Can't figure out how to implement vet recommendations - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 09-07-2012, 10:20 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: New England
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Can't figure out how to implement vet recommendations

Huey came up lame at the trot last Sunday, and has a bump on his foreleg (to the outside of the cannon) that is softish and warmish (but not squishy or hot) and that he doesn't really like to have handled. We cold-hosed him 3x per day and poulticed him at night from Monday through Thursday, and had the vet out on Friday. Vet thinks it is probably a bee sting. There HAVE been a ton of yellow jackets out lately, and the bump DOES have a little spot at the top of it where there is not hair, BUT the bump still wasn't gone tonight and is still softish and warmish. I think it is smaller than it was, but who the heck knows. Vet said to hop on and trot him tomorrow and see if he's still "off" at that gait. Haven't ridden him at all since Monday morning when we confirmed he was "off" and he's been on paddock turnout and stalled at night ever since.

Naturally, I am overflowing with anxiety over whether this is really a bee sting and whether my horse is going to be lame FOREVER, etc etc etc...

..but what my real issue at the moment is this: vet said to 2x per day to alternate hot and cold treatment on the area.

I cannot for the life of me figure out how to implement this properly. The barn is 15 minutes from my house, and it is possible that I could keep a sack of peas in the freezer and spirit it out to the barn in 15 minutes, but it's really 15 minutes of driving plus 5 minutes of booting up (too hot still to just be wearing boots around) plus 5 minutes of getting the horse out of the turnout and walking him to the cross-ties plus 5 minutes of getting it's really 30 minutes between the time those peas would come out of the freezer and the time they could go onto the horse.

And assuming they're not mushy and thawed by then, I'm not sure how to keep them on the horse's leg. Huey has made it v.e.r.y. c.l.e.a.r. that he was done done DONE with all this messing about with cold hosing etc several days ago. Usually he stands just fine for grooming and farrier, but all this standing around for ages every day getting his leg treated has really been pushing the limits for him. He has not been misbehaving, but he has been letting me know that he is SO OVER this. So the two things that suggested themselves were 1) hunch over on the ground for a half-hour holding things onto his leg and 2) vetrap the suckers on.

If it was JUST cold, the vetrap idea would work, but because it's supposed to be 5 minutes cold, then 5 minutes hot, then 5 minutes cold, then 5 minutes hot, it doesn't seem to make a lot of sense to keep vetrapping things on and off his leg. OTOH, I know better than to sit down next to my horse's feet, and my back and knees aren't going to stand for 30 minutes of squatting.

Also, if it was JUST cold, I could keep up with the hosing, even though Huey hates it, and I must say, I am also finding it extremely tiresome, trying to keep the spray on the right area while he shifts around in boredom and irritation, while trying to keep my own boots out of the spray, while fanning away the 1,000,000 biting insects that are coming out of the woodwork in the mornings and evenings.

But the only way I can see the "heat" part working, given that I have access to an outlet but not something like a microwave, at least, not in the barn (and I have tried - heating something up at home and transporting it to the barn in a cooler leaves it no more than lukewarm by the time I get there, and it lasts for next to no time at all). So I am thinking "heating pad" but I sure can't do that if I need to alternate it with cold hosing. And then we also get to the problem with the frozen peas. How the heck to keep this thing on his leg without killing my own joints or doing something stupid and dangerous like sitting down next to horse feet?

AAAAAAGGGHH!! I am already worried sick about my boy, and now I'm feeling terrible because I can't figure out how to implement the vet's suggestions. I'm sure that other people have dealt with this. My trainer, who is the person I'd usually ask, is away right now. I've still been cold hosing, under the "can't hurt, might help" assumption, but I would definitely feel better if I could figure out how to follow the vet's recommendation...
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post #2 of 10 Old 09-07-2012, 10:47 PM
Join Date: Jul 2011
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You can buy freezable ice boots for the cold part. Not sure what to suggest for the heat -- maybe microwave towels?
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* I'm often reading and posting from mobile and Siri loves to make a mockery of the English language.
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post #3 of 10 Old 09-07-2012, 11:08 PM
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: New Mexico
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Do you have a cooler? Put the ice accu's( the frozen things who keep the cooler cool lol) in and then your peas. For hot towel microwave, if no microwave a Thermos with super hot water, towel not too big*g*, towel in Thermos. Important is that you put the peas right away back in the cooler and the towel in the Thermos when the 5 minutes are over. That way you might make it for half an hour.
For keeping it on...a strip of cloth long and wide enough to cover the bag of peas, and a safety pin

Hope this helps
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post #4 of 10 Old 09-07-2012, 11:41 PM
Join Date: Jan 2011
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What about those hand warmers used in gloves for winter? You squeeze them or snap the coin inside to activate them.
Frozen gel packs for the cold.

