Saturday, March 05, 2011

Abscess makes the horse grow fonder

After I saw Bar last night, I called our farrier (the fabulous Mike Brookfield) who told me he'd meet me at the barn this morning, pull the shoe, and see what we could find out. Mike has been our farrier since right before Bar came along and I hope he never retires. He's there when I need him, he has been known to swing by on Sundays to tack a shoe back on, and I even had to force a check on him today.

But back to Bar who wants to remind everyone it's his foot that hurts.

The second thing Mike noticed--after the funny way Bar lifted his leg to walk--was Bar not being, well, Bar. It's like the energy that normally hums under his Thoroughbred skin is completely redirected right now. He stood more quietly for Mike than he ever does, almost as if he knew this was going to help. Even when there was pushing on the sore spot. Even for the wrapping of said foot in diaper and duct tape.

Mike got into the foot and found a dark spot we thought might be the culprit, but it cleaned out and turned out to be nothing. The sore spot turned out to be just at the point of the frog, towards the toe, but he couldn't see the path (an exit point for the abscess), even after cleaning and removing some of the hoof there. He was just about to slap on the Ichthammol (a drawing agent that smells like and has the consistency of sticky tar) when he decided to go just a little further after feeling some heat in the area.

And there it was. A tiny pin prick. Really, it looks like nothing compared to the 1,200 pound animal it's underneath.

We packed the hoof with the nasty, tarry goo and wrapped it in a diaper and duct tape. Bar was not thrilled about having his hoof incarcerated, but he went along with us. Mike had warned me Bar might walk off worse, and he did, but we'll have a better picture in a couple days or so of where we are with it.

Of course, Bar will have to keep his wraps on and he is not necessarily cooperating in that regard. When Steve and I got back to the barn this afternoon, the diaper was in the middle of his mats, about a foot away from the duct tape. Bar sniffed at both as I walked up, almost as if to say, "Well, how did those get here?"

So while Steve and Lena thundered around the indoor arena, Bar and I re-wrapped his foot. I'll have to buy more diapers (first time in over 18 years), and possibly a soaking boot.

Calabar is normally an affectionate and snuggly horse, unlike his spotty counterpart who--while she is curious, attentive, and loves her humans--only climbs in your lap when she is sick and unhappy. Bar is not only more affectionate, but also more subdued. He may not be fonder of me, but I think he knows I'm trying to make it better.


Sarah said...

Awww, sweet Bar. They know, obviously:) I've never had to deal with an abscess in one of my horses (furiously knocking on wood), but if you have to have one, it sounds like you've got a great farrier with amazing instincts:) Feel better soon Bar!

Dave (aka Buckskins Rule) said...

When it comes to wrapping hooves, I swear by these hoofwraps:

Smokey can go through duct tape in a matter of hours, but has never succeeded in getting one of these off. Replacement pads can be purchased too, although I usually throw the whole thing away when, as our wet, muddy environment takes its toll. I get them from a local feed store chain, Del's, but I know they are available from Valley Vet if you can't find them locally.

Hope the abscess opens up soon, and Bar heals quick.