adventures with the vet · Uncategorized

What the vet found

Short answer: foot is probably fine, but heel is not. Surprise!

Okay, and now for the long answer.

We started off right away with the vet pulling off Tristan’s heel bandage and blanching at what she saw – which I did, too. It did not look good. I knew that it wasn’t doing great, but it was several shades of not good worse than I had anticipated.

We set the heel aside for a moment, however, to take a good deep look at the problem child foot. I laid out what the farrier had told me – he believed there was scar tissue preventing the sole from growing well in that spot – and asked her what she thought.

IMG_4013reminder of what the foot looks like right now

Almost instantly, she said she thought it looked like white line disease – not a problem of the foot itself. But she also said that she’s not a farrier, and we should get foot shots juuuuuust to be sure.

IMG_4128without question the most radiographed foot in the history of horse feet

Sooooooo we did! Many of them!


We also got shots of the left front for comparison, because findings from the x-rays were as follows:

  • holy shit does his foot actually look good?
  • let’s take another shot to be sure
  • god damn, look at that coffin bone, it might actually have remodeled
  • shit, that is a really deep hole
  • you know what, though, nothing else is cropping up
  • hmmmmmmm, his toe looks longer than we’d like to see it.

Vet and I formed a preliminary hypothesis – which is what was in the back of my mind – that his toe is too long, and that’s leading to just a touch of separation at the toe, which is leading to white line. That toe will always be more susceptible to fuckery because there is still a scar at the hoof wall. And it may be that the toe just needs to be brought back further than the farrier would take it based on external evidence because of the abnormality in the hoof wall.

IMG_4070lateral view from a week ago: a little tough to follow the lines properly because of the wrap, but you can actually if you look closely see the slight bulge of the scar and maybe that the toe is a touch long

Overall, though? Actually less worried about the foot.

That said, vet is sending the rads off to both the farrier and Tristan’s surgeon because she is the very best and wants everyone in the loop. I’ll wait and see what the farrier has to say, but the meantime prep is to keep the hole clean, spray Blu-Kote in it, and pack it as possible.

My usual treatment for white line disease would be to nuke it with White Lightning, but that’s not possible right now because, well, that heel grab (which I will have you know I just mistyped as “hell grab”) is really not in good shape.

IMG_4061a week and two days ago


Why yes that IS both a raging infection AND proud flesh on both the heel grab AND the rub from the bell boot. BECAUSE WHY DO ANYTHING HALFWAY, TRISTAN.


Vet was not thrilled at. all. We spent almost as much time talking through a treatment plan for the heel grab as we did for the foot.

Going forward:

  • wrapped 24/7, changed every 2 days
  • heavy-duty antibiotic cream on both wounds until they’re good quality pink flesh again
  • oral antibiotics for 8 days
  • once the wounds start looking marginally healthy, swap between the antibiotic cream and a steroid cream to fight proud flesh
  • fingers crossed?

So yeah that’s great. Not.

I reminded everyone cheerfully that it’s been almost a year since his last epic vet adventure, to which the vet shook her head and said “I see all these animals in crappy pastures that no one has touched in months and they’re in perfect health, and then I come see your horse, who is so immaculately cared for, and he’s always doing something.”

(that said she does have a soft spot a mile wide for him, she grew up in California and had a red roan mustang, so she genuinely thinks he’s great)

Syringing meds 2x a day is still the plan going forward, though, tiny bright spot, he’s at least eating his cup of alfalfa again – not the multivitamin supplement – so there may be a future in which he at least eats his Prascend in his grain once summer is over and the allergy meds can go away.

But in the meantime, he’s now up to 25 pills at each feeding, which is, count ’em, THREE 60cc syringes’ worth of dissolved drugs. I loaded up on applesauce now that we’re doing this longterm, and last night he did at least seem to tolerate that a bit better than the water+jello, so that’s not nothing.

HORSES. *facepalm*

16 thoughts on “What the vet found

  1. Well, this is not fun, but it sounds like you have developed a good plan. I am not one of those people who likes to push products on people, BUT. . .I just learned something new. Standlee makes pill pockets for horses! I have not personally tried them, but I know this because it’s a banner ad on my site for August. I used to use pill pockets for my previous dog who needed to take daily meds. Worked great. Not sure if it these alfalfa-based “treats would make your life easier, but I’ll leave the link so you can check it out.×250


    1. That looks really interesting! I looked all around the internet though and could not find how many of them are in the bag? It doesn’t look like too many. It might be a feasible solution to getting his Prascend into him going forward if the hunger strike continues, but right now he is getting 51 pills a day and that…would get expensive if there are only ~25 or so in the bag.

      I’m thinking of doing something similar with molasses & oats, maybe? I have some kitchen experimenting to do tonight, because this whole syringing thing is NOT so much working for us right now.


  2. Soooo mostly good news? I think…In any case, it is great that your vet is so open to working with your farrier and figuring out the best solution with your farrier. Hopefully, he is receptive too!

    May has a bit of WLD that I am doing my first attempt at white lightning on. Any tips?


    1. Vet and farrier are terrific individually AND together. They jointly did a clinic this past summer for local farriers in which they gathered together six horses and x-rayed and shoed them all together to talk through how to tackle different problems and how to use x-rays and so on. I am really spoiled with all the equine professionals in my life!

      White Lightning is my jam! I’ve written about it before, but things to keep an eye on:
      – be very careful about getting it into your own eyes or mouth
      – if you have an IV bag, they are the best to use for soaking; if not, reinforce a freezer-quality gallon bag with lots of duct tape
      – be aware that it can do funky things to the hair around the hoof like bleach it out or for VERY sensitive horses it can irritate the skin (Tristan has never been irritated, but he has shown some lightening around the coronet band)
      – clean the foot really REALLY REALLY well before you put it in to soak. wire brushes are your friend.

      I wrote a review about it with some more information here:

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s always one foot 😣

    Sounds like you have a great vet and are all over it!

    And I agree!!! Why can some horses be in crazy pastures and yet the ones we are so careful with and wrap in bubble wrap get hurt 🤦🏼‍♀️


  4. Oh man, that heel turned gnarly in no time. WTF, Tristan! Hopefully the plan of action gets it back on the right track!


  5. Aw, man, at least the rads show his hoof structures looking good!! That heel grab, OUCH!!! Hopefully it will heal itself right up (heal heel! haha). Sounds like you have a great plan, despite the suuuuuper fun syringing of meds. (I had to do that years ago with doxy powder when Dreamy had lyme. So not fun and I feel your pain!!!)


  6. Oh man! How do they even do these things?! But yay that the foot looks good inside at least. My horse Rio had what we thought was an abscess but turned out not to be, and he wound up having proud flesh coming out of his hoof wall. Also a nightmare. The good news is that it eventually healed up great and you’d never know it happened! So I’m hoping for the same for you guys!


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