Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Medical Update on Tucker

Not The Best News For Sure

I've been icing Tucker's hock with frozen diapers/epsom salts twice a day now for over a week.

There isn't much change in appearance.

I contacted my vet to see how long this tendon sheath injury may take to heal.

His answer? 6-8 months.

Tucker will need to be confined for the whole time.

Holy moley!

I am going to need to find a way to entertain him. He does have the run in shed in addition to his stall, so he gets "out," sort of. And I have to admit Toby and Chance do spend a lot of time visiting him, so that's good.

I've been picking grass 2-3 times a day to give him with his hay.  But what I will do when the weather changes and the grass dies, I do not know.

In the meantime, after talking it over with my human chiropractor, I realized there is one option I haven't tried....kinesiology tape. I've used it with great success on my knees, and it is used on horses.

I found a website with some good directions for taping a hock to reduce inflammation, and I ordered the horse version of the tape from Amazon. It should be here by Thursday.

It is not a cure, but the support and stimulation the taping offers could speed healing.

I don't know if my vet is aware of taping, but I emailed him about it. It's a "no harm" treatment, so there should be no problem.

Now, do you think I need to get Tuck a TV?

Latest hock pictures:

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

No Significant Change

But An Escape!

I was in Tucker's stall, adjusting the ice boot on his hock and I left his stall gate open.

What I did not realize was that Chance's stall gate (Tucker's actual stall as he is rehabbing in Chance's stall and run in) was open as well.

Tucker made a break for it. Out he went into the paddock. The ice boot slid down around his ankle scattering the ice packs hither and yon as he trotted about, and even took a few strides of canter as I grabbed a lead rope and tried to catch him.

Fortunately, it was hot. Fortunately neither Chance nor Toby felt inclined to join in the romp.

Fortunately the water trough seemed more attractive to Tucker than a full breakaway. Besides the slipped hock boot and his not quite comfy hock gave him enough pause to stop for a drink and I snagged him with the rope around his neck.

Bless all the ground work I've done because as soon as I had the rope looped around him, he was under my control. I let him drink and led him back into the confined safety of the barn.


He certainly didn't get any more exercise than he would have on the end of a lead line if I'd tried to walk him

With a potential tendon sheath injury some limited exercise is OK, such as walking about the little run in shed area, but trotting and cantering are not.  Bless his heart that he put his head back together and calmed down as soon as I caught him again.

I keep telling him I'm so sorry he has to stay in like this. I think he understands and is really trying to be good about it.

I may call my vet tomorrow just to give him a report on the fact that the swelling seems to be pretty much the same. I wonder if he has any other ideas to help ease it a bit.

Meantime, I've been watching the Olympic horse events on line, live streaming them from NBC Olympics.  If you have the NBC stations on your cable or satellite provider, you can watch too. If not, I don't know if the US offers any other way of watching. NBC has exclusive rights.

On the plus side, they do offer coverage of just about every event at the Games live without commercial interruption.

Oh, by the way, the announcers for the horse events---on the Internet feed, not on broadcast TV--really know their stuff. Good commentary for the most part and good analysis. On TV? Well one could wish for better.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Tucker Hock: Part 5

Ice and In 

My vet and the consulting vet both think the lesion on the bone is a result of part of the tendon sheath tearing away. So, rather than a kick or blow, it was likely a twist or bad step of some kind.

That kind of feeds into the fact that his front shoe was twisted off that day as well.

The current treatment is naqusone, which is a corticosteroid and antiflammatory. I am icing it once a day and still applying Surpass (in a generic form).  Tuck is also still confined in his little stall and pen.

He is being a good boy about it.

However, yesterday, I took him outside for a little graze and a roll in the dirt.

My bad.

I did not lock the other two Boys in their stalls and Chance decided to come for a visit--a rather energetic visit. He careened around us in galloping, bucking circles and Tuck rolled. Then, pulled a crash and burn of his own, slipping on some mud and landing on his side with a tremendous "whomp" next to the fence.

Fortunately, after he caught his breath, he leapt back to his feet and took off again.

That set Tucker into a rather scary fit of bucking and striking on the end of the lead line. While I would rather have ducked and run for cover, I managed to hang on, settle him back down and head right back into the barn.

He was remarkably self-contained back on the cross ties. Whew.

He is a BIG horse, about 17 hands, and I never quite know how safe he is when he gets riled up. So far, he responds to correction, but his size is pretty intimidating.

I guess the hand walking will only be done without the extra equine visitors.

My vet says it could take months for Tuck's leg to heal.

I just hope Tuck can be a patient patient in the interim.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Tuck and his Hock, Part 4


Here are some pictures of Tucker's swollen hock. Dr. Klayman shaved it down to the skin to see if he could find a cut or puncture wound, so that's why it's so light colored compared to his other leg.

So far, aside from an X-Ray showing an inflamed bone, there is nothing else to find.

Hope we get some news this week.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Tuck and his Hock Part 3

Still Swollen

Tucker's hock is still swollen after a week of poultices.

