So we're on to the next two-week stage of his rehab:
- He can go out in the pen full day, with a little sedation before turnout. I should be able to reduce and then eliminate the sedation soon.
- No more restrictions on weather - he can get wet and mud isn't a problem in the pen either.
- No more wrapping. I can do some icing if I want.
- Since the wound is fully healed, I can do some massage to help reduce the swelling and reduce any adhesions.
- We can start trot work, starting with 5 minutes each ride and slowly working our way up over the next two weeks. At the beginning, I'll use some sedation, but as work increases, I should be able to reduce and then eliminate the sedation.
- At the end of two weeks, he can start herd turnout, starting with a limited time due to the grass and working our way up - I'll start hand grazing him soon in short intervals and increase the time until he's ready to go out. He's never shown any sensitivity to grass either with his digestive system or feet. On his first few turnouts with the herd, I'll sedate him slightly so he doesn't gallop around too much.
Pie's spooky and worked-up behavior yesterday, together with his extreme crabbiness to touch and when being groomed, all over his body (not just his barrel would have made me think ulcers), got me thinking. These are exactly the symptoms he showed when he had Lyme, and he's also been slightly footsore on and off although he's not on grass. So, since the vet was there anyway, I had them pull blood for the Cornell Lyme test - we should have results in a week or so. There have been a lot of ticks this spring already - apparently they survive very cold weather just fine. If it is Lyme, it's easy to treat. Today when we rode he was still pretty keyed up, although we were helped by a fairly uncrowded arena and managed some decent work.
Pie has had sensitivity to grass each year, so the poor fellow may have to stay in pen only turnout through June - by July 1 the grass is generally a lot less rich.