General Horspital

I expected, on day 3 of abscess treatment, Hudson’s “hoof seam” would be open and draining, like a good little abscess.  We do not have a good little abscess.  We have a sneaky, wandering abscess.

I am not happy to be The Abscess Queen today. Because instead of telling someone else where things stand, I had to tell myself:

  • This is going to be a long one
  • He’s going to hurt
  • I have to make him work while he hurts
  • I have to withhold (within reason) Bute unless it blows wide open. If I mask the pain, I won’t be able to help him, or I might work him too hard.  It’s a balancing act.  You want blood pumping through his legs and hooves, cleaning things out, and exercise does that.  But you also don’t want to torture your horse and put them in big pain.
  • I had to reassure myself of my qualifications: You have ten years of doing this balancing act. You know what you’re doing, so relax ma’am, you got it covered. You also know when it’s time to call the vet.
  • What reassures other people is not reassuring me.  How unfair is THAT?
  • What I want to do is cry.
  • My boy is ouchy.  He has a boo boo!  It hurts!
  • This is just the beginning of the pain
  • Doctors are not allowed to work on family members?  Get it.

The abscess is migrating along the outside of the hoof wall toward the bulb. The opening closed up.  Not skinned over: sealed.  Another seam had opened an inch or so behind this one.  I soaked that sucker.  Tried gently to open the seam.  Not skinned over. Sealed.

When I was finally able to convince him the soaking boot was not a magical gravity boot, and get it off, the right bulb of that hoof was twice the size of the left.  I think that’s where it’s going to open.  Better, pain-wise, since the bulb has some ability to expand.

I’m trying not to think how much harder it will be treatment wise, given the rain, the mud, his hatred of stalls, and pray for a nice little dime sized opening up high, that will drain right out, and be easy to keep open and clean.

Hudson’s farrier, Dane, was here Friday shoeing other clients.  He really likes Hudson, so took a look. Said he’s seeing a lot of abscesses this winter.  And this year, they are being sneaky, going underground and then blowing open a week later.  At that point, I felt we were seeing the worst, and Hudson had a straight-shooting abscess.  Nope.  Proceeding just like other horses in the area.

I learned a new thing:

When it’s someone else’s horse, you do your job, know it’s going to be okay, and go home and sleep like a baby, happy you are helping save your friend a big vet bill.

When it’s your horse, you wake up at 2 am, and wonder if you soaked it long enough, if it’s draining yet, if he’s okay, if you should call the vet.

But you don’t call the vet, because the vet would tell you to do exactly what you’re doing (and wonder why you called).

Therapy.  I would call for the kind of psychotherapy only a vet can give: he’s going to be fine…

Magical words when spoken by an authoritative veterinarian.

Sucky words when spoken by your brain TO your brain.

(I hope you can hang in with me, it’s going to be a long week.)

10 thoughts on “General Horspital

  1. I’ll be checking in on your progress….looks like Rafi has one in her inside right front heel. I did call the vet. We’re softening up her frog tonight with a hydrating boot in hopes of ultra sounding. Did both and ultra sound and x-ray the other day. But inconclusive. Still am not sure it’s an abcess for sure. She’s pretty lame! So I’ll be checking in to see how you are doing with yours…

  2. With wet Pacific Northwest winters, we have become minor experts at abscess mitigation. Put an Easy boot (or some other type boot) on the affected hoof, then fill with Carnation evaporated milk. Leave on for 2 – 3 days. My husband (the sometimes farrier) swears by this, and he got the opportunity to use it on one of our horses this fall, and it worked!

  3. I am always relieved when it’s just an abscess. It always looks like it could be oh so much worse of a problem.

    Try epsom salt paste with a thermacare strip over it (or another x-brand heating product). I do that now instead of soaking and it works a treat.

    Hope it drains soon!

  4. Jane, this is your Virtual Vet speaking (I’m not a vet, but I frequently hang out with vets):

    “He’ll be fine. You’re taking the right steps. GO EAT A CUPCAKE.”

    1. *brightens* Cupcake?
      Thanks for the encouragement folks!
      I had an awful nightmare last night: I walked up to Hudson, his leg fell off (not gory), I thought “huh, that’s odd”. Picked up the leg and snapped it back into his shoulder. He was fine. We went for a ride.
      Think my subconscious is telling me to quit worrying? 😉

  5. I can feel your ‘momma’ angst coming through loud and clear. It is so hard when one of our ‘babies’ is hurting – our nature is to take away the hurt and make it better.
    Poor Hudson. I hate that he hurts, but it will get better. It will…it will!

  6. Your comment about calling the vet and them saying what you already know, and are doing, and then they wonder why you call. I am so guilty on that front!! It does really help to have that voice with DVM after the name saying you are on the right track. 🙂

  7. Oh boy, do I know this dance! I don’t envy you, but here are the words: It’s going to be okay! You’re doing all the right things and he’ll be just fine. (By the way, we’ve been using tea tree oil once the abscess opens and drains. Just a few drops on some cotton tucked up into the cavity. It has awesome antibacterial qualities.) Good luck!!

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