Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Puncture-pocalypse (warning: is gross)

I mentioned in my post yesterday that Charlie added another notch to his Belt-o-Dings. This time, racking up an impressively gruesome puncture to his left hind cannon just above the fetlock. I say "just above" bc... yea, he was jussssst above.

Far enough above for the injury to not be totally terrifying. But. Ya know. Close enough to give me a good and proper scare upon first discovering his bloodied limb. Also. Yea, that's a hint -- graphic pictures are coming in hot. Consider yourself warned haha.

speaking of gruesome, check out this obscenely unflattering picture of my poor beautiful horse
My best guess is that this is a completely self-inflicted wound. Charlie's been an itchy SOB this season. Mostly for fly-bite related reasons. But also just.... Generally itchy.

I joked a little while back that his uncontrollable gyrations while getting scritches would likely eventually lead to my own demise... To which Austen quipped that my tombstone will read "Crushed by Love!"

charlie can't be held responsible for the actions of his butt
when he's got #datitch
Joke's on me, tho, I guess, since this injury looks for all the world like Charlie was probably scritching his own self on a fence and maybe stuck his leg through the boards - catching something sharp and pointy in the process.

So.... Yea. As of this moment I'm officially looking into prescription grade remedies bc clearly Charlie lacks self preservation where itching is concerned....

day 1 - appearances upon initial discovery, and again after cleaning + dressing it up. that's one lumpy bumpy limb
Anyway. Honestly the whole discovery thing was pretty... frustrating. I'd been at the barn for HOURS at that point, with Charlie sitting in his stall swelling up, mere yards from my locker stocked chock full of SMZs. But I was up at the arenas running a tack swap and watching the lesson kiddos enjoy the "farm fun day." My only plan was to run down to the barn after for a quick visit to say 'hi!' and give Charlie his ulcergard.

In other words, I was completely blissfully unaware that my horse had come in from the field that morning with a significant wound. I guess the AM feeder saw it, but thought it was just mud, since Charlie had rolled and coated that whole side of his body in mud too. Sigh.

Pro tip(s) to anybody responsible for working in a boarding barn or managing the care of other people's horses: 

- Dried blood is black, while dried mud is often a more muted brown
- Blood dries in vertical streaks, following the flow path, while mud tends to have more horizontal lines (at least on legs/feet) 
- Learn to recognize the differences, bc one day it will matter
- And if you're not sure or see literally anything that looks even remotely unusual, just fucking lay hands on it. This simple act will tell you if there's a problem. 

mmmmm graphic close up from when i was first trying to convince myself it wasn't actually a puncture
It happens tho. Obviously nobody who works at a farm ever wants to miss an injury on their shift. But it does happen. Luckily in this case, it probably didn't make much of a difference.

Getting antibiotics into the horse sooner would possibly have been a big advantage tho, since the leg was already starting to look cellulitis-y by the time I found him. Hard, hot, pitting edema all up and down the cannon, with all manner of lumps and bumps bleh.

day 2, slightly more uniform swelling and a respectable amount of drainage. left side after unwrapping, right side after cold hosing and cleaning and dressing
Just judging by the swelling and amount of blood, I was pretty sure it was going to be a puncture too. Tho... ugh, I fucking hate really getting all up and in a fresh wound. I'm not squeamish, per se, but.... It just looks like it hurts, ya know?

In any case, I've been taught to identify the differences between lacerations and punctures by gently pulling the edges of a wound apart. Do they separate? Does a gap open between them? If so, there may be a pocket in there.

In which case... I've got all these pretty handy little curved-tip syringes that are perfect for exploratory diving missions. I filled one up with hydrogen peroxide (after scrubbing the whole leg with chlorhex), and probed around until it found something to flush.

tbh i half expected bats to fly out of this cavernous disaster
And.... Uh... Yea. There's something to flush in there, for sure. Sweet baby jesus, Charlie.

