Injury to long in your experience to heal? - Page 2

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Injury to long in your experience to heal?

This is a discussion on Injury to long in your experience to heal? within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • How long after leg injury in horse before ride again
  • How long for a large wound to heal upper leg

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    09-26-2010, 11:27 AM
Thank you all for taking the time to watch the video and reply. She has now not had any bute for a couple of days. And I am happy to report that today there is still no hobbling around, which is a REAL milestone. Before without the bute in the mornings it was bad...and today was chilly so I expected to find a 3 legged horse this morning at feeding, but instead I was met by what appears to be a pretty normal horse :) That is good. The vet said that bute would have no effect on damage or pain in the bone. He still feels all of her issues were the direct result of the cut. The trauma to the muscle is what caused her the pain, and she seems to be finally nearing the end of it all. I have a video from 9-9-2010 to show you her having a bad morning. Sometimes she would actually drag the leg kinda...

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    09-26-2010, 11:47 AM
Here is an even better example from 9-9-2010 you can really see how much pain she is being caused. My sister actually debated having her put down because she couldn't stand to see her in pain much I said earlier though I think she is pulling through

    09-27-2010, 12:02 PM
Originally Posted by herdbound    
My vet says that leg injuries can take a very long time to heal. We have her separated from the others most of the time. Especially at feeding time because they do pick on her. I think she is making progress, it is just so slow. The vet says he does not feel there is any damage done to bone. That the pain she experiences is from trauma to her muscle. I call him with reports and he says that everything seems to be going normally. I just get really discouraged when she seems to be fine, and then in the morning she is hobbling around some days...the vet reassures me that it is all normal. Thats why I was wondering about others experiences. I guess we just sit and wait I have never dealt with a leg injury that totally turned the horse three legged before. Her chest muscle on the right side actually doubled in size from her doing so much more work on that leg to compensate for the bad leg. This whole ordeal made her lose weight too...I don't feel making her tough it out without the bute will do much good, if I were in pain I would want some relief too. He said she can stay on that for a very long time without any ill effects from it.
Hi herdbound - Ugh, I know how you're feeling. Up one day and down the next no doubt. Hang in there as time is truly your friend! Below is my experience with a leg injury.

My horse was injured this past April...within 24 hours of buying him. Suffered a 6 inch diagonal laceration to his left hind dorsal canon. The injury was clean through his extensor tendons to the bone. Vet sutured him beautifully and then a couple days later, the sutures busted completely open from him knuckling forward on that ankle. Left a horrible looking mangled mess/mound of tissue to heal. He was on a prophylactic antibiotic and bute for just two weeks.

My horse was on complete stall rest for months, lost about 100#'s maybe more, and experienced tremendous muscle atrophy!! During that time, I changed the dressing every other day. Vet came out regularly for various issues and trimmed twice for moderate amts of proud flesh.

The wound is still not completely closed but has contracted down very nicely. Open area is about the size of a quarter now-oblong in shape. Truly healing from the inside out. I clean with diluted betadine solution, rinse with normal saline sometimes and slap some Nolvasan ointment on a sterile 4x4 and apply to the wound. I change up every so often and just apply triple antibiotic ointment for example after cleansing, cover with a 4x4, and supportive bandage. The most important part of his wound care is the application of the supportive bandage. Vet wants the supportive wrap on the leg esp ankle area until the wound is completely closed (wrap has delayed wound healing considerably). Supportive wrap is a thinner 'no bow' bandage and vet wrap. I can launder the no bows and I buy vet wrap from a catalog @ a buck a piece.

After going crazy on stall rest for all that time, he finally started handwalking. First *walky* was fine. Then for the next two weeks he was possessed! Scary stuff. I pulled a tendon in my right shoulder from him (out of nowhere) rearing straight up on me once..shoulder still bothers me. First month we just walked...increasing distance and intensity. Then turn out in a round pen. Now..he's on full pasture turn out with non aggressive buddies. Not limping at all..seems very strong on that leg..very occasional lag noticed. Much improved from only a month ago. Vet says the brain has to reprogram that left hind. Scar tissue has taken the place of tendons. Vet wants him to take the fall/winter off and feels he'll be good to go next spring for retraining of everything he knew before the injury. Vet says to start slow and w/t in hand on level, then hills, then in saddle, then lunging, etc. She wants a VERY gradual progression and return to normal activity. So, a whole year from injury to return to normal activity.

As you can see, my vet took a very, very conservative approach to his care. I'm glad though, cause I'm beginning to think we gave him his very best shot at a decent recovery. He will never be what he was or 100%. Best to hope for is about 80-90%. This whole ordeal has sucked though. Mostly for the horse it has sucked but for me and my family, too. It's been expensive in more ways than just financial. This kind of thing takes an emotional toll on a person. But you know what? I bonded with that **** horse from day one. He nickers for me when I drive up. I get out of the car and he runs over to greet me. What a feeling! And I don't always have carrots in my pocket.
    09-27-2010, 01:19 PM
Green Broke
I am so sorry to see your horse in such pain! My TB managed to give herself a severe laceration on her hind leg last year, cut right down to the bone near the stifle and sheared the muscle away down the leg. Very lucky not to have completely severed the tendon. Vet stitched her up as best he could and said that only time would tell if the tendon would repair properly, she barely moved the first few days. Then for weeks she would hobble around on three legs, sometimes not even placing the injured leg on the ground, it was very touch and go as to what would happen with her.

