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Gaaaah, horses! (this is kinda long)

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  • Gaaaah, horses! (this is kinda long)

    So, 3 days ago, my 4-year-old mare come in with a teeny weeny little cut on her forearm, level with her elbow but about 3 inches ahead of it (in the forearm muscle). Nothing spectacular. Only 3 cm long and maybe 2 mm deep. Quite superficial. Cleaned it, put some Polysporin on it. Thought nothing of it.

    Then the next morning came. Did my daily walkabout checking over the girls and looked at my 4-year-old's leg... to discover the WHOLE leg had turned into a small post.

    Such big drama for such a SMALL wound.

    So, on goes the halter, out comes the hose, applied surgical soap and proceeded to scrub from top to bottom. I'm thinking, there has to be another wound somewhere, a puncture, something. She's black, so short of blood coming out of some hole somewhere, injuries are hard to find. Can't find anything ANYWHERE. And, she's not sore. She's walking on it just fine. I'm pressing, poking and prodding and she's not even flinching. Actually, she was falling asleep.

    I'm puzzled. Such drama for a small superficial wound. To boot, the whole leg was cooking hot. I mean, so hot that when I stopped the hose, it actually steamed. Can you imagine? A steaming leg.

    So, bundled her up and whisked off to the vet's office. Now, my horse vet is away on holidays, so against my better judgment, I saw one of his colleagues (as opposed to driving greater distance to a different clinic), who, now don't get me wrong, is a wonderful, sweet guy, who loves animals to pieces and is absolutely super-duper when it comes to cats and dogs......... but totally useless when it comes to horses.

    He walked around her, looking at the leg, but didn't lay a hand on her, not even once. Took her temperature (normal), looked at her gums (clean, pink, and nonshocky) and pronounced her to have a cellulitis, that wasn't systemic and didn't need antibiotics.

    I said,, "uh...... are you sure?? This leg is terribly hot?!". "Nope, no need, she's fighting it on her own."

    So, against my better judgment, I loaded her up and trundled on home. All the way home, I'm thinking... "dang, should have gone to the UFA and picked up some Pen-G"...

    Today comes. Saturday. In this rural area, there isn't a vet open anywhere.

    A small hole has blown out through through the skin of her knee, from the pressure of all the fluid in her leg and it is draining. This is actually a good thing, but ugly to look at. The wound up at the top of her forearm is starting to develop proud flesh. I'm poking and prodding and cannot for the life of me find anything else going on. The whole leg is cooking hot, except for the elbow area, which is cool. The swelling is very impressive, right from just above the knee (mid forearm), all the way down to the coronet band.

    And, she's perfectly sound. No limp, no soreness. No nothing. Just tender skin from the pressure. In fact, quite unconcerned whatsoever about the whole thing. Me, on the other hand, am developing permanent frown wrinkles in my face.

    Okay, drastic measures. I proceeded to make an epsom salt paste with betadine and smear that on her forearm and knee and cover with gamgee and wrap. Then mud Tite on her cannon and tendon, wet paper bag, gamgee and wrap. Fed her some kibble with bute in it (for the anti-inflammatory properties) and sent her out to her small paddock. SHE proceeds to tear around like a lunatic, wheeeeeeeeeeee, kicking up her heels, squealing and having a grand ol' time. There is no way the Bute has kicked in yet, so this is just her normal ol' self.

    My frown deepens. I mean, I am very good at wrapping legs, but even my wraps won't stay put with all that activity. So, catch her and plop her in a stall with a companion in another stall and she stays there sulking all afternoon and evening.

    Now, here's the puzzler.

    This evening, I bring her out. Unwrap everything and lo and behold we have a leg again. Full definition of all ligaments and tendons, the swelling is completely gone and so is the heat. There was just some slight puffiness on the knee still but overall, very minor. "Okay," I think myself, "methinks we're getting somewhere".... or so I thought. I proceed to put my hand on her cannon bone to scrub off the mud and she, like a jumping-jack-splatt lifts the leg like I'd electrocuted her. A definite pain response.


    I had PROBED all of this area before putting her in the stall this morning. Firmly. Digging my fingers in all over the place. There was NO tenderness.

    So, I tried again and this time, she nearly left the planet.

    Touched her on the cannon bone and there it was again. No splint, but very sore..... exquisitely so.

    I think all the puffiness and fluid had shielded her cannon bone so she didn't feel the pain, but now that I've drawn all the fluid out the cannon bone is exposed to the direct pressure of my fingers.

    So, my brilliant 4-year-old girl has managed to put an owie near her elbow, ding her knee (good technical term for otherwise mysterious source of swelling), and severely bruise her cannon bone. I think, being the boss mare, she went after one of the other mares who has been challenging her of late, to put her in her place and smacked into a fence or a steel gate. The former would cause the cut, but the latter could produce a significant bruise.

    What a goof!

    And Ms. Brilliant will now spend her nights locked in a stall and her days in a dry paddock until this heals. Dingbat!

    I have a vet coming to ultrasound a mare on Monday, so I'll have him double check her and see if he confirms my "diagnosis", but really... what a dingbat.

