Thursday, May 31, 2012

Adventures in Congenital Bipartite Navicular Syndrome

Poor Samson.  He is rarely featured in my blog, since he is semi-retired and semi-useless.  I don't know that I have ever really told his story, but since it has been heating up with new developments, I will give a little background.

I bought Samson in the summer of 2010 to be my confidence booster.  I stumbled across him on Craigslist, went to see him, and fell in love with his placid, easygoing nature.  Little did I know, purchasing would be the biggest "adventure" (oh, how I use that term loosely....) of my life.

A month or two after putting him into a normal workload, he started showing signs of intermittant and even shifting lameness.  After trying stall rest, extended turnout, time off, slow rehab, and everything else at our resources, we called in the vet.

The local country vet watched him go, did the first nerve block, and his lameness shifted to the unblocked foot.  We were immediately handed a diagnosis of navicular, a prescription for isoxuprine, and recommendations for shoeing.  I was distraught.  From there, we took him to a local clinic where we had a second full scale lameness work up.  Similar findings after nerve blocks - both pointed to navicular - so we progressed to radiographs.  The first x-ray was baffling.  Now, being that this was my first time even SEEING an x-ray of the equine foot, I had no clue what they were looking at.  But I quickly figured out how bizarre it was, when the vet kept on snapping multiple angles at no cost, just because he had never seen anything like it.  The first foot looked like it had fractures.  Then came the second foot, and it looked similar.  Smokey didn't know how it was even possible that a horse would fracture BOTH navicular bones, and have little more clinical symptoms other than being a "hair" off.

So, off went the rads, to NC State and Tennessee.  A few days later, the diagnosis rolled in - "congenital bipartite navicular syndrome".  Prognosis - denerving would be the best option to keep him sound and functional.

My trainer at the time was trying to reassure me that she had known of many fully functional hunters that were nerved and still in work.  In the beginning, I think I really tried to believe that one day it would be possible for Samson as well.  But it didn't take long to decide that I had a pretty strong opposition to put any more concussion on a defective bone than reasonably necessary.  So then came the palmar digital neurectomy, or "nerving", in the fall of 2010.  ****BEWARE****If you are squeamish in any way, don't play the clip - it is of a surgical procedure

I am fortunate to have a really cool, generous vet, who let me sit in on pretty much the entire procedure.  To make a long story short, we then progressed through the following 8 weeks of recovery pretty uneventfully.  Since recovering, he has remained sound and comfortable to be my flatwork and hacking companion.  I had dreams of maybe making him a foxhunter, since he is a blast out in the open, and that was my motivation to go ahead and pull a second set of radiographs to see how his wonky navicular bones were looking a year or so down the road.

Boy, did we have a bit of a surprise waiting.  We pulled x-rays of the right foot first, and when Smokey laid the current shot next to the identical shot from 2010, it was astounding - it looked remarkably better.  I was nearly jumping up and down, thinking at the moment that his body was actually trying to heal itself, to the best extent possible, and that we may have a shot at a decent career after all. 

2010 Right Navicular DP

2012 Right Navicular DP

Then came the left foot....

2010 Left Navicular DP

2012 Left Navicular DP

When examined side by side, it is progressively worse.  Noticeable even to me, the idiot when it comes to knowing anything about x-rays.  So here we are with a horse that is better in one foot, and worse in the other.  The new rads were sent back to the same clinics for second opinions, but they didn't have much to offer in the way of explanation or advice on how to proceed.

It left me unsettled, and I started asking around.  I showed the rads to a new farrier we have been trying out, and he was flummoxed as well.  They looked like a fracture to him as well.  He had not even heard of "bipartite", and he was the one who initially suggested I send them off to Dr. Hamilton down at Southern Pines Equine.

Two days after emailing them, I got an email response that Dr. Hamilton wanted to set up a phone conference.  I didn't know whether to be excited or pessimistic, because it obviously wasn't going to be a short answer.  So the phone call commenced at 4 pm yesterday.

