Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Nasty chest wound

On Monday the 9th, I got a text that no horse owner wants to receive: Limerick has a bad injury and what vet should be called? I was packing up for the day when I received this, and I can tell you I've never left work faster!

I was picturing a horrific leg injury--broken bones, torn tendons, three-legged lameness. But when the message came through that it was a chest injury, a large part of me was relieved.

When I arrived, Limerick was calmly eating hay in her stall. She was also cribbing, which I found to be a good sign because cribbing employs the muscles along the neck and chest. The wound was ghastly but not bleeding profusely. As I waited for the vet and time passed, Limerick began to show signs of pain. She would periodically go into the corner of her stall and hang her head, then after about five minutes of this, go back to eating hay. Then five minutes later, back to the corner. I willed the vet to arrive quickly.

In the meantime I decided to get a photo of the wound. I was unhappy and worried, but at the same time I knew I would be taking photos of the injury as it healed, and would kick myself if I didn't get that initial shot. And so, in the name of learning, here are the photos.

Hour one--injury is a 4.5-5" flap of skin and tissue hanging loose to
create a 'bowl' with a depth of around 2".
I initially thought this was a bite, but later decided she likely
ran into something, possibly after being chased by another horse.

After debriding, suturing and insertion of a drain (white tube). 
Suturing time around 1 hour.
Penicillin procaine injections for the next six days. Vet instructed
to not touch or try to clean the wound until he re-examined it
in a couple days. No turnout, obviously.

One day after. Massive swelling extending up the shoulder 
and down the foreleg. Grade 4 lameness. Wound is healthy.
Limerick was depressed in the morning but frequent
trips to a patch of grass nearby lifted her spirits.

Two days after. Swelling has decreased, wound is still healthy.
LF foreleg has developed swelling, mainly along the inside
foreleg, cannon and knee.
Limerick shivered whenever she was brought out her stall
so she was covered with a fleece sheet for these excursions,
which helped tremendously!

Three days after--swelling further decreased. Vet checkup--drain
removed, wound is rinsed with diluted iodine. Grade 3 lameness--much better.
Begin cold-hosing for swollen leg.

Four days after--wound still healthy, continues to drain.

Five days after--wound looks great! Crusty bits from drainage--
won't attempt to remove until incision has healed further. Doesn't
bother Limerick otherwise. No discernible lameness at the walk.

I will update further when I can.

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