If it's not one thing it's another. In the ever-ongoing veterinary saga that is my life with horses, both Pie and Dawn are currently battling a nasty case of what I refer to generically as "face crud". Both of them had a nasty fly bite (?) - in Pie's case on his cheek and in Dawn's case on the point of her jaw - which just refused to heal despite treatment with Neosporin. All of a sudden, Pie's bite got inflamed and infected and then just blew up - the whole side of his jaw - an area bigger than my palm - was marked by inflamed, oozing circles of infection. And within a day, Dawn's fly bite had started oozing and seeping and then there were crusty infected areas all down the side of her jaw, and today even behind her throat latch onto her neck - and she has a whole set of hives from mosquito bites to go with that.
We've been having very hot and humid weather, which is perfect for this sort of thing to happen. Pie's had scratches before, and this seemed a lot like that. And Dawn has had various types of skin crud and reactions to insect bites and stings before - once resulting in cellulitis all down her neck.
After some ineffective treatment in both cases with Neosporin, I'd started treating with silver sulfadiazine topically and SMZs orally once a day. And both horses had a swollen knee last evening, with little pustules and some seepage - they'd apparently rubbed their faces on their legs and transferred the skin infection to their leg.
Things weren't improving, so I called the vet. She said silver sulfa can keep wounds like this too wet, which can make bacterial infections (which these likely are) worse. She prescribed Quadritop ointment - a broad spectrum antibiotic with antibacterial and antifungal properties and also a corticosteroid to reduce inflammation. And we upped the SMZ's to twice a day (14 pills each time) - oral antibiotics to deal with both the skin infection and also the subcutaneous stuff that is going on in their knees and also in Dawn's neck. She said to wash with plain water when needed, and dry, and then apply the ointment once a day.
How did they get this? It could have been spontaneous, but the guys use the same halters to bring in all the horses, and there are two horses in Pie's herd with face crud. The halter may have transferred the bacteria to Pie's open wound. And in Dawn's case, I expect it was my shared grooming tools that infected her. In Dawn's case, it could be an abscess from her tooth surgery - the timing's about right - but there's not a lot of puss and she's eating normally and has no mouth odor. And the fact it's spread to her knee and neck also makes me think face crud rather than an abscess. But if it were an abscess, the treatment with SMZs would be what we'd be doing anyway.
All three horses now have their own sets of grooming tools, and Pie's set - the old set - have been disinfected with Clorox. I use separate natural sponges to clean Pie and Dawn, and separate clean towels to dry them - the sponges go into a water/Listerine bath to disinfect and the towels go home to be washed in hot water.
If things aren't improved by the end of the week, the vet will make an in-person visit.
More horse veterinary stuff - it never ends . . .
But Red says: "What about me? You have to tell everyone what I did today!"
And I will, in the next post . . .