Tag Archives: proud flesh

Out of Control, “maybe we should put her down” type of Proud Flesh – Cured! Read on!


Tuesday, June 8th, 2010 | Filed under Medical




This is a traumatic story with a happy ending.

My wonderful mare (see post 2/4/10 Canker ) had a baby in 1999 who I nicknamed Ava.  She was a beautiful filly with incredible natural knee action and a really sweet demeanor.  It was love at first sight.  Here is a picture of Ava with her Mommy when Ava was two weeks old.

Isn’t she cute?!  Full of life and talent!

Well, the very next day, Ava got her foot caught between a piece of wood and the automatic waterer.  We don’t know how long she was caught there, but we didn’t discover her until the next morning.  Needless to say, the sight of this little filly, exhausted, hanging on by a thread, balefully looking at us as her back legs were about to give out.

OMG.  My friend was the first to her.  Marla swooped in, picked up the filly and removed the leg from its awful entrapment.  In a flash of action, the filly was stabilized on the ground and the vet called.  It was obvious that Ava had struggled for a very long time as the wound was huge.  We were so thankful that she didn’t give up and sit down or she would have snapped her little leg.  What a strong little girl!  After we washed away the dirt, we could see clear to the bone.  Our first inspection of the gaping hole gave us hope.
Her tendons and muscles were there, she could use the limb normally and there wasn’t any profuse bleeding – so we hoped it might turn out OK.  We had no idea that with no broken bones or any other injury, proud flesh alone could kill her.

The vet came out immediately (bless her) and did her thing.  There was cleaning and probing, X-rays, sedatives, antibiotics administered orally and topically and then a cast.  The diagnosis was pretty good, at first.  Nothing was damaged except the flesh.  Ava should fully recover with no long-term effects.  But the flesh wound was daunting at about 5″ long and almost fully around her little leg. Yet, the vet was very optimistic.  All we would have to do is change the cast once a week for several weeks and all would be good.  Or so it should have been.

What really happened was very different.  For some reason, it would not heal. Cast after cast was applied.  The wound was abraded and treated every week.  Nothing happened.  It literally stayed the same size for 5 months.  Here is a picture of Ava at 5 months with her cast still on.

Believe me, everyone was frustrated.  Baby Ava was stuck in a little pen. The vets (at this point we had several involved) were upset that nothing was helping and I was heavy under the vet bills with no results.  I’m not blaming the vets.  We consulted every specialist possible.  No one knew what to do.

Eventually, we decided to leave the wound open during the day and soft wrapped at night.  We thought that maybe the air would help it more than the dirt would hurt it.  Nothing.  It was at this point that a few vets mentioned that maybe it was time for euthanasia.  Gawd.  Ugh.  Yes, the filly had no major improvement in 6 months.  Yes, we were all tired of treating her.  But, NO, I wasn’t going to give up on her.  I read everything I could and prayed to the horsey god in the sky…

Finally, with no answer in sight and in a fit of frustration, I pulled out the Healing Tree T-Zon cream I had gotten at the Horse Expo that year (I have no affiliation).  I knew it was created by a vet whom I had met at the Expo, Dr. Eric Witherspoon, DVM.  He said it was a great cream for healing the dermis (skin).  I remembered that.  And, since I am a fan of tea-tree oil, I figured it “couldn’t hurt, could help.”  I slathered that stuff really thick on her wound and wrapped it.  I held my breath and waiting until the next day to remove the wrap.  Gently, I pulled the cotton away and the area looked less pink, I thought… was I just wanting to believe?  I left the wound open in the air for a few hours.  Again, I slathered on the cream and wrapped it for the night.  The next day, it was definitely better.

Now I was on a roll!  I did this for two weeks.  It was better by a half of an inch and the middle was not so angry looking.  I did it for another week with the vet’s approval.  After the next two weeks, much improvement!  We kept going and after only 6 weeks, the wound was almost totally healed!  And, hardly a scar!  Here is a picture where you can see that Ava is only slightly older than when she had the cast.  (Obviously she is having fun torturing my donkey…)

It took about 2 more months for all the tissue to heal perfectly and after another year, there were no more white hairs.  OMG!  Here we went from a filly who was suggested to be put down to a filly with no scarring and a potential to actually meet her potential!

