Sunday, October 22, 2006

Lessons in Wrapping

A week or two ago, Miss Lena had a swollen spot above her right rear fetlock. Katie D. came to my rescue and we went out to the barn to wrap it up to see if that helped.

Wrapping - not rapping - can be used to reduce swelling and support an injured leg. You have to be really careful when you wrap to maintain even pressure with each layer and to never pull across the back of the leg. You can wrap too tight, which - as anyone who has had a too-tight Ace bandage knows - is not good for the limb. Wrapping too loosely, of course, doesn't help much.

It was probably a bone bruise or something that stemmed from Lena thwacking her leg into the fence, but there was some fluid in there. I also thought it felt a little hot, but since I'm prone to worry, I may be overly paranoid.

Lena was mostly patient with the wrapping process. Mostly. And as we walked back to her pen with what looked like pillows around both back legs, Katie said, "She's being really good about being wrapped." Then I shut the gate and we started to walk away.

There was a commotion and I turned back to see Lena - all four feet in the air - trying to get away from her hind legs. Well, okay, trying to get away from the wraps. After Katie and I stopped laughing at her and turned to leave again, Lena peered at me through the bars of her pen, ears flat away from her head, as if to say, "You're not really going to leave me here like this, are you?"

Steve said when he got there later in the afternoon she was standing still, back feet cocked way out away from each other, looking exceptionally grumpy.

He walked her and put cold water on it, rode her a little, and by the time I got there the swelling was significantly reduced.

There are a lot of ways to deal with injuries like this, and wrapping is one that never hurts if it's done right. Cool water or ice and walking are also good. In fact, horse injuries are a lot like human ones - only on a bigger, sometimes less-cooperative scale.

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