Sunday, September 5, 2010

Horse Attempts To Kill Self - But Is Apparently OK

Yesterday was a day with a little too much excitement. First, after I got done with my barn chores and was back home, I got a call from Sugar's owner that Dawn had run into a fence - she was on the way out to check on her. I was getting ready to go over, not knowing what I was going to find, and she called me back to say that Dawn was apparently OK other than some small cuts on her neck. But she brought Dawn in, and they got to the barn just as I got there. Dawn has cuts on both sides of her neck, about half-way down her neck - she apparently ran into our 4-board wood fence with the front of her neck. She also has a scrape on the left side of her jaw just in front of the throatlatch. I rinsed off the cuts with cold water and put some Nolvasan ointment on, and gave her 1 gram of bute by mouth for the swelling.

The mares had been running and Dawn was after Misty, while racing Sugar. Apparently, while chasing Misty, she lost track of where she was while flinging her head and just ran full on into the fence. Both top fence boards were broken - and these were very sturdy 6" deep and almost a full 1" wide boards, 8' long. Since she seemed comfortable grazing, and the cuts weren't so bad as to require stitches, I put her back out for the day. Fortunately, the damaged fence is between two pastures that we're using as a combined pasture, so my husband came out and sawed off the broken pieces and we'll have better repairs done when our fence guy comes later this month.

And I got to see some old friends - I trailered a horse that used to be at our barn from one barn to another as a favor to his owner, who is a friend - the horse's name is Jack and he's an off the track TB. He's a sweet boy, and I spent a lot of time with him working on leading when he came to our barn - at that time he had no idea how to lead and was a tad hard to handle. When his owner and I went to pick him up, he stuck his nose into my chest and proceeded to sniff me all over - it was pretty clear that he remembered who I was. He loaded like a gentleman and when we got to his new barn, his owner, who is a very petite lady, had me lead him down to the barn from the trailer - he was very excited, but was able to remember his lessons well. It was good to see both of them again.

In the evening, when I brought Dawn in, she was pretty swollen and sore. Her jaw wasn't too bad - just some scrapes and some swelling - nothing seems too damaged. The cuts on both sides of her neck are swollen on each side of the cuts. I expect she ran full tilt into the fence, striking it front on (second board from the top) in the middle of her neck, and also the top board with the left side of her jaw. Knowing Dawn, I expect she'd done a head fling, or lunged at Misty to bite her, to the right just before impacting the fence almost head on, hence the odd combination of injuries.

She seemed perfectly able to eat and drink and was moving just fine in the pasture, trotting and cantering at bring-in time. After I fed, she let me know that eating out of her hay bag was uncomfortable by running her teeth up and down the wall. (She usually has her hay in a bag because it helps cut down the mess in her stall - she's a messy eater.) So I took out the hay bag and put her hay on the floor, which seemed to help.

Our wonderful p.m. barn lady was going by the barn later - she's taking care of Charisma, whose owner is on vaction - so I had her check on Dawn. She said that Dawn was getting a large hematoma between her front legs on the left side - the left side of her neck was where most of the swelling was, so this wasn't surprising as the fluids migrated down due to gravity. I don't think she hit the fence in the chest area - I think the hematoma is just from the neck injury. I went over to check - her neck and the hematoma were pretty sore, so I gave her another gram of bute. And we took some pictures - our barn lady's cell phone does a pretty good job.

Here's the hematoma:


Here's a view of the neck injury from the front - the "thumbprints" to the left and at spots below the injury, and the triangular scar on her chest are all from old injuries - Dawn is, shall we say, a bit accident prone. The white stuff is Nolvasan ointment.

And here's the left side of her neck. The wound is gaping a little much to my liking due to the swelling - she may come out of this with another scar.

But he doesn't look too worried - that's a bit of bute paste on her mouth:

With Dawn, there's always (too much) excitement to be had! This morning, things didn't look any worse and the swelling on the sides of the cut on the left side of her neck had sunk down a bit. She's clearly still pretty sore, but it appears that she's going to be OK.

We won't be able to do that much riding until the various swellings go down - the hematoma will likely affect the girth area, and flexing her neck's likely to be pretty uncomfortable. So it might be time for working on our patience exercises - some just-standing-around and ground tying - and some leading (patterns with poles and cones) and perhaps some clicker work with scary objects.

