surgery

One Week

We saw our local vet this morning for the one week checkup to make sure his healing was looking on schedule. Overall, very positive!

The vet liked how it’s starting to granulate in with new tissue. She smelled a teensy bit of funkiness/infection but since there was no discharge, she wasn’t particularly concerned. She gave the thumbs up to my borderline obsessive wrapping procedures, which go like this:
  1. Sweep area around crossties hard, until I can’t see a speck of anything resembling shavings/sawdust/anything.
  2. Boil water, pour about 2″ into a bucket (that I bring home each night to scrub out thoroughly with soapy hot water), mix with betadine, let to sit and cool off.
  3. Set out wrapping supplies on top of a bucket for easy access: one roll of 2″ gauze, one roll of vetwrap, one roll of elastikon, bandage scissors.
  4. Cut two small squares of gauze off the wrap (to place gently in the hole).
  5. When the water has cooled, draw up a fully syringe and place it on top of the betadine bucket.
  6. Bring him out of his stall, take off both boots, sweep around again to get any bits that have come away.
  7. Cut down the bandage on his foot, two long cuts at about 8 and 4 (if the middle of the heel is 12).
  8. Pick up his foot and slide the bandage off down toward his toe.
  9. Resting his pastern on my knee and cupping the hoof with my left hand, squirt about 5-6 60cc syringes full of the dilute betadine into the hole.
  10. Soak one of the squares and place it – not stuff it! – gently into the surgery hole.
  11. If he needs it, let him put his foot down and rest on a clean white towel that I put down on the aisle. (He needed this every time the first few; now he will usually keep the foot up the whole time. This is why I cut two squares, now: since the small piece of gauze is in there only gently, it’s not uncommon for it to fall out when he puts his foot down.)
  12. Wrap the whole foot with a whole roll of 2″ gauze.
  13. Wrap the whole foot with about half a roll of vetwrap.
  14. Wrap all around the foot once with a length of elastikon, then cut a smaller piece and reinforce the toe.
  15. Let him stand on the towel while I wipe out his boot thoroughly, digging out any small shavings that get in there, drying out the pad with a towel.
  16. Put the boot back on his bandaged foot.
  17. Pick out and dry off the LF. Every other day or so I squirt a small amount of anti-thrush treatment into the frog area, because it gets quite moist in there.
  18. Wipe out the LF boot, shake out the pad, dry everything, etc.
  19. Put the boot back on and bring him back to his stall. The first few days he got treats back in his stall; now I hold off because he was getting bratty about pawing for them.
  20. Clean everything and put it away; repack the small bucket I use to hold wrapping supplies with more supplies for the next time; dump the remaining betadine solution and bring that and the used towel home to clean out very thoroughly.
The whole process takes about an hour. Add in medications, picking his stall if necessary, grooming him, cleaning up everything afterwards, and it’s about 2.5 hours each night.
Anyway. Vet approved of everything, and gave the ok to continue with every other day wrapping. I’ll still pull the boot off and check the bandage each time I see him, but my next full rewrap will be Wednesday night.
Vet was also pleased with the way he was bearing weight on that foot, standing with it much more fully under him than he had before the surgery – a good sign that he’s already doing way better!
On my way home, she called me and said she’d checked in with the clinic. They were even less worried about the funky smell than she was – surgeon said that it was a small wound that wasn’t getting any oxygen exposure and was staying moist, a little funkiness was 100% expected. They were thrilled to hear that he was looking sound and weight-bearing, and said that was the best indicator for now.
So – we’ll check in again next week. In the meantime, it’s something of a relief to know that I’ll head out tonight and tomorrow night only to do his meds, and not the full 2.5 hour process.

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