Tuesday, April 8, 2014

All Vet, All the Time, and Pie Saves the Day

You know when you see two different sets of vets in a single day - after seeing one set of them yesterday - that things are more than a little out of hand.  Yesterday, our regular vet took an x-ray of Red's injured hind leg that revealed that he had a fracture of the lowest (distal) end of his splint bone, several inches below the actual kick wound.  The vet stopped by today to drop off the x-rays and explain the results of her consultation with their surgeon.

Here for your viewing enjoyment is an enlargement of his x-ray:


The cannon bone is the big bone down the center.  The splint bone is the thin bone to the right of the cannon bone.  There are two things to note about this picture - first, the small tip of the splint bone at the bottom (my vet refers to this as the "button") - that is snapped off and rotated to the outside leaving sharp, jagged, edges - ouch! It's amazing that Red's as sound as he is.  The second thing to note is the "wiggle" in the splint bone above the fracture - the vet says the place where the gap between the cannon bone and splint bone is larger than elsewhere isn't normal.  All of this is several inches below the injury site.  The vet says that, either upon the impact of the kick, or as a result of twisting forces put on the leg as Red moved in response, torque resulted in pulling the splint bone slightly away from the cannon bone and fracturing the tip.

Sometimes these things heal up and calcify, but the location and sharpness of the fractured edges - adjacent to the suspensory ligament and several blood vessels - dictates that the fragment be removed surgically, and the remaining sharp end smoothed.  Otherwise, his long-term soundness would be at risk. The safest way is with full anesthesia at the vet hospital - there's too much risk of the horse moving during standing surgery under sedation.  So off to the vet hospital next week - their first available opening for surgery is a week from tomorrow.  The surgeon says that recovery should be quick, and he should be completely sound afterwards.  If all goes as planned, I should be back riding him at the walk three weeks after the surgery, and he can start back to real work after four weeks.

So, no clinic for Red.  But I'll be taking Pie, and will also be riding another "mystery horse" for the three days as well, so I'll be busy, and should have lots of things I'm learning to report.

And then there was the second set of vets . . .  Dawn had a visit from the dental surgery experts.  Today, she had a full examination and x-rays - no copies of those to show, although I reviewed them with the vet.  At least two, and perhaps three, molar fragments including roots will have to be removed, and since Dawn's only 16, the roots are still substantial.  This apparently can be done under standing sedation with facial nerve blocks.  The lead vet is out of state right now working but we'll be scheduling her molar extractions soon.  They were also able to smooth off a molar fragment that was listing to the outside and poking her in the cheek. Poor girl - that must have been very uncomfortable. I spent a good part of the morning and early afternoon waiting for her to come out of sedation - she was really zonked.

After all that vet drama, my good Pie really helped me feel better.  It was a very nice day, and Pie and I went on our first outing this year to the outdoor arena with a friend - this required a bit of navigation through muddy patches in the pasture we had to cross - and we had a wonderful ride.  Pie was very relaxed and nicely forward, and the improvement in the quality of his gaits from last year is very striking.  A most excellent Pie . . .



12 comments:

  1. Oh, wow! Glad that poor Red will be okay, although surgery is always scary. Fingers crossed for your boy!
    Dawn's issues sound less dramatic, but I'm sure she will feel much better after her procedure, as well.
    You are going to be doing quite a bit of horse nursing!

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    1. Frizzle - more quality bonding time . . .

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  2. Geesh! Poor horses are trying to stress you out! Keep us updated on them both...

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  3. Thank goodness for excellent Pie! That's a lot to handle at once. It sounds like you have the right people on the job and everyone will be feeling better soon.

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  4. Wow - hope all goes well for both Red and Dawn. And glad you got the info on Red before hauling him to the clinic!

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  5. Poor Red! and Dawn. Looking forward to those clinic posts and the mystery horse.

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  6. All in all some pretty good news out of what were some considerably bad options. I've had to write some overly healthy checks to the vet lately for one of my horses as well.

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    1. Melissa - that's my read on this, too. Both things are fixable even if not cheap to fix - but that's horses!

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  7. You had more than your share of vets this week! Red's prognosis sounds very promising and Dawn should be more comfortable with those bits and pieces gone from her mouth. I'm glad you had a good ride on Pie; I'm sure it felt great and was just what you needed.

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  8. Glad red will be OK but scary all the same . Also pleased that Dawns issues will be able to be resolved. Whew Quite a lot going on

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  9. Best wishes for Red (and Dawn)! Keep us posted. Sorry you can't ride him in the clinic, but it sounds like you've got a fun alternative lined up. Can't wait to read about your clinic experiences!

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