Sunday, June 27, 2010

Mystery Accident

After having such a wonderful day on Saturday, Sunday followed it up with a nightmare. I may have to retire Bombay to pasture for the rest of the summer. Bombay's wound caused by kicking himself while falling in the trailer two weeks ago was healed, so got him ready to go for a trail ride, but this time I put on an extra pair of boots to avoid injuries from him kicking himself in the trailer. He was tied to a post and I went into the house for a minute to get my purse and the keys to my truck. When I walked out, I could see him struggling. Somehow he got the lead rope wrapped around a gate bolt and also got it stuck under his Old Mac boot. When he raised his head, he lifted his leg and when he put his leg down and pulled his head down.

I said "Whoa" and hurried over to get him untangled, but he reared up right next to my truck. I thought he was going to come down on my truck, but he turned and came down on the gate, cutting himself under the chin. It was just a superficial wound, mostly just a matter of being bruised and having hair ripped out, so I decided to go ahead with the trail ride. I drove exceptionally slow. I stayed 10 mph under the speed limit on every road, I started slowing way ahead of time when approaching stops and turns, and every turn was made at a snail's pace as smoothly as possible.

I had drivers weaving back and forth behind me trying to get me to go faster and I just had to ignore them. When we got to the trail head I was shocked to see that Bombay was all out of breath and had more cuts all over his face, especially around his eye. Again, they were superficial, but I couldn't figure out what the heck he was cutting himself on.

Then I looked down and saw blood all over his left hind leg. Dang it! What is wrong with this horse? He's been riding in horse trailers for 12 years. Why would he suddenly not be able to stand up in a trailer?

I immediately turned around and headed back home. I could have made a right and been at the veterinary clinic in a couple of minutes, but I knew they were closed. I decided to take Bombay home and see how deep the cut on his leg was before calling the vet. When I got him out of the trailer, I discovered blood on all four legs, one hock, and his hip.

I hosed him down and fortunately the majority of the blood was transfer. Only two of his legs were injured, his hock and his hip. His front leg bled so much that it filled his Old Mac boot with blood. That one clearly needed stitches. The back leg was skinned over a very large area. In fact, I found skin, fur and blood on his hind boots. He was holding up the hind hoof because it caused him the most pain, so I was worried he may have damaged a muscle or bone.

I called the vet hospital and got a busy signal. I cleaned and wrapped his wounds the best I could, but was running out of first aid supplies. I called the vet again and was forwarded to an answering service that keep me on hold for 15 minutes. They hooked me up with the on call vet, who was in his truck headed to another emergency in the next city. I described the injuries and my suspicions. He said he'd call me as soon as he's done with the other emergency. That was hours ago.

Bombay can walk, so I'm sure his injuries will heal, but I'm more concerned about why after 12 years he suddenly can't keep his balance in a horse trailer. He hits his head a lot on his stall window frame, which is metal, and I'm wondering if he might have neurological damage.

After I cleaned all the bloody boots, I cleaned out the trailer and found blood in the strangest places. All I can figure out is that he must have flipped all the way over on his back and was kicking the walls up near the ceiling. But when I stopped, he was upright and his quick release trailer tie was still attached to his halter. If he really fell all the way to the ground, I'm sure he tweaked his neck and back good having his halter attached to a very short trailer tie at the height of the window. I'm starting to think that if I ever trailer him again, I will have to remove the center divider and not tie him to anything. I don't know if having him tied helped or hurt the situation.

At any rate, I've got an inured horse and I'm sure I'll be looking at a mean vet bill soon, so I'm not risking taking Bombay in a trailer anywhere ever again until we get down to the bottom of this and figure out why he can't keep his balance. My biggest fear is that the vet will tell me to bring him into the clinic on Monday for x-rays. I'm sure we won't make it in the trailer without more injuries. Anyway, I'll let you know what the vet says if he ever gets here. Isn't it sad that you can clean up your horse, your equipment, and write an entire blog post in the time that it takes a vet to reach you on an emergency call?


Katharine Swan said...

Oh, I am so sorry, NM! Don't be mad at the vet, though -- he was on another emergency call, and he has to take them in the order they come in.

I wonder if Bombay has some kind of degenerative disease that is compromising his sense of balance. It's just speculation, because I have no idea if horses can even have that happen, but it does seem odd that he is suddenly having so many problems in the trailer. Until you figure it out, though, I think taking out the divider and untying him -- if you have to trailer him again -- sounds sensible.

CheekyMare said...

Oh, no! I hate it when they do something and you can't figure out HOW! I'll be keeping you and you animal crew in my thoughts. Hope you get some answers soon.

Fantastyk Voyager said...

Oh no! That's awful news. And this just reinforces why I am such a hesitant traveler. I worry so much about my horses trailering and yet I see trailers full of horses on the roads every day of the year.I hope he's okay. Legs can bleed profusely even if it's only a minor cut. The other day, when I pulled a cactus thorn out of Yalla!'s leg my hand got soaked with her blood.

Cheryl Ann said...

Oh, gosh! Yes, please keep us informed about Bombay.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps with pix of the injuries and the interior of the trailer readers can help figure out what happened and brainstorm a solution.

Hope he's not seriously hurt.

Stephanie said...

Oh NO! I was just catching up on my reading and sounds like you had such a great Saturday and miserable sorry. I hope you can figure out what is ailing Bombay and causing him what seems likes balance issues in the trailer. Must be very upsetting to you! (as well as having to wait for the emergency vet!!!)

KD said...

Anxiously awaiting news on Bombay. Hope it's nothing too serious.

Leah Fry said...

I know you must be worried sick. I hope Bombay's injuries aren't serious and that you are able to figure out what's going on with him.

I always try to cut docs and vets slack if they are slow in responding, since I would want them devoting their full attention to me if I were the one they were working on when another call came in.

Fantastyk Voyager said...

I can't imagine that he could fall down and get back up without you knowing. Gosh, I would imagine their getting back up on their feet would sound like the trailer was being torn apart.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

I suppose the vet didn't consider the injuries life threatening, sort of like the medical staff treat huamn patients in the emergency room, but still the waiting is excruciating with all the worrying.

I would have been terrified, too. Poor Bombay. I hope you are able to figure out what his trailering issues are. It seems so weird. How would he do if he were trailered with another horse...or do you think that would be even more dangerous?