Friday, June 17, 2011

Not Sure What to Think

Well, it has been a week now since I pulled a lame Milo out of the pasture. A week, in fact, since the farrier was out and saw a stone bruise rather than an abscess.

Wednesday, Milo looked about 80% sound. He was a smidge off at the trot when lunging him briefly in his pasture to determine if I could lead him to the barn or not. I did, and groomed him thoroughly, then led him to the round pen. I had the Connected Groundwork halter on, and although it was raining, we worked on some of the exercises that didnt require moving around a whole lot.

Well, that was the idea. See, Milo first seemed excited over merely being up at the barn and not being ridden in a week (last time I rode him was last Tuesday). Then that excitement seemed to turn towards agitation by being out in the rain. As we worked a little longer, he soon turned into a firecracker, loping a tiny circle and me trying to get him to yield his hind end all the way, instead of just reaching up underneath himself. Milo had worked himself up that was for sure, and as he stood in the crossties, steam came off from his wet back. I kept the cooler on him for about twenty minutes until he was totally dry, then worried and felt guilty for even bringing him into the round pen.

But my hopes were still optimistic for a steady recovery and as I put him away I visioned riding him in a few days to come. The very next day, Clara drove me to the barn with her and I eagerly went into the pasture to retrieve my horse and see how he looked this next day.

He looked worse. Just as bad as the first day I pulled him from the pasture. I immediately questioned if our little session in the round pen was to blame. But I couldnt find any heat, swelling, and no digital pulse. The only conclusion I could think of was that he aggravated the bruise by stepping on another rock. With no other indications to go off of, both Clara and I thought it was no situation for the vet to need to be called out, and I decided to just keep waiting it out.

Today, I was dismayed to see little to no progress from the day before. He is really irregular on his lameness anyways. One minute hes walking seemingly normal, the next hes just barely putting weight on his toe. One glance I see him standing squarely on all four hooves, and the next he has the left hind relaxed. Still today there was no heat, no swelling, and no digital pulse. Is this still a situation to just wait out and see? Is it possible that his moment of frivolity in the round pen set him back? Could he have stepped on another rock? It seems to me if it was developing into an abscess at the very least I could feel a digital pulse or some heat.

What frustrates me too is I then question my capabilities as a good horse owner. I will always remember hearing my vet tell someone else that if you cannot afford a vet treatment at any moment, you have no business having a horse. While I have savings, my unemployment holds me back from calling him out for a situation where I cant detect anything wrong, aside from the visual. I'm feeling guilty and worried, and I just wish he could get better and I could have some sort of explanation.


Kate said...

Sometimes abscesses take a really long time to come to head - particularly if they're high up rather than near the sole - the ones that come out of the coronet band can take a week or even several weeks to emerge.

An Image of Grace said...

If it were me and Milo were Grace, I would call someone that I knew did adjustments just to have them check her out. Even if I had the money I would do that before making an appoinment with a vet. Grace has an occasional lameness that tends to look like an abscess but with no heat or digital pulse. It is on again off again. It turned out to be her fetlock was compressed and needed an adjustment. Phew!

paint_horse_milo said...

That is very good to know, Melissa. I will call Sarah and see what she thinks.

in2paints said...

I'm sorry to hear Milo is still a bit off. I wish I had some suggestions for you, but it could be so many things.

Since there's no heat or swelling, perhaps when he stepped on the rock he also tweaked something in his shoulder? The round pen work could have made something like that a bit sore.

When Lilly had a bruise on her sole, it turned into an abscess but she was walking around on 3 legs until it blew. She's also not very stoic, so that could have had something to do with it.

I hope he's feeling better soon!

paint_horse_milo said...

Well its his left hind, so probably not the shoulder. I have been doing the Tail Rock and Spin Roll from Peggy Cummings, both exercises to loosen and supple the back and dock area. He hasnt complained from it so it would lead me to believe that nothing is out in the hip area at least...but Im curious to Melissa's suggestion on the fetlock because that could be a possibility.

In the meantime, I ordered a davis boot and some ichthammol anyways with two day shipping. I will at least try and be prepared for an abscess, and lord knows he will get another one if not now than later.

Story said...

Don't you wish they could just talk (I dreamed once that my horse could talk...we had a most interesting conversation)? I really don't think you need to feel guilty. A bad horse owner would be the one who just didn't care. I think it's very obvious that you care very much! Mystery lameness is one of the most frustrating things.

smazourek said...

Here's a little story about owner caused lameness that might make you feel better:

I trim my own horses and my gelding's left fore is clubbed. I've been trying to get his clubbed heel equal to his other heels and felt awesome when I finally got it there. Then he went lame. I figured out that when I lowered the heels on his club foot his knees went out of balance. Oops.

Lameness can be caused by all sorts of weird things. Don't get after yourself over this, at least you didn't cause it.

Rising Rainbow said...

Sorry to hear that you're having trouble getting answers with Milo. Sometimes that's just the way it goes with horses EVEN WHEN you've paid the vet. Waiting on something like this to see if something obvious will emerge makes you smart not irresponsible. It is, afterall, a lameness with no obvious external signs. Give yourself a break. You're taking good care of Milo.