Then after about a month she turned a corner, started putting weight on the leg and moving more which was great as the increased circulation to the injured leg helped to reduce inflammation (she was only on Bute for the first five days). In all it took almost four months to heal, five months before we were riding again. Six months later it was just a faint scar across the stifle area, no proud flesh. Mind you I was there twice a day for the first two months and then every day in the months after that to change bangages and dress the wound.

I hope that it all goes well for your horse too.
    09-27-2010, 01:21 PM
Green Broke
In fact, that is her in my avatar picture, six months after the injury and you can see the faint line across her stifle on her hind leg that is furthest from the camera, or can you see it?
    09-27-2010, 02:13 PM
A couple of questions, sorry if the answers are in one of your other posts, I will admit to skimming some of them.

Did the vet ever come out and examine the original injury? Cuts to the tendon sheath are very serious and you would use another antibiotic in combination with the penicillan as it penetrates the joint space much better.

Why, exactly does your vet want her exercised? If he feels there is no bone involvement, he must feel it is soft tissue. Soft tissue must be rested to heal and then you would bring her back very slowly once she was 100% sound again.

How did he decide there is no bone involvement? Without a radiograph there is absolutely no way to know. If the wound starts to return/get worse again there is a very real chance of sequestrum which is a surgical fix.

Granted my opinion of your vet is from a couple of random comments on the internet but he sounds like a country cow vet that doesn't really know much about horses and leg injuries which can be extremely serious if not attended to properly. Again though, I don't know your vet or the whole story. She still looks off to me though. Good luck with her.
    09-27-2010, 03:32 PM
Yes he probably is more of a country cow vet but I still love my vet. Why because he is the only one who ever showed up for me. We had an Arabian who had a problem called Cerebrum Abiotrophy, she was prone to falling due to a brain deformity. She fell over a hill and really sliced herself up. I tried calling my sisters vet to no avail. Tried for hours, left messages, no call back for days from him. In my mind it was an emergency, to him he seemed to not want to be bothered by it. I live in a rural area, and the choice I have for a vet is the guy who never calls you back or the guy who does call back BUT doesn't feel it necessary to always come I had to choose the one that would at least take me on...not the best scenario but he is actually a really good vet...he explains everything and he takes the time to always talk to you personally when you have a problem. His office is about 30 miles away from our farm and he does his best to come if he feels it is necessary otherwise he talks you through what to do. Again I will repeat this is not the greatest BUT it is what I have. He was actually leaving for vacation when this accident happened and lead us through what to do with the penecillin and left us the bute pills in a secured location on his office premises so we could get them ASAP. He also called back a couple of days later while still on vacation to check in on what was happening. In my personal experience everytime an animal gets injured (at least at my house) it is a Sunday or it is a day my vet is going or gone away. I think he based the fact that the bute took her back to being normal as his foundation for there being no bone damage. He said bute will have no effect on pain from broken or fractured bone. He also knew I had experience with the healing of wounds because of his work with the Arabian- it was basicly the same situation. Keeping the cut clean and making sure she got her I said not the best situation...but I think she is making progress so something must have gone right. I just can't stand seeing an animal in pain like hurts me that they hurt.
    09-27-2010, 09:39 PM
I totally agree, an animal in pain is unacceptable and sometimes you have no choice in vets so please don't think I was bashing him. I was just saying he definitely doesn't have an expertise in horses. We do what we can with what we have though right??

My concern is that an infection of the tendon sheath can enter the joint and that would be, well the end for her. Joint infections never go well in horses and you can't exactly amputate the way you can with a dog or cat. The dose on the penicillin was awfully low which can lead to resistant infection and actually make things worse. Again, not criticising, just giving you some important information.

I agree that response to bute points to soft tissue injury but does not rule out that there is also bone involvement. My concern here is the sequestrum. I think you should definitely NOT work her at all until she is feeling much better. You could be doing real damage to the tendons by working them while inflammed. As far as bute, I'd reserve it for when she has a really rough day because as others have said, it is toxic to liver and kidneys and can predispose to gastric ulcers.

I think the best way for you to proceed with her would be to keep the wound as clean as possible and cold hose for 10-15 minutes as many times a day as possible. If she takes a turn for the worse or the wound appears to be recurring (sequestrum) then it is time to be a little more aggressive about getting another vet out. Best of luck to both of you!
    09-28-2010, 09:52 AM
Tealmut...thank you for your informative reply. The wound itself has completely healed over. I check her out often throughout the day and since I started this thread I have seen none of the limping and hobbling around. I hope to god that this is over. One or two days of soreness in a horse is enough but a couple of months of it makes you feel cruel and helpless. Like I said earlier my sister had debated on if it would be more ethical to have her put down versus hobbling in pain for another two months...She has remained bute free now from the start of this post too, so I am hoping we are on our way out of the woods. The vet said that the excercise was important to get her moving or she would stiffen up, I thought it was correct info since when I have had my c-sections the doctor would force me to get out of bed even though it hurt like hell, and move around. I will lay off of her and just let her be...maybe a few months off will benefit her more. I will keep a close eye on the wound too and see if it reopens or seems to be infected or causing her pain again. I will post an update if anything happens for the better or for the worse.

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