Monday, November 25, 2013

Catching up, part two: The Ordeal

Apparently, Apollo might have a Thing about winter -- we spent much of last fall and winter rehabbing the gash on his leg, and this fall and winter, it's an abscess and a case of Thoroughbred feet.

About four weeks or so ago, Apollo was a little off. I noticed when I pulled him out of the pasture, and when I brought him in and tossed him on the longe line, it was clear: pony was lame on his right front. Well, dang. We figured "abscess" and the plan was to do the Epsom salt soaking, then give him time off to blow the abscess out himself or just resolve whatever was going on. That was a Tuesday, and the farrier was scheduled to come out on Friday. A fresh shoeing didn't reveal anything or resolve anything, alas.

It's the hottest fall equine fashion!

It is very hard to be Apollo some days.

And Apollo didn't blow an abscess, either. He just got lamer and lamer and sadder and sadder, until TW texted to say he was quite a bit worse than the day before and that it was time for the vet to see him. A thousand blessings on my vet -- he was able to get out there the next day to dig out the abscess. Which it did indeed end up being -- I had been a little concerned that it would be something much scarier than an abscess, honestly, even though all signs pointed that way. The unknown is scary, yo.

It ended up being a rather nasty one, too. The vet had to dig more than he expected, and the abscess ran farther under the sole than he expected. He also discovered quite a bit of bruising in Apollo's white line - enough to call it chronic. Poor pony! So we got on with more Epsom-salt-soaking, and I put him in a borrowed EasyBoot Trail boot to protect the foot. After a week or so, the vet and farrier happened to be out at the same time and cleared him to have a shoe put back on and to get turned back out. Yay, thought I! That was easier than I expected, thought I!

Silly, silly me. ;) He packed enough mud in his softened-from-soaking, already-thin-soled foot to lame himself up again out in the field. So back into the stall he went, shoe pulled, and I went with the full Epsom salt paste, diaper, duct tape, Easyboot treatment, as well as liberal applications of Durasole daily. I also had the vet take some radiographs of Apollo's feet to make sure we're shoeing correctly and getting the angles as best as we can.

And that's where we are today. He's still in the stall as of right now, but when I walked him out barefoot today, he was much sounder than he was last time we checked. TW thinks we could probably get a shoe back on him and see how he does with turnout now -- something I'm sure Apollo is enthusiastic about too. The trick now is to keep him from doing this again by toughening up his soles, helping him grow better quality hoof, helping him grow better quality hoof faster, and making sure his shoeing is supporting those goals.

So he's getting a big scoop of NuHoof Maximizer (a biotin/methionine/zinc/copper/other mineral hoof support supplement) and two packets of Knox gelatin in his bucket daily, and I'm doing my very best to make sure he gets that bucket every day. I missed a day this last week; shame on me ... I had to get work done, though, for two evenings. :/ Anyway, so we're working on his hooves from the inside with that.

From the outside, until he gets the shoe back on I'll continue the abscess bandaging/packing, and I'm putting the Durasole on daily. He'll keep getting the Durasole on indefinitely, too, or sole paint I will get from the equine hospital. And our blessed farrier will keep shoeing him with an eye to the angles, especially now that we have rads of Apollo's bones. (which, incidentally, I need to get copies of; must email vet.)

Catching up, part three: Colic scare

In addition to the Abscess Ordeal, we had our first colic episode. Thank heaven it was mild, because it was scary enough as it was.

I'd taken him into the indoor arena to walk him around, get his feet moving and give his brain something to work on, because he's going rather stir-crazy in his stall. Poor kiddo. So we did circles, serpentines, spirals in and out, follow-me, et cetera. Not much more than 10-15 minutes. He seemed a little more interested in nosing at the sand than usual, pawed a bit, but I wasn't terrifically concerned; maybe he was a little more sluggish than I expected, but I figured he was just having a case of the blahs.