It's hard to assess actual depth when the tissue is that swollen, but yea. There's depth. Again tho, even tho it went kinda sideways-down-ish (not optimal for drainage purposes, sigh), it didn't seem within the joint danger zone, thank the lort. And -- as a major and very telling bonus -- Charlie was extremely ho-hum about the whole thing.

Charlie is a horse who.... tells you where it hurts. He's an open book. He's a good boy. He's one of those special horses who expects people to fix his problems vs being more defensive and seeing people as 'part of the problem.' In fact, I've noticed dozens of times with this horse when he'll almost relax and settle whenever I finally uncover one of his latest dings.

In this case, tho, aside from disliking my poking and prodding, Charlie was unruffled. His stride was confident and his demeanor was not at all distracted by any sort of fuss or preoccupation that you sometimes see with a sore or feverish horse.

day 3 (yesterday), pitting edema remains localized to site of injury, the rest of the leg has returned mostly to normal size. wound is yucky, but happy? left side after unwrapping, right side after cleaning + dressing
So honestly I've mostly been following Charlie's example. Obviously we plugged him full of SMZs and bute immediately haha, until I could pick up a couple doses of Excede from the vet (who, btw, described the above 'bat cave' photo as "it's looking happier!" LOL #vetsarecrazy).

But... mostly we've kinda just been keeping an eye on Charlie and seeing how things progress day to day.

they say if you press your ear against it, you can hear the ocean
For all my bitching about the drought and hard ground, it's actually a bit of a godsend right now. Like, what better conditions could you ask for when your horse has a friggin hole in his leg?

It's meant that Charlie's still allowed to go out with his herd at night, with the wound dressed and guarded from the dust with antibiotic ointment (plus vaseline in the drainage path to prevent scalding). The freedom of movement has proved key in rapidly reducing the swelling in a very short amount of time.

The vet tells me I can expect the pitting edema around the site of the injury to last for a while yet while it heals itself from the inside out. But the rest of his leg - the hock, fetlock, and inside of his cannon, have all returned mostly to normal. (vs getting worse, which you'd expect if cellulitis really truly set in).

per charlie's way, this is yet another ding teetering riiiiiiight up on the edge of mother fucking disaster, but somehow still managing to be maybe not actually too terrible?
My barn manager has been checking on Charlie each morning and wrapping while he's stalled. Then I come out in the evenings to cold hose and scrub, etc.

Mostly, tho, the leg is moving in the right direction. There's still drainage, but not much. And still, obviously, a substantial amount of healing that needs to happen. Which means that things could change quickly with the wound if he were to aggravate it or whatever.

For now, tho, we're working with it. I'll probably start tack walking soon too, today or tomorrow maybe, to ensure he's getting enough circulation to promote healing. And I keep nervously texting the vet to make sure I'm not missing signs of something going undetected with the bone, or whatever. Tho, haha, we already know what a sequestrum looks like so... Again, I'm just kinda trying to follow Charlie's lead and see what the leg tells us.

ha, and let's close this post with another heinously unflattering pic of long-suffering charles. somehow this one is almost a complete inversion of the first picture in this post?!?
So.... I guess we'll see? The nature of this wound has me guessing that it might be a more slowly healing issue than some of Charlie's other dings. Which also means that there's more risk of healing being interrupted along the way. But... I'm hopeful.

At least for now the horse feels good and happy and unconcerned. Hopefully we can keep it that way! Bc let's be real, even tho Fall is here and Halloween approaches, I'd rather NOT expand my collection of gnarly injury media, thanksmuch haha.

Regardless, I probably won't stop worrying, fretting, and nervous-texting the vet until the thing closes up completely... Until then, tho, at least maybe now I'll have a chance to catch up on my backlog?? Sigh...


48 comments:

  1. Jesus Charlie! You need to take responsibility for yourself and knock this off.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For real. I’m gonna tell him you said that lol - maybe he’ll listen to reason from someone not named Emma lol

      Delete
  2. That is a good one Charlie!
    Have you tried zyrtec for Charlie's itchiness? P was rubbing himself bloody until we started him on it for his summer bug issues. Seriously a life saver for us and you can get the generic pretty cheaply - I get 360 pills for $14 at Costco and he gets 10 twice daily. Might be worth a try!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks and yea that’s our plan to finish out this year. It’s annoying bc it doesn’t ever seem like allergies - this summer he had massive horsefly bites and now his skin is a touch funky with the seasonal coat change... but honestly I figure it’s worth a try. Next year I might look into daily hydroxyzine tbh...

