I have a guy here fixing my fences – he isn’t horsey.
So, being a guy who fixes stuff but doesn’t have animals, it never occurred to him to close every gate that he opened.
I think you know what I’m about to say…
He left a gate open.
I went out to feed on Friday morning and I was greeted by Gwen – in the wrong pasture… As I shook my un-coffee’d, foggy head, trying to remember if I switched things around the day before, I then noticed Rojo coming up from the absolutely wrong pasture. I knew I hadn’t moved him.
Uh oh. This could be bad. Very, very bad.
Suddenly my mind went into a panic as I ran around the pasture taking a head count.
Everyone had switched pastures except Wrigley and Sam.
Hmmmm. They all were there, walking around looking fine – except Wrigley.
Wrigley wasn’t moving from his feeding position.
That wasn’t like him.
My eyes lasered on Wrig and I cooed to him as I approached.
“Are you OK, Buddy? Momma’s here, honey… are you OK?”
Wrig: No, I’m not OK.
Me (seeing the gash in his stifle): OMG! AreyouOK????!
Wrig: No. It hurts. It hurts when I do this (trying to turn on it) and when I do this (trying to walk).
I approached my gangly, skinny teenage boy and knew what happened. Wrigley is an in your face teenager who does not take a hint well. He pushes and pushes and pushes until someone puts him in his place.
Luckily, he, Finn and BG have worked it out. So, Wrigley lives with them. They threaten him without hurting him and he usually listens.
But, when someone leaves the gate open, irritating Wrigley has the opportunity to piss off 3 other very dominant mares and one very strong-willed mustang gelding.
Clearly, Wrigley slipped into the other pasture and pissed someone off … and Wrigley lost.
WHO DID THIS?
To be honest, I think it was Rojo.
You see, Wrigley has lived with all of the mares previously. He has never shared a pasture with Rojo.
Wrigley and Finn fight with Rojo over the fence all the time…
So, it makes sense that if they had a freeway between them, something would happen… Finn and Rojo are too smart and mature (respectively) to get hurt.
But Wrigley isn’t…
I think Rojo intimidated Wrigley into falling down a hill and messing up his front shoulder and rear stifle. But, I’ll never know.
SHOULD I CALL THE VET?
OK, well, as I got closer, it appeared to be a deep but clean cut. It looked like a sharp hoof tip sliced his flesh. The main wound looked clean and even.
Hmmmmmm. It isn’t that bad… maybe it needs a stitch. Not sure.
I think I’ll clean it out, put on some THE BALM and cover it. (no affiliation)
So, that’s what I did.
I grabbed the newest iodine antiseptic I had (THE SAUCE by Equilite – they had sent a sample and I had it on hand) and then I created a duct-tape crosswork patch and put cotton gauze inside of it. Then, I added THE BALM (by Equi-Spa, I LOVE THIS STUFF and use it on myself and on everything possible. It is natural, has tea tree oil and seems to heal every thing while keeping the flies away.) onto the gauze.
I took my contraption and cupped it on his stifle and smoothed it out until the duct tape had a good hold.
OK, I’d leave that on there for a few hours.
In the meantime, I checked out the rest of his wounds… the poor boy looked like he rolled down a hill! He had scuffs on his front elbows, his head, on his hips, all the high points.
6 HOURS LATER
I went out to check on him.
Hmm. He was kinda dragging his leg as if it hurt to bend it. The wound still looked clean, but it had opened up quite a bit from movement.
OK, what do you do on a Friday afternoon when you know you are leaving town on Monday?
Do I call the vet? Will this get better?
Something told me to call the vet. Something told me to get the stitches. Something told me to not let it go.
So, I called the vet and left a message on his mobile.
My vet is solid and great.
He called me back and asked some specific questions…
Vet: “Where is it – exactly?”
Me: Directly above his stifle.
Vet: “On the joint?!”
Me: Slightly above it.
Vet: “I’m coming over. I’ll see you around 6:30”
Me: Why the concern?
Vet: “We don’t mess around when it comes to joints…”
Yikes. I hadn’t even thought about that. Clearly the wound was above the joint – but…
The vet went on to say that any infection that is near a joint could migrate into it and then you have – no horse.
AHHH. I started to be a bit frightened.
He asked me if Wrigley could put weight on it.
I said he could.
That was a good sign.
THE VET ARRIVED.
The vet arrived and he gave Wrig a serious dose of sleepytime. Poor Wrig is so young and pure that the sleepytime hit him like a ton of bricks. Here I was, trying to hold up a huge, skinny, heavy teenager while the vet irrigated his wound and probed it with several testing devices.
