onto her knee.  It was very difficult to do with her pulling away and kicking back.  At the same time, flies were already landing on her wound, which was causing her to be even more agitated.  Some of the layers are adhesive, while others aren't.  When you have to apply several non-adhesive layers, you have to do it really fast before she moves.  Otherwise, the non-adhesive junk will come loose and she'll think she's being attacked again, and probably rip another metal bracket off the side of the trailer. 

When we got to the part where we add the cotton sheet, she freaked at the sight of it.  I was thinking, "This is so unfair.  My vet was able to do this while she was sedated.  Now, after all her pain and bad experiences, I am expected to do what he did, but without the sedation." 

I had to take her through the whole routine of desensitizing her to the cotton sheet.  First I had her sniff the roll.  Then I opened it up a bit and flapped it around in front of her.  Then I rolled it back up again and tried to touch her on the shoulder with it.  Once she allowed that, I touched it to her back, then her rump, then her neck and chest, eventually getting to the legs.  The sun had set and we needed to pick our son up from his gymnastics class.  I didn't want to put her away without the support of the cotton sheet on her leg, so I just started wrapping it around her leg.

I had a sheet of paper with a picture of each item and wrote numbers in the order of how they needed to be applied.  My husband started handing me materials and I just applied whatever he handed me as fast as I could.  When all was said and done, we forgot the layer of Vetwrap.  Oh well.  At least we were still alive, minus one trailer tying bracket.


fernvalley01 said...

Sorry to hear that . It can be a handful treating a wound at home . Have you got access to Valerian (It is an herbal calming agent , there are a few products out there with it Rivas Remedies "Calm and cool ") not an actual sedative ,just takes the nervous edge off. Also jus a thought I rarely tioe a horse I am treating, Eithe rdrop the rope or have a second person hold them , somehow they just seem calmer and less likely to addopt that "flight response . In any case I am sure you did a fine job dressing the wound. Good luck and hope it heals quickly

Fantastyk Voyager said...

Oh my, you are so lucky she didn't get hurt worse! Or you, or your husband! The problem is, she's just not sick enough to work around, huh? Generally, when they feel really bad they'll accept doctoring because they don't feel well enough to fight it. She's still too full of spunk.
I almost never leave my horses tied up when I am going to do 'anything' that might upset them because I have found that even the best horses will pull back on occasion.
I certainly don't envy you. I really hate to play doctor. My best for you all.

Breathe said...

I was also told not to tie Lily in situations that she regards as worthy of major worry. She does a lot better.

Boy, I'd hate to wrap a wound like that on my 7 year old, let alone a horse. I mean my kid can kick, but not that hard. :)

Glad everyone made it out unscathed.

Paint Girl said...

Oh, I am so sorry you had to go through all that! I am so glad no one was hurt! And that you were able to get the bandage back on. I just wish horses knew that we are actually trying to help them when we have to do those kind of things.
Brandy pulls back a lot. She's pulled back at the trailer a few times, and one of those times it loosened the tie bracket. My OH had to buy a bigger bolt just to get it back on tight enough. Now, I usually don't tie her all the way, she doesn't go anywhere. I have a blocker tie ring over where I groom. She hasn't pulled back being tied to that yet. It will be interesting to see how it actually works.

allhorsestuff said...

Crap! Won't chime-in on what others have already said but..truly am glad that no one got hurt and it ended the way it did for you all!
So fun and she'll be a champ by the end of this. I had a nasty hock-kick one time years ago..and my mare would lift it up and slightly kick it if I jsut looked at it or walked to it. That was a rough go to treat too. It'll be over soon, I pray!

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

Good for you for saving your husband. I'm sure he appreciates that.:)

Wow, that sure sounds like a lot of layers. Amazing! But I suppose it's for support right?

Happy belated birthday!!

Leah Fry said...

Note to self: cease and desist from tying horses to the trailer brackets. Glad your hubby wasn't hurt, and it sounds like the wound is coming along nicely.

KD said...

Glad nobody got hurt when she pulled back. My wrap jobs never look very neat.

Lulu said...

Kim has been a real boobie about letting me apply the antibiotic cremes to her leg wounds, so I had to give up and twitch her to get this done. It just wasn't safe with her threatening to kick out while I was bent over trying to dress her wound. She's not the biggest fan of the twitch, but it gets the job done, keeping us both safe.

Hopefully Gabbrielle will quiet down while bandaging now that she is familiar with the process!

