Bowed tendon treatment?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by lizardz, Nov 17, 2008.

  1. lizardz

    lizardz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Went out to feed the horses this morning and the three boys showed up, but not my mare. Could hear her crying because they left her behind. High-tailed it over to where she was, and her left front foreleg was swollen from just below the knee down to the ankle. Slowly led her to the barn and put down lots of straw, hosed her leg for about 15 minutes, but then had to go to work. Don't really know what happened, but there are skid marks on the back hill where they were all obviously having a wild ole time. I'm thinking she may have slipped and injured it then. I'm not acutally sure it's a bowed tendon, maybe just a really bad sprain. When I got home tonight she had been eating, drinking and pooping pretty normally. The swelling seems to have increased, but not a whole lot and I don't feel any heat in the leg. She seems to be putting some weight on it, but obviously very painful for her to walk. She was sweating a bit, but that could be because she has her winter coat growing in and it was about 75 degrees today. I have no money to have the vet come take a look at her, so does anyone have any ideas? And of course, I'm leaving tomorrow afternoon and won't be able to be back until late Wednesday afternoon. Any help or thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
    Liz
     
  2. freemotion

    freemotion Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh, no!!! Please get the vet out. This is definitely a red flag situation.

    Most injuries below the knee or hock of this severity need veterinary care. He/she will likely prescribe complete stall rest, frequent hosing, bute, poultice, standing bandages, etc. The future of this horse likely depends on quick care.

    Been there, done that. Vet bills are part of horse ownership, it stinks, but please make the call first thing in the morning, keep the horse in tonight, and no grain for now.

    Sigh.....poor thing. Hopefully, it will be fine in a couple weeks. I have spent months rehabbing horses with this description. Some come back, some retire or semi-retire. I wish you success!
     
  3. lizardz

    lizardz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wish I could call the vet, but truly have no money for it - have spent around $800 in vet bills over the last two months on dogs/cats, which has truly depleted the funds [​IMG] She's in a stall and will stay there. I have to leave on a business trip tomorrow afternoon and won't be back until Wednesday late afternoon. I've been hosing her leg (4 times today), but will only be able to do it tomorrow morning, then just before I leave. It won't end her career as she doesn't have one - she's essentially a pasture decoration, but well-loved and has a home here no matter what. I'm concerned about pain - is there any over the counter pain medications for horses? Thanks for any help anyone can give.
    Liz
     
  4. buck-wild-chick

    buck-wild-chick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 24, 2008
    Hamilton C. FL
    Nope dont think so. I think banamine is the cheapest pain killer for a horse. I would still call my vet and see If I could buy some and the correct dosage.
     
  5. freemotion

    freemotion Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Pasture ornaments are great. And heaven for the horse.

    Can you get a poultice on her? Have you done a poultice before? It is messy, but quite effective. Get a medicated one from the tack or feed store, if possible.

    Sorry, hope not to insult.....but if you have never wrapped a leg, now is not the time to start, damage could be done. However, some horse people can be very helpful, do you have someone you can call? A poultice might help, and wouldn't hurt. Can draw out the inflammation. Unchecked inflammation causes "secondary hypoxic injury." This is because the pressure starves uninjured cells of oxygen, causing the healthy cells to die, increasing the injured area. Hence the hosing, do it often. The poultice should bring some swelling down, too.

    Some horse people (like any people) can also be snotty and vicious, so be careful who you call.....I was in the thick of the horse world for years and am enjoying a semi-break!
     
  6. lizardz

    lizardz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have done poultices before, but only on dogs, cats and humans. No insult taken - I have wrapped before, but would not say I'm that good, and would not feel comfortable wrapping her while I'm away. I called a friend, who's out of town, but I'm hoping she'll be checking her messages. I'll call the vet in the a.m., but I've found that the equine vets up here are rather snobby and not really wanting to help if you're not one of their regulars (can't completely blame them on that as much could go wrong if they don't know the horse). I could probably put a visit on the credit card (hate to do that), if I can find one who will accept one. My "usual" vet (pretty much only see him for floating teeth since I do all my own vaccinations and my horses, thankfully, have been pretty health) won't take them. Are there any essential oils that anyone knows of that might be helpful? I have birch oil, but I'm concerned about putting that on as it can be kind of hot. Maybe wintergreen?

    Anyway, thanks for the thoughts and advice. If anyone else has input, I would love to hear it. It has truly been a horrible year for me with animals. We've lost three cats and two dogs this past year, and I'm just feeling kind of numb. They were all older pets (between 14 - 17 years old) and we knew it would be coming, but not that they would all go so closely together. And now this. I'm hoping my pet karma shifts really soon. Could use some good things happening. Thanks for everyone's help.
    Liz
     
  7. Momo

    Momo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It's difficult to give advice without seeing the injury or having a veterinary opinion, but here's what I did on the advice of a talented equine physiotherapist when my older mare bowed a tendon and popped her check ligament, and it worked so well that months later the only sign was some thickening of the tendon (no knots of scar tissue, no bow).