It took about 20 minutes to determine that there was no loose synovial fluid – the joint had not been compromised. The offending object hadn’t quite reached the joint. However, it was very deep… and the vet wanted to be extra careful that there would be no infection to migrate to the joint.
Vet: “You know what I think?”
Vet: “I think he got pushed into a tree or he fell down a hill and stabbed himself on a limb or a downed tree.”
Me: I agree, I thought he fell down a hill and scuffed himself up.
Vet: “Yup. I think he got scared or intimidated and wound up where he shouldn’t have been and scrambled to get away. He has marks all over his body that tell me he ran into something…”
Me (imagining in my mind exactly how ‘much smaller and barely older but waaaayyyy tougher’ Rojo intimidated poor little Wrigley…): Uh huh. I agree.
Drugged and lit by flashlight inspection of Wrigley’s wound revealed that the hole was very deep and like a puncture, not a slice.
The vet cleaned it a bunch and then added topical antiseptic and antibiotics. He trimmed the loose skin and then hit Wrig with very powerful IV antibiotics to make sure no infection started anywhere near the joint.
He gave me powdered antibiotics to give him twice a day, plus Bute.
He told me not to cover it, but to maybe put SWAT on it to keep the flies away.
He also told me to make sure he moves around a lot.
HOW WILL I KNOW IF IT IS BAD…
Of course, I asked the fearfilled question:
If it is bad, how will I know?
He told me that Wrig should feel relief with the Bute and the cleaning… so he should put weight on it. If tomorrow (today) he refused to put weight on it, then that would be bad.
I put Wrig in the barn to recover – and as I walked him there, he was already walking more freely. It was looking good.
This morning, the boy was King of the Barn! He had knocked over everything and eaten every single bit of hay scrap in there…
So, I put him back out with his herdies.
But first I gave him his medicine and slathered THE BALM on all of his wounds. I didn’t go with the SWAT recommendation. I know THE BALM is better (IMHO).
Tonight, I gave him his meds and looked at the wound. It looked great!!!! Much improved in 24 hours! I swear that THE BALM is the shizzzz!
Of course, the antibiotics are doing their thing… but no flies have infected the wound and all the good ingredients of THE BALM have totally done their thing. Clearly, the wound is much, much better.
Sigh of relief.
I think he will be fine.
Besides avoiding opened gates… the lesson is that if the cut is anywhere near a joint, GET IT LOOKED AT BY A VET!
I’m fairly certain that this was way too close to the stifle joint to have been as casual as I was… My vet was telling me stories of simple wounds near joints that seemed to have no involvement that turn into nightmares because the infection migrates into the joint.
So, CALL THE VET if you have anything that is near a joint or that could get infected and therefore implicate the joint.
HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!
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Thanks for sharing….. will definitely remember to call the vet !
First and foremost, when ever in doubt, Call the Vet. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
Second, for anyone out there and reading this, and lessons learned after the fact. From this event, when you hire anyone to work on your property, be sure they have General liability insurance and are currently insured. Anyone who is hired to perform services, should have Common Sense, not the cheapest guy in the book or the illegal who will work for practically nothing. Any person with a head on their shoulder, who fixes any kind of fence should respect the property he is working on or within. If you come to a closed gate, get your vehicle around or through it and, Close the gate behind you. You never leave a gate open, not knowing what animals are being pastured on one side or the other, the landowner likely has a good reason for keeping it closed. Also, don’t just leave it laying on the ground, should it be a barb wire contraption to expose any person or animal the possibility of tripping in it..
I would expect the careless fence contractor to be forthcoming with the fees for the vet bill. At least split the difference if you feel you were negligent in telling him how to treat gates. I would also be looking for exposed nails on the interior of the fence along with unclip wire towards the interiors of these pastures and paddocks.
That’s scary! Not too long ago my mare got in a fight that she didn’t win, she got kicked up pretty good on her hip and had a similar cut just above the stifle. I guess I got lucky, I didn’t call the vet, just treated it with cold hosing, antiseptic, and furazone. She was totally fine within a week and everything healed up really nice.
Thank God you called the VET That injury could have cost you a very valuble horse. I know that things happen and they get expensive but infection runs rapid so fast You did the right thing to get your vet on this. I experienced a beautiful horse that ran through a barbed wire fence she a massive hole in her front right leg that went deap into her chest.
It took days of very special treatment. This special care saved her life and now she is as
beautiful as she was with very little scaring. She is more even tempered since the time it
took to work through the injury.
a very good learning lesson for all. glad you shared this and especially glad u take good care of your horses and dear wrigley is ok.