Friday, July 1, 2011

Dr. Sliverhoof

After Royal got better on Sunday, he was lame again on Monday. I called the vet on Tuesday and set up and appointment for the next day, since I really didn't know what was going on. Dr. E came out Wednesday evening, performed a lameness exam and found an abscess on the lateral bar of Royal left front hoof. I had considered an abscess as the cause of the lameness, but didn't think that was the reason. I had always thought of abscesses as making sound horse three-legged lame overnight. But this seems like a small one and Royal is pretty stoic. Dr. E thinks it was caused by Royal stepping on a rock last week in the pasture. He got some "toothpaste-like" pus out of the hoof and told me to soak it in Epsom salts and warm water for 5-7 days, keep it wrapped for 2 weeks, keep Royal turned out and hope the abscess blows out the hoof sometime soon. Hopefully it will resolve quickly.

Unfortunately, the soaking is turning out to be an issue. The vet told me to soak his hoot on the rubber mat in the arena. Royal is most opposed to this idea, to the point where asking him to stand on the mat reduces him to a shaking and sweaty mess. And, when he rockets backwards, he gets dirt all over his hooves, defeating the purpose of soaking it. So, I've decided to soak him outside on the grass. That way, if he steps out of the water pan, he just gets a bit of grass on it. No dirt, no mud, and I can just brush the grass off and put the hoof back in the water. Plus he's more relaxed when he sees other horses and I can give him hay and mints.

After soaking, I have to put a iodine/sugar solution on the sole of the hoof to disinfect it. I then wrap the hoof to protect it. This requires three layers: an absorbent layer (I'm using diapers now, but will use a Animalintex hoof pad tomorrow), a layer of Vetrap, and a final coating of duct tape. That's where the "Dr. Silverhoof" comes in. It turns the hoof silver, which looks kind weird/cool. One horse that used to be at the farm had a tendency to abscess in the summer, so it seemed like he always had duct tape around one of his hooves. I would jokingly call him Mr. Silverhoof, but then switched to Dr. Silverhoof. It sounds more like a James Bond villan, and therefore cooler. So, now, Royal has become Dr. Silverhoof. Dr. E told me to wrap the Vetrap higher than the duct tape, so I always leave a bit poking out. I bought a dozen rolls, all in different colors. Wednesday was red.

Yesterday, I went out after working at the clinic. I was tired, sore, and overheated. The temperature was in the high 90s and very humid, so both Royal and I were cranky. I tried to get him to stand on the mat, but he was vehemently opposed to this idea. At one point, he shot backwards so fast I got a mild rope burn and at another he went sideways and accidentally struck me above my knee, which hurt. He was starting to sweat around his eyes (a MAJOR stress signal) and I figured it was better to soak him outside instead of fighting with him. He was much happier and willing to stand in the pan. The imitation Vetrap that night was navy blue.

Today it was hot (over 100) and humid again, and I just set up the soaking/wrapping outside the barn. Royal stood very well for a long time, but did start to lose patience. The mints helped with that, and we got 15 minutes total of soaking. The wrap was orange, but I couldn't get a good picture of it with my cell phone. It kept showing up white.

At this point, I just have to wait. Hopefully I'll be able to get some pus coming out the hole soon and Royal will be all sound. Right now, he's sound on 2g of bute a day, and I'll try to wean him off it over the next few days. Until then, it's just going to be lots of soaking and wrapping.


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