abscess · adventures with the vet

What the Vet Found

Apologies for the delay – the last few days have been very full and I have not felt much like self-discipline. See also, the frozen pizza I had for lunch.

So, the vet came out on Friday, and we got to work figuring out what the heck was going on with Tristan now. (As mentioned previously, he was lame with a badly stocked up RF leg.)

We walked him out and he was still lame, though not falling-down three-legged lame as he had been on Wednesday and Thursday. The vet had me walk him in some small circles, and then brought out the hoof testers. Immediate strong positive…right where we didn’t want it to be.

Next step, looking at the foot itself. The vet cleaned the bottom of the foot off, and then began carefully paring away at the toe. There was still a nasty defect at the white line from scar tissue; she cut that out and almost immediately saw a spiderweb of cracks underneath it.

I was super nervous about cutting away that foot that we worked so hard to grow, but she was being incredibly careful. She’d cut just a little bit, then clean it out. She went back to her truck and got a dremel to keep the edges smooth and pare just a tiny bit at a time. She followed her instincts about where to trim, and slowly but surely the cracks faded out until there was one, and then with one last tiny paring – pus welled up.
Abscess. Again. Some more.
I was a bit discouraged, I admit. The vet, even though she’d expected it, was somewhat resigned. We talked options. I brought up the idea of a regional perfusion of the limb, ie, get whatever is in there the hell out NOW. She got what I was saying but said that she felt that was too aggressive right now, and was really very painful for the horse.
We kept talking while she got out her equipment to x-ray, because of course. That foot, seriously. We couldn’t take any chances.
Thank God, the x-rays came up clean. In fact, the coffin bone looks pretty darn good. I’ll put them up here in another day or two when I pull them from the flash drive. You can see the abscess drainage hole, but it’s tiny.
Vet used a needle to get betadine way up into the crack, and then did a final cleaning up with the dremel.
If you click on this photo, you’ll get a blown up version. Look within the pink of the sole, that’s within the betadine stain. Now look just off center, to the left: there is a tiny black pinprick. That’s the drainage hole.
If we can keep this draining freely, and keep it clean, we should be ok. Tris is on sulfa antibiotics for a week to be neurotic, and I am poulticing every day for a week with sugardine, then wrapping the foot for 3 weeks after that.
ready for battle.
It’s been a few days, and a few things are evident. First, he and I remember our foot-wrapping dance very well. After one brief heated discussion, he’s stood patiently and quietly, and my hands have remembered the motions. Second, he’s practically sound again, thankfully. We seem to be on the right track.
So, I am obviously bummed that this is another setback, that it’s still related to that initial disaster in his foot (2.5 years and counting!), and that I can’t ride and get him legged up and back on track for the spring like I’d planned.
But I am glad it’s not what it could’ve been. His leg was so hot and fat I was worried he had done something truly dire to a tendon or ligament.
Just wrapping. I can wrap. And waiting. I’m getting pretty good at that, too.

8 thoughts on “What the Vet Found

  1. Although this isn't great news, it is a relief. I did not like the sound of a big hot leg. But hopefully this is just a brief setback. Glad he's practically sound again, he must be feeling relieved too.

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  2. i am so sorry for you. glad it's not worse or seriously alarming… but still… so so sorry that you're still dealing with the fallout so many years later. good luck tho and hopefully he'll heal up from this quickly and with zero issues!

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  3. I'm glad that you know what it is now and that it isn't anything worse. We get a lot of horses in with feet problems and I know how exasperating it can be. I hope that he gets all healed up soon

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