Monday, October 9, 2017

full story: Charlie's surgery + treatment

Charlie has been home for a few days now since having surgery, and is hopefully starting to settle and heal. For the purposes of documentation (and bc I know some of you are into this type of stuff) I'm outlining below exactly what was going on and how we have treated him.

walking under saddle to get the swelling down pre-surgery
The quick run down on back story is: Charlie has had multiple splint-like injuries over the past 12 months - all in the same place. The most recent aggravation was by far the worst, blossoming into cellulitis with the added bonus of the injury itself abscessing. A clear indication that the underlying fracture was not healing fully and would need greater medical intervention.

So Charlie was presented to New Bolton Center for x-ray evaluation and surgical removal of the distal splint bone fracture fragment on his right front leg.

New Bolton isn't the prettiest place - it's functional bordering on severe with lots of pavement and organized but unadorned hospital barns. these lovely wild flowers outside admissions were a nice softening touch tho
Upon presentation, they checked all his vitals (normal), his heart and his lungs (clear in all fields, hallelujah). They checked his guts, soundness, and digital pulses, plus did some pre-surgical blood work. All good. They also took note of his wrapped leg, with the puncture wound from lancing the abscess.

After Charlie was admitted, the good folks at New Bolton took new rads of his leg to confirm the fracture with callus formation and evidence of soft tissue damage. The following day, Charlie was anesthetized for surgical debridement of the wound and removal of the fracture fragment.

looking down a row of barns. i'd never been to an equine hospital before and wasn't sure what to expect. everything was laid out very clearly tho.
All affected tissue was removed from the site (including infection that had gotten up into the previously-healed bone), with a sample taken to submit for culture and sensitivity (the results of which will inform the antibiotic we use to treat Charlie).

The surgeon continued dissecting the area to isolate and remove 3cm of the splint bone. Afterward, they packed the site with an amikacin infused collagen sponge and closed the wound in two layers. The skin was closed using a combination of tension relieving sutures and simple continuous sutures.

charlie looking sweet and sad in his stall
They wrapped up the surgical incision with a sterile bandage and moved Charlie to recovery, upon which he woke up well and walked back to his stall for post-op care.

They changed the bandage the following morning to assess the incision, and all was well. He'll keep a bandage on the surgical site for the next 2 weeks, changing every 2-3 days or as needed if the bandage slips or gets wet or dirty.

i didn't get any pictures of charlie coming home bc.... he was a hot goddamn mess. full body lather, very upset, very unsettled. so i opted to just leave him alone in his stall without messing with him
Charlie will stay on stall rest only for 2 weeks, with carefully controlled hand grazing (NO purposeful hand walking!). Then in the next 2 weeks we can begin gradually increasing hand walking exercise and introducing turnout in a small paddock (recommended that Charlie be tranquilized for his first several times out).

If things are healing well and Charlie is comfortable and happy, he may begin returning to normal turnout and exercise over the next 3 weeks. This will be determined by consultation with our normal vet when she removes the sutures.

naturally tho that meant leaving him covered in all that sweat. which dried into a thick, nasty crust by the next day. luckily he was a little quieter so i could take him out to graze (in the much-needed rope halter) while brushing off all that crust
I'll probably have more pictures and more to write about the details of Charlie's care later, particularly as it relates to that bandage and wound care. There are like.... six different layers to this bandage and all the supplies for keeping it up over the next two weeks have absolutely overrun my tack locker. It's intense.

poor guy. he's really not the happiest camper right now but will hopefully continue to settle!
But it's all good stuff. All moving in the right direction. We will take Charlie's recovery slow to really give this thing the best shot at recovery. Ultimately Charlie's prognosis is good, with the expectation that he should be able to return to athletic soundness.

In the meantime, I'll keep you posted on his progress and will hopefully have other fun things to write about in the interim (like Velvet! or going to shows with my friends! and updates on 2ptober!!! don't forget to comment on your longest time this week!).

Happy Monday, y'all!

57 comments:

  1. Getting that surgery was a good thing. I hadn't quite realized that it was always the same spot. It's good that you caught it and fixed it. Was it the trailer ride home that had him agitated? That would have been nerve-wracking for you. Good luck with the healing and keeping him happy. Maybe a slow feed hay need to keep him busy? An iPad so he can play some games and watch some movies?