The first thing he said to me is that my horse is "shocking."  Followed by a long pause.  He then walked through several of the x-rays, giving his notes on the changes that had taken place from 2010 to 2012.  He expressed that he wished both feet looked like the right, because we would be on the right path.  Unfortunately the left foot has him pretty concerned.  The primary concern is the amount of shifting that has taken place in the smaller section of the navicular bone.  He was overly pessimistic about the area obviously not having much stability, and about the long-term effects on soundness should the bone continue to shift.  The main concern would more than likely be the deep flexor tendon, which encapsulates the back of the navicular bone.  Basically, to make a long story short, although we nerved him to keep him sound, if this bone continues to move around it will cause damage to the surrounding areas, which will only cause the lameness to show up somewhere higher in the leg.  He will more than like be unsound again.  When, it is hard to say, since my horse is "one in a million", and there isn't much in the way of comparable case studies to base it off of.  If you so much as google "bipartite navicular" in equines, you may get a couple pages with the brief mention of it, and that's about it.  It is so rare there really isn't anything to base the next step on.

So, after walking me through so many deep explanations of the anatomy of the navicular bone, as well as the surrounding structures that could be affected, my head was already spinning.  Then he stopped abruptly, and said, "so what the heck do we DO about it?"

The first recommendation was a "drug" that is now being used in the states that has apparently been in use in Europe for years.  I instantly asked if he was talking about Tildren, and sure enough, he was.  I had heard of it being used in "navicular" cases, but knew little about the way it works.  Tildren is a biphosphonate drug that inhibits bone resorption.  In a normal horse, the composition of osteoclasts (which digest bone)  and osteoblasts (which create bone) should be fairly balanced.  In Samson's case, they are more than likely out of balance, when you look at the amount of bone resorption that has taken place in the last eighteen months.  What Tildren does is stimulate the osteoblasts, which also regulating the osteoclasts, which ultimately help the body to lay down newer or denser bone. 

So logically, after this is explained in more detail, it would make sense to want to encourage him to lay down additional bone to try to stabilize the shifting bone in the left foot, so that it will ideally attempt to "heal" itself in the same manner that the right foot has already done.

He also threw out shockwave, and explained why - that was news to me, since I thought shockwave was only used for tendons, ligaments, etc.  It apparently can be advantageous to try in the navicular area, since it is a part of the foot that naturally has poor blood supply, and since shockwave increases neovascularization (blood supply), it could only benefit the area.  But at the end of the day, the top recommendation is to try the Tildren.

He is fascinated with my congenital freak patient (as are most that come across him...) and would really be interested to see how he is affected by the Tildren, so he offered to make it as reasonable as his own costs would allow.  Sadly, the quote rolled in today, and even with the fat trimmed, we are looking at a minimum of another $1,000.

So.  That is where we sit.  And, once again, the Tildren treatment will be more or less a gamble, since there aren't really any studies of this particular nature to compare it to.  There have been a lot of successes in treating navicular syndrome with it, but that tends to have more to do with the drug affecting lesions and demineralized areas that tend to affect a "typical" navicular case.  Will it help the bipartite?  No one knows.  It's a gamble.  But it's a gamble that would possibly save him from going lame again in the future - however near or far that future may be.

Needless to say, it's been a rough 24 hours.  I don't know what to do.  I don't HAVE another $1,000 to put into this horse.  At this point I just want to keep him sound and comfortable as long as I can, and I have already invested quite a bit into that.

It was reasurring to hear Dr Hamilton commend me on even pursuing options though.  He said that there are so many people who would just throw this horse away, and I know that it is sadly true.  Not with me though.  I love that big silly guy, to pieces.  I don't know what I would do without his nuzzles or his constant antics.  But that is where we stand...pretty much at a loss.  I will keep you posted on where things progress, but at the moment, I don't know where we will be headed.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Back In the Game!!!!!!!

You got it folks - one month and one day later, we are back in the game!!!!!!  After consulting with the farrier and the vet, we decided to try out an easyboot to see if it would help protect the frog enough to let April get back into work.  I called up a farrier who is also an Easyboot dealer, and he was right down the road and squeezed in a stop at the end of his day.

Sure enough, we got her fitted and he showed me how to make adjustments as necessary.  I was nearly bouncing up and down as the moment of truth arrived - the jog out.  Robyn stationed herself at the all-too-familiar fencepost to watch yet another jog.

