dancing horses

dancing horses

Friday, February 3, 2023

Disaster Averted. Probably.

 Buckle up folks, this is a bit of roller coaster. I debated about posting this but then decided to go ahead. 

When I last posted the situation was that I was recovering from my rib injury and Ed from his heart surgery.  Both of us have been healing slowly but well. My rib is barely a twinge. Ed's recovery is much slower- as we would expect when your chest is cracked open, heart cut into and all put back together. We're still 3 weeks off from him being able to lift anything more than 5 pounds or drive. 

Needless to say it's been quiet. Then this week I caught a virus. Not Covid (as least based on the rapid test) but a nasty bug all the same. It knocked me on my ass. Ed has been trying to help as best he can. On Thursday morning he told me to stay in bed and he could feed the horses. I agreed because all he had to do was throw in their feed and some hay. I clean the stalls after breakfast. When he came in he told me that Quaid didn't seem interested in his feed, just his hay. I didn't think too much just a 'hmm'. Sometimes he likes to socialise before eating. 

I had a moment of seeing Ed and I in our senior years as we had our morning coffee. 

Ed : I'll clean the stalls

Me: You can't because of your heart 

Ed: Well you can't because you're sick

Me: I can do it and I will. 

Ed: You are so stubborn

Me: back at ya!

In the end we both went out. When we came into the barn, Ed looked at Quaid's feed bin he still hasn't eaten.  I walked over and saw him standing there with his hind end shaking. Oh Oh!  I thought he was colicking. Then we saw that he was holding his left fore leg up. I went in and lifted his foot. I was horrified to see that he had a block of wood with screw jammed in his hoof. His hind end was shaking from not being able to put his weight on it. The screw was stuck in tight so I had to hold his leg while Ed grabbed the drill and backed it out. He was so good about that. Blood came out. I grabbed a pad and some vet wrap and wrapped it up. Within minutes he went over to eat. 

I left both horses in and called the vet. The receptionist was asking me where it was and I told her that it was between the point of the frog and his toe. This confused her 'there's a frog?'  I tried to explain and then gave up and said- about an inch away from the edge of his toe. 

The vet, not my regular vet but another horse vet,  called me back right away and said she needed to come and do x-rays. Absolutely I said. 

They came out within the hour. She looked at my wrapping job and complimented me on it. (side note, I am so glad that I took the Equine First Aid course a couple years ago. It totally came in handy). 

After some checking him over and giving of some tranquillisers we put his front legs on blocks and took the x-rays. He was so good for that too. 

The x-rays were not great. It looked like the screw might have hit the edge of the coffin bone or the lamina. 

The very front pointy part

This was not good. The risk is of dirt and infection that travels into the bone. She used words like 'career ending' and 'surgery' and 'risky'.  I had a bit of roaring in my ears. Her recommendation was to take him to the Veterinary college in PEI.  there they could do an effusion of antibiotics over days. I asked her if there was any way we could to that here. She said that it was possible that she could come and do one every day but it was risky and with the bitter cold coming (we're under a cold advisory of -40) it would be bad. 

This was bad news. First of all, I have never trailered more than 2 hours before and I don't drive it in the winter. The college would  require me to travel out of Nova Scotia to New Brunswick, cross a bridge to PEI. Second I felt so crappy that I wasn't sure I was actually able to drive. And, oh yeah, I'd be leaving Ed alone when he really shouldn't be doing anything. 

We were both freaking out but began to make  plans while the vet called the college to consult. I contacted Karen who lived in PEI. She kindly offered to pick me up and give me a place to stay. Even with my cooties.  

The vet came back and said I spoke with the surgeon at the college. He doesn't think you need to bring him. Because you called so quickly, he thinks it should be manageable by me doing an effusion today and then oral antibiotics for the next 10 days.  

I could have have hugged her. I didn't. Because cooties. But I wanted to. 

While she prepared the dose, the vet tech and I brought Quaid back out to soak his foot in a solution of warm water, Epsom salts and betatdine. He was so cute about it- he put his foot down and brought it back out 
Quaid uh guys? there's something there, not sure I should step in it. 
But with gentle persuasion he let us soak it. We then wrapped it with animalintex poultice pad, vet wrap and duct tape. 

He was then sedated again. When he was out the vet tech put a twitch on him while the vet put a tourniquet on his leg and injected into his fetlock. The idea is that this drives the antibiotic into the hoof to impact the bone. He was agitated by the twitch and part of me felt that he might be better without it but we persevered and it was done. 

We have a plan: 
  • 10 days stall rest
  • 10 days antibiotics
  • 7 days banamine
  • 3 days of soaking
  • then 7 days of dry poultice
  • by Monday I can hand walk him. 
The stall rest is so that he doesn't rip the bandage off and get dirt in there. I also am giving him some probiotics because of the antibiotics. As well as vitamin e to help with inflammation.  He doesn't seem so keen with the crushed antibiotics in his feed so I'm trying some creative solutions. 

