Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Wound That Won't Heal

Something that started out as a gouge has turned into a huge pain in the butt.

I've doctored horses that have nearly cut their front foot off and never had this much trouble getting one to heal properly. But I think I know why!

Usually when a horse cuts his foot, it is a straight line cut-irregardless of how deep. In this case, Moon tore a flap of skin away. The gouge was exactly centered between the bulbs of his heels. However, the flap of skin that was peeled back actually came from the center of the gouge over the inside heel.

A pic of Moon(for Horse Crazed;)

Initially, the cut itself was not that bad. I doctored and wrapped it immediately and let it alone for the first couple of days. When I took the first bandage off, washed it and looked it over-it still didn't look too bad. I redoctored-bandaged it and Megan and I took off for the State Horse Show. I didn't think to ask my mom to doctor his foot while I was gone for 3 days-Well...because it didn't look like much.

When we got back, I noticed that the wrap had come loose, but was still there keeping the wound clean. Problem was, when I unwrapped it and cleaned it...there was proud flesh covering the entire wound. I applied a thin coat of Prouds Off and rebandaged. I had to do that twice before all of the proud flesh came off and we were back to pink, healthy skin again.

All this while Moon has been completely sound on it and there has been no heat or infection. I did put him on Lamphley's Vitamix twice a day for three days to protect against any infection-but he got so amped up on it, I reduced it to once a day again.

By then the wound was healing pretty well. I wasn't sure what was going to happen with that flap of skin. It did not reattach. I thought that I might have to take him to the vet and get it trimmed off so the wound could finish healing. But a few more days and it was obvious that flap was shrinking away, so I just kept cleaning it with cold water, pouring external rub on it, packing it with wound powder and rewrapping it.

I thought I had it licked. But lo and behold...as I was cleaning the old medicine off with my finger one night, Moon stomped at a fly and my finger ripped the wound WIDE open.

Oh my god! I was sick to my stomach. I absolutely could NOT believe that just happened.

Actually it was worse than when it initially happened because the flap of skin had torn back over the bulb.

So now, here we are a MONTH into it and it still looks like this...

That little red bulge at the bottom of the open wound is what is left of that flap of skin. The whitish looking line above that is where proud flesh keeps trying to grow in. The wound has shrunk some since I accidentally tore it open.

It has been a battle to keep the proud flesh from taking over. And I fear that although it looks sealed and just like an external wound now, that it is going to take even more time for the internal muscle to knit completely back together.

This is his left front foot...
You can clearly see the bulbs and the cleft between them. Yes, I know...he's overdue for a trim. By about 4 weeks.:o...LOL. The day I injured him, I was going to trim him.

This is the injured foot...
There is no cleft, so obviously there is a lot of healing yet to do. This is usually where a lot of people think a horse has been doctored enough and stop. I never stop doctoring until there is skin and hair over the entire wound. Especially with proud flesh fighting so hard to take ahold. Even that little bit of open wound can grow a nasty amount of proud flesh and leave a permanent disfigurement. Of course...there is going to be a scar. I am so pissed! Most of my brother's horses have scars on their legs from the jacked up pens and pastures he used to stick his stuff in. I have always been pretty particular about making sure that my horses are in junk free environments to avoid injury.
Now both of my geldings are sporting crappy scars on their feet....And Frosty has a split ear too boot. That one I never did figure out how it happened.:-P


Pony Girl said...

Oh dear, what a hassle! It doesn't look too bad in the photos, but how frustrating for it to be reopened and not healing (seems like a hard place to wrap and heal?) My horse has some old battle wounds and scars, I think previous wire/fence cuts as a yearling. I am so anal about his pasture, I remove any stray stick or rock for fear he'll find a way to injure himself on it! :) He'd probably injure himself on dirt if he could, LOL!

gtyyup said...

How frustrating!! Is there a possibility that there is something in the wound? My old QH got a kick in the side of the cannon bone and it wouldn't heal up. I took him to the vet and an x-ray revealed a bone chip! After it was removed it healed up just fine.

It's nice to see you being so consistent with the doctoring though...a lot of folks don't give a rip.

