So I wrote about Tristan’s surgery in some detail, and since it’s been an absolutely insane week since then, I’ll have to cover everything quickly. We’re on the right track, but between work and spending hours upon hours with him each day, I’m beyond exhausted, and not sleeping terribly well from stress and worry.
Tuesday we brought Tristan home first thing in the morning. I had bedded down his stall with two fresh bags of shavings, fresh water, washed out his grain bucket, filled his hay net, and everything was ready. He was alert and awake at the vet hospital though he wasn’t wild about his morning mash. They’d given him one last dose of IV antibiotics and bute, and went over his discharge info with me. He loaded not great, but he did get on, and rode mostly well though kicked around a bit when we were almost home.
One thing I found out that morning was that I had miscalculated what size boot he would need; his size 4 boots fit great but there was a great deal more padding and wrapping on his RF than I had thought there would be, so he needed to go up to a size 6, which the vet hospital kindly sold me and sent him home in.
I stayed with him for a little while and then headed home to catch up on laundry. When I returned that night he was listless and quiet, and didn’t want to have his grain. I mixed it with everything I could think of – applesauce, sweet feed, molasses, bran, warm water, you name it, and he wasn’t touching it. That meant that he didn’t quite get his full dose of antibiotics and bute, unfortunately.
I rewrapped the foot for the first time that night so I could get him on an evening schedule. It wasn’t a ton of fun. He flailed a lot, I was terrified, etc, but in the end we got it done and I spent a while grooming and fussing over him afterwards.
Wednesday morning he was definitely not himself: dull, quiet, hadn’t finished his mash from the night before, had given up getting his hay out of the small-hole haynet. We took his temp – 99.5, normal – dumped the hay out of the haynet, and I asked the barn to get his drugs into him by syringe if he still hadn’t touched his grain. He was drinking, peeing, and pooping normally, so not in crisis, but it was hard to see him like that. By late morning, perhaps an hour or two after the barn manager syringed his meds + applesauce down his throat, he had started to perk up and eat his hay.
Wednesday night I re-wrapped again, and dosed him with his evening meds, and he was looking a little better, and was much more cooperative for his wrapping. Thursday morning a little bit better again, continuing better Thursday night. That night I noticed some mud-brown colored areas of the hole that did not dislodge with flushing, and so Friday morning I sent an email with a picture off to the vet clinic. They said it looked good, nothing really to worry about unless he went lame, ran a temp, or the area increased.
Friday night he was just about entirely back to himself. When I pulled the wrap, there was a smidge of brown gunk that had come out of the top of his abscess holes, and I scraped some more out of the same. I flushed and flushed and flushed both the surgical hole and the abscess hole, rewrapped, etc. I rubbed some of the brown gunk between my fingers: not much of it, and it felt gritty, not like pus, and smelled like hoof crud, not like infection or necrosis. The vet intern emailed me back this morning and said that the foot was probably flushing gunk out of the recesses of the hole, and to keep an eye but not to worry too much.
There’s definitely new tissue growth in the hole itself, nice healthy red granulation. I’ll flush and rewrap daily until Monday morning, when my local vet comes to look at him. Per the clinic, Friday should have been his last day with daily rewrapping, but the brown gunk makes me a bit nervous, and it certainly can’t hurt to keep up until Monday.