Put an ace bandage or track bandage on the leg then slip the hot or cold packs between the wrap layers. No need to remove the bandage until you're finished. The packs don't have to be right next to the skin to work.
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post #5 of 10 Old 09-07-2012, 11:58 PM
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Ice packs.. hand warmers.

Presto! :)

Hope he feels better soon!

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #6 of 10 Old 09-08-2012, 02:11 AM
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Guess I've been out in the boon docks too long...
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post #7 of 10 Old 09-08-2012, 07:15 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: New England
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Absolutely brilliant ideas, guys! I hadn't even thought of a Thermos for keeping hot, and the one about putting a wrap on and just swapping the hot/cold packs out of layers of the wrap would totally solve the problem of wrap/unwrap/wrap/unwrap/etc.
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post #8 of 10 Old 09-08-2012, 01:28 PM
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If the thermos does not keep it hot enough, you can buy microwaves from Walmart in the $40 range. Just buy a cheapo one and keep it in the tack room. It's good for soup on winter days when you are there too.
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post #9 of 10 Old 09-08-2012, 04:55 PM Thread Starter
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Reporting back... I think we've found something that works, thanks to your advice! That's good, too, because on his trial ride after being laid off 1 week (vet said to try on Saturday, today) it's the same thing - he's not evidently lame at all unless he's got a rider, and then he's just a bit "off". The person I put up on him is an excellent rider who exercises him for me when I've got to be away, so he knows how he "ought" to feel. He felt a little off to her after a few minutes walking, and at the trot, although she thought it felt like something he might work out of. I could barely see it, standing in the middle of the ring, but we could both *hear* it at the trot. BUMP bump BUMP bump BUMP bump...she hopped off him after 5 minutes and he leg was puffier than it's been, so I hosed it and turned him out. When I went back this afternoon to try out these recommendations, it was back to a well-defined lump without a lot of swelling in other places.

Vet will be getting called BACK out, dammit, on Monday.

In the meantime, in case anyone comes across this thread because they have the same question:

I went to the Walmart and scored a stack of cheap dishcloths and one of those wide-mouth coleman insulated coolers, the kind that has a spigot on the side where you can fill it up with some drink and dispense it. I think the screw-on lid keeps the contents at more of a temperature than the lid that just pops on.

I boiled a tea kettle of water and dumped it into the cooler when the kettle whistle went, and dropped two of the dishcloths into the cooler with the boiling water and screwed the lid on tight.

Took that, and two sacks of peas in another lunch-pak kind of cooler down to the barn, and used vetrap to snug the peas onto his leg.

After the appointed time (5 minutes) I swapped the peas out. Pulled one of the dishcloths out of the cooler full of still-very-hot water and by the time I had wrung the excess water out, it was a nice warm but not super-hot temp, and I wrapped it around his leg and tied it down with the string of vetrap I'd used for the peas. And then repeated the whole thing.

I was VERY happy with the coleman cooler/hot water/towel solution. The towels were exactly the right temperature, and the cooler I bought was big enough that I could even put six or eight towels and a couple kettles of boiling water in, if I had a major job at the barn. It was easy to handle, and at the end, I just dumped everything into the cooler and hauled it away.

I was less happy with the pea solution, because Huey really didn't like them. I don't know if it was the plastic, or the peas, or the cold, or what, but he was very pissy about letting me put them on, and they kept sliding down his leg, and he kept trying to scrape them off.

What I'm going to try next is this: I've got another couple of the cheap dishcloths that I saturated with water, wrung out, and then rolled up like bandages. I put them into a ziploc baggie in the freezer, and I think I can take that whole thing down in the little lunch pak cooler and the cloths will start to thaw by the time I get there, and be nice and cold.
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post #10 of 10 Old 09-08-2012, 05:10 PM
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: New Mexico
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I was just gonna suggest the frozen cloth
Glad it worked out that well

My mom used to say:...improvise, girl, if you have less than a perfect situation.
And right she was
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