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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If you want an update on the Iron Man Rescued Foal Bucket Fund or to donate, please click on the photo (photo credit, Trish Lowe)