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PunksTank 07-30-2012 10:20 PM

Shot with a bird gun?
If you've read my previous posts about our rescue, Pink (in training: or in health: )
I have an interesting update, mostly for the training topic, could be relevant for the health one though?
We noticed, long ago, when we got her that she has tiny scars all over her back, small dots where hair hasn't grown back and the skin is soft and fragile. We always thought it was a scar from serious rain rot. Well now that she has her human friend grooming her all the time she began noticing tiny hard lumps throughout her body. We thought at first they were bug bites but they didn't go away. While the vet was in she mentioned what she thought it was - a bird shot? I don't know anything about guns, but apparently when shooting birds a gun shoots a spray of tiny bullets. When we looked her (the horse) over you could actually see the angle from which she was shot! I was horrified to think someone would shoot her - but it would explain A LOT about her psychological issues and her riding issues. When I first got on her I rode bareback - I feel awful knowing I was sitting on little bullets embedded under her skin! No wonder she suddenly couldn't stand being ridden anymore. The vet said it wouldn't be worth trying to remove the bullets, they are most likely non-toxic as it would have had effects already and would require multiple full body x-rays to find them all. More work than the vet feels it's worth.
My question is - do you think she could be ridden by her human friend? I was thinking if we used a gel pad or something? Has anyone dealt with anything like this?
As an update on her training - she's doing much better turning in both directions, was definitely stiff turning her head left but has been working on this. Doing very well with walk-trot-walk transitions in hand. Has become a very willing and well behaved girl.
As for her wall biting - she still does it, not as bad on the days we work with her. Her abscess burst and her front foot is better, but her hind leg is still hitchy on bad days, but after a few minutes of walking she works it out.

Thanks everyone - sorry I'm so wordy! I'll see if I can get pics of her back tomorrow.

Roperchick 07-30-2012 10:25 PM

bird shot is a type of pellet used with Shotguns. lots of tiny little pellets crammed into a shotgun shell that disperse with a wide pattern. i feel for her if she did get hit with birdshot.
ive never had experience with that but i imagine if you got enough padding between you and her back where they are at it would be okay. but youll just have to try it.

im glad shes doing better and pics are always appreciated! haha

azwantapaint 07-30-2012 10:50 PM

Generally, lead shot inside a body will develop scar tissue around it as the bodys way of defending itself from infection.
Not to say that it wouldn't become aggravated by riding, which had the potential to cause follow on complications, but it might.
Shotguns shoot a load of pellets, the size of which can vary greatly.
The smaller the shot, the more pellets in a load.
As an example, I get about 460 pellets of #7 shot into a quail load, around 180 #4 into a turkey load, and about a dozen 00 buckshot pellets into a coyote load.
If the marks/scars are still visible, and you can feel thepellets under the skin, depending on how many there are, it may be wiser to leave them than trying to take them out and risking follow on infection.

PunksTank 07-30-2012 10:58 PM

We were thinking about the same thing with infection from removing it. - but I just started reading up on lead poisoning - could that be what's causing her wall biting and neurological issues? o.o I really hope not because I don't think we could fix that!

azwantapaint 07-30-2012 11:24 PM

Do a little research...just because my brain is failing me right now.
Dill, spinach, basil, cilantro. One of these helps cleanse the body of heavy metals, but i'm not remembering which one.
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natisha 07-31-2012 11:38 AM

If the bumps are palpable you wouldn't need to x-ray to find them except near joints. That could be what gives her the hitch.
I would have them removed, at least the ones on her back because not only do they hurt when she's ridden but I imagine they hurt when rolling or laying down too, maybe even with general moving.
They couldn't be that hard to remove. Freeze the area, make a small stab with a scalpel & pop them out or however it's done. Probably wouldn't even need a stitch. I've had weird bumps removed from horses & they heal fine & I imagine removing the shot would be easier than an unknown lesion.
It may not be worth it to your vet but it may be to the mare.

Saddlebag 07-31-2012 12:14 PM

My neighbor used bird shot on my mare when she got loose. Altho there were a mess of little sores none of the pellets entered muscle tissue. Some released a drop of blood, others just removed hair. I wonder if a metal detector placed on the skin would detect if there was metal under the skin or you're just dealing with scars. Foreign objects are rejected by animals. Usually there's a buildup of white blood cells (pus) that helps it work it's way out. I think part of your problems with her is you are pampering her too much. iI think she is playing you which horses are adept at. Proceed with her as tho you know nothing about her past or it will hold you back.

dee 07-31-2012 02:53 PM

I think Saddlebag is right. In the last 3 - 4 months, we've had two of our horses shot with a BB gun. Both horses developed an abcess around the BB and it was flushed out when the puss began draining.

We didn't realize it was a BB injury until the vet pointed it out. He found the BB lodged in the scab of one of the horses. It was pretty safe to assume that it was the same situation with the other horse.

(And that particular person no longer has his BB gun, either!)

PunksTank 07-31-2012 07:06 PM

Oh good! I'm so glad! She still has scars from the obvious entry wounds. There's only two spots where we've found lumps, there's a small cluster on her neck, which we may have removed because I think this is the reason she has a hard time bending left. And one small lump on her side, below where a saddle would fit.

as for " I think part of your problems with her is you are pampering her too much."

Pink joined the ranks of our rescues with the plans to simply live out her life and be retired, among the rest of our broken horses. But when she actually got mostly sound again we thought she might be great for letting the volunteers have short easy rides on as a 'thank you' for all there help. I hopped on and found out she really wasn't trained at all - or not the way we ride at all. So we never bothered with her - until this volunteer took an interest in her. So rather than just telling the volunteer she can't be ridden I took it as an opportunity to teach her how to train/retrain this horse to ride again. She's made fantastic strides in her training and will be riding her soon, when it's not so disgustingly buggy out. But knowing whether or not she has pain can help us eliminate any potential behavioral problems.

I took a pic today of her back:

Casey02 07-31-2012 07:48 PM

I agree I think that if they are indeed pellets that you should get them removed, OR atleast the ones on the top of her back where the most rubbing would be. If they got in far enough I dont think they would cause a problem but the serface ones I feel should be removed

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