EveryoneThinksThey'reGoodDrivers said...

What a pain in the butt, so sorry you are dealing with this.

I am not a vet...

Is there a chance the wound was deep enough to hit bone? Not break the bone but graze it enough to cause a little bit of decay/infection?

I have had this happen before. the vet had to scrap away the infected bone.

Otherwise, this can also be how fistulous withers are begun.

If this is the case, you can doctor for months and it won't heal. I'm not sure where you are, but winter also will settle it down.

Good luck!

Paint Girl said...

I am sorry to hear that Moon's wound isn't healing fast! That looks like a tough area to heal. Sounds like you are doing everything you can to get it under control!!

cdncowgirl said...

Aw crap! That kinda thing is a major PITA. Are you thinking of getting a vet to check into it, you know 'just in case' there's more than meets the eye?

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

I'll admit, the day it happened, I pushed it together and held it until the bleeding stopped and then cleaned it, put medicine on it and wrapped it...all without trying to look at it too much. There is the sole reason I am not a veterinarian...blood makes me sick to my stomach. Enough so that I will pass out-I've actually done that.

But when I unwrapped it to check it two days later, it was not very deep-just enough to take the skin off. Of course there is not much in that particular spot but skin, tendons and bone. But there wasn't any bone or tendons showing.

I was more worried after I tore it as that opened a crevice between the original gouge and the bulb. That is where the proud flesh keeps trying to grow. But I still didn't see any white spots indicitive of tendon or bone.

I have been kind of wondering about having it x-rayed though? So I'm glad you guys brought some of that stuff up. I don't want to take any chances with Moon. But I will have wait until I am in Colorado before doing that. Chances are the vets out there have a lot better equipment that what anyone around here does.

My mom says that it is simply because of the time of year as to why it is healing so slow.

Lil Mama said...

Hang in there. We have a saying.
"thats just horsin" meaning if it can happen it will and you just have to deal with it as best you can.

Vaquerogirl said...

BEC-Lower leg wounds almost always get 'proudy'. I have good luck with Granulex- but you have to keep it on the wound, no over spray. Keep it wrapped tightly and it will soon heal. Plus the spot where the cut is is prolly the hardest place to heal because there isn't a lot of circulation in that rubbery spot.! Good luck!

City girl turned Country Girl said...

Man that stinks!! I can't believe it's not better yet!! But I am going to have to agree with your mom, the heat does slow down the healing process and it can also be aiding in the proud flesh trying to make a comeback...

Sounds like when you get to Colorado you'll get it figured out..

AKPonyGirl said...

My paint mare split a rear ergot when she was two. It was tough to get to heal - soak in epsom salt water twice a day, meds and wrap for two weeks. The would never got any proud flesh but wasn't healing. Friend of mine (vet tech) said I was *too aggressive* in my would care. Her advice was to put a baby diaper on the foot and when I *needed* to do something, undo the velcro tabs on the baby diaper, and spray the wound with a 50/50 minture of tea tree oil and olive oil. The wound healed quickly with no scar. Five years later you can't eve see it.

Good luck with this and the move to Colorado.

Melanie said...

Thanks for the update! Once proud flesh sets in, it can take months for it to go away. Have you been treating it with proud flesh powder form the vet? I don't remember what the active ingredient in it is/was, but it helps to eat away at the proud flesh, and usually works really well.

Hang in there...as I said before, you could have another 4-8 months of this stuff...

Growing Up A Country Girl said...

Saw your blog from A&MD's -- I have a gelding who attempted to cut the area clean off except for in a bigger chunk not once but after it was healed for some time did it again (battled with the tin lean to, I think). The second time he cut down into the hoof -I babied him twice daily for some time soaking in (spraying down) with Epsom salt (I really believe in it now - worked on him twice and a cat who got in a trap and ended up losing his foot) and then applying powder or salve and wrapping it.... He never once went lame -- it is healed wonderfully - the vet and farrier are more than pleased. It healed although it took some time -- but now it is like hoof hard since he cut into the hoof wall. Sounds like I should do a story on him some time. Good luck with Moon! Check out my horse related blog www.livingitupoutwest.blogspot.com