Friday, July 2, 2010

After Five Days of Stall Rest

Here's how Bombay's wounds are healing after five days of stall rest and keeping them wrapped:

It turns out Bombay isn't the only one in a couple of soft casts. My husband fell off his skateboard and sprained his wrist. He's healing a lot faster than Bombay, though.

Giving the horse his antibiotics is both an art and a science. You put twelve huge pills into a vial, add some water, shake it up, but not too much, because it leaks out the lid if you shake it too hard. Then you stick a syringe into the vial and suck up the liquid. Then you attempt to stick the syringe in the side of the horse's mouth, point it toward the back of his mouth, and plunge. The problem is that the horse closes off his throat and the liquid splatters out of his mouth and all over your hair and clothes.

Also, you have to be very careful not to tilt the back of the syringe down, because all the liquid will spill out the back before you can get it into the horse's mouth. It's rather hard to keep the back up and the front down when the horse's head is two feet higher than you are tall.

My first solution to the spraying problem was to wear an apron. That helped, and then I started having problems with not having enough hands to hold all the medications and the halter at the same time. I started setting the medications down on the windowsill of the stall, but the other horses walked up and knocked them off the sill with their noses. I finally came up with the bright idea of wearing a fanny pack around my red hot chili pepper apron, and storing all the medications in there.

I was dreading changing his bandages, because when I did that with Gabbrielle while she was tied to the trailer, she looked down and saw all that white padding spreading out around her leg as I was cutting it off, and she panicked. She pulled back and ripped the metal bracket right off the side of the horse trailer. I didn't want a repeat performance with Bombay, so I had my son hold him while Bombay ate out of a wheelbarrow. I also gave him two doses of calming paste for good measure.

He was still pretty alert when I was cutting off his bandages, but he did start breathing heavily afterward, so I think if my timing were better, the calming paste probably would have worked out. You're supposed to give one dose 1 to 3 hours before the event, and one dose at the time of the event, which I did.

The vet did such a great job of wrapping his legs that it took me about ten minutes per leg to cut off all those layers of various materials. The good news is that when bandages are applied well, they can stay on for 4 or 5 days. The bad news is that even with the sharpest scissors, they are very difficult to cut off. I had to try out four different pair of scissors and cut the wraps off by layer because none of my scissors would cut through the entire bulk of it. Bombay just kept eating and didn't freak out over all the puffy stuff around his legs. He did put up a fuss as soon as he realized that I was wrapping them back up again, though. He just kept picking up his legs and kicking so that I couldn't hold the padding on and evenly wrap them.

He's already ripped off his hind wrap that I applied. That wound just itches too much. I don't think I'm going to be able to keep anything on it. Open air is okay once the wound closes up, so it probably won't hurt to leave it unwrapped.

I ordered a set of shipping boots to help prevent these types of injuries. $50 for a set of boots beats a $320 vet bill plus the cost of additional medical supplies any day. I ordered them from I haven't done business with them before, but they had the thicker, heavier boots that I wanted at a very reasonable price. I'll let you know if they work out.


Breathe said...

It's incredible how well those leg injuries can heal. Smokey, my favorite not-my-horse at the barn had a horrible wound. I would have taken a picture of it if I had a stronger stomach.

Anyway it just sealed up. I thought his leg was going to fall off.

They are tougher than they look.

Glad you're getting the shipping boots. Have you figured out what exactly he did? Do you really think he flipped in the trailer?

Katharine Swan said...

Interesting how different vets and different people handle wounds. I was always told open air was best -- when Panama was kicked two years ago, I never even called the vet, just did what I'd been told before: Cleaned it and cold-hosed it twice a day. (Pictures here and here.) I did put a light coat of Furall (spray furacin -- it's no longer on the market) on between cleanings to keep the flies out. It never swelled up or got infected, and although it did take about a month to heal, it healed pretty cleanly.

photogchic said...

They look like they are healing nicely. Everyone always thinks I am crazy, but I always have shipping boots and a head bumper even if we are just going down the road. Sure enough, she tossed her head a couple weeks ago and hit the top...was so glad I had that thing on. Poor Bombay...Mr. Accident Prone.

manker said...

in a word "oy"... hope everyone's footloose and fancy free soon...
happy trails

fernvalley01 said...

They seem to be coming along well I would think it would be fine to leave them open to the air. You know best as you are seeing them every day ,unless it starts to get dry to fast and cracking /bleeding I would leave it

Cindi said...

Just a suggestion on the meds in the syringe. I had to dose my horse for a week or so when she injured her vein in her lower leg. Try mixing w/a little baby applesauce to make it taste a little better. My horse seemed more willing to take the meds then. And, I either had her tied to something or someone holding her and I put her head up a little so that she couldn't spit it back out. It worked for me. Maybe it might help you? Good luck!

Reddunappy said...

Glad he is getting better, I hate it when they hurt themselves!
Ours are being tormented by the bumper crop of mosquitoes we have after this wet Spring!

Dreaming said...

Oh my! The wounds look like they must have been terrible, but they are healing nicely!

I got free shipping boots when I bought blankets. I use them once in a while - I think I'll use them all of the time!

My guy is such a food hog that I jut have to put the pills in his food. I don't even have to crush them! He eats everything! He should have been named 'Mikey'!
Good luck getting the antibiotics in the horse!

Leah Fry said...

Sure hope the boots help. I'm betting he's not going to take too kindly to his next trailer ride without some pretty good incentives — like LOTS of cookies.

Hope you find the secret to getting him to take his meds.

Jeni said...

Wow I've missed a lot! Now that I'm caught up I'm very sorry you've been having these issues and I hope life gets a bit easier for you soon.


Rising Rainbow said...

They look like they are healing nicely. That's good.

Sorry to hear your life is so complicated right now. That sucks!

Hope you have a relaxing 4th!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

I'm glad he is healing so nicely. It's easy to see just how horrible the wounds were though. It's too bad you can't just wrap him in bubble wrap the next time you trailer him. gah!

I bought shipping boots when I had Baby Doll, but I've yet to use them. Sounds like it might be worth it to try with Apache, though. She's such a calm trailer rider, though. I think she considers trailer rides her naptime, along with lots of food to munch on, she seems to enjoy trailer riding.