    So, to get rid of the proud flesh... what tricks do you have? It's really not in a lovely place. I've been kinda scraping it and applying hydrogen peroxide to burn it off and then using Polysporin triple antibiotic which has put a stop to the pus dribbling out of it. The vet offered zero advice. Like I said, lovely man for small animals, but useless for horses.

    Anyway, I'm wondering, for this old horsewoman, what modern tricks you all might have for proud flesh?
    Last edited by rodawn; Jul. 16, 2011, 10:36 PM.
    Practice! Patience! Persistence!

  • #2
    Panalog for the proud flesh.

    The other mess, I can only tell you what Mr. EqT says about hprses... "they are like giant hairy toddlers trying to kill themselves".

    Think I would have wanted some antiobiotics for that cellulite .
    "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.


    • #3
      "Slaked" or "hydrated" lime powder (primary ingredient in wonder dust)....just puff it on and leave it...it will get crusty and flake off...puff more on. Don't wrap, don't hose off...leave it. Heals things very well, no proud flesh, no infection, no flies bothering it.
      Colored Cowhorse Ranch
      Northern NV


      • #4
        Yep, Panalog or Animax for the pf - it's also an antiobiotic, and happens also to be steroidal (which helps with the pf).

        Yep, born to try to kill themselves and see how close they can get to taking us with them
        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


        • #5
          No advice, but jingles for you. I know about the permanent frown wrinkles, I could see mine in the mirror this evening. May we all have a good margarita and a great night's sleep.


          • #6
            I vote for the panalog also, works for my horses.

            And jingles for your mare. Horses sure do know how to try our patience some days.
            There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams


            • #7
              They can just try your patience, can't they! For the proud flesh, I think Wonder Dust is the best. I just finished dealing with proud flesh on the forearm of one of my guys, and it has healed up beautifully.


              • #8
                I had a great experience with Wonder dust. I just "puffed" it on and it ate away all the proud flesh, leaving no scar. It was amazing.
                Why must you chastise my brilliant idea with facts and logic? **picks up toys (and wine) and goes home**


                • #9
                  My old horse (TB x) would always blow up for any little scrape or cut on legs. And he always seemed inclined towards proud flesh. Wonder dust always worked well for me.
                  Puff on every day. If the wound/proud flesh gets lower than the skin surface level, skip a day or too. It is caustic powder, after all, and you only want to control the proud flesh.
                  I'm not really at the top of my game today. I'm not even exactly sure what game I'm supposed to be playing, in fact... or where it's being held...

                  My horse's antics iamboyfriend.com


                  • #10
                    Out here the wonder dust costs about $9 for an 8oz bottle and the slaked lime (the primary ingredient in wd) costs $3.50 for a 50 lb bag...just keep it really really dry and you have a lifetime supply for a bit over 1/3 the cost of a single bottle.
                    Colored Cowhorse Ranch
                    Northern NV


                    • #11
                      Meat tenderizer is the BEST thing I have found for proud flesh. And it is only $2.09 to boot. You should only need to use it once or twice and PF will be gone.
                      Good luck!


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by coloredcowhorse View Post
                        Out here the wonder dust costs about $9 for an 8oz bottle and the slaked lime (the primary ingredient in wd) costs $3.50 for a 50 lb bag...just keep it really really dry and you have a lifetime supply for a bit over 1/3 the cost of a single bottle.
                        Cap would go through a bottle a year... I should have bought the 50lb bag
                        I'm not really at the top of my game today. I'm not even exactly sure what game I'm supposed to be playing, in fact... or where it's being held...

                        My horse's antics iamboyfriend.com


                        • #13
                          They don't call it Wonder Dust for nothing.
                          Click here before you buy.


                          • #14
                            Is the leg still wrapped? If not I bet it will be huge again in the am. I am guessing she has cellulitis from the tiny cut. YES it can and does happen from tiny cuts. The tinier the better it seems.

                            The popping open of the knee and oozing screams cellulitis.

                            I think its one injury with cellulitis on top of it. I am thinking the cannon bone isn't bruised but rather the skin is sensitive, but hey I could be totally wrong.

                            I would of had her on antibiotics the day it blew up.

                            jingles for your mare. I am seeing injectable antibiotics in her future....but hey I could be totally wrong.

                            O and wonder dust works great for proud flesh.
                            I love cats, I love every single cat....
                            So anyway I am a cat lover
                            And I love to run.


                            • #15
                              as the owner of a suicidal TB..... I just wanted to let you know that feel your pain (HUGS)

                              there is a spray called something like "tryptzyne" or something like that. it works pretty good. so does the other stuff mentioned above. Im not sure but, I think the Animex is more of preventative. you should probably ask your vet about that.

                              there is a product also called "proud flesh powder" that works pretty good, like wonder dust


                              • #16
                                My horse does this periodically. With cellulitis, my impression was that the choice was between oral antibiotics and IV antibiotics, not none and some. My horse has, blessedly, only ever gone 12-18 hours between having her leg blow up like a stove pipe and getting on some pain meds and antibiotics.

                                Count me among those who thinks the whole bruised cannon and draining knee shebang are from the cellulitis. Poor girl It really, really hurts! (So says my mare.)
                                Disclaimer: My mom told me that people might look at my name and think I had an addiction other than horses. I don't; his name was Bravado.