Wednesday, February 25, 2015

What Do Wednesday: Another Wintery Edition


Horses make them. Expertly.

This topic stems from one of the most recent TOABH, a comment from my last post & the fact that my dear Lilly recently & mysteriously wrecked her LH. Dealing with it has adventure.

Since it is winter, and we are/have been experiencing ridiculous sub-zero temps for weeks now (in case you werent aware) tending to [serious] wounds can be tricky and need some creative measures when it comes to wound care.

In any others season, I think *most* horse parents would rotate between some sort of wrapping, stall rest, salves/poultice and cold hosing system to mitigate swelling and risk of infection. Severe injuries do not count, as they require hospitalization and surgeries, etc and thats one ball game I hope I never have to play.

I've seen the horrors of those kinds of injuries and I do not wish that on my worst enemy.

In this case, treating Lilly's leg wound(s) have not only been exhausting but extremely stressful. I literally spent like 70 minutes, combined, today worrying about my horse at home and if she was in pain, was out of hay or water, was too cold, was too hot and if the barn had burned down yet, thanks to electric water buckets.

As mentioned previously, a commenter had mentioned her way of treating awkward wounds (hock joints) and being creative with supplies. Since I LOVE to pic y'alls brains for more ideas and solutions to problems.... I want to know from everyone... What do you do when your horse has injured her/him/self in a place thats very inconvenient for bandaging? Also, if your horse gets hurt in winter, what do you do to combat the cold when treating said wound?

In summer, rarely do I worry about anything besides flies and most wounds can be covered with salve when not able to bandage. However, tis' not winter and common methods of treatment are currently unavailable to cold hosing. Hosing would seriously cure half my anxiety right now.

Since I'm a list person I've come up with "Winter Wound Care Grand Plan", complete with numbered steps and photos for easy referencing. Please disregard ratchet-ness of barn and the disgusting mess our poultry/waterfowl are constantly making. They are darty & they wont leave.

Repeat twice daily with the exception of step 2.

1. Gingerly unwrap leg(s) and assess current fucked state

Still VERY swollen, but honestly looks better than yesterday  
Conclusion----obviously unwilling to bear weight and still EXTREMELY tender. Like, the most. Originally I thought the inside wound on her cannon bone & the hock injury would be the buggar, but she seems to be VERY ouchy on her ankle. Quite warm throughout entire leg. RH hock also warm and slightly swollen. Unfortunately, there is hair everywhere and she wouldn't let us come near her with clippers. We can only assume soft tissue 'damage' and minor cuts under the hair near her ankle. Quite worried about it, will monitor closely, nervously and excessively.

2. Venture to reach vet. (Play phone tag all day) Finally get a ahold of saintly vet, ask if you can up Bute dosage because old mare butt is obviously 3 legged lame

3. Attempt to wipe salve off/clean wound with heated water from electric bucket & soft towel.
   Mare will not allow you near wound....
   Keep trying.
   Dodge half-hearted kicks...
   Get most of the old salve off wound.

4. Celebrate and stretch, you've been hunched over for some time.

5. Dunk hands in heated bucket to thaw.

6. Seek to convince mare that cold soaked rags will feel REALLY good on hot, swollen legs. She will disagree for some time. Delicately lay rags on hock joints, wait and hope she doesnt move, awkwardly and gently wrap with polos to keep in place. Repeat with ankle joint.

7. Admire handiwork and let rest for 10-15 minutes while completing step 8

This was really hard guys

This is what torture looks like
8. Clean stall. Dole out PM hay. Prep PM grain.

9. Again, gingerly unwrap, and remind oneself to take used wraps inside (aka throw on the ground outside door).

10. Try to get some salve near the actual wounds and not on the ground, opposite leg, on oneself or elsewhere. It will be difficult because horse will be flinging about trying to dodge your futile attempts

11. Wash and thaw hands again in heated buckets

12. Trick horse into standing immobile while trying to get gauze to stick to wounds/salve by being as delicate as a butterfly with placement

13. Fully unwrap vetwrap from roll, since its probably frozen to itself & being bastardly. Attempt to warm in your hands, but theyre probably wet, & not helping. Drop vetwrap. Repeat step.