Well, a few years later, this picture was taken of my Ava as she was winning the World title in English Pleasure at the Morgan Grand Nationals.  She healed really well!!

So, I am not affiliated with the product, but I am a sworn disciple.  I use all of the Healing Tree line!  You can go to the website and check it out.  I use the cream on my skin every time I get a cut or burn.  I know it is not legal for humans, but I use it.  It does sting a little (the tea-tree oil…) but it works!

As for Ava, she was sold to a wonderful woman who has since retired her into motherhood.  Just imagine if I hadn’t found Dr. Eric Witherspoon at the Western States Horse Expo… What if I hadn’t bought his T-Zon cream…?  I wonder where we would be now… 

And, of course, this lovely filly would never have been born.  This is CBMF CHEATING HEART, born to Ava in 2009.   She is beautiful, healthy, happy and in a lovely environment to grow and thrive.  The cycle of life continues.

So for today, if you ever have proud flesh, remember this story.

And, if you see Healing Tree products — buy them!  They literally saved my filly’s life!

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A Happy Ending for MAC from Strawberry Mountain Mustang Rescue






Yesterday, I got a little up in arms about owners that could and should but don’t do anything for their badly injured horses.  Many of you were upset and angry.  I understand.  Me, too.

So, today I thought I should post a happily ever after. Hmmmmmmm.

Ah ha!  I have it!  An even worse case than yesterday’s!  First, I must credit Darla from Strawberry Mountain Mustangs, Inc in Oregon.  She saved this little guy, Mac (MacGuyver) from his horrific state.

I will give you his story from Darla and then I’ll give you the update and a little more about Mac who is now 4 years old.  Here is the story in Darla’s words:

“Friday the 13th is notorious. People tend to tip-toe around as if they are avoiding black cats and crossing under ladders. Friday, April the 13th will always have a very special place in our hearts however.

Late in the day I received a call from our local zoo, Wildlife Safari. They are often called by horse owners to euthanize and haul away animals to be used for food for the big cats at the park. The call they received this day, however, just didn’t “feel right”, so they did something wonderful – and for which I will always be grateful. They called me.

The horse they were called to pick up was a young Quarter Horse colt, less than a year old, not even weighing 500 lbs. The story was that he had tried to jump a fence and had cut is leg. According to his owner, his nasty, aggressive disposition made him “not worth saving”.

Although the story varied with each telling, what we were able to piece together was this: some time the previous day (Thursday) the husband had decided it was time to halter break that rogue colt. After running him relentlessly for THREE HOURS and not being able to wear him down, out came the lariat. At this point, the little boy was doomed. We often hear of these young horses being roped and yanked off their feet, usually when patience wears thin and the macho side of things really comes into play. The owners claim that after he was roped, he tried to jump out of the makeshift round pen and injured himself. In my opinion, this very stiff, very severe lariat became wrapped around his leg and they refused to let go. The outcome was horrific.

I was able to talk the owner into giving me this “dangerous aggressive colt that wasn’t worth saving” and with the help of 3R’s Ranch and fellow rescuer Julie – we headed right out there. This young boy was in shock, standing with his head down, the lariat still choking him and tangled about his feet. He was only too willing to walk away from his previous owner and climb into a stranger’s horse trailer. Once inside, I approached him slowly, talking quietly. His first reaction was to pin his ears as if defending his space. Once my hand was on his neck, he seemed to sigh and settle instantly. I was able to remove the rope from his neck (which at this point had been on for probably two full days) and threw it out of the trailer. The feeling of that bloody, stiff rope is not something I will ever forget.

This little man’s injury starts right below the flank and runs horizontally almost completely around his leg. The top of the wound is a clean cut, most likely where the rope sliced through. From there, the leg was degloved, the skin rolled down like a tube sock to his hock. Because of the length of time that had elapsed, only part of the skin could be pulled back up and saved. The rest of the gaping wound (if laid flat – exposed muscle and tissue would measure about 1ft tall by 3 ft long – running almost the entire circumference of the upper leg) must be left open and exposed, although bandaged, and will eventually regrow new skin. No tendons were injured and there was very little muscle damage. Remember, “he’s not worth saving” was what we heard over and over.

