Calm, Forward, Straight

Calm, Forward, Straight

Sunday, February 24, 2013

At the Barn #63 - An inconvenient truth, or To bute or not to bute - that is the question...

So - I was aware I have control issues, but there's nothing like a case of mystery lameness to bring that point home.

A synopsis of the last two weeks:

Val suddenly turns up head bobbing lame. (Abscess 1 - Soft tissue 0)

For several days I ran through the checklist thoroughly - no heat or swelling in any foot or leg. Val picked up / held up all four feet willingly. (Abscess 2 - Soft tissue 1)

Decided to go with some bute for a few days. Whoops - bute is contraindicated for abscesses. Ceased bute immediately. But how can you treat for an abscess when you don't know in which foot it might be festering?!

Thoroughly massaged both hips and shoulders. Val reacted very strongly to one shoulder being worked on. After obsessively watching video of the gimpage, confirmed the problem lies in the LF. (Abscess 2 - Soft tissue 2)

The next day, Val resists holding up the RF, and I (think I) detect heat in the LF hoof. Begin soaking and booting. The boot seemed to make Val move more comfortably... (Abscess 3 - Soft tissue 2)

Meanwhile pressure on the heel bulbs, sole and coronary band yield no reaction whatsoever. (Abscess 3 - Soft tissue 3)

Side notes - 
It's so much fun to be seen buying diapers out of the blue in a very small town. 
Resist the temptation to overdo the duct tape phase of the duct tape booty. There are no scissors strong enough.

Several days of more and less lameness, apparently disconnected to any treatment options. Definitely feel heat in the LF hoof. (possibly losing my sh*t at this point) (Abscess 4 - Soft tissue 3)

Many thanks to Dr. A at a fabulous veterinary outfit up the road in Virginia, who called me back and ran through the whole situation over the phone. He listened and eased my mind, as well as helped me formulate an appropriate plan of action.

Knowledge Dr. A laid on me - rarely, abscesses can reabsorb. Rarely abscesses can resolve invisibly. (I was expecting a geyser of pus) Rarely abscesses can abate and reoccur. And of course, this may not be an abscess at all. Possibly pulling out my hair at this point...

This past Thursday the lameness was markedly better overnight, but not completely gone, so I went for a short course of bute per Dr. A.

Today I walked and trotted Val out with eyes on the ground. He was not one. bit. lame. In fact, he was so not lame that he reared, bucked, pogo-ed and did his best to free himself from my clutches. Once returned to the paddock, he cantered the fence line switching leads.

Conclusion - Thank you Val for recovering before I had to seek therapy (for myself). And thanks to the friends who I bugged daily during this crazy making situation (that is theoretically over) - you know who you are. :D


  1. I often threaten to take UlcerGuard myself! :)

  2. Glad Val is better and it was "just" an abscess. Miserable to deal with, but heals fast.

    On a side note; if you ever find yourself in this situation again...wire cutters work great for cutting through a thick bandage, especially if you go a bit overboard with the duct tape.

  3. Ugh! Nothing is more frustrating than not knowing what is bothering your horse, or any animal! That is when I wish most they could talk or tell us what is wrong. Glad he is feeling better now!

  4. Wow, we went through a similar case with our mare, she had an abcess too. We use kitchen shears and they cut through duct tape layers. So glad Val is better.

  5. So glad he is better!! My experience is that all those rarelys wrt abscesses are actually not all that rare. Trimmer helped me find the probable abscess point in Cody's hoof this past week - it has not burst out and he is sometimes worse and sometimes completely okay - I suspect the alternating warm and cold weather is part of it all.

  6. Whatever it was, just glad he's feeling a lot better!

  7. Well I'm glad to see he's feeling good enough to be feisty!

    We found this great product and always keep it on hand . Animal index. It works wonders on abscesses and just about anything else you can think of. Check it out and see if you think it's a good idea for you. We love it.

  8. Wow, he's feeling great! Whew!
    I don't blame you one little bit for worrying about Val. There's nothing that makes me crazier than worrying over the beasts.

  9. Glad that he is better! Horses...

  10. C, you're okay now, good!
    And Val too, good!

    I totally know where you're coming from.
    Whew, he looks terrific. That rear online, caught on camera- woo !

  11. Lameness is stressful, isn't it? I've considered drinking the boys' Aloe Vera juice, taking their UlcerGuard, or just drinking, period. Sadly, none of it affects their lameness.

    Glad to hear that Val is feeling much much better. Hopefully your poor nerves can get back to normal now!

  12. Thanks for the kind thoughts for Val. A couple of things -

    Melissa - I may need some!

    Dancing Donkey - about scissoring the boot... My bandage (safety) scissors failed me. It was the diaper + too much duct tape. Wire cutters could be an option but I would never use real scissors near a wiggly horse.

    KK - those pictures are random off the interwebs. I was too busy controlling my fiery steed to document!

    billie - I'm not convinced it's totally over yet either.

    GHM - I used animalintex in my diaper poultice booty around the coronary band. Good product. :D

  13. jenj -

    I had several adult beverages last night :D

  14. Ugh Lameness is so frustrating and stressful. I feel for you (as I'm running through that shit too)

  15. I have only one word for you - Animalintex. It is a miraculous, cheap invention that Grey Horse Matters introduced me to several years ago and I use it every time anyone limps around here. Please get some immediately. Get the long bandage type from Smart Pak. Just cut a piece off, stick it in a boot or duct tape it to the bottom of the hoof , leave it on Val's foot overnight and it will absorb its way up to ease the pain. I also always go for the Banamine over the Bute with these abscess dramas. As you may recall, we have had a lot of these abscess dramas in our barn. I'm so glad Val is feeling better.

  16. Ugh, I HATE abscesses. Gwen now seems to get one every freaking winter as soon as the ground freezes. I give her some bute (but maybe I shouldn't?) and try not to watch her move, she's always gotten better in four days or less. After which, of course, she acts like nothing was ever wrong.


  17. Val certainly doesn't look like he's hurting at all in those last pictures. LOL. Abscesses can be so frustrating.

  18. Abscesses are the worst, but not as bad as not knowing what the real issue is. I'm glad he recovered before you started pulling your hair out!

  19. I am glad he is feeling better and that you can have a break from worrying. That is definitely the hardest part of horse ownership. People who already have kids have told me about how much you worry when there is something wrong and I am like, "yeah, I have a horse, already know all about worrying!".

  20. So glad he's feeling matter what it was!!

  21. That's great news! So glad he's feeling better. And don't be too hard on yourself, there's nothing more worrying than having your horse off in some way and not knowing what it is.

  22. Ah, horses... so much fun! I'm glad to hear he's feeling better. Those pictures show just how happy he is to be feeling better too! :)

  23. Late to this...sorry, but so glad Val is A-ok! And you too - buying diapers, worrying, etc...all too much to take. Wonderful news that it is all over, whatever it was!

  24. Ack, the dreaded abscess! It's such a bad thing I can't even spell it right! I think your comment about buying the diapers suddenly was hysterical! Especially if you are in a small town and everyone knows everything...or knows enough or not enough to be intertested! Hah! It is all very funny. Glad to see Val bopping around like a pinball. Magnificent!


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