24 comments:

  1. Wow, good thing it wasn't any worse. Do you know why it happened? Is there any sight problems?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Fantastyk Voyager - no, her vision is completely normal - in fact she can see a potentially scary object at 100 yards! I think she was on task - driving the other horse - she's a pretty aggressive alpha and also competitive when running (OTTB) and wasn't paying enough attention to where the fence was. She's pretty intense that way - maybe she'll be a little more careful now!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Looks like you have things under control, unlike Dawn lol.

    Hope she stays comfortable and heals up quickly!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Never a dull moment. Glad she's not hurt all that badly and hope she will heal quickly. You would hope that she would learn a lesson from this, but if she's anything like our Mellon, not so much.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Looks like Dawn will be ok. These TBs - all play and no caution!!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. some of them just seem like some people , much more accident prone. She sure must have been moving when she hit!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Sending good thoughts to Dawn. Glad she didn't do any worse damage - hitting a fence full on can be bad!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Glad Dawn is okay. These horses need bubble wrap suits, I swear. They can damage themselves on AIR. Looks like you've got things under control. God bless Bute and all the various ointments. My equine first aid kit is far better stocked than my own ;o)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Ouch! Glad it's not any worse. Are you doing some cold hosing to help the swelling?
    I love Nolvasan: The little Arab retiree we have living with us went through 3, count 'em THREE, barb wire fences in a panic one day when they first got him--his back legs looked like hamburger. There was very little if any infection, and there's very little scarring visible now.
    Healing (and cautionary) vibs coming your way!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm glad she's all right. That could have been a lot worse.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Boy, that Dawn will do anything to get a vacation! So glad she is ok.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Ouchers! That's two now, except my horses kept going after "someone" broke the fence rail....

    Has the chiropractor been out already? If, not, as soon as Dawn's injuries are a bit more healed, I would think an adjustment would be in order.

    I agree about the chest hematoma. It is probably from bruising higher up. I've seen that happen before.

    Poor girl. But, you're right, she doesn't look too upset by all of it, although her expression does look a bit "faraway," in the pic--not upset, just a bit introspective.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Horses and fence injuries seem to go hand in hand. Glad it wasn't worse!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Cold hosing would probably help with the swelling. If you can get ahold of some liquid Devil's Claw (Wendalls Herbs makes some) it is just as effective as Bute in easing inflammation and pain and it's much easier on their stomach. You can use it for longer periods of time than Bute, which builds up in a horse's system and can lead to ulcers.
    Glad your pretty girl got off fairly lightly; good thing it wasn't a high tensile wire fence!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Goodness! That hematoma is a doozie. Poor Dawn. I hope she heals quickly.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Yikes! Do they make horse bubble wrap?

    Poor Dawn. It's not easy being alpha.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Sometimes I am glad we have draft horses, they are far less prone to such antics & injuries as your Dawn got. As for our Bobby, the vet came out in June to do their yearly checkup, & at that point they were both worm free, & Bobby got his teeth done (something I'm sad I missed, my partner says he was really goofy all doped up.) But about the metabolic thing, I'll do more research on that, I hadn't thought of that, thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  18. At our last barn, Mosco took out an 8in diameter fence post with his chest; completely snapped it out of the ground. It looked like he'd swallowed a mini basketball & it'd gotten stuck in his chest area! He still has scar tissue in the area, but otherwise no ill effects. Cold hosing did help get the swelling down relatively quickly. Poor Dawn; hope she heals soon!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Holy crap! I hope she feels better soon!!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Oh wow you were lucky it wasn't worse. I hope she heals quickly

    ReplyDelete
  21. I am so glad that Dawn will be okay!! That is so scary. Hope she heals up quickly so you can get back to riding!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Glad she wasn't seriously hurt; she's got some pretty good dings though. If you are worried about a scar, Skin Renovator by Equine America is terrific stuff. She will literally "hair up and heal over" (that's a southernism *grin*) in nothing flat. It's kind of expensive, but it sure does work wonders :o)

    ReplyDelete
  23. Poor Dawn! What an injury! Oh, I'm so sorry it happened to her! I'm glad she's healing. (I hope she feels she won that race, and won't need to race again! :)) And I admire your calmness in the face of these things! I wish I was like that.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for commenting - we appreciate it. No spam or marketing comments will be published.