But when I brought him back to the crossties, it was clear that we had A Problem. He was sweating hard, through his winter coat, and getting sweatier -- like we'd run cross-country kind of sweaty. He was kicking at his belly and pawing some. Just altogether exhibiting all the signs of Distress. :/ I checked his gums, and they refilled okay, but not quite how I'd expect Then Apollo started breathing hard and fast, again like we'd run cross-country: his nostrils were wide and pink, and I counted 60 breaths before I stopped counting to send a text to TW for advice/help and ask if I should go ahead and give Banamine or wait.

TW advised putting him in a stall and letting him do his thing, walking away and just listening to see what he got up to. He lay down, flopped over flat out, then got back up again, pawing ... He had also not eaten much of his hay at all. Odd, for him: he loves food, like most horses. At that point TW and MT both came out to help. MT pulled out some Banamine and a stethoscope, did a skin tent test and checked his gums, pressed on his back and haunches area, et cetera. Apollo was a bit dehydrated, heart rate high, respiration high, and continued to paw and be uncomfortable.

20-30 minutes later, things started to look better: Apollo was more comfortable, if still unhappy, and his vitals had gotten almost back to normal. Whew. TW and MT felt like it was clear for them to go back in the house, and TW said that she'd check on him in a couple of hours, see how he was. If he was back to uncomfortable and actively unwell, we'd haul him out to the vet hospital for treatment. I hung around for a bit longer, then decided that standing around fretting wasn't going to help anyone, and besides ... it's been damn cold here. So I went home and put my phone on the charger and put the charger right next to my hand.

TW texted me an hour and a half later that Apollo was up and snuffling around for stray bits of hay we might have left when we pulled the uneaten food out of his stall. HALLELUJAH!!

I had prepared myself for colic surgery and the subsequent rehab, honestly. I was ready and willing to go there. The vet hospital might have shot me on sight for owing them some money, but I'd have died with a note in my hand saying SAVE MY HORSE. ;) Plus, that's why I pay for horse insurance: things like that. And the Abscess Ordeal. I heart insurance.

So that was mild, thank heaven. I managed to keep my cool, thank heaven. And now we know what colic looks like on Apollo. I was pretty worried there for a while, though. Even though I had plans A through D ready to go based on circumstances -- having plans and safeguards in place makes me a MUCH saner girl -- I was worried. I wasn't freaked out like I was when he got the gash on his leg, but I was worried. I've seen horses come through colic surgery, so it wasn't an unknown quantity, which also helps me stay calm. And of course I've seen the worst-case scenario of colic surgery, too, so no mystery there. BUT THAT WASN'T GOING TO HAPPEN TO US.

Truly -- if I were the sort, I'd say that I wasn't horribly concerned because I know God has a plan for us. I'm not that overt sort, though. I still felt at the time, and still feel, that that was not the end of the road for me and Apollo. We have much more riding and love and partnership ahead of us. It's a pit-of-the-stomach sort of feeling, and I'd swear to it. Not sure why, but there you have it. Faith. :)

I had TED clip him, too, last week, because he WILL be ridable and need it this winter. :) And he now has a cutie mark! He's no longer a blank flank!
Get it?

Catching up: Part one!

So. I'm waiting on some work to get spit out by the computer, so I might as well update this terribly dusty blog. :)

A lot of the last time-period-since-I-last-wrote has been spent nursing either myself or Apollo. I got sick for a week or so, and I managed to miss the last chance at cross-country schooling for this year. Bleh. But I'd have been a mess for it if I'd gone, so better to stay home. There will be more time.

But the week after that lesson I missed, I caught a great showjumping-on-grass lesson! Apollo was a very, very good boy, as usual. After our first time around a few fences, MT pointed out some changes I needed to make with my leg (like, yknow, USE it, and use it all the way through a jump, not just at the beginning), and we proceeded to have a wonderful lesson! We jumped some rather large fences, for us, up to 2'11-3' or so! Yay us. :) Seriously, I'm super proud of Apollo and of myself. We've both come a very long way in the year and change that I've had him.

After that, I had to put my head down and focus on work for a week or so, and after THAT, this year's Ordeal began ...