12/21/14 I was getting ready to go do the Jingle All the Way Fun run in the pouring rain. As I fed the horses out in the field I noticed that Cartman's left front appeared swollen. Crap.
I did a quick once over but didn't see anything obvious- no cuts or scrapes. He didn't react to having the leg palpated and the swelling was pretty evenly dispersed on the inside of the leg, along the tendon.
I decided to wait it out.
The next day it was down a little. I left him out, as I was concerned that if I were to stall him it would be counter-productive to getting down the swelling. The leg still wasn't sore and wasn't hot either.
Christmas was almost here and work was INSANE. So, I just kept an eye on Cartman and by 12/25 his leg was pretty much back to normal. Whew.
I decided to wait until after Christmas to ride, give him a few more days to recover from whatever "it" was and make sure.
I had the week after Christmas off from work because I didn't pay attention to my vacation days and was going to lose those days if I didn't take them before the end of the year. A mistake I will not make again. It was kind of boring, although I did get some extra workouts in at the gym.
So, on 12/30 I went down to get C so we could haul into the Fairgrounds arena and ride. His leg which had been great for 4-5 days was blown up again. Crap.
I jogged him up to the barn and he was a little off. He didn't want to jog on the asphalt at all. I went over his leg with a fine tooth comb! I ruffed back his long hair, looking for something! I felt one small scab on the back of his fetlock. Scratches???
No, the fetlock wasn't really swollen, it was higher up. His heel bulb was a little tender.... so I decided it was probably an abscess. I dug out the Davis Soaking Boot (a godsend) and soaked his foot.
I kept him in the barn for 24 hours and soaked morning and night. On the next day the swelling had gone down so I turned him out during the day. I brought him up at night and soaked the foot one more time. The next morning I saw a small slit along the back of his hoof. It was in between the coronet and the bottom of his foot. Hmmm. Was this the offending abscess???
The next day I turned him out again and left him for a couple of days.
On 12/31 I stayed up until midnight! That's a first in a long time. I did the Year to Year 5k with two of my friends from work. It was really fun and really cold! I did like all the fireworks going off as we ran through town.
Unfortunately I did not improve my time at all... I am very slow.
During the next week I brought Cartman up to the barn on nights that I didn't have to get up at 4am to go to the gym. Somewhere in here I hurt my back doing deadlifts (I got sloppy and wasn't using proper form). It was really irritating, but went away in about a week and I am back to the strength training finally- Yeah!!!
I had taken my horsetrailer down to the RV repair so that they could fix the seals on the tackroom door, but I finally got to twitchy and called them Thursday to see if I could pick it up for the weekend while they waited for parts.
I guess that was tempting fate because I got the flu? on Thursday and on Friday when I went down to feed guess who's leg was all blown up again?????
I felt so crappy that I couldn't even bring him up to the barn. I went in and slept for like 16 hours and then Saturday morning I went down to take better look.
The leg was completely filled in along the tendon on the inside and there was a bulge high up on the back of the tendon. As the other horses galloped over to the arena to meet me I could see Cartman head bobbing. Agh!!!! The leg was also warm.
I drug him back up to the barn and called the vet for an appointment. Later in the day I went out and washed his leg up and put Ice Tight on it. I then wrapped if with a cotton bandage. He seemed really kind of mopey and not himself.
I decided to not give Bute as I wanted the vet to see the injury as it was.
Sunday morning the leg was still huge. I washed off the Ice Tight and applied Absorbine Linament. I walked him up and down on the driveway and let him graze for about an hour.
Sunday evening the leg was down a little bit.
Monday morning it was even better. He was getting antsy and cranky from being stalled up. I went to the gym and then worked until noon. Then loaded him up and we went to Columbia Equine in Gresham.
Dr. Hansen is an awesome vet. I really trust him and he has treated Cartman before. I took a couple of pictures to show him that Cartman is really doing 50 milers now!
I went over the events of the last few weeks and we got Cartman all unwrapped and he felt the leg. Noting that the foot was significantly hotter than the other foot.
He explained that the inlarged area along the back of the tendon was actually a blood vein. Whew!
He grabbed the hoof testers and checked C's good foot. No reaction. He checked the other and got some reaction. Yes!!!!
He said "I'm liking this." I was starting to feel a bit better at this point. He got a rasp and did a little work on his foot. As he picked the foot up and rubbed the coronet band a flap of skin came away exposing the large slit and oozy spot of a blown abscess!!!!
"Well we can put away the Ultrasound and the Stem Cells :)" he said.
I wanted to jump up and down and scream "Yes!!!!!!"
So, if I had re-picked his feet before loading him in the trailer, I might have saved myself several hours of driving and a quick vet appointment. No matter, I am just thrilled to feel like the silly horse owner that drags her horse to the vet with an abscess that's already blown out :)