Kicking Mare + Board Fence=Trouble
 
 

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Kicking Mare + Board Fence=Trouble

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  • Horse kicked fence leg swollen
  • Swollen leg from horse kicking board

 
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    05-06-2011, 11:50 PM
  #1
Weanling
Kicking Mare + Board Fence=Trouble

My mare is the most accident prone animal on the face of the earth. I swear, we've had more health issues/injuries with her than we've ever had with all the other horses combined. Anyways...

I went out tonight to at least pick the horses' feet since I wasn't riding. I did all my mare's feet with no problem until I reached the hind right. I started to move to pick it up, and at first I thought she was just resting it, but then I saw that there was a trickle of blood on her leg, and then I realized that her entire leg was swollen I'm getting nervous at this point, so I began to feel around on her leg. There was nothing of interest that I could feel, besides the swelling, several smallish gashes and a large, swollen bump just below her hock. She was a bit iffy as I felt it and didn't want to put weight on it, but she wasn't going insane or trying to kick me or anything from the pain.

I called dad, asked him to come home, and then had the mare hobble out to the tap where I ran the leg under water for 5-10 minutes, hoping that the cold water might take away some of the pain and swelling. She got a bit nervous as the water sprayed the gashes on the insides of her thighs, but otherwise put up no resistance. I took her into the barn and put some Blue-Kote on the little cuts and scrapes, and waited for dad to come home. When he did get here, there wasn't much else we could do. The (maybe?) good news is that it wasn't very old-she had been fine when dad was out there about an hour before.

What we think happened is she either hit her leg hard or got it caught briefly in the boards as she went to kick at another horse. Since there are a couple gashes above her hock, I'm willing to bet it was the latter, and though it's a pretty bad injury, I am extremely grateful that's all she got-I initially was worried about a break or dislocation, but I've seen and felt dislocated joints before, and her leg doesn't feel like that at all (plus she can put a bit of weight on it), and dad said it's not broken, so I'm willing to believe him.

I went out about an hour ago and she was laying down in her stall. She seemed a bit groggy, so maybe she was actually trying to sleep, or maybe she went down to get off the leg-I don't know.

Now, for my actual questions:
1. Did I do the right thing? What could/should I have done, and what can/should I do now (or, tomorrow, when I can get out again)?
2. Do you think she'll make a full recovery? I don't think it's incredibly serious; I mean, I've whacked my fingers/hands/toes really hard before, and they have swelled up for a few days, but it always healed in a week or so and never left any permanent damage.
3. What sorts of things should I be watching or looking out for in the recovery process? Is this sort of thing going to heal itself up fine?
4. Should we be keeping her inside, in the stall? For how long? Is any exercise at all good for this type of injury, or would it be better to keep it as still as possible?
     
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    05-07-2011, 07:27 AM
  #2
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by AllThePrettyHorses    
1. Did I do the right thing? What could/should I have done, and what can/should I do now (or, tomorrow, when I can get out again)?
Sounds like you took very good care of her. Since you've treated the cuts (that sound minor), as long as they are not getting infected, just leave them heal on their own. Continue the cold hosing 2 or 3 times a day for the first 48 hours to help the swelling (which generally is what causes the most pain). If she's really hobbling on it, you can give bute to help the swelling and pain.
Quote:
2. Do you think she'll make a full recovery? I don't think it's incredibly serious; I mean, I've whacked my fingers/hands/toes really hard before, and they have swelled up for a few days, but it always healed in a week or so and never left any permanent damage.
I would expect so. Just like a sprained ankle, the first couple days where it's swollen are the worst. Usually after about 5 days, they're pretty much back to normal, and we're usually back to riding them after 2 weeks.
Quote:
3. What sorts of things should I be watching or looking out for in the recovery process? Is this sort of thing going to heal itself up fine?
Watch the cuts for infection and that the swelling starts to go down after the third day or so. After a few days, if she looks like she's getting worse, or if she stops eating/drinking, it's time for the vet.
Quote:
4. Should we be keeping her inside, in the stall? For how long? Is any exercise at all good for this type of injury, or would it be better to keep it as still as possible?
Horses do need to move, but you do want to limit movement and be separate for at least 3-5 days. Horses are typically happier outside, so a small paddock with good footing is great, but if she doesn't go wild being stalled, that's fine, too. Once the swelling goes down, you need to see the progress day to day, starting with a short walk in hand. We usually keep them in a paddock an extra day after they look fine just to make sure they don't start running around too soon and re-injure anything.

Good luck for a speedy recovery.
     
    05-07-2011, 09:31 AM
  #3
Weanling
Thanks PHM, your reply was very helpful. I'll have to get dad to get us some Bute. I was thinking of giving her a painkiller last night, but we didn't have any.

I went out this morning and she was very sore; could barely gimp out to the hose, but after I soaked it and we walked back to the barn, she was putting weight on her leg and walking with her foot flat. So obviously, that helps quite a lot. I'll go out in a while and do it again.

I think I'll keep her in the stall for a few days-her walks out to the hose look like they're strenuous enough, and she tends to run and chase when she goes out with the others.

For your answer to "What sorts of things should I be watching or looking out for in the recovery process? Is this sort of thing going to heal itself up fine?", you said if the swelling doesn't go down after a few days, get the vet. What does this mean if it doesn't go down? I mean, what's happening inside her leg that would keep it swollen? Infection? Or..something else?

And yeah, her cuts look minor. The Blue-Kote should heal them right up.
     
    05-07-2011, 10:14 AM
  #4
Banned
I am curious about something: don't you need a vet's prescrip to get ahold of Bute?