Little did we know, that may be the last jog out.  She went beautifully.  I could hardly contain myself, and promptly rushed home to put on my birthday breeches for my first ride back on my girl.  We joined Robyn and Linkin for their hack day, which was perfect for April - I have been planning to start back with several nice relaxing hacks to get her mind back into work mode before going back to our typical schedule.  We hacked for a good thirty minutes, and considering the circumstances, she was fantastic.  For having been out of work for a month, she was overall pretty calm.  There are a few old rude behaviors that tried to crop up (i.e. the old habit of snatching the reins when she gets excited...) and I carefully balanced giving her a little bit of leeway due to the overall excitement, but not too much - enough is enough at some point, and then it is time to start giving a little correction.  Top off the general excitement with the fact that a thunderstorm was rolling in, and I have to say that I was extremely satisfied with her overall behavior.  Man, did I ever miss my girl!!!!!!!  I was floating on air for the rest of the night.

Of course, that is the headlining news, since it is pretty much my WORLD right now.  The weekend was pretty big too - I went down to Southern Pines to play photographer for Robyn and Ashley at the Foxtrack Horse Trials.  Robyn had a HUGE weekend - she got a 35.5 on her dressage test, and finished with an overall score of 40 on Linkin - a lifetime best for him, and at her very first event!  Ashley had a bit of a tough test because Eros was a little flustered, but they had an amazing cross country round and a solid show jumping performance.  We all had a blast, and the weekend evaporated before we knew it. 

Here is the link to my photos from the weekend.  And of course, here is my favorite overall.  Such an amazing team, and what a fancy horse!!!!  I look forward to joining them at an event SOON!!!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

There's a Hole in the Middle of the Frog....

It's been a good little while since I have felt the urge to blog.  I started to once last week, but I have been in such an overall funk that I resisted the urge for it to spill over into some depressing diatribe about my lame pony.  Sometimes you need to get it out and vent, and other times you just have to suck it up and make the best of it, so that has been the main reason for my internet silence.

I had the farrier out last week to check out April.  She started building up a little heat in her hoof, and after texting Douglas late at night, he called and talked me through everything to get the whole picture, then rearranged his entire schedule to work me in the next day because he didn't like the sound of things.

Of course I rearranged my schedule to be there.  God love him, he was asking which stall was hers; planning to just go and handle it.  He laughed when I told him this was a learning experience I did NOT plan on missing.  The poor guy needs to block out double-time for my appointments, because he LOVES to teach, and I LOVE to learn, so that usually results in us jaw-jacking for an hour after every visit, but the amount of things I can learn from him is exponential.  I haven't been doing this for long in the grand scheme of things, and feet have always been a big weakness, so it is exciting to be learning so much, even if it is due to an injury.  See?  Another upside.  (I've been looking REALLY hard for those lately!!!!)

So Douglas put the hoof testers on her and got a reaction exactly where we expected it - on the right side of the tip of the frog in the collateral groove - exactly where the abcess had started to come out a few days earlier.  After talking through it, we had hypothesized that the abcess had not fully drained because it didn't get opened up enough, so he started carefully boring it out little by little.  It was a little disappointing, because we were both hoping for a huge dramatic puss pocket to come bursting out, but no such luck.  So we ended there for the day, with a good sized opening for it to hopefully come out, along with a treatment regimen of hot epsom salt soaks and ichthammol packing.

I followed orders precisely.  Ichthammol was the one thing I had not tried yet because it still hadn't arrived from Dover, but Douglas left me a jar to get me started.  He left me with a final direction - if she wasn't better by Monday, we might want to bite the bullet and have the vet out. 

Well, Monday came and went, and I didn't see much progress.  The heat in the hoof seemed to be down, but there wasn't a scrap of progress with the lameness.  So I rearranged my schedule and met Smokey yesterday afternoon.  We had been in contact the last couple weeks and he was well aware of everything that had been going on.  I updated him on the last farrier visit, and he started taking a look at her hoof.

I have to add, by the time he got there I felt almost no heat in the foot, which was a good sign.  He put the hoof testers on her first, and surprisingly didn't get a single reaction, even in the area that had been opened up around the frog.  He used a hoof knife to start removing a little more frog to get a better look, and on the second cut, the loop on the end of the tool stuck underneath the frog.  He pried a little to get a better look, and sure enough, there was a massive hole underneath the exterior frog.