    Cut off the bottom part of a leg of an old pair of jeans, and get a cotton standing wrap bandage. Put a bunch of ice in a plastic bag and crush it up nice and small with a hammer. Pull the jeans leg over your mare's hoof so that it covers her cannon from above the knee to below the fetlock. Take the standing wrap and make a few wraps around the bottom of the jeans leg to hold the tube closed at the bottom. Now take a handful of crushed ice and pour it in. Take a wrap or two around that. Add some more ice. Wrap some more. Continue to just above the swelling.

    Let your mare stand with the ice wrap on for 12 minutes (no longer; more is *not* better). Take the wrap off. Walk her slowly and calmly in nice straight lines (make a wide circle at the end) for 10 minutes. Stop and build another ice wrap. Stand with it on for 9 minutes. Wait an hour. Do it again, and again, and again ... after a few days you can lengthen the time between ice/walk/ice regimes to an hour and a half, then to two hours ... well, you get the picture.

    The sports medicine principle behind this treatment is that a bowed tendon is a partial tear of the tendon, which is basically a bunch of tough strands all running in parallel with each other. When it gets torn, those strands spring out in different directions and get tangled and as it heals you're left with scar tissue that's basically a big ball of disordered strands. The ice/walk/ice regime helps it to heal with the strands lined up again. The ice contracts the tissues a little, which helps to break up the adhesions, and gives some pain relief. Then gentle walking in a straight line stretches the contracted tissues a little, back closer into line. The second icing contracts the tissues a little again, which helps hold them in place (and combats inflammation). Done repeatedly, this makes an amazing difference in the amount of scar tissue and increases the strength of the healed tissues.

    Also, if by any chance your mare is overdue for a trim, if her toes are long at all, be sure to get her feet done, as a long toe puts a lot of pressure on the tendons at the back of the leg. But don't let your farrier do any "corrective" trimming that would raise the heel, either! Just a nice natural trim.

    Good luck with your girl, and keep us posted.
     
  8. freemotion

    freemotion Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow, like that one, with the ice. Without a sonogram or other diagnostic tool, I would tend to limit the walking, though, not knowing the degree of the tear.

    Bute tablets are the cheapest. You can crush them with a mortar and pestel and mix with grape jelly (stronger flavor than applesauce, which works great, too) and put it in a dosing syringe, and down the hatch! But you have to get it from your vet. Your regular vet might sell you some. I always have some on hand.

    PM me I might have something for you....[​IMG]
     
  9. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Oh my, sorry to hear it.

    First, you ABSOLUTELY NEED a vet. Not optional. The problem is that in order to treat it intelligently i.e. to avoid further or lifelong pain for the horse, you have to identify what the problem IS... different things require different treatments.

    Second, stall the horse now and leave her there, as much hay as she wants, no grain at all. For some of the most likely possibilities as to what the injury is, it is essential that she NOT WALK AROUND. I would not even turn her out in a roundpen or small pen... just the stall, til she is seen by the vet.

    Third, cold-hose her for 15-20 minutes at a time as frequently as you can arrange, although no more than once per several hours.

    DO NOT put any sort of essential oils, salves, liniments, or anything else whatsoever at all on the leg... many will create heat which is exactly what you DON'T want on the leg right now, and the rest can leave residues that can interact very badly with future poultices or other stuff that you may need to be putting on.

    I would not suggest wrapping the leg unless you're quite experienced at it -- unwrapped is better than badly wrapped. Stalling and cold-hosing will be 'sufficient'.

    Some people would give the horse several grams of bute if they had some around and the horse doesn't have any other issues that would make it inadvisable. Always respecting that the maximum daily dose you should use, even just for a short time, is on the order of 4 g. I am not *suggesting* you do this, only vets can prescribe medications, I'm just sayin'.

    If this is a tendon bow, be aware that the horse is going to be living in her stall for some considerable while, and then in just a small pen, if you want her to recover as best possible. (Same is true for some of the other possibilities, such as suspensory tear or sesamoid fracture). I know she is 'just' a companion horse but you still NEED that injury to heal as well as possible, because otherwise it becomes a chronic recurring thing that can a) leave you treating recurrences every six months or a year, which ain't fun for you OR the horse, and b) potentially leave the horse in substantial chronic pain.

    Best of luck, let us know how it goes,

    Pat
     
  10. lizardz

    lizardz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 18, 2007
    Grass Valley, CA
    Momo - thanks for that tx. Am going to go try it now. Not sure how often I'll be able to do today, but have decided to take today off work (they won't be happy since our big annual fundraiser is this weekend and lots of last minute things to do, but oh well). Can put off leaving until later in the afternoon, but have to be in the Bay Area early tomorrow to take my MIL to Dr. appts. My mom will feed the horses while I'm gone, but she isn't real comfortable with them, so she won't be able to do the icing and wrapping. Hubby is coming home tomorrow night(!!!), so he'll be able to fill in for me Thurs & Fri while I'm at work. He's not to comfortable with horses, either, but he's a nurse, so he'll do what needs to be done. Okay, it's pretty light out now, so off to the barn.

    freemotion - thanks for the support - I pm'd you.
     

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