It never rains, but it pours. At least it did for me last week. Otis had his MRI, which I told you about last weekend – Which you can read here – but simultaneously Matt was having a big adventure of his own.
Mum went to catch him on Saturday afternoon to feed him and give him some TLC. He was grazing in the field quietly, away from the others. Mum put his headcollar on and asked him to walk on. He wouldn’t move. She got a bit angry as he is sometimes can be stubborn about coming in. But he still wouldn’t walk.
In the event, with one of the girls practically pushing Matt, they got him down the field and onto the yard. He was dragging his hind leg, which had a small wound on the stifle.
Mum cleaned it up and rang the vet. She duly turned up and examined the puncture wound, after sedating Matt of course as he didn’t like it very much! The vet was concerned about an infection as the wound was close to the joint, and the stifle is a very shallow joint, so the vet arranged for Matt to be admitted to the local equine hospital that evening.
Leaving a sedated Matt in the closest stable, loaded with painkillers, Mum drove home to collect non-horsey Dad and the trailer. By the time they got back the sedation had worn off and Matt was less than impressed at being in with no friends. You may remember from the winter that he doesn’t like being left in without company. He danced around and refused to load until Mum got the yard owner out in her pyjamas to say a couple of stern words to him.
So it was 8.30-9pm when they got to the, thankfully, local horse-pital. Matt was sedated again, and X-rayed. This was when they found the fracture.
I think it’s the top of the tibia that is fractured, it’s non-weight bearing and it isn’t the patella. I’ve asked to see the x-rays so will share once I do.
After the X-ray, the area was ultrasounded. This was looking for oxygen bubbles in the stifle joint, which are indicative of an infection. Thankfully he got the all clear in this area, so was put into his stable and hooked up to a drip and an intensive course of antibiotics started. This was to hopefully nip any infection in the bud and if there wasn’t yet an infection it was a preventive measure. He was dosed up on painkillers and left.
On Sunday, the vets were pleased to say that there didn’t look to be a joint infection, which meant Matt didn’t need to go to the nearest university hospital.
With Mum and Dad about to go on their annual holiday, it was all systems go to organise Matt’s care. Thankfully, Mum has some lovely friends who offered to look after Matt on his box rest while she was away.
Matt had to stay in hospital for five days: three days of intravenous antibiotics and two days of oral antibiotics. On Monday his painkillers were reduced as he was getting very agitated at being kept in and was box walking. I think they hoped that feeling a bit of pain would encourage him to stay still.
Last Thursday, Mum’s friend collected Matt and took him home. Mum had ordered a mixture of calming feeds and supplements contains chamomile, valerian, vervain and magnesium. All of which are known for their calming effect. Matt was still keen to eat, so had been having ad lib hay to try and occupy him, carrots hidden in haynets. He’s also had some cow parsley, hazel and willow branches to strip, and a likit toy is on it’s way.
The first couple of days Matt expected to go out, but since the weekend he seems happier in this new routine so hopefully the effect of the calmer, plenty of forage and toys will keep him occupied.
He’s to stay on box rest for eight weeks, with another X-ray in six weeks time. Then limited exercise will ensue, with the aim of full turn out in twelve weeks time. Mum asked about picking up his feet, and the vet said his feet could be hoof picked if he’d let you, but keep the foot close to the ground to minimise the movement of the fracture. He can’t see the farrier until after his next X-ray because the fracture will open up in the next couple of weeks before closing and healing.