      Delete
    2. Definitely a similar experience. I mean P is 30 and he never had issues until coming home and it's these little biting gnat type things that really get him super itchy. I think we will end up putting his friend Cabby on it next year as well, he's become quite itchy since moving in but hasn't gotten to the extreme of rubbing himself raw (knock on wood). Stupid evil bugs.

      Delete
    3. I hate these friggin bugs tho. Charlie hasn’t rubbed himself enough to leave any marks (or at least he hadn't prior to this puncture... but still. It’s clearly bugging him enough to do something about it!

      Delete
  3. Oh Charles... stop this. You get all the nice things, you just need to stop hurting yourself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Omg right tho??? Honestly tho sometimes I suspect he likes all the extra attention - so long as it doesn’t interfere too too much with his social life LOL

      Delete
  4. I've lost count of how many times Pig has stabbed himself in the face/eye trying to scratch a summer itch. 🙄 Thankfully only one particularly deep one was serious... he stabbed through to his sinuses, which lead to a particularly horrifying sinus infection. Keeping my fingers crossed that this sucker keeps looking better for you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Omg sinus stuff is soooo nasty / scary :( I wish these animals would just find another way lol. But yea, I’m hopeful that we can escape without too much else in the way of complications ..., sigh

      Delete
  5. Seriously Charlie? Your collection of injuries is starting to resemble my life...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lol oh geez that doesn’t say a lot about your life tho!!! :(

      Delete
    2. It's just one think breaking/dying after another... need to go truck shopping now because I have the money for that after the stupid culvert...

      Delete
    3. oooh truck shopping is exciting tho!!! :D

      Delete
  6. Dude - knock it off with the injuries! Glad you were able to manage it on your own. I should really get some of those curved syringes... Fred had a puncture in his front leg last year - high enough that it wasn't a problem thankfully, but I had to call the vet - I didn't have antibiotics on hand and wasn't sure how to flush, etc.

    Hope it heals up ok!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. the syringes are really handy actually - definitely recommend! also i basically always have SMZs on hand bc... well, it's charlie LOL. tbh tho i had never really had to deal with this sort of puncture before either, until the vet had to lance charlie's abscessing splint and i had to flush that daily with saline and gent. that was... a crash course to say the least! also it's worth noting that i've had a lot of help with the above, too, in terms of guidance on treatment plans etc. it takes a village, right?

      Delete
  7. Maybe you should just get your DVM license while you're at it? Sweet baby cheezits.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ha sometimes i honestly believe charlie is a little overly devoted to increasing my education when it comes to triaging his various dings and dents....

      Delete
  8. Whhhyyyy?!?!

    Friggen horses! Mine has been on private turnout since being off stall rest for her splint removal and she STILL comes in with dings ! HOW?!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ugh it amazes me. big herd, small herd, big field, small paddock, stall.... horses will always find a way!! the last time we tried to put charlie in solo turnout while he recovered from some ding or another, homeboy ripped a friggin water spigot out of the ground with his FACE. how? who knows, but we just chucked him out after that LOL

      Delete
  9. Man horses just have a knack for constant injuries! Hopefully this heals fast!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks, and they sure do, don't they.... such fragile little beasties ugh it's exhausting!!

      Delete
  10. Mmmm, I feel like not a puncture wound but actually an ulcer. On his leg. That you gave him from not taking enough lessons. Just calling it like it is.

    LOLZ for real tho, hopefully the stupid thing closes up quickly and cleanly. At least you didn't have any nonrefundable entry fees out this time?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. point 1 -- omfg you're right, how did i not even realize this before now?!? i've been shoving that tube of ulcergard in the wrong hole all along!!!

      and 2 - lol fun fact, we actually DID have an entry in, but i'd already requested to withdraw within the refund period bc reasons and stuff. so HAHA, joke's on charlie - he did this all for nothing!!

