Friday, March 1, 2019


Damn, I am so glad February is over. After vast amounts of rain, two trips to the vet, multiple late nights, early mornings and worrying, Major seems to be on the mend.

It seemed to start with a basic abscess. He was three-legged lame, soaked the foot, saw the bulging heel bulb, and let him rest on it. It burst in a couple days, and he was more comfortable, but now had a hole in his heel bulb so deep I could stick an entire q-tip in there (so like 3 inches deep!), eek! (there are not pictures of this because I can barely tolerate it myself).

rain, rain go away

He really seemed not himself. He wasn't walking around, it was pouring buckets of rain and he just moped under his shelter. Until I drove up and he was standing in the rain. Most people would think "Oh good, he's getting out." I knew something was wrong. Major does NOT stand in the rain. He'll leave his shelter to drink or pee, and that's it.

When I got there I could see he was coated in mud and had been rolling. I didn't even think twice: called the vet, said we were coming in, and hooked up my trailer. Major reluctantly walked down the hill and loaded in the pouring rain. I am grateful the amazing full-service equine clinic is only a 10-minute drive away.

Even feeling crummy, Major didn't want to go into the exam area. He hates the weird mats and ceiling! He did have gut sounds all sides, but faint, and poop was in there but dry and had been there awhile. So he got the whole colic treatment: IV banamine, buscopan, tubed with water, electrolytes and oil, rectal (sorry buddy!) and seemed improved. The vet thought it was just a combination of hurt foot, too much rain, new hay he doesn't like, a perfect storm that lead to colic.

in horsey jail (later it had lovely shavings but he was not happy)

But my stable is not a full-care place, so I had Major spend the might at the vet for observation. Poor guy thought the lovely nicely bedded stall was prison, and was pacing as I left. That was a hard thing to do, drive home with an empty trailer.

and not just rain, actual icy cold, sigh…
so hungry he tried to eat the straw wattle

The next day Major was improved, and I took him home. No real food for quite a few hours, and then only mash and a little hay, but kept a watch on him. I made him wear his blanket since he was a bit compromised, and just hoped he wouldn't feel trapped in it and cast himself (yes, he's done that before, which is why he doesn't wear blankets!)

Bonny the kitty says I sit in your lap and you pet me and feel better. She is right.

 He moped though a couple days, but something was still not right. His foot was still bothering him, but it was something else. Damn, the banamine. In all the craziness I did not start him on ulcer meds right away. And it was day three of banamine, and Major was showing all his signs of being ulcery. Or was it something more sinister? I was worried that it was another colic episode coming on, or something worse with his foot…back to the vet. Of course this time, on a Sunday.

yeah, I got pretty good at the hoof wrapping with duct tape (orange of course)

Major, who normally jumps in the trailer, was highly suspicious and balked for a few seconds. Then his manners reminded him to get in the moving box, and we went back to the vet. Of course, once there, he pooped about 10 times out of nervousness, so it looked like colic was ruled out! He was well hydrated, but his foot was just bothering him more. So xrays it is.

Can we leave yet? We just got here Major.

The xrays showed nothing amiss, no gas pocket which would indicate infection, but since Major did have some cellulitis the leg was expertly wrapped with a whole bunch of layers of stuff I could never recreate so neatly. Vet agreed on ulcer probability, and said to continue that treatment as well. Back home Major showed off his new bandaged leg by limp-trotting to his pasture, and was pretty happy with wet mash meals a day and all the alfalfa he wanted.

nice leg wrapping! (sadly, they did not have orange)

snacks is good, blanket is dumb

With his leg improving, daily double-dosing of ulcer meds and no rain, he seems to be getting back to himself. He dragged me down the road yesterday for grass snacks, and while his leg still has a little swelling he is weighting it and walking pretty soundly. How will that giant abscess grow out? I have no idea how much hoof sole he'll lose, that'll be another event in the future. I'm still anxious about the whole thing, and just grateful I was able to get him help.

getting better!
For now I'm glad the scare is mostly past, though I'm super paranoid about any strange step, weird face or thing he does. And it still isn't done raining, but now Major has a closer water bucket and an extra mash every day, and a paranoid owner checking on him constantly (and super great friends at the barn who keep an eye on everyone too). I'm really ready for the sun to start shining and daylight savings and good things to come.

optimistic spring blooms


  1. Damn - you’ve been through the wringer. The orange hoof wrap job is stellar though...<3
    We’ve got several of those issues going too: abscess (by the frog), lame (at the trot), doesn’t care for the hay (been sitting in the impossible to drain during the monsoon hay shed so -musty), seen by the vet Tuesday (nothing appears to be wrong with foot) and signs of biting at his sides which has meant ulcers in the past. Going to pull out the antacids tomorrow. Hope Major improves and the rain stops soon. (Please!)

    1. Oh no, not you too! We're all just ready for spring. Healing thoughts from Major to Val, limping buddies together!

  2. Oh goodness!! What a saga. I'm so glad things are better now. They sounded super stressful for awhile there. Fingers crossed for better weather, too.

    1. thank you, the better weather is finally here too!

  3. They can be a bit princessy about pain, which is more about their sensitivity than anything else. I hope he is on the mend and doing better. We all need the sun and daylight savings time to get here stat.

    1. yeah, Dr. and I talked about how he was so sensitive, but it doesn't matter that he is more sensitive than other horses, it was pain that needed to be treated. Sun please!

  4. Ohhh nooo! Poor Major! :(.
    I thought he didn’t look quite his usual self last week.
    Those foot abscesses are such a pain! I’ve tried all of the remedies with Nevel as well as completely NOT treating it...all with same outcome and healing rate.
    I’m glad you caught the colic! Sun on Sunday I hope!!! And good get well feelings to you and Major!

    1. thank you! Super hot soaking seems to help, but I've heard the poultice pads are even better, and I have some for next time. The sun WAS out this weekend, yeah!