I suppose the good news is the fact that there wasn't a single sign of abcess remaining.  It had to have blown out in the last few days, because the frog did NOT look like that when the farrier was out.  I guess that's the downside to the combination of ichthammol (which looks like MOTOR oil, is gunky as sin, and coats EVERYTHING) and my inexperience in dealing with abcesses, because I didn't even notice it draining over the past few days.  My theory is that it had to have finally blown over the weekend, because there was certainly NOT a hole there before, and looking back, her hoof dressings did stink, I had just been blaming it on the ichthammol.  I know there are some that may flame me after reading that I didn't notice the abcess finally draining, but you know what - everybody has to learn this stuff at some point.  Sometimes the best you can do is absorb every bit of knowledge you can, so that you are prepared for the next go-round.  That's how you become a competent horseperson, instead of someone who can't survive without a trainer, farrier, or vet standing over their shoulder 24/7.  So, if you're judging me, BACK OFF!  :-)

Okay, off my defensive soapbox.  Back to the vet.  After he found the massive hole underneath, he started trimming away all the exterior frog, which was pretty much dead anyway.  Smokey couldn't believe how big the hole was - once again, I have provided him with a bizarre and memorable case.  WHY ME???!!!!

So he went all the way down to the sensitive frog, since everything around it was pretty much dead and detached anyway.  I asked him about a reddish area, and whether it was blood supply or bruising, so he let me squish my finger against it to show me how soft it is, and explained that it was the blood supply I was seeing directly underneath. 

The final verdict at the moment is that we have gotten out all the infection, and are now going to need to deal with toughening up and regrowing the massive amount of frog that is missing.  He left me a jar of a special mixture of 7% iodine, a little formaldehyde, and I think glycerine, which I am supposed to paint on the exposed area once a day.  We are supposed to stop the soaking now that the abcess is gone, and move on to trying to toughen up this area.  I am going to text the vet on Thursday with an update on how she is looking, and we will talk through a couple possible shoeing options, like possibly using a pad to protect the frog area, which we will run by the farrier when he is out on Friday.  Hopefully she will be showing a little improvement by Friday so we can make the leap to one of those options. 

I got up extra early this morning to allow enough time to snap plenty of pictures while I redressed her hoof.  Then I spent a good thirty minutes texting and emailing pictures and updates to the farrier and both trainers to update them on how she is doing.  One thing is for certain - April is a tough broad, and a heck of a good patient.  It doesn't get much easier than dealing with her.  I can squat beside her and lay her leg on my knee (which REALLY saves a lot of back soreness for me!) while I disinfect, treat, and wrap her hoof.  Over the past few appointments of poking, prodding, and boring, she has barely flinched and has been an absolute saint to deal with.  Now, if we can just get the poor girl BETTER!!!!!!!

A pretty good view of the exposed sensitive frog.  It's hard to make out in a picture how dramatic the depth is in terms of how much frog was actually removed!

Monday, May 14, 2012

A Time for Everything

If you're looking for a post that is a light surface update on the goings-on of farm life, this isn't it, so I'm giving you fair warning.  It's been two days of a lot of deep reflection, so this is one of those introspective journal-type entries that just seems warranted from time to time.

Yesterday was mother's day, and it struck a chord with me that a year ago, on that day, a series of events was set in motion that changed my life in fairly huge ways.  Some fantastic, some not so fantastic.  Those of you particularly close to me may know what I'm referring to, and those of you that don't will just have to wonder - because I've learned a lot about what you should and shouldn't put out there for the world to find in the global expanse of the internet. 

At first, I spent a lot of time wallowing in bitterness and resentment.  It has seemed to come full circle several times, but every time I sense a bit of peace with the situation, it seems that some sort of bomb goes off and the situation implodes back into old unresolved issues. 

So, phase one was full of a lot of anger.  Not a fun place to be, and definitely not healthy.  Then it phased into wanting to make amends, because after taking the time to really think about it, I realized that I had to take ownership of my actions as well - and bottom line, everyone played a part. 

Well, I realized something this morning.  There is things in life you just can't take back.  Which means that sometimes, maybe you can't recover from them.  And maybe that's okay - that is the part I am still trying to figure out for certain.  You see, had the sequence of events that seemed SO devastating at the time never happened, I wouldn't be where I am today.  And where I am is really, truly okay.  I am in a good place, even though it's taken awhile to get here.  So many things have been coming together lately, in every aspect of life. 

So in short, I suppose it okay to look back and be wistful at times.  We can miss the people that departed our lives for reasons that don't really make sense.  It's a part of life.  But at the same time, we cannot spend too much time dwelling in the past, or we'll miss the future that's spreading open in front of us.

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:
    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8

Saturday, May 12, 2012

And We Have...