      Delete
  11. Ouch, Charlie! Sorry you have joined our mutilated horse club, but thank goodness for missing important things.

    For itch reduction, bc Encore had the same problem of mutilating himself by itching: I kept him on hydroxyzine all itchy times of year. It's not very expensive, you just sprinkle tabs on food. It worked very well for him & I had to do far less first aid!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. the mutilated horse club is definitely pretty shitty... but at least the members are awesome! ;P

      and yea i've been talking with some barn mates about their experience with hydroxyzine and am thinking that i'll just add that to the daily supplements probably next spring. to get through this last little period of itchiness while his winter coat finishes growing in i'm just gonna use some generic zyrtec. we'll see if that at least helps!!

      Delete
  12. Oh geez, not again! Best wishes for a quick recovery and no problems with granulation tissue! (For Cupid's puncture wound we had to chemical cauterize some overgrowth, blech!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yea.... sadly 'tis true! thanks tho - and yea granulation is definitely something i'm worried about. it almost feels inevitable tho with this sort of injury. i guess we'll just see what happens??

      Delete
  13. Ahhh man, Charlie! That's a nasty puncture! It does look like it's healing up alright, though, and that's positive that he can still be turned out with his buddies! I agree with you tho - with the weather the way it is, Charlie at least picked a good time to ding himself up LOL

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ha thanks, small silver linings, right?? i guess we'll take what we can get, tho!!

      Delete
  14. There's something on the Memes for Horse People Facebook page today I so wanted to tag you in... hopefully this link works instead.
    https://www.facebook.com/379155885500346/posts/2507911302624783/?substory_index=0

    Charlie doesn't have Facebook, right? He doesn't need new ideas!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ha omg, yup that's just about spot on, now isn't it ;)

      Delete
  15. Dear god charlie.

    There's a good reason I am not a vet. My reaction to seeing these photos is a key one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. lol for real, the novelty of gruesome injuries wears off pretty fast!

      Delete
  16. Hmmm, at least he hasn't punctured his hoof?! Hopefully he hasn't started his newest trend in puncturing other parts of his body and he heals up nice and quick. Horses... they do keep us on our toes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ugh for real. at least this location wasn't as scary as it could be, but i'd much prefer no punctures whatsoever!

      Delete
  17. He was due right to ding again? :) He is nothing if not consistent about that :) Hope he heals fast and bounces back soon!! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. definitely due lol, so far tho he's also seeming to feel good and bounce back. let's hope this keeps it up!

      Delete
  18. Oh Charlie. He really needs to give you a break. Maybe this was his way of getting you out of your doldrums? If so, it was a pretty mean way to go about it. Sorry you are dealing with another sidelining injury. I hope this heals as quickly as the others have.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. honestly i think you're right, tho i'm not even that mad about it. he hasn't been doing well in his work and conditions are suboptimal for fixing that. honestly, probably a good time as any for a break! hopefully the pieces come back together better ;)

      Delete
  19. OH EM GEE CHARLES, STAAAAHHHHHPPPP

    ReplyDelete
  20. It's amazing how talented these OTTB's are at finding new ways to hurt themselves sometimes!! Hope it heals quickly.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Just seeing this and WT actual F Charles!?!

    ReplyDelete
  22. It's never ending...😞
    I've had Val on generic zyrtec all summer since he suddenly developed copd/heaves/allergies/asthma. (wtaf?!) It has worked wonders and from amazon is not terribly expensive. Hoping the puncture drama is on a downward trajectory!

    ReplyDelete
  23. These horses! It's always something! Looks like it's healing well though. Fingers crossed it closes itself up quickly and without further issue!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Woof that's a nasty looking one. I'm glad there wasn't any "serious" damage but geeeeeez

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for leaving a comment! If you have trouble with this form, please email: fraidycat.eventing at gmail.