My vet was out again yesterday. He is very puzzled. He did an ultrasound and did not find any damage to ligaments or tendons. There was a lot of fluid in the joint capsule area.

He drew some of the fluid out and took some to culture for an infection.

However, he just called to tell me there was no sign of infection in the blood or serum.

So, we are still sort of at square one.

Tuck is on one gram of bute a day and a Volteran rub on the hock for now. He is confined to the stall and a very small run-in shed area...about 10' X 24' to keep him from running around. It's better than just stall confinement and it's on the shady side of the barn.

My vet has sent the X-rays to a surgeon he knows to see if there are any other suggestions for treatment.

The hock is not quite as swollen as it was, but it is certainly not normal.

The adventure continues. (I might see if I can get some pictures to post.)

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Tucker Update

Not Cellulitis After All

After a full week plus of treating Tucker for cellulits in his left hind/hock and getting really nowhere. I call the vet out again.

This time, after a thorough hands-on evaluation, the vet decided to take some x-rays.

Aha! One of the hock bones, on the inside of the joint was inflamed. Apparently, somehow, Tuck had either kicked or hit or somehow traumatized the inside of his joint.

So, protocol changed completely, from sweats to icing and poulticing.

Talk about messy. And, the hock is not an easy joint to work with as far as traditional bandaging it concerned. I have the Back on Track hock boot, which I used, but that helps generate heat.

Worse, using soaked brown paper on top of the poultice, is another mess.

Getting the old poultice off before treating with the anti-inflammatory ointment is another mess.

Icing the hock with ice packs is another bit of a mess.

Well, it's all a mess, but a manageable one. I did find a really good deal on an icing hock boot on eBay and I'm waiting for it to come. In the meantime, I've rigged up methods to keep the ice packs in place while I putter about cleaning stalls and filling water buckets.

I also discovered that those reusable paper towels work better than soaked brown paper and that the super long standing bandages I bought work really well to figure eight wrap the hock joint.  (Learned proper hock wrapping technique years ago but it used to need two bandages. Now it's just one super long one---and of course, one on the lower part of the leg for support.)

Then there is the bute, applesauce, syringe, and not too happy Tucker mouth I have to put it in. A seventeen hand horse can be really tall when he puts his head way up trying to avoid the medication.

Anyhow, as we all know, dealing with these challenges of horse care is just a part of owning a horse.

Just think of what the rest of the world is missing.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Adventures In Follywoods

All Was Not Quiet

Trouble for me started when Tucker came in lame on a hind leg. When the leg filled up, hock to pastern, I decided I needed to call the vet for at least a consult. I've dealt with swollen legs before, but something was bothering me about this one. Tucker had pulled his front shoe, with rather dramatic damage to his hoof, so I thought maybe he'd injured his hind leg in the process.

My vet was suspicious enough to decide a visit was worth his time.

Sure enough, after a flexing and feeling exam, he decided Tucker had developed cellulitis, probably from some small scratches in the pastern area.

Antibiotics, bute, anti-inflammatories, and a nasty leg sweat became the remedies along with leg wraps. I soon ordered a Back on Track hock wrap with one day delivery from Amazon--a remarkable shipping guarantee.  In the meantime, I bandaged up the boy with the sweat and hoped for the best.

Bute and other meds end up in a syringe with applesauce while the antibiotic is in its own syringe.

Fortunately, aside from being too tall when I approach him with the syringe--head goes up, and he's 17 h.--Tucker is an unhappy but well-behaved patient.

Scott came to shoe on Saturday, the day after the cellulitis discovery, and did manage to get two front shoes on Tucker, but he left his hind feet alone. Once again, Tuck was a really good boy for the shoeing. So sad.

Meanwhile, not to be ignored, Chance and Toby had their own attention-getting action. When I went out to feed late night snack at midnight on Friday, one, then two horses streaked by me on the back lawn. Toby was actually trying to get into the paddock through the locked gate. Chance was not far away.

I got Toby in, and Chance a bit later after I'd at least checked the front paddock area fence line by flashlight. All the fence was intact so I locked the stray Boys in their stalls and headed out to the pasture.

Soon I found two sections of slipboard fencing rails totally demolished. The rails were not knocked down, they were shattered. From the looks of it, once horse may have tried to jump, cleared the middle rail and smashed the top rail while the other horse had just crashed through all three rails.

What the heck? Smashing through the fence is not normal behavior.

The Boys had gone through the fence, then through my neighbor's yard and run back home.

Their frantic behavior back in my yard suggested something had panicked them really badly.

But what?

Investigation the following morning in the light of day offered no real clues. Coyote? There were no tracks I could find. Bear? Rumor of one in town, but on the other side of town over 10 miles away--a possibility still. Something else?

My friend jokingly suggested the Jersey Devil. http://weirdnj.com/stories/jersey-devil/

I walked the pumpkin field adjacent to the pasture today, and all I found were deer prints. Cloven hoofs, nothing more.

One must wonder.