14. Readjust gauze.

15. Sneakily and quickly get that mother 'effin vetwrap around the damn leg, hopefully near the wound and hope she doesnt flinch/whole thing doesnt slip.

16. It does.

17. Repeat steps 11-15 again with fresh supplies, while cursing under your breath (or louder, if you're me)

18. Admire handi-work and catch a breather/wonder why you fucking own horses

Not too shabby. Better than yesterday! *pats self on back*
19. Stuff mare's face with noms & pet neck for dealing with this shit (you're about 35-45 minutes into the ordeal by now)

20. Re-roll legwraps because you probably haven't yet. Forget you didnt wash hands and get salve all over wraps. Get clean ones. Note they are the last clean pair and try to remember to wash dirty ones (spoiler, you wont).

21. Tell horse to brace for the worst, and try to wrap legs, making sure the most injured leg gets as much coverage as possible and wrapping other leg for support. Horse will resist at first but then accept her fate as she is quite over this by now and just wants more food.

22. Repeat steps 18/19

Are you noticing a trend here? I like blue shit.

23. Return traumatized animal to her stall and give PM grain with meds.

24. Clean and refill heated buckets.

(Once inside)

25. Dry/fold cold compress wraps. Remember you forgot the other dirty wraps down at barn. 

26. Pre-crush pills for AM because you will hit snooze one too many times & be running late

26. Blog about it and collapse into bed.

So there you have it. A way too detailed numerical list of what I've been doing for what seems like eternity already.  You're welcome.

I've decided that wrapping the hocks overnight/during the day terrifies me & I'm too worried it will do more harm than good. But, the cold compress seems to be working in lieu of no hose, and she seems to actually enjoy it once I can get the damn things on. I don't blame her, those wounds are gnarly. I wish I could use ice packs, but shes so tender, I dont think the awkward pressure would work out in this instance.Vet has coordinated antibiotics & bute, so medications are taken care of. Luckily, if I mix it with a little water and dump on grain she doesnt even notice. Hallelujah. Otherwise, it could be worse and I'm glad she seems to have a good attitude about being inside and treated like a queen. 

Like I said before, I've been really lucky when it comes to horse bodily injuries and this has to be the closest to worst I've had to deal with, which is nice (I say that lightly-this has been the opposite of fun for both parties). I've had cut coronet bands (scary) and my mini's hoof splicing (ULTIMATE scary) but otherwise, this is the most creative I've had to get with bandaging and technique.

So, dear readers, What Do?

Feed me YOUR secrets!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

TOABH: Costly $$

I really thought we were in the clear and headed for better weather ( I cant stop focusing on the weather I'M SORRY) but the weather guru's assured me the frigid arctic temperatures are here to stay at least for another week. I literally think I'm about to go insane and I may or may not have walked around in a zombie-like depressive state yesterday.

To entertain myself, since I have yet to muster the energy to write the follow-up post, I figured I would hop in on the hop.

I forgot to copy/paste the actual question in my sleep deprived 6am chugging coffeestate, but she asks, whats the most costly injury to date, time counts as money too. 

Now if we were talking about human injuries, I woudl be a prime candidate. I've been in and out of the hospital many many times, I get sick often thanks to a genetic blood disorder and I have a tendency to injure myself on many occasions.

Luckily, I've been blessed with very sound, safe, healthy horses *KNOCKS ON WOOD CROSSES FINGERS AND TOES* and Yankee is really my only candidate for injuries based simply off the span of time I've owned him. Besides two bouts of colic and thrush every spring, he's remained generally injury free. 

Once, my mini mysteriously shaved off half her foot exposing the laminae, but that honestly did not cost much in vet bills. Just a shit load of time wrapping her foot for over 6 months.