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    1. oh and I forgot- my longest time this week was 3:30. But it was also my only time because Carmen has been a bit, well, feisty.

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    2. i don't think it was the trailer ride alone that got him upset - i think it was the experience of spending three days at an equine hospital knowing that charlie was a race horse for 4yrs and has had a whole universe of experiences and associations, including having previously had surgery and multiple workups in equine hospitals. he's a quiet guy but he's sensitive and can be emotional. he's been settling over the last few days tho so hopefully he'll be feeling fine and happy soon!! and ipad might be just what the doctor ordered lol

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  2. It sounds as though things went about as good as can be expected in these situations. Glad the big guy is home and starting to heal. Fingers and hooves crossed for a quick and uncomplicated recovery!

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    1. thanks, i'm equally hopeful that things keep going smoothly!!

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  3. Healing thoughts for Charlie. Sorry he got so agitated. That sounds out of character. Poor guy has been through a lot.

    My best time this week was 1:07.

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    1. yea definitely been through a lot - i don't blame him for kinda melting down (it's gotta happen at some point, right?) but am super relieved that he's gotten more chill again. he's still got a ways left cooped up in that stall!

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  4. I've known several horses that have had this surgery and they all healed really well. Hopefully Charlie does the same!

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    1. thanks! yea we've got a couple other horses in the barn who have been down this road too. it's crappy but fortunately typically temporary!

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  5. Sounds like a stressful weekend. Glad Outlook is bright!

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    1. thanks the outlooks is definitely bright! and actually charlie's weekend was pretty good - the surgery was last week and he took a few days to cool out from it, but has since settled a bit, fingers crossed!

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  6. sounds like it all went really well and it was very straightforward. now fingers crossed that he heals straight through with no other shenanigans!!

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    1. definitely a straight forward procedure, tho the surgeon was pretty impressed with how messed up charlie had gotten things in there with his constant aggravations of an old injury plus the eventual abscess lol

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  7. We're so fortunate to be so close to New Bolton! I've never been there (thank god!) So it's kind of cool to see pics.

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    1. i had never been before either so was pretty curious. normally when i'm taking the trailer somewhere new i like to look at google maps to get a sense of the parking lot situations but forgot to do so ahead of driving to NB. so that can make me a little anxious - but actually the campus had good signage and it was very clear where to go and how to park etc. the parking lot was FULL too - it's a busy busy busy place. full of good kind ppl tho, so that helped!

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  8. So happy it was a success and everything went well! Fingers crossed for continued healing!

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    1. thanks my fingers are crossed too! so far so good!

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  9. Poor guy! I'm glad the operation went well and I hope he continues to recover

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    1. thanks i'm relieved to be on the other side of recovery now for sure!

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  10. i wish i had known you were there at NB. :) I also would have told Ashlee to look out for him but i think she works nights now. ANYWAY, healing thoughts for charlie. isnt this humidity the worst!? UGH i am so grossed out by how humid it still is. I guess it helps that he wont feel as fresh if it is this hot still??

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    1. thanks - the folks at NB were fantastic and everyone there seemed friendly, knowledgeable and conscientious and took very good care of charlie! and yea this humidity is nasty, i don't blame the guy for feeling comfortable and bored and restless when it's like this

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  11. Sorry for poor Charlie not loving this season of life. Maybe it will convince him to lay off the dings! Definitely sending all the good thoughts for uneventful continued healing.

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    1. thank you - yea i really hope he can go ding-free for a little while after this!! no more anything, sir!!

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  12. Happy vibes for the sad bay boy! It'll get better soon, buddy!

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    1. aw thanks haha, he is pretty sad right now. esp since he can't even really hand walk yet so i kinda gotta be all up in his space when he's grazing. soon enough tho!

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  13. Sounds like NB got him all sorted, hopefully the rest of his recovery is smooth sailing!

    It wasn't for post-surgical bandaging, but a few years back Topaz tore up her legs pretty good and for every change I had a "bandage changing station" where I laid everything out in the order I needed it -- it was fairly intense! (and it was probably less intense than what you have to do for Charlie).

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    1. ugh yea that "bandage changing station" is kinda the feel i'm going for. bc it's so much stuff and all needed in that particular order.... still trying to figure out how to best optimize all the storage and everything, including reorganizing my locker and the drawers i already have in there. bleh. more pictures coming of that soon!

