Thursday, September 5, 2013

Horse woes

Steve alluded to Mahogany's injury in an earlier post, but I have avoided talking about it because I wasn't sure what I was going to say.  We are a few days out from the injury now, and Mahogany is doing well, and I'm optimistic for a positive outcome, so I can describe what happened.

Monday morning, Steve and I went out to take pictures of something (neither one of us can remember what at the moment) and noticed my brother's girlfriend's horses were on the hill behind the creek, outside of their pasture are.  We walked down to check out the fence Steve had just tightened earlier this spring that was supposed to keep the sheep out of the horse pasture and on the farm.  Physics being what it is, if a horse can get through the fence, then so can a much smaller sheep.  Before we headed out, we noticed blood on Mahogany's back foot.  The blood, however, was coming from her front foot.  She had a very deep cut across the back of her front foot, just above the hoof.  That's bad, for the non-horse people among us.  It was important, however, to confine the sheep, because they were headed for the hole, so I put the horses in the yard, registering that it was bad, and went to see what was up with the fence,  it turned out the horses had just rubbed the gate open, so we closed it up and went back the house.  On the way, I called Mom to get a hold of Matt to catch the wandering horses.  

We got back to the house, and looked for the source of Mahogany's injury.  She had apparently been striking at the other horses, whom she has previously gotten along with just fine, and caught the second-from-the-top strand of wire and broken it.  Yes, she snapped the wire with her foot.  About that time, my brother showed up and helped me evaluate the severity of the injury.  We determined that she had not cut the tendon, and he called someone he knew with more horse experience than both of us put together.  We just honestly did not know whether there was any hope of a horse recovering from this type of injury.  It turns out that if the tendon is not cut, and if you can keep the flies out and if an infection does not set in, the wound will probably heal.  If you have ever tried to bandage a horses ankle, you will realize this is not necessarily an easy set of conditions to achieve.

Matt was willing to help, and I really do care for my horses, so we gathered supplies and proceeded to treat the wound with Vetricin, then cover it with gauze and vet wrap, followed by a fancy duct tape booty for her.  The goal was to keep dirt and insects out of the wound so it could heal, while preventing her from re-opening the wound with every step.  Mahogany was not impressed, but we (mostly Matt) prevailed, and she ended up with a pretty silver toe.  We left that for two days, and yesterday, we reversed the process to see what we had.  It didn't look good at first.  There was a strong odor coming from the wrappings, and there was evidence of fly penetration into the tape layer.  I was getting a very bad feeling.  But, we got everything off, and amazingly, the wound itself looked very good.  Everything was the right color, and there was minimal swelling, and no evidence of infection.  So, we applied more Vetricin, wrapped it all back up, and tonight Mahogany got a shot of antibiotic.  Tomorrow we will change the dressing again.  We're on a two-day schedule for a while.

Right now it looks hopeful that she will recover.  Only time will tell if she has long term lameness or weakness.  Keep your fingers crossed for us.  I'll keep you updated.  In the meantime, she's confined to the yard.  I bring her in some hay once a day, but she's still eating the grass down very short, and Sarah has a new chore that involves a shovel and the removal of the applied horse "fertilizer" on a daily basis.  Meeka comes and goes, but really, Mahogany is much calmer with her in the yard, so she spends about half her time in the yard too.  It's a good thing I hadn't put a lot of time and effort into our landscaping, because its going to take a beating.