Surprisingly, Yankee's injury wasn't even really an injury, but a cancerous tumor on his tailbone. I wish I could figure out how to go back in the archive and find the post without it taking a thousand years to find, because the incident and the vet bills were traumatizing for both of us (yes I'm sure Yankee was concerned about my bank account because he's considerate like that). 

Essentially, he had a tumor growing on his tailbone at the tip, & I didnt notice it for weeks apparently because I'm a terrible horse mom. Pants has a huge thick tail and I keep his tail up in a sock for most of the year, periodically taking it down. One day it starts oozing blood, I dig around, freak out, call the vet and he's like "Oh this is probably cancer" while  looking at me disapprovingly.  Cue meltdown.

We ended up CUTTING OFF HIS TAIL from the last vertebrae and it was horrifying and terrible and I never wish that on anyone. I literally cried the entire time. Yankee was a trooper because he was sedated, and now has one less vertebrae. Neat. The vet had to come out 3 times after that  to "burn" off the end of the tail with carbon whatever. All I know is that is was a LOT of money.

Almost $2000. And for a broke bitch, it took me almost a year to pay that off. 

Speaking of injuries, I've been dealing with this in subzero (-10) temperatures and its not fucking fun for anyone, especially Lilly. 

jesus christ wtf

Poor girl. Imagine my panic when I see her limping up to me in the field. I remain calm, try not to have a heart palpitation and hurridly search the field for the cause/blood/hair. I literally found zero disturbances in the fencing, snow, surrounding areas or gates. LIterally none. Like what the actual fuck and how did this horse do this to herself.

Do not like blood. Blood scary.

I discovered trying to clean, sanitize and wrap a seriously injured leg in -10* with a horse who does NOT want you near her injury, is damn near impossible and I am legitimately sore from trying. Like, my legs and shoulders hurt from the weird crouching position I was in for over an  hour.

The worst of it.

To double the fun, both her hocks look pretty torn up and bandaging hocks is pretty impossible. Awesome. 

Her LH got the worst of it, whatever "it" is, which remains a mystery for now. 

Luckily (?) the vet said she will eventually be OK, gave me bute and antibiotics and told me to keep her inside with wraps. (Unfortunately thanks to the placement, stitches wouldn't hold so that's brilliant.)

Um, yeah, not easy when she doesn't want you touching her. This AM it was HUGE and hot and all I wanted to do was cold hose the damn thing but no, its too fucking cold for that. So I resorted to *trying* to sponge off the injury with freezing cold water, pretty much unsucessfully, got kicked twice and managed to get a cold compress on the leg for the day after 15 min of coaxing and kind of hobbling her so I coudl wrap it.

Essentially, might be the worst combination if mishaps and unfortunate coincidences to occur (subzero temps, placement, mystery, not being able to stitch, no hose, less than cooperative horse, barn door frozen shut, lights not working in barn, etc etc) & dealing with it has been brutal and quite miserable for both parties. 

Overall she seems comfortable and happy with her stall and hay for once, and I'm just relieved she didnt rip her leg off.

But seriously, wtf horse.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Other Side

**EXCELLENT discussion/input on my last post. I will be doing a follow-up shortly to it since it raised up some very interesting things.

So we've officially survived "Snow-ice-artic temps-mageddon 2015" and have come out barely scathed on the other side. I think we all are absolutely sick of winter and feeling a little cooped up though.

Bacardi lately has taken to romping around on his own accord to amuse himself which is one part adorable and one part nerve wracking. Horses will be horses though & I feel more guilty locking him up inside than letting him romp around outdoors!

Frolicking wildly

Interesting angle
He has some impressive reach with that RH and MAN this horse can buck.  Heres a quick VID on my insta of his antics if anyone hasn't seen it yet. 

Otherwise he spends his days looking ridiculous in all his layers & eating me out of house and home. I think right now he's getting 1 to 1 1/2 bales a day while we try to find another round bale supplier. The struggle is real.

