Leg wounds/ tendon injuries.. HELP!

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Leg wounds/ tendon injuries.. HELP!

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  • Fetlock wound/she you leave it open
  • Handwalking horses with cut leg

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    04-09-2010, 09:05 PM
Exclamation Leg wounds/ tendon injuries.. HELP!

Ok, on March 23 my 7 year old mare had a run-in with a wire fence (10 days at a new stable). She got a cut on the back of her right front leg right above the fetlock. She also cut her tendon (about 50% through). The first day she was severely lame, no weight on it at all. We did antibiotics, tetanus, pain meds, elevated shoe, and were prescribed stall rest for two weeks, then start handwalking. A few days into recovery she was doing awesome, putting weight on that leg, maybe a 1 or 2 on a scale of 10 lameness. Then, a few days before it was time to start handwalking, the vet told us it was time to take the bandage off and leave it off. We did so, and assessed the wound. It was not fully closed up, it still had a small bit that was still open. The vet told us that was ok and to leave it open. A few hours after taking the wrap off she started leaking synnovial fluid, so we decided to wrap it, since the tendon was obviously not closed up. The next morning she was severely lame again, she went backwards in her recovery. The wrap was changed every few days, and today it was changed again. (i'm in college and can't do much from here!) I got a call saying that the wound is infected. She's been severely lame for the past week, with little improvement, and still on pain meds. She starts antibiotics again in the morning. I don't have much experience with this, so I need your help! I always imagine the worst case scenarios.. like the infection getting into her bloodstream and us having to put her down Any idea what could have made her go backwards in her recovery??? What are the scenarios that could happen from here??? What experiences have you had similar to this??? We haven't started handwalking her yet because of the severe pain, etc.
Please help me!
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    04-09-2010, 09:44 PM
Super Moderator
I wouldn't bother handwalking at this point. I am sure she's getting enough movement just walking circles in her stall. The infection is one of the potential problems you can run into with this type of injury. I am assuming you still have the vet involved? I don't want to scare you but this is a life threatening injury that needs to be taken pretty seriously. I don't know how you are financially but I would suggest hauling your horse to a hospital.

My mare severed the tendons in her back leg about 2 years ago. We hauled her two hours to an equine hospital for emergency surgery. Hers was pretty bad though, one tendon was 80% severed, the other 100. When she took a step her fetlock would actually touch the ground. They put her in a cast (like what a person would have for a broken bone) the first day and then they cut it off and used the back of the cast for support for a month and a half. We actually changed our bandages daily. She was on heavy antibiotics for about 2 weeks. I will have to go look for the directions that the vet sent us home with, but I think we kept her wrapped for 6 weeks.

If you have not called your vet out, I would definitely get them back out. Good luck to you. Please keep us posted.
    04-09-2010, 09:58 PM
Thank you for your response! I'm so worried about her... it's hard telling at this point how it could turn out =/
The vet is still involved, he plans on coming out Monday to look at the wound, but wants a few days of antibiotics first. As soon as the injury happened I called a vet at Rood and Riddle (this mare is very accident prone and they know here there lol) He said there wouldn't be much else he could do for her except stall rest and hand walking... after the vet assesses the wound on Monday, another call to Rood and Riddle may be in order to see if they have any more recommendations. I'm afraid to haul her unless it's absolutely necessary, she's basically standing on only 3 legs, and its at least a 3 hour drive to respectable hospitals (3 hours from ohio state univ, purdue univ, and rood and riddle). Luckily, this is the first horse I have insured, and it's come to be very useful!
Thank you so much for the info =)
    04-09-2010, 10:15 PM
I'm so glad to hear that she is insured - is it major medical or just mortality? Lucky you if it's major medical!
We have sent horses to Perdue all the way from here in Southern Ontario and I have nothing but great things to say about them. I agree with farmpony that a university might be a good option. What antibiotics did the vet put her on? What one was she on before? Who is doing her daily care, and are they very skilled? With injury like this I have always been instructed to change bandages daily. I understand that you are away and can't do the care yourself, right? That must be hard...but I agree that this is an extremely serious situation and needs the best that modern veterinary care and diagnostics have to offer. If you can swing it ($$ wise) it's time to start pulling out all the stops. Is it infected for sure? If so make sure she is kept on the NSAID's for fever relief etc, and be sure to notify a vet immediately is she gets a fever.
Good luck to you and please keep us posted.
    04-09-2010, 10:37 PM
She is major medical, loss of use, and mortality, so that is very lucky.
I'm not sure what antibiotics she was on/ is going on in the morning, but I can call and find out tomorrow. I have driven all the way home a few times to change the bandage and look at it myself, I just can't stand not being there to do it myself all the time. The woman taking care of her is very experienced and I know her extremely well. She's the leader of the 4-H club and introduced me to horses. She just feels terrible about what happened (i moved my mare there to free lease her to a 4-Her), she is fully committed and ready to do whatever needs to be done, for which i'm very thankful. The vet will help us decide whether we should go somewhere else for more care, as I know there's only so much some "hometown" vets can do. I would love it if we took her to Purdue for a while, I am in my second year of pre-vet there anyways =P If only there was a discount for that lol
Thanks again, I am getting ready to look up more info on NSAID's, gosh, I'm so new to everything but I'm trying to soak it in! Any help at all is very much appreciated =)
    04-09-2010, 10:38 PM
Oh, and the bandages are going to be changed daily, with irrigation and antibiotic ointment!
    04-09-2010, 10:45 PM
Super Moderator
Did they stitch it? My horse was injured in the back, I don't know if you treat the front differently or not but they went in and reattached the tendons so she had stitches inside and out. The inside stitches disolved. We did not irrigate at all. We just changed the bandages. We had first a gauze type that went on and then a cotton cusion padding that wrapped around and then an ace type bandage that was sticky. The half cast went over that and then the regular k-flex type bandage went over that to hold it all in place. It was so much work. I feel for you and your 4-h leader.

One suggestion, if you are not already, I would put a standing wrap on the uninjured leg. That I would change every other day (to let her air out). Laminitus is another danger you'll have to watch for. That would come from all of the extra preasure that she is putting on that uninjured leg. Not fun.
    04-09-2010, 10:51 PM
I would definitely be keeping the injured leg wrapped; I'm surprised the vet even suggested taking it off and leaving it off, knowing the extent of the tendon damage...that part is confusing.

At any rate, you may want to wrap her other legs with some standing wraps, especially if she's not bearing weight on the injured one...she could get fluid build up, or develop founder in her other legs, simply because of the extra strain.
    04-10-2010, 03:19 PM
Ok, got an answer on the antibiotic. She's on tribrissen 400, anybody know if that seems reasonable??? The standing wrap for the uninjured leg is on. I have given into temptation and I'm driving home tomorrow to see her for myself, and the vet will be out monday, so I will get to talk to him as well. Can you think of any questions I need to ask him?
Thanks so much guys!
    04-10-2010, 04:24 PM
Super Moderator
I'm going to go down to the barn and read my instructions they gave me for Beauty. I'll come back up and post if I think of anything. It sounds like you are doing everything you can though.

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