An abcess.  A stinky, nasty, horrifically painful abcess.  The good news is that we have at least located where the pain was originating.  It seemed pretty certain after everything that occurred that she would more than likely be abcessing.  I was hoping against hope that maybe, just maybe, we could avoid it, but alas - no such luck.

A billion phone calls later on Friday, I got a friend's farrier who was in the neighborhood to take a look.  Discussed the entire injury, etc, and he opted to trim the frog very lightly, just to see if there were even any remaining signs of the puncture.  The good news was that there was no sign whatsoever of the puncture, which pretty much means we can rule out any debris being leftover.  Then, the pressure to the frog while trimming mounted just enough, that right before our eyes, the abcess surfaced.  It was right to the right of her frog, at the very tip - draining right before our eyes.

That was around 3 pm yesterday.  At 6 pm I had a short lived wave of excitement, when I saw her feeling good enough to run and buck in her paddock - certainly a positive sign that she was feeling better.

But after a soak, poultice, and bandaging her up for the night, I headed home and arrived back this morning to an incredibly painful pony yet again.  It's part of the process, I do realize.  I just don't have a lot of personal experience with abcesses (knock wood!!!!).  The most I have ever dealt with was one that Delilah popped that lasted a sum total of about three days.

So off we go, to continue packing, poulticing, and praying, that soon - we will get back to the routine.....

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Walk Before You Run...

You know the old saying, you have to walk before you run?  Well, in our case, we have to walk before we trot....(Enter massive dramatic **SIGH** here...)

April was driving me crazy last night.  The past three days she has become progressively worse about standing quietly for her epsom salt soaks.  Last night it came to head - she tore out of the crossties for the third day in a row, bent part of the lead rope halter, and after twenty minutes of trying but only accomplishing two minutes of actual soaking, I threw in the proverbial towel.

My mind started ticking to get to the root of the problem.  You see, I know she's a mare, but she is a typically very well-mannered mare.  So I started thinking about all the influencing factors.  She is an extremely athletic and very FIT mare.  With a really strong work ethic for that matter.  As of last night, she has been out of work for eight days.  So, even though I was wearing shorts and paddock boots, I decided to take her for a walk.  She is sound at the walk, so I didn't feel we would be doing any damage.  Not to mention, encouraging the circulation didn't seem to be a bad idea either.  So I threw on a bridle and hopped on bareback.

First mistake - I tried to hack her around the edge of the property, after a pretty massive rainstorm had just passed.  Being the eventer pony, she promptly decided that walking through the mini creek was not an option, she would JUMP it instead.

Note - this is in my work capri pants - made of very SLICK fabric.  On the pony coated in Pyranha fly spray, which I have decided is the most slippery flyspray on the planet.  Yet somehow, miraculously, I managed to stay on.  So we opted to head back to the ring, to give the exuberant pony some "boundaries" for her pent up energy.  Now, of course, she had to hop the creek again, and try to canter up to meet Linkin.  (Enter major slippage and mane-grabbing, as well as the humorous images of your choice....)

So, enter the ring.  And the walk.  Which, we were supposed to be doing all along....April didn't get that memo.

We started working on what I have dubbed our "bareback dressage".  And you know, it was actually a pretty darn good thing.  She was so eager to WORK.  It was the best work at the walk that we have ever had together outside of a lesson.  Hands down.  I focused on keeping my hands steady but my elbows SOFT - something I have gotten bad about lately.  Every time she softened into the contact, I used my inside hand to scratch her withers, and reaffirm what a good girl she is.  We worked on figure eights, a little leg yield here and there, and our free walk.  I discovered we have a good bit of work to do there, because she anticipates the collection of the reins after the free walk to mean that we are going to trot.  We worked on nice forward halts, and a little bit of spiraling in and out.  All at the walk. 

Everything happens for a reason, right?  People keep telling me that, and it's hard not to want to bang their heads like coconuts, because it's easy for people to tell you that when their horse is just fine....(okay, I'm only kidding!!!!)  But seriously, I've been desperately searching for my reason, and I think I found a part of it last night.  We are building our foundation at the walk for the moment.  It's been a gait we have always struggled with, but when we get the walk right, everything flows so easily from there.  So now I am being forced to master it, which is obviously going to benefit us in the long run.  So that's my tiny ray of sunshine for the week.

