I expected, on day 3 of abscess treatment, Hudson’s “hoof seam” would be open and draining, like a good little abscess. We do not have a good little abscess. We have a sneaky, wandering abscess.
I am not happy to be The Abscess Queen today. Because instead of telling someone else where things stand, I had to tell myself:
- This is going to be a long one
- He’s going to hurt
- I have to make him work while he hurts
- I have to withhold (within reason) Bute unless it blows wide open. If I mask the pain, I won’t be able to help him, or I might work him too hard. It’s a balancing act. You want blood pumping through his legs and hooves, cleaning things out, and exercise does that. But you also don’t want to torture your horse and put them in big pain.
- I had to reassure myself of my qualifications: You have ten years of doing this balancing act. You know what you’re doing, so relax ma’am, you got it covered. You also know when it’s time to call the vet.
- What reassures other people is not reassuring me. How unfair is THAT?
- What I want to do is cry.
- My boy is ouchy. He has a boo boo! It hurts!
- This is just the beginning of the pain
- Doctors are not allowed to work on family members? Get it.
The abscess is migrating along the outside of the hoof wall toward the bulb. The opening closed up. Not skinned over: sealed. Another seam had opened an inch or so behind this one. I soaked that sucker. Tried gently to open the seam. Not skinned over. Sealed.
When I was finally able to convince him the soaking boot was not a magical gravity boot, and get it off, the right bulb of that hoof was twice the size of the left. I think that’s where it’s going to open. Better, pain-wise, since the bulb has some ability to expand.
I’m trying not to think how much harder it will be treatment wise, given the rain, the mud, his hatred of stalls, and pray for a nice little dime sized opening up high, that will drain right out, and be easy to keep open and clean.
Hudson’s farrier, Dane, was here Friday shoeing other clients. He really likes Hudson, so took a look. Said he’s seeing a lot of abscesses this winter. And this year, they are being sneaky, going underground and then blowing open a week later. At that point, I felt we were seeing the worst, and Hudson had a straight-shooting abscess. Nope. Proceeding just like other horses in the area.
I learned a new thing:
When it’s someone else’s horse, you do your job, know it’s going to be okay, and go home and sleep like a baby, happy you are helping save your friend a big vet bill.
When it’s your horse, you wake up at 2 am, and wonder if you soaked it long enough, if it’s draining yet, if he’s okay, if you should call the vet.
But you don’t call the vet, because the vet would tell you to do exactly what you’re doing (and wonder why you called).
Therapy. I would call for the kind of psychotherapy only a vet can give: he’s going to be fine…
Magical words when spoken by an authoritative veterinarian.
Sucky words when spoken by your brain TO your brain.
(I hope you can hang in with me, it’s going to be a long week.)