A spoonful of sugar should do the trick
(feel free to add suggestions)

When they left I was exhausted- emotionally and physically. 

He is not happy. We're ripping the bandaid off on being separated from Carmen. My plan is let her out in the morning and have her in for the afternoon. She is hanging out with him a bit in his stall (she can come in and out).  
Quaid; let me out. I'll behave, I promise

I am glad that I have a barn cam - it allows me to keep an eye on him. He's also not enjoying the oral banamine. He's backing away from me and I feel bad. 

There is learning from this: 
1. call the vet for any hoof puncture. If I had left this we could be looking at a much worse outcome. There is also the possibility that I will end up taking him to the college anyway if he doesn't do well. I am determined to do everything I can to make sure it goes well. 

2. Quaid is amazing. By the time they were done both the vet and vet tech were in love with Quaid. 
I have old horses that are not this well behaved the vet said. And he was- all the poking, soaking, wrapping, etc and he was so cooperative.  She even shaved a part of his leg and he was like 'that's a neat sensation'. 

3.  While he's not happy being left in his stall he's not tearing it down or trying to climb out. I think I'll get him some stall toys to see if that helps. 

4. learn how to bandage and deal with emergencies. I had to remove the screw because him standing on it was going to do more damage. 

I'm going to obsessing on this for a while


  1. When it rains it pours. I am so sorry you are sick while also trying to heal ribs. And the heart surgery… Sheesh. And then, Quaid, too. I’ve had seasons like that, where everything happens at once. Very overwhelming. I’m glad you didn’t try to trailer him in your condition. I’ll be praying for quick recovery’s…for all of you!

    1. Thank you. Things do seem to be a bit piled on.

  2. ugh omg that is so scary, ugh i'm so glad you were able to be there and get him taken care of. charlie has had more than his fair share of hoof traumas, but so far we've been incredibly lucky in terms of avoiding all the structures. i'm sorry that there's some concern about the bone, good luck with keeping it clean and healing -- and keep us posted!

    1. I am likely going to be seeking a ton of advice from you.

    2. you can reach me any time at fraidycat.eventing at gmail ;)

  3. What a nightmare on all levels. I sure hope your quick response and vet attention pays off and he heals up with no lasting effects.
    It seems no matter how careful and vigilant we are with providing them with a safe environment they always find some way to get in trouble.

    1. Right? Like it seems impossible to protect them.

  4. Oh no!! Poor kiddo, but what a good boy. Fingers crossed that it heals up well with no complications!!!

  5. I am so, so sorry you are dealing with this! Thank goodness you caught it so quickly, and all the jingles that your swift reaction and the vet coming out right away helps avoid you having to take him farther to the vet hospital.

    1. Thanks. I'm hoping to avoid it if possible. My regular vet called me today and helped me to calm down.

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  7. Oh my goodness - they sure know how to make our heart skip a beat (or several!). Wishing for a very speedy and smooth recovery with zero complications <3

    As for antibiotics - I have always done them in a syringe with warm water. Annie is the Queen of "This Doesn't Taste The Same" and will literally refuse to eat if I put it in mashes, so she gets 0 chances and thus... we do the syringe every single time. She hates it, but I know it's getting into her!

  8. Oh God what hell! I'm so sorry, how stressful! My fingers are crossed for you! My experience is that oral antibiotic pills are often best delivered via oral syringe. Sounds like all that is kinda a new experience for Quaid, and I've had good luck mixing syringes of the gross stuff with syringing applesauce or other goodies in. That way they don't always associate the oral syringe with gross tasting stuff!

  9. Ugh, I'm so sorry! I hope it all heals up quickly with no complications. Talk about getting kicked while you're down! Hopefully you'll ALL be on the mend asap.

  10. oh boy! quick recovery to all of you. meanwhile, here are some fun cheap ideas for quaid (and maybe ed? 🤷‍♀️) https://enrichingequines.com/budget-horse-toys-5-diy-ideas-for-when-money-is-tight/

  11. Why do horses try so hard to damage themselves? Hopefully it will turn out to be no big deal, and at the end of the 10 days everyone is feeling better. Quaid didn't want to be outside in -40 anyways. Fingers crossed for you!

    1. Yeah, no one is out today. It's nasty. But fortunately is not supposed to last long.

  12. Wow. Just wow. I hope all three of you have a speedy recovery and that things progress well with Quaid's treatment.

  13. Quaidy whyyyyy!! Hoping for a speedy and uneventful recovery - for you, for Ed, and for him! <3


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