The huge ray of sunshine though - sitting on my pony.  I nearly cried just being able to sit on her again.  I knew I missed her, but I had no CLUE how much. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Know When To Hold 'Em

It's like the old poker gotta know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em.  Unfortunately I still am not sure what to do.  April was still off over the weekend, and it left me debating whether or not to pull out of our plans to do Foxtrack.  We are a little less than three weeks away from the show date - which would also mean only three lessons away from preparaing, after over a week of being out of work completely.  ***Sigh****

Saturday was tackled in impressive fashion.  I took her being off with a grain of salt, and decided to make the best of it.  I dove into spring cleaning projects at the barn - scrubbing the tack and feed room from top to bottom, organizing the first aid kit, storing the rest of the winter blankets, hanging flytraps galore, and spraying down stall mats with deodorizing spray.  I topped off the day by building a fairly impressive cordword fence out back, which still needs a few more logs to finish it off, but my arms gave out after the first 20 or so....

Then Sunday dawned, and with it came the inevitable pity party.  I know, it's immature to say the least, but I couldn't help indulging in it a bit.  I knew I was really starting to love and appreciate my mare, but I didn't realize how much until it was snatched away from me this past week.  Try as I did to get out of the funk, I just couldn't manage it.  So I let myself be a grump.

Well, Sunday is over, and today dawns a new day, so I am resolving not to be a first class whiner.  At least that's the goal.  I have to keep reminding myself that it could be SO much worse.  This is just a little hiccup, and we'll be back on track soon enough. 

So now to feel out this week, and see how things look in terms of aiming for Foxtrack or not.  A piece of me just says to scratch it and go cheer for Robyn and Ashley.  Pick another horse trial and just go it alone.  It doesn't really seem to matter one way or another, so I guess it is in the hands of Ms April for now.  This week will more than likely be the deciding we will see!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Life Is What Happens...

Have you ever heard that infamous quote by John Lennon?  "Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans."  That pretty much sums up the past week for me.  I was still basking in the excitement of our first show experience when I tacked up Monday night to hack over for a lesson.  I dropped my phone halfway up the driveway, and after dismounting to grab it I spotted a big log over by the neighbor's rickety barn, and used it to remount.

Big mistake.  Apparently the rickety chicken barn comes with rickety debris hidden in the grass, just lying in wait to sabotage my pony (and plans).  No sooner did we take three steps, and I realized April was three-legged lame.  Dramatically off. 

I dismounted and led her back to the barn, while calling and canceling our lesson, and when we got to the aisle I picked up her foot to discover horror of all horrors - a piece of wire.  We had to have picked it up in the area around the old barn.  It was some sort of heavy gauge barbed wire, and part of the little barb had punctured the tip of her frog.

So first things first, I freak out for ten seconds.  Then I pull it together into crisis mode.  Get my massive collection of first aid supplies ready, and go on the offensive.  I got the wire out, and thank god it wasn't deep.  It did bleed at first, which actually made me a little queasy.  Totally out of character for me.  I have sat through an equine surgery, plenty of small animal surgeries..nothing gory related to animals has ever bothered me.  I think it is the fact that April literally means the world to me. 

But I shoved down a second round of panic and started hosing and sanitizing.  After using about a gallon of betadine, I covered the wound and wrapped her up with a maxi pad and vetwrap.  I fed her dinner right away with a gram of bute and a first course of SMZs to fend off infection.

That was Monday.  Today is Friday, and after several days of keeping it as sterile as humanly possible, she is still off.  I called Ivy this morning, profusely apologizing for being a pain in the A%& worrywart, and she called Douglas to get his opinion on the two things she suggesting packing it with.  She called back a short time later and gave me the poultice he suggested, and the rest of the treatment regimen will stay the same - epsom salt soaks, SMZs, keeping it as clean as possible, and now adding in the magna poultice.

So I am hoping and praying that a few more days of ginger treatment will bring about some improvement, so we can still proceed with our plan to go to Foxtrack at the end of the month.  You know what they say about last we are getting out and accomplishing huge goals, and now we are sidelined.  But eh - that's horses!  I am profoundly thankful it isn't any worse than what it is.  It could have been SO much worse.  Regardless, I'm counting the days til we can get back to our routine, and I MISS riding her like crazy.  In the meantime, I am waging war on weeds around the farm, and upping Samson's fitness regimen a bit to try to keep myself from losing fitness.  So here's to April - a fantastic patient, and a sweet understanding girl about my clumsy fumbling around to keep her recovery going.  Prayers for a speedy recovery!!!!!!