Friday, September 3, 2010

I Need Your Help!

Hi guys! Sorry I've spent so much time away from my blog this summer. What a roller coaster past couple of month! The horses and I are back at school and all moved in, although Johnny has been a little bit of a disaster since coming here.

Last Friday he choked while eating his lunch grain (which, mind you, is only about a cup of food). After about 20 minutes of having a hose in and out of his mouth I called the vet when his legs started to buckle and he began trying to go down and roll. The vet came out and tubed him twice...what a mess and a disaster. The interesting part was that I got to play vet assistant a little bit and help hold and work the tube while the vet pumped water down it. Poor Johnny was ready to kill us. It was quite the learning experience, I just wish it could have happened under different circumstances (aka: not my horse). I came away with a massive vet bill and a very angry and sore animal.

Since then, I've been managing his diet (Tuesday was the first time he was allowed to eat a small amount wetted grain) closely and hitting him with antibiotics twice a day to prevent an aspiration lung infection. Tomorrow should be his last day of antibiotics.

Of course though, he had to try and kill himself again, doing god-knows-what in his stall. Monday night I tack walked him for 15 minutes and then put him away to help E jump Emmy around a little course. Tuesday afternoon when I went to the barn, I pulled Johnny out of his stall and his left front leg was a BALLOON. I assumed that maybe he had banged it (he had been pawing at his door the past couple days because he wasn't getting fed and he was MAD) so I didn't freak out and get overly concerned right away. I turned him out as usual and he trotted off into the pasture for maybe 10 steps before stopping to graze. He was sound, so I went about my business, cleaning his stall and such, and then brought him in and poulticed and wrapped both front legs just as a precaution. I also gave him a gram of bute.

Wednesday I pulled him out and took the wraps off.. The leg was still swollen. As I was grooming him, I noticed that his left hind leg was also a balloon. What the heck? I jogged him and he seemed fine. Turned him out again as usual, brought him back in and iced the front leg then hose and scrubbed both legs with medicated shampoo just in case (it never hurts to cover your bases lol) dried them thoroughly, applied some sports rub (I've got this SUPER cool sport liniment stuff for works amazingly!) to both legs.

Wednesday night I went back ans pulled the wraps again. The swelling in the LF had gone down enough for me to see that the problem area was really just below the back of his knee on either side (but mainly the outside) of the tendon. Uh-oh...
I palpated the tendon and don't really feel a whole lot of thickness to the actual tendon, but everything around it is swollen and I'm starting to get a little concerned. As I went over the rest of his legs I noticed that now the inside of the right hind was starting to swell. What the heck? This time I clipped all of his legs, washed them with bedadine, iced the LF again and applied the sports rub again to all 4 legs. I ended up wrapping the front but not the hind.

Yesterday morning he was looking about the same. I saddled him up and took him into the arena to jump on and see if he was sound. He was...totally sound and fine, but with three swollen legs. I was hoping that maybe he was just stocking up from standing around, but 15 minutes of walk, trot and just a teensy canter each direction didn't seem to make a difference at all. Afterwards, I turned him out and then iced the LF again. It looked a little better after the turnout and the ice. I sports rubbed them all again and wrapped the front.

Last night I went back up late to give him his second daily dose of antibiotics and pulled the wraps again. The LF looked almost normal aside from the swelling up by the knee, but the RH and LH still looked the same. This time, I sports rubbed and wrapped all 4 legs. What on earth could be going on with him? There doesn't seem to be any major heat in any leg (its been 93 degrees here, so everything is a teensy bit warm, but no major concentration of heat.) but I've never known him to really stock up before either...and why would the RF be the only leg that ISN'T swollen? The RH is mainly just the inside, the LH is the whole leg and the LF is now mainly just up below the back of the knee. What are the possibilities that he maybe cast himself and banged around during the night Monday? That's really the only thing I can think of because he a) hasn't been ridden and b) hasn't gone out without me being its not like he ran around like a crazy horse in the pasture...I've been watching him like a hawk for 7 days now. I would think that it was maybe normal stocking up but it doesn't seem to go down with movement and why would he only stock up in 3 legs? Also, the concentration of swelling below the front leg has me concerned...that's not normal stocking up. He's not lame and none of it really seems to bother him. He's not sore to palpate at all. I know that a horse can injure a tendon just by taking a bad walk step, but he was fine Monday night after I walked him...and wouldn't a tendon injury be accompanied by lots of heat and at least some kind of lameness?

What are your thoughts because I'm stumped!!



  1. That's just weird - I'd call the vet at this point - it could even be something like an allergic reaction - to bedding? insect bites? who knows?

    Choke is very scary - we've had it a couple of times at our barn. If he tends to eat too fast, try putting a large rock or two in his feed bin to slow him down - a salt block can work too.

  2. Thanks Kate!

    I went out and bought a big ol' ice boot Friday and iced his legs really well. Yesterday after ice and about 2 hours of turnout his legs were back to normal. I'm hoping that they stay that way! And I did put both a salt block and two big rocks in his bucket! Thanks for the input!

  3. Geez, sounds like a run of bad luck! I too would run it by my vet, but if he is back to normal now, maybe all is well. Hope the rest of the fall only improves!

  4. How's Johnny doing now? Kinda late to the party, but I hope he's doing well. Mystery swellings are not fun!

  5. He's doing well today! His legs are looking a whole lot better...hopefully he stays that way! Thank you for asking :)