Monday, August 20, 2012

New x-rays. You don't want to look.

And you can't right now, because I haven't had jpegs of them emailed to me yet.

You won't like them when you do see them. I'll be updating this post later tonight with more details and hopefully the images themselves.

Boots and pads are the only hope left now, and it's a thin one, as thin as the sole between coffin bone and death. But Commander isn’t giving up yet, not near it, and so I will not give up on him.


Update, as promised:

Still haven’t received the x-rays to share, but the gist is this:

The tip of the coffin bone hasn’t gone through the sole but it is frighteningly close, and worse in the left foot.* The side walls of the hooves are pulling away, pushed farther out by any weight-bearing while offering no support forward of the quarters. Commander needs to have the unhinged part of the walls resected and the toes cut back; then we can measure him to get a proper fit for his boots and pads. Any kind of shoeing is useless at this point; there’s simply nothing there to nail to. In the meantime, he is surprisingly comfortable on his hockey pucks, greedy for food as ever, and full of his usual attitude.

The current story starts with Sunday midday, when I arrived to find Commander had pulled off his left taped-on pad. I tried to put it back on myself. Problem the first: the thing had been secured with an entire roll of Elastikon and I couldn’t, with a dull X-Acto knife and equally dull scissors, get all of the tape off the mashed-down (and stinky, hoo-boy stinky) pad. I finally hacked the sides away and tried to put it back in place with duct tape. Problem the second: Duct-tape it back? Expect it to stay snugly in place? Hahahahahahaha (sob).

So I called the vet and arranged for yet another Sunday emergency visit. Just as well; it took me, the vet, and the vet’s assistant to get the mighty – and mighty pissed off at all the examination, standing on one foot for hoof testing, fiddling with his feet and willya just leave me alone! – Morgan into new pads. Commander wound up getting a hit of dormosedan and blissing out enough for us to succeed. It was no fun, very much no fun, but it at least reassured me that I wasn’t entirely a loser for not being able to pad him up by myself.

Today’s vet was Helen Noble, instead of Commander’s usual vet, Kelly Butterworth. Kelly, alas, has been sidelined by an injury, to wit, a horse stomping on her hand and mashing a finger. Yeesh indeed. Helen absorbed what history I could give her, what observations she made; asked me to email her the x-rays from last weekend; and departed.

I sent her the x-rays last night and this morning heard back that Commander’s shoes had blocked a clear view of the coffin bone tips in last week’s x-rays; she wanted to do a fresh set now that he’s in nonradiopaque pads. So off to the barn we all went, and we had more fun with an annoyed Morgan, who saw no point in standing still with his feet up on wooden blocks just so; not until another little dose of dormosedan calmed him down. I got to wear the lead apron while holding his lead rope and be grateful that it wasn’t 90+ degrees and swampy humid. We took (well, they took and I stood there face to face with a muddled Morgan) both lateral and front-to-back x-rays.

When it was done and Commander was tucked away in his afternoon stall to come out of his drug haze and hoover some hay, we looked at the results.

Ugh. Maybe it’s just as well you don’t have to see what I saw.

I called my farrier – and actually got him, not his answering service, for a wonder – filled him in and handed the phone to Helen so she could tell him exactly what needs doing. He’ll be coming Wednesday morning to trim as required, measure Commander for the pads, then get him repadded. I have new pads and two rolls of Elastikon on hand, plus a ready-filled syringe of IM dormosedan, just in case. Commander’s a very good boy for farriery, but this foot-wrapping thing? Not so much.

Oh, helpful hint on Elastikon (probably applicable to any such tape): Before wrapping with it, find a person (like, say, the horse owner) willing to hold the outer edge of the roll firmly by the corners, then slowly back away, keeping the tape taut and straight as you unroll it. At the far end of the roll (we’re a good ten-plus feet apart in the barn aisle by now), begin loosely rolling the tape back up. This makes the subsequent wrap-wrap-wrap unrolling a helluva lot easier and quicker.

*Worse in his left foot? But it’s turning to the right that bothers him much more. What gives? Helen says it’s how the foot is weighted in a turn that explains it; the longer he has to have that right foot picked up, with all his weight swivelling on the left, the more it hurts, so he lurches through it.

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