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  14. Vet hospitals and surgery are SO INTERESTING, especially after my week at one with Mikey. Does New Bolton have viewing areas to watch surgery?

    I'm glad he is on the mend! Mikey's bandage changes were obscenely complicated and expensive (like $20 a change!). I imagine yours are similar. I had an entire trunk dedicated to bandage supplies. Speedy recovery Charlie!

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    1. yea i honestly wish i could have taken a tour of the facilities or gotten to see more. not sure about the viewing areas - i wasn't there the day charlie had surgery unfortunately. the drop off was like.... super efficient, and way faster than i expected. it was about 15 minutes from when i parked the trailer, checked in with admissions, and unloaded charlie to hand him off to his care takers at NB - who took the meals i had made for him. it was such a whirlwind 15 minutes lol and then i was just sitting in my truck getting ready to pull out feeling kind of shell shocked haha.

      picking him up was a slightly different story - as it took a little time to get the discharge paperwork done, settle the bill, and then touch base with both the surgeon and the other attending vets - who also walked me through his treatment and bandaging and all that. so much information.... and bandages lol

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  15. Glad the surgery went well and sending continuing healing vibes your way!

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    1. thank you! hopefully he'll be feeling a little better every day!

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  16. Best wishes for a speedy recovery for Sir Charles! Surgery and wound management are SO interesting; looking forward to reading about his healing and progress!

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    1. thanks! i'm hoping to get some good documentation of the wound as it heals. i actually have very little experience dealing with surgical wounds so i wasn't totally sure what to expect when i first looked at it. we'll see how it goes tho!

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  17. Poor unhappy Charlie! Hopefully he continues to settle and allows himself to continue to heal and improve. Patience, big guy!

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    1. seriously! he's gotten better but i just don't want him to worry himself unnecessarily. just keep eating your hay big guy!

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  18. Glad to hear he's healing well!

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  19. Woah.. this is intense. Do the vets give you any indication of cause?
    Can’t wait to watch him improve!

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    1. well the cause of the fracture is a self-inflicted injury charlie sustained while violently weaving back in february. that injury healed, but he aggravated it again while out in turnout in early august. that aggravation, or another since then, caused the previously healed injury to become active again and charlie's immune system began attacking the fractured bone fragment as if it was a foreign body - thus leading to the abscessed splint and cellulitis. this is all information i actually told the vets, as opposed to them discovering via surgery.

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  20. Poor Charlie! He's really got the 'woe is me' look down and rightfully so. Glad the worst is over and he can get to healing.

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    1. ugh yea he really does know how to dial up the 'pitiful puppy' look.... but yes. ever forward and onward to healing!

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  21. Poor boy. It's so hard when you can't just explain to them that this will make everything better.

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    1. ugh yea seriously. it'd be so much easier! hopefully he'll keep on being a good patient tho, in more ways than one!

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  22. Oh poor Charlie. So glad he looks like he's doing well and better ❤ sounds like it was thankfully a simple surgery and that his healing should be speedy 😊

    Ah, I hardly got to ride this week, so because Amber sped up when I was in 2 pt my butt smacked the saddle. So I have a grand total of 1:15 for the whole week lol. I'm going to kick it up a notch today tho!

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    1. yup that's the hope! and thanks for reporting your time - we just need your longest single time, not cumulative time spent in 2pt tho.

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    2. Oops, sorry lol. That's what I meant. Longest time spent in 2 pt was 1:15.

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  23. Sending all the healing juju your way!

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  24. Glad Charlie's surgery went smoothly!
    New 2ptober time is 1:42. :)

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  25. When is our time due? I was in a bidding war for a saddle WHILE RIDING and forgot today hahaha

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    1. sorry for the delay in answering - you can comment your longest time in 2pt whenever you've got it and we'll report it out weekly.

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  26. Oh Charlie :( But like you said it's all moving in the right direction, so I'll keep my fingers crossed for you!

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  27. Glad his surgery went smooth - I'm sure he'll continue to settle. Poor guy!

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  28. You're lucky to have New Bolton nearby! They know their racehorses!! And poor Charlie. But I am glad it's behind you and you can move forward!!

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  29. Longest time in two point was 6:15

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  30. So glad the surgery went well and he is on the mend!

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