Hope had her first Surgery!! A success so far… read on.

Our knock-kneed Bucket Fund baby, Hope, had her first surgery on Wednesday.  (If you would like to read her original story, it is linked here.)

She made  it!!  Hope’s prognosis looks good as long as everything heals and the next two surgeries can be completed.

Today, I am going to present the results of Hope’s first surgery exactly as they were written.

I know many of you will have the same questions as I did when I saw the post-op photos… Her legs still look crooked!?  Yes.  Evidently, first they must stop the growth plates from growing too fast.  Then, once the plates have corrected, they straighten the legs.

Anyway, here is the explanation of the surgery and some photos of that day and today.

(There are more graphic photos of the surgery on the Alder Hill FB page under ‘photos’.  There is also a graphic video.)


Hope before surgery


After arriving at the rescue as an abandoned 6 week-old filly with severely crooked legs that would require surgery to repair them, Hope has met thousands of friends and supporters through Facebook and the internet, gained 12 lbs, recovered from scours, weaned herself to grain and hay, and had her implants placed in both knees!!!  Wow, what a lot for such a little girl to go through in only 14 days!!!!  Watching Hope struggle to get up, walk, eat, drink, socialize and lay down is heart-breaking but awe-inspiring!  Hope is a happy girl, she greets the other horses when they come up for breakfast, nickering and walking up to her panels to be as close as possible, she loves people and as much attention as she can get, she loves to eat and does not hesitate to bang her bucket and let us know when it is empty, she loves to play as much as she can by nosing and talking to the other horses around her pen and she loves LIFE!!!!  Hope doesn’t worry that she is different and can’t run and play like the other horses, she is just happy!!!

Hope in the hospital - being prepared for surgery

After arriving at the rescue Hope was thriving and had gone from 144 pounds as weighed by the University of MO during her initial pre-surgery vet exam to 161 pounds, fully recovered from her scours and her compression sores were healing well.  We had added our own special high fiber pellet to her diet and reduced the Omolene.  A wonderful milk goat and her baby were donated to the rescue for Hope’s milk needs, but Hope was not interested in nursing a bottle, a goat or drinking milk from a bucket.  This little girl basically weaned herself and placed herself on an adult horse diet with her milk replacer mixed in.

Hope on the table...

Unfortunately just two days before her surgery she came down with the scours again and wasn’t feeling very well.  She was on the final 2 days of her antibiotics and after consulting with Dr. Wilson at the University of MO Hope was taken off of her antibiotics, her milk replacer and her Omolene in hopes that she would recover and be able to still have her surgery.  Thankfully Hope was fully recovered from the scours in less than 48 hours and cleared for surgery by Dr. Wilson!  It was also determined that Hope could very well be suffering from either a lactose or sucrose intolerance and since she was gaining weight and doing so well that the milk replacer should be removed from her diet at this time and the Omolene significantly reduced.  Hope’s new diet consists primarily of our special high fiber pelleted feed, a small amount of Omolene Foal, Colt Grow supplement, free choice grass hay, and a small amount of alfalfa.

DR inspecting her knees

The monitor showing progress

Hope left for her surgery at 7 am Oct 12th!  After running new blood work and performing a pre-surgical exam, Hope went into her surgery and we were able to watch through an observation window!!!    The surgery consisted of cutting both knees open and placing staples in the growth plates.  The surgery itself did not correct her crooked legs and it will take several weeks before we see significant results.  The staples are designed to stop the growth of the inner plate, thus allowing the outer plate to “catch up” with the inner and pulling the leg straight.  We will be taking digital photos every week or two and sending them to Dr. McCracken at the University so the doctors can determine when Hope will need to return for the staples to be removed.   Normally the staples are in about 4-6 weeks, but based on the severity of Hope’s angles, we were told it might take up to 10 weeks, and that most likely it would actually require 2 separate surgeries because the growth plates would not correct at the same rate!

