Yesterday was one of the worst experiences on trail I have ever had.
Day started out fine. I only worked a half day, so I came home and happily tacked up George. It was in the mid 50s when we left the barn. Got a couple miles up the trail to find they had done yet more logging on our good climb, leaving muddy ruts and downed trees and a general mess.
We slowly picked our way around and through the mess. George was being very careful, not silly or rushing like he sometimes can.
Just out of sight of the above picture, he stepped down on what appeared to be clear ground and a small thin branch snapped UP and smacked him. He jumped and flung his head up and I could see a dirt mark along the bottom of his jaw. But before I could see much else, he trotted off (the trail had cleared) and seemed fine. We got to the top of the climb and I got off (normally hand walk them down the hill there).. and I realized his right eye was swollen shut and weeping terribly.
Despite having to be in a lot of pain, George let me open the lid and get a look, and what I saw had me calling the vet from the side of the hill. He had a bulge in his cornea, his eyelid/surrounding membranes were swollen severely, and his eye was leaking ocular fluid.
I handwalked him the 2 miles home.. and bless his heart, he went along happy as could be, totally unconcerned with his face. He seemed more confused about why I was on the ground. The walk home took forever (just over an hour). The vet arrived at the barn about 10 min after we got there and took a look.
Unfortunately, my initial impression was correct: full thickness corneal tear, with basement membrane (aka, inside of the eyeball) bulging in an attempt to seal the hole. The fluid leakage had slowed, but not stopped. Called DH who immediately came home and hooked up the trailer. We were on the road to Cornell in about 15 min.
Three hours later, we arrived at the vet hospital. The opthamology resident and an ER resident met us and evaluated his eye.
George had surgery last night and they were able to close the cornea and they removed as much debris as possible from the eye (the body starts laying down fibrin in at attempt to make a "clot" and plug the hole.. the problem is the fibrin will attach to anything, including the pupil and other structures that need to move in order to have vision). There was still some dazzle response pre-surgery, so his retina hadn't totally detached.. but just how much damage there is remains to be seen. He came out of the anesthesia without issue (always a scary thing) and is recovering quietly, but there is still a ton of inflammation in that eye. He is due for an eye ultrasound this afternoon to assess the retina and other structures.
Any prayers for his continued recovery are greatly appreciated. Horses with eye injuries are very prone to colic, so he is being watched around the clock for that complication as well. Luckily he is a very stoic boy and a great eater, so we hope being in the hospital doesn't phase him.
Loking out in the pasture and only seeing 2 ponies is horrible..