That Friday the 13th was the beginning of a new life for little Mac. (Mac is short for MacGyver – due in part to all of the duct tape and other creative bandaging ideas we’ve had to use!) The vets worked on Mac for several hours that night and we brought him home the next day. The bandage that finally held? Incontinence pads (the only thing big enough), duct tape, vet wrap, elastikon and SUSPENDERS!!!

The most difficult part of this amazing rescue? Believe it or not, it wasn’t seeing him in this horrible shape, it wasn’t seeing the vet bill, it wasn’t trying to “play nice” with the owner to get him out. I have learned to put emotion aside at times like those and get done, what needs to be done. The gut wrenching emotion comes later. At times when Mac stands quietly without sedation while I fumble and fuss with his bandages. The tears come when he jumps because I let a rope touch his haunches – and he looks at me as if to say “WHY would YOU put a rope there?” The anger comes when he sighs and leans in to me for a scratch or some love. For, after all, this is a colt “who wasn’t worth saving”.”

OK, are you angry again?  Well, don’t be.  This all worked out.  Mac healed, if you can believe it!  Here are a succession of photos.

What doesn’t show in these photos is the amount of time, love, tears, frustration and courage that it took to come up with a way to heal this boy.  Darla told me that she was in a fit of tears and exasperation after nothing, NOTHING, would stay on the would to cover it.  She knew she had to keep it protected since the original skin flap eventually died.  Darla had tried everything with the same, result — fail.  On the floor in a tear puddled heap, the idea came to her… suspenders.  So, she wiped her face, stood up and made a plan.  Diapers, duct tape and suspenders.  Off to the market once again and back to give it another try.  It worked!  Finally.  And, the whole time, Mac just stood there and took the pain and aggrivation like a champ.  Atta boy!

Darla ended up adopting Mac herself.  As a rescue, you try not to do that but she loves him and he loves her.  Can you imagine the dedication it took and the bond that formed between those two?  Darla changed Mac’s bandage, without sedation, every day twice a day for five months.  He trusts her.  Yeah howdy!  This is a happy ending!

Darla says that today Mac is as sweet as can be and grins and bears it for all the visitors who come through the rescue.  Of course, his story is very dramatic, especially with his scars, so he is on display often.  He may not like that much attention all the time, but he does it.  Mac knows it is part of his job.  He’s giving back the horsey way…  However, I find it interesting that Mac still pins his ears when he sees a lariat or feels a rope on his hind quarters… but then again, can you blame him?

I wanted to mention the DRs that saved him. Dr. Craig Downie is from Bailey Vet Clinic in Roseburg, Oregon.  Dr. Downie did all the follow ups, the skin grafts etc.  Darla says that every time Dr. Craig would come out the back door of the clinic heading across the lot to see Mac and Darla he would yell “How’s my Macaroni?!?!?!”  and Mac would shriek back in response.  He loves his Dr. Craig.

I guess the most poignant point Darla expressed to me today is that a few years ago, it was much more possible to help such injured horses.  But today, with the economy the way it is, she would have to make a difficult decision in the same situation.  Ugh.  This is why it takes a very strong person to be a horsey angel.  It is like SOPHIE’S CHOICE, the movie… Did you see it.  Meryl Streep has three kids (or is it two?) and only one can be saved from Hitler.  She has to decide… and it is gut wrenching.

For me, I hope the tides will change for the horses.  I hope all of our voices will rise and eventually the horse will have the same value as other companion animals.  That is why I blog.  That is probably why you read.  We all try to do our part to add to the happily ever afters.

So, two days in a row I want to give a shout out to all the horsey angels out there.  Bravo!

If you feel moved to donate to SMM’s vet bill at Bailey Vet Clinic just click here (SMM has a running balance).  If you’d like to visit SMM click here. and if you would like to donate to SMM (funds always appreciated and needed for every horse who arrives), please click here.

HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!
If you want an update on the Bucket Fund or to donate, please click on the photo (photo credit, Trish Lowe)


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