The first surgery is done and Hope is lifted from the table

For now Hope is back on antibiotics for 5 days and she will be wearing her bandages from the University for the next 5 days, at which time we will be able to remove them and clean the wounds.  We will then continue to lightly bandage each knee with teflon pads, gauze, cotton and vet wrap daily to protect the sutures and wounds.  This process is quite costly as it requires a complete roll of vet wrap each day in addition to the other items!!!  Thankfully we have had over 50 rolls of vet wrap donated by several wonderful friends!!!!  After 14 days we will be able to remove the sutures and begin to allow the bandages to remain off for at least a part of the day so the sores will be able to heal.  During this time Hope will be limited to her small pen and we limit her movement as much as possible as there are basically 3 areas that will need to heal to correct her crooked legs 1) the growth plates must be growing equally which is what the staples are designed to do 2) the bones must be corrected as much as possible and 3) the tendons must develop, straighten and strengthen!!!  the surgery was for #1 and the other 2 should follow suit!!!!  This is one of the main reasons it is so important to obtain this type of surgery as soon as possible before the foal has developed too much!!!!

Hope recovers and is walked to her trailer


What we were not aware of before yesterday is the fact that Hope will actually be undergoing 1, and most likey 2, additional surgeries which were not included in the original cost to remove the staples.  I am currently waiting for a total of estimated costs for Hope for the next 12 months including the surgeries, additional check-ups, x-rays and other tests so we will know exactly what we will need for this little girl!!!  But regardless of the cost this little girl was and is worth every Penny!!

Hope tucked in for the night

HOPE’S NEEDS (per her FB page linked here)

Hope’s needs:
vet wrap (at a roll a day it goes quickly)!!!
Teflon pads to keep the cotton and wraps from sticking
Gauze for wrapping
Cotton rolls for wrapping
Colt Grow supplement
High fiber pellet for Alder Hill Farm from C&M Feeds (donations can be made by paying on the rescue account):
(417) 777-7283
1417 Highway 32
Bolivar, MO 65613
Alfalfa cubes
Foal fly mask
Foal halter
Premethrin for spraying her shelter and her
Apple flavored mineral block
Horse quality grass hay square bales
additional round pen panels for a larger pen after her implants are removed
Materials for a larger shelter in the future
Vaccinations with booster (tetanus, 6-way, WNV, and rabies) and de-wormer

Hope’s wants:
A new barn (hey if you never ask you never receive)
A sponsorship for each and every one of her friends at the rescue!  We will be happy to send you information on how to sponsor a horse!
Hay for all of her horsie friends at the rescue – round or square bales, pastures avaialble for haying or donations to help buy hay
Treats for all of her horsie friends because it makes them happy!!!
Vaccinations for all of her horsie friends at the rescue- tetanus, WNV, 6-way, and rabies) hey if she getting poked they should too!!!
Needles and syringes for vaccinations
De-wormer for all of her horsie friends- we rotate so any and all brands/compounds so any and all will be appreciated!!!
Halters- especially cowboy halters
Lead ropes
Fly masks
Fly spray

Here is Hope, eating voracously on her first post-op day! You can watch her video on the Alder HIll Farm FB page


Alder Hill Farms website.

Alder Hill FB page (updated often).

Tax-deductible donations can be made as follows:

Paypal info@alderhillfarm.org, please send as a personal gift and the rescue will not be charged a fee!
Mailed: PO Box 609, Stockton, MO 65785
Shipped: 5404 South 125th Road, Morrisville, MO 65710

Or you can help by making direct payments to the following:

University of MO:
Alder Hill Farm: Account #127748
Clydesdale Hall
900 East Campus Drive
Columbia. MO  65211

C & M Farm Supply
Alder Hill Farm Account
(417) 777-7283
1417 Highway 32
Bolivar, MO 65613


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HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!

2 comments have been posted...

  1. patrina robey

    Great Article. I learned a lot from the analysis . Does someone know where my company can get access to a sample FL DH 527 version to work with ?

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