Tuesday, July 12, 2016

A Veterinary Adventure

On Friday night, I saw that Lostine had smashed the point of her hip again, and this time there was bloody gash.  Because she is so fast and low to the ground, she takes tight corners and many times her hip bone does not clear the metal posts of the barn.  She's been banging her hip for as long as I've known her, and the hair on both hip points is white as a result.  However, this gash looked kind of like a hoof print, and I wonder who would have kicked her.  She was walking fine and eating fine, so I just cleaned up the wound and protected it from flies.

Saturday morning she was walking with a limp, so I gave her my last dose of Banamine.  On Sunday she was just a little stiff and wobbly, but still moving around and eating fine.  I called my vet on Monday only to find out that she was on vacation, so I bought some AspirEze at the feed store to help with the inflammation and pain.

Something happened to complicate the injury Monday night.  Lostine was standing with her hind legs splayed and her tail straight up in the air in the arena, and she would not come into the barn for dinner.  I tried to encourage her to move, but she was reluctant.  I worried that she might have injured her spine in addition to her hip.  I brought her a bucket of grain with AspirEze, hoping that would ease the pain enough to get her moving, but it didn't, so I let her eat her hay where she stood in the arena and brought three buckets of water to her.

I didn't want her to feel like she was vulnerable to predators standing by herself out in the open all night, but I couldn't release Rock from his stall because anytime he comes near Lostine, she runs away.  His presence stresses her out.  Gabbrielle wouldn't push Lostine around, but she does irritate Lostine.  So, I let Bombay out to keep her company.

In the morning, I realized that was a mistake, because Bombay tipped over all of her water buckets and kicked them around the arena because he thought they were new toys for him.  I had no idea how many hours Lostine had gone without water.  She was still standing in the same spot as the night before.

I immediately refreshed her water supply and she slurped down half a bucket of water.  I fed her some hay, more grain and AspirEze, cleaned up the manure piles she was standing in, and called a vet I haven't used before.  In my head, I was envisioning x-rays and surgery, and I felt that at her age with her arthritis, I would rather euthanize her than to drag out a painful process of recovery.

While waiting for the vet, I was trying to research livestock burial laws in my county, but got frustrated with my inability to locate the information I needed.  Just then blogger Christine, who used to live near me, but has since moved to the northwest, sent me an email with a recommendation for a vet I could use.  I asked her what the burial laws are in my neighborhood, and she gave me just the information I needed to make a decision on whether to bury at home or send off for cremation.  It turns out that there are a couple of locations on my land where I can legally bury a horse.  I just wasn't sure if that was the best thing to do, because I would have to put her down and bury her while my other three horses watched.  It might be better, in that case, to haul her out.

After eating, Lostine had taken a few steps toward the barn because she wanted to get into the shade.  I was worried that if I put a halter on her and pulled her, I might do more damage or cause her more pain, so I was trying to figure out a way to create shade for her where she was standing.  However, the vet arrived before I could devise a plan.  The vet's first concern was to get her out of the sun into the shade.  She felt that was more important than worrying about pain or further injury.  Surprisingly, Lostine walked right along side her.  I think everyone let out a sigh of relief, because that meant that her injury was not as bad as it seemed.

My reluctance to move her sprung from an experience I had as a child.  My neighbor's Samoyed jumped up and knocked my bunny's cage off a counter top onto the floor, and my bunny twisted her back.  She was fine on that day, but the next day she was exhibiting signs of pain, and the day after that there were mobility issues, and before we knew it, she was paralyzed.  Lostine's condition seemed to be following that same path.

However, it turned out that Lostine was not becoming paralyzed in her hind end.  She got worse over time, because of edema build up in both hind legs.  The swelling was causing her pain, but she could walk and put weight on the injured hip when forced to.  The vet checked her vitals, and they were all pretty good.  Then she checked her mechanics, and they were good as well.  She just drifts to one side to avoid putting too much weight on the hip that hurts.

This vet was able to tell from experience, without expensive x-rays, that she did not break any bones clear through, but probably has a crack/fracture in either her hip or pelvis.  She said it's an easy fix with several weeks of stall rest and Bute for the pain, and maybe leg wraps for the edema.  I can handle that.  She thinks Lostine will be exponentially better in the morning.

I was worried they would make me haul her in a trailer to their clinic, because not only am I extremely uncomfortable with hauling horses in this metropolis amongst all these crazy drivers, but I was worried that Lostine wouldn't even be able to keep her balance.  The vet said that horses balance really well on three legs and can survive a trailer ride with a broken leg just fine.  That's good to know, but it doesn't address my driver anxiety or the heat factor.

I was so glad that they did do a ranch visit.  I was graced with two vets and two assistants, and they were all very professional.  I'm relieved to have more people I can trust to help out in a pinch without taking advantage of my misfortune.  I tend to collect a very close circle of friends and service providers, and when I am forced to go outside that circle, I get nervous.  But there are plenty of good people out there.  I've just got to meet a few to find them.

Scrappy is also doing better.  His urgent peeing and vomiting stopped, so I didn't need to take him to the vet.  The problem with these bladder stones is that they are migratory and can be peed out before you can even get a vet to do an exam.

I'm so relieved that everything got resolved, because when things like this happen, I have to put my life on hold to deal with them.  Now I can get back to my life and reading everyone else's blogs.


TeresaA said...

Oh poor Lostine! Heal quickly old girl.

I actually don't know sour burial laws are here. Everyone just buries their animals.

How Sam Sees It said...

I'm really glad I could help out, and glad that she is doing better. I hope she continues to "mend".

Mrs. Huckleberry said...

Glad everyone is doing better. Hopefully Lostine bounces back quickly.

Mrs Shoes said...

That's awesome that you found a new vet, lucky you got the referral when you needed it.
Do you think you'll switch to these new vets?
I'm lucky that when I have a farm call (which costs about $85), the vet looks after the horses & the cats & dogs all that day. The barn cats are not inclined to travel, nor does Saint the Good Shepherd agree to leave her post willingly. manic the Min Pin... let's just say I should've had her in the car constantly when she was a puppy - but didn't, & so travel with her requires earplugs for me or sedation for her (her record is fussing for about 17 straight hours before finally falling asleep in the back seat). Fun times.

So, needless to say, I really appreciate my vet accommodating us & I won't change vets until he retires (which I selfishly hope that he won't do for many years to come).

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Mrs. Shoes - Actually, the referral came after I called another vet, so I really have three vets now who should work out well. That sounds like a great vet that you have. I don't think we have any vets who will handle both domestic and livestock here. Everyone is so specialized.