Surviving the odds - 30 lt lung abscess.
It has been a good time since my last post of bringing on my new young horse, slowly we went he the green horse and me the not far from green rider. I was slowly taking his training and amazingly he was becoming some kind of great. He was to be my forever horse so I figured we had the rest of forever together to work on being great.
......It all seemed like our life was ripped apart around the 1st October this year when one day he was a bit slower in eating his food and the next not hungry at all but in his eyes he just looked so sad. I called a vet who said he was tying up and to give him a mix to help with it. two days later my boy was no better and it was time to call out another vet, the one that costs a fortune but if it were my daughter what would I do... a doctor that is what I would do. With several does of antibiotics he plugged along but then crashed, literally as he fell to the ground in a thud and it was this time I gave him permission to let go, as a nurse myself sometimes even people linger on just for the sake of the loved ones they leave behind so I knew if it was too hard for him then I gave my permission for him to go.
The vet came out straight away, my boy was so week and could not walk very well. I was off work at this time so I would take water to him and hold the hose near his mouth so he could drink. He got more antibiotics both in the rump and in the vein in his neck, he picked up somewhat. He was going along nicely, his lungs still did not sound completely clear but here was the hope he was on the improve. As he improved and I was flying 1200kms south for work and driving home it was decided that he would go into the vets for a check up as I did not want to put the strain on my 15 year old daughter to give all of his medicines.
Like superman strenght he was not getting on that float, normally line him up and off he goes on his own. as I sit at my work confrence, the vet called and said he had crashed again, and he had fluid around his lungs. It was time to make the decision to know if we continue as he was so poorly. I gave permission to the vet to do that they felt right, as a medical person I trusted there judgement. He kept with us although it was touch and go for a long time, each morning visit to him was always with so much love like it may be my last and my afternoon visit also like there would be no tomorrow.
A chest drain was inserted and drained the Plueral fluid. This lasted several days, another ultrasound revealed he had a lung abscess. Life hit the skids as to what to do, the lining between his lungs was incomplete which meant that if surgery happened and one lung began to collapse the other would too. If you have ever seen a person die in respiratory distress you would never wish it upon anyone you loved. As I travelled home from my work conference I passed where my Dad's ashes were scattered and bawling my eyes out said it if was his and Gods plan to take my little man then to do it quick so I could stop crying as there were no more tears.
The vets continued to scan him, and found that the abscess wall was adhered to the chest wall, but there were so many risks involved, as the vets had uni students there and this was something that was not seen ofter I decided that for the students and for the vets it was a great learning tool, I knew how much it may end up costing but can you put a price on what the students could learn and maybe they could save another horse one day even if my boy did not make it through. Many times I was asked and given the option to end it all. But as each step happened it seemed we overcome a hurdle and moved onto the next challenge. A chest drain was inserted and 16 litres of pus drained.......... a ultra sound reveled it had only reduced in size by half, and the fibrogen could not drain. Two days later the ultra sound reveled the pus had refilled to its original size..... lots of wondering what to do it was decided that as the abscess wall adhered and it was a time I took a chance, had faith and had hope, and trusted that my Dad too looked over him and kept him safe.
The time for surgery came, over 30 litres of pus drained from his chest, his weight had dropped so much and his condition so poor it was done with less sedation then when having their teeth done. The opened up a section of his chest over the abscess and removed about 10cm of one rib. Out came over 30 litres of pus like pouring milk from the bottle, it just never ended. As I waited patiently for the phone call I think the only way I found some peace was to know that no news was good news. it was about 3 hours later I got the call. The surgery had taken around one hour and went well.
Due to the Penicillin and the Bute he then went into haemolytic anemia, his body was attacking its own red blood cells, infection can cause this too, so he had to go onto other anitbiotics and it meant also that through all of this he had no pain relief.......
His blood count for his red blood cells was now our touch and go issue, for the wound and surgery he was progressing well. With a course of hydro cortisone to try and stop his body killing its self meant that wound healing would cease whilst on them, we had to go with the medication as there is no point having a dead horse, the wound would come better later. Up and down his red cell count went, but finally he turned a corner and the spark was in his eye, it was only half the normal amount but you could tell he had turned a corner and could breath now without the thought of dread.
After 6 weeks at the vets adn a $12000 (yep that is what it was but I knew that when I took the chance of going on with each step of his treatment) I got to bring my forever boy home, a nice hole in his chest still oozing pus but he is putting on weight and has the spirit of a wild pony. The wound is closing so well and way ahead of time, he is off for another ultrasound in 2 1/2 weeks to see how the abscess wall has granulated into his chest wall and to see if he will have any excersise intolerance........ my gut feeling on this is that it is better then ever and he should preform like nothing I have seen yet. He was only broken in this time last year so it is not like we can compare it to the many years of his riding life.
You got to listen to your gut, my gut said he was going to be fine, the heart was that of a 2/12 year old little girl who fell in love with horses for the first time and my head became that of the clinical nurse, with a stern voice set the rules.................. but the gut was right, have faith, hope and take chances. what is money if you cant have love....... my little man is stronger then ever and I have a chance of forever now.
I am writing this as I had nothing out there to give me any hope or chance, I went in blinded to what the chances were, I just hope someone reads this and keeps their hope and faith.
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