Marshmallow is not amused
Its killing me to not ride. For one, I enjoy it & two, I keep thinking of his muscles just shrinking away and all my hard work going to waste. We will have to double-time it once spring rolls around #boohoo

Lilly has been Lilly. 

Many of you may not know Lilly well, so I want to take a minute to explain her to y'all.

She's quite the Queen B. She knows her job, what she wants and when she wants it. But she also is sweet in a bitchy, endearing way. I would love to say she tries her best to please you, but really, humans are her servants & we do HER bidding. As long as it is in the realms of her acceptance, she will do it nicely (aka being ridden) but otherwise will just do what she wants. I kind of let her be, because shes so reliable and steady, but sometimes her bitchiness is just funny.

The other day I was bringing her in for the night because of the windchills. She knows where her stall is and I rarely ever halter her to bring her in, she just trots around to whichever door I have open.

Sidenote, we have a GIANT sliding front door that usually works. Unless its below freezing and then it will freeze completely in place, however you left it. I try to leave room enough for a wheelbarrow, but I also like to close it because of wind. Its a tough situation.

Anyways, when it freezes, we have to let Lilly in, do stalls, and turnout from the back doors. She will run around to the back if the front sliding door is closed.

This time though, she decided she could fit through the wheelbarrow sized opening and basically BULLDOZED her way inside. It was actually really funny after I got over the initial shock of her doing it/checking her for injuries. 

Icicles on the marebutt face
Mares will be mares!

If he's not raring around his fields at mach ten, Bacardi is begging for TREATS & being adorable in general despite his clothes situation.

"Foods for meh?"
Ice in his tail
Since shredding my very expensive and lovely neck blanket, he's been without protection on his neck from the wind. I think it was a little much for him on the -30* days and when I came home from work, I found him shivering even with a wool belly blanket liner and a heavyweight turnout with belly band. 

I was SO nervous to give him another blanket, but felt really bad he was so cold so I upped him to 3 blankets and  threw on my full neck/face sleazy in hopes that would act as a windblocker. It was my "show only" sleazy that I only use to keep braids nice overnight, but I felt so horrible I threw it on anyways! I just prayed he wouldnt rip it.

He did though, within 12 hours of it being on. Horses man! BUT, he seemed warm enough and happy with that addition so thats all that matters. 

3 blankets felt excessive, but he seemed totally fine so I let him be for  a few days while the temps remained subzero. It warmed back up today for a bit so we all got a breather but its supposed to drop below zero again tomorrow night. UGH! How do people in Canda deal with this on a regular basis.

Our water tank heater doesnt seem to be able to keep up with these temps either so I've had to chop ice constantly. I don't mind so much, its a great workout, just really nervous about them being unable to access water. I thought those buggers were guaranteed to like -1000* or something, but I guess not.

Our bird collection is surprisingly doing well. I for sure thought our chickens would freeze to death., which made me really anxious to think about. They refuse to live in their coop and prefer the barn. I noticed their combs looking frostbitten & really started to worry but they pulled through! The Ladies look a little rough, but otherwise spritely. 

Lady Gaga & Pocahontas 
Our duck brood has also taken up residence in the barn. I've tried keeping a hole chopped in their pond, but with -12 to -17 actual temps, the pond freezes up so thick and fast their hole became impossible to keep large. I also think the actual temps and wind started to get to them and they migrated inside. They discovered hay piles & seem content so I let them be.

Along with OUR birds, Starlings have moved in to the barn and never have I seen more bird shit in my entire life. I had to bring tarps in the barn to cover up my halters, hay, boxes and western saddle because of the sheer amount of bird crap covering said items. I'm not joking, its monumental and now frozen to everything. Disgusting.

Anyone know how to get rid of starlings by chance?

I hope everyone else has made it to the other side fof this freeze without mishap! I've seen quite a few burst pipes on FB and have been wondering how everyone was faring.

Hopefully weather will warm up and we can all get back to riding!