Alex said...

yipes! sounds like quite the adventure to get that wound taken care of! I've resorted to doing Beau while he eats his grain... the timing isnt always right for hours on/off (we are finally after 9 weeks weaning him off the stack wrap) but its so much easier to do it while he munches! And, I second your opinion of the sedation affect- it all looks so easy at the clinic when they show you... but you never remember they are dopey- get 'em home and goodness its a whole 'nother story! And can we talk about how much wrapping material costs, and how much it sucks to cut it all off every day and throw it out!? I swear I have kept 3M in business these past few months! I have gone thru cotton roll and vet wrap in multiple cases, and that brown gauze roll is hard to find! Elasticon looses it's "stick" if you keep it around too long, and IMHO pay extra for the non-stick qauze pads! Good luck, I hope she is easier for the next one!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

The simple solution would have been for me to pull out the knot, but my hands were full and I didn't think of it at the moment. I really didn't think she could break the trailer bracket. I mean that was half an inch of solid metal on each end. The other thing is that Gabbrielle has always been good at standing tied. I've never had an incident of her pulling back. There's always a first time.

My biggest concern was getting my husband out of there, so that he didn't get pinned between the trailer and the rope. I was thinking it was probably a good thing I didn't have her tied to a post. Even though our posts are set in concrete, I have a feeling she would have pulled one right out of the ground and dragged it behind her. I can't imagine that her neck is feeling good today.

lytha said...

I'm so sorry this happened, that should not have broken! I am glad you and your man were not hurt!

I remember a time when everything was so hard with Baasha, how he always had a new injury of the week, when he was younger.

Young horses, sheesh. I really don't want another!

Take care,


Katharine Swan said...

I'm glad Gabbrielle is okay! I was practically jumping up down in my seat, thinking, "Desensitize her to the cotton pad! Desensitize her to the cotton pad!" so I was really relieved when your next paragraph was about doing just that. :o)

I think it's interesting that everyone is saying NOT to tie a horse when working on them, since I had the opposite experience on Tuesday: Panama freaked and ran away from me (kicking me in the process) because he wasn't tied. After I caught him again, I tied him and went back to doing what I'd been doing, and he was much better about it tied than not tied.

I've learned my lesson, and I'll always tie him when I'm doing something like that. Of course, I only tie him on thick posts that are cemented into the ground. I actually don't think he'd be able to pull them out of the ground, but even if he could, he never has -- he usually pulls for a few seconds, realizes nothing is happening, hears me yelling quit, and stops.

Katharine Swan said...

P.S. It just occurred to me -- you might not want to tie her on the trailer brackets anymore. Now that she knows she CAN break loose, she may try this again. That's what happened when Panama discovered that his breakaway halter would break if he pulled back -- suddenly everything was scary and warranted a panicked escape. I don't use breakaway halters anymore, to say the least...

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

You know by now, my friend, that every situation....AND every horse is unique. What works, or doesn't work, for one horse may...or may not, work for another.

We can all learn from what happens to each other and our horses, but the biggest lesson in all of this is: ALWAYS EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED!


Some people may just rack it up to Gabbrielle being a 'young horse' or that 'she's not sedated', and that may be a part of why your situation happened, but my own mare is over 16 years old and has probably been wormed at least 40 times throughout her lifetime, but yet, when she saw me walking towards her holding a wormer tube, she lost her mind and pulled back so hard that she broke a weld off a metal pipe, which rammed into me and slammed me into the ground, breaking my knee.

My mare should know better, right? That's what I thought, too.

But sometimes, even the best, most experienced horses lose their minds and do things we'd never expect.

Now, I tend to snicker and roll my eyes when other folks say, "Well MY horse has NEVER done that. She ALWAYS behaves and I can ALWAYS trust her" hahahaha!

I truly don't mean to by cynical, but what happened to me....not once but twice, on a horse I TRUSTED, has made me always think about the very worst that could happen....not just ON a horse, but on the ground, too.

Call me paranoid. I'm ok with that. If it keeps me out of the hospital, then that's good enough for me.

I'm very relieved that both you and your hubby are safe and uninjured, as well as Princess Gabbrielle. Let's hope that the discomfort caused by pulling back taught her a little lesson, though.


Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Lisa - I had to laugh when I read your comment, because you wrote it at the exact same time that I was putting together a post with the same attitude on this topic. We've had a couple more un-fun incidents since this one, and I'm (literally) at the end of my rope. I've got that post scheduled for later tonight.