I don't know this as, so far, we've only had to use it once when our mare got sick from her vaccinations, and our BO had some on hand....but it was a prescription and she told us we'd need to call our vet to get her approval before she'd let us use any on our horse.

So, just wondering if Bute is OTC or prescrip only....


Continued/prolonged swelling would certainly mean you may want to have a vet look at her....

Right now the swelling is likely her body repairing the tissue damage present, both external cuts and internal bruising. Swelling is a body's (human or horse) way of repairing damage. If the swelling doesn't go away, that is a signal that the damage is either extensive and/or
The body is having some difficulty with healing.


Prolonged swelling/heat/pain is a signal of deeper issues ..

How long is too long? Well that would depend on the wound(s), but our BO said a good rule of thumb is that most minor injuries should not be swollen for longer than a week. That is a generality of course, but she uses it as a marker whereby she would start to be concerned and call a vet in.

As for exercise/walking: that is impossible to say. Some injuries do better if the horse is able to move about as that increases blood flow to the injury. And blood flow bring nutrients and wound healing red blood cells, which speeds recovery. HOWEVER, other injuries require the horse to move about as little as possible to speed healing, as movement worsens the injury. There is really no way to tell which would be best unless you get a vet in. So, if you don't have a vet's reccomendation, I would probably err on the side of caution and limit turnout. Even if the bute helps and she moves about better. Because just because the Bute takes the pain away doesn't mean she should be allowed to run about. The damage is still there, even if the pain is not.

I hope all turns out well for her, keep us posted.
     
    05-07-2011, 03:31 PM
  #5
Weanling
I'm not sure, Beauseant, if we need a vet's prescription. My dad has a lot of horsey friends and he's talked about having one of them get us some so...I don't know.

Very informative post, thank you. If she continues to improve daily, I won't worry too much. My dad said she might be swollen for a week or so, and it might take a couple weeks or more to heal (pretty much what PaintHorseMares said). If she's still this swelled up after a week, then I'll have someone check it out.

After her ouchy start this morning, she seems to be willing to put weight on it today. Every time I've gone out to see her, she's been standing in her stall with her foot flat, and when I take her out to soak the leg, she will walk flat (but still with a definite limp). Most of the heat has gone out of it-it's a little warm just above the hock, but her lower leg doesn't seem to be inflamed anymore, which I take is good. The only thing is, her hoof seems to be odd-shaped now. The shape of it has...changed. I mean, I know her ankle's swollen, but the foot looks like it's been..twisted or something. It's a little weird.
     
    05-08-2011, 07:31 AM
  #6
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by AllThePrettyHorses    
For your answer to "What sorts of things should I be watching or looking out for in the recovery process? Is this sort of thing going to heal itself up fine?", you said if the swelling doesn't go down after a few days, get the vet. What does this mean if it doesn't go down? I mean, what's happening inside her leg that would keep it swollen? Infection? Or..something else?
Beauseant provided good info. Typically for th type of injuries that have swelling (kicks, sprains, etc), the swelling (and therfore pain) is at its peak during the first 48 hours. That's why (even in people), you cold hose/ice during that time. After 2-3 days, it will probably still be swollen, but you should start to see improvement in the pain, I.e. Putting some weight on it, etc. As long as there is some (even slight) improvement, I don't worry, but if it's getting worse, I would call the vet.
Sounds from your latest post that there is already improvement, so I wouldn't worry at this point.

BTW, Bute is a prescription drug, but if you have a vet that you've used before, they will normally prescribe it to you if you ask for it without requiring that they examine the horse. It's not expensive and good to have a tube in your first aid kit. Keep in mind, though, that if you're calling the vet out, do NOT give anything before the vet arrives unless instructed by the vet. Bute is an anti-inflammatory/pain reliever and will make it harder to diagnose the injury when the vet arrives.
     
    05-08-2011, 12:50 PM
  #7
Weanling
It might just be my eyes playing a trick on me, and seeing what I want to see, but it really looks like the swelling has gone down just a tad. After a night of no exercise, of course she was sore walking out to the tap this morning, but after I soaked her leg again, walking back to the barn the limp was only slight. Of course, does by no means does this indicate she's well and cured, but at least we're seeing fast improvements.

I hate keeping her in a dark stall all day, but I don't want her to run and hurt herself more. Maybe she'll learn from this-that kicking other horses through a fence hurts. But probably not..
     
    05-08-2011, 01:25 PM
  #8
Showing
Don't be in a hurry to give a horse Bute. She likely found the hosing more stressful than her injuries. The more she moves around the better she will heal.
     
    05-08-2011, 10:12 PM
  #9
Weanling
Poor mare is a sweetheart. Even though she's injured, I'm not going to let her feet go uncleaned and rot out from underneath her-especially with her standing in a stall all day. So I picked the front two out no problems, and was able to get right down and practically lie on the cement behind her and scrape out the injured foot as she had it propped up. Lifting her other back foot would mean she needs to put the injured one flat and transfer all her weight to that one. She was willing to try, but it was pretty clear she wasn't going to be able to stand the pain, so I just let it go. That foot should be ok without being picked out for a few days, at least..

We put her out for a couple hours in the paddock, giving her hay to keep her quiet. She was starting to get a little nutty from being in the stall for two straight days (nutty for her, of course means: walking a bit too fast when being lead and generally displaying that she actually has a pulse ), and a little while in the paddock seemed to satisfy her. She seemed none the worse for wear from her little romp, and I'll put her out for a couple hours again tomorrow.
     

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