Friday, August 5, 2011

Did I mention she had a swollen leg?

I went to the barn to check Little Love's leg this morning and it looked about the same as yesterday.  No heat, some swelling on the inside of the knee.  Little Love herself didn't look a least bit troubled by her injury. I trotted her up and down on the road while the barn owner watched, but she didn't appear lame.  I hosed it with cold water, which was challenging, since Little Love does not want to go into the "water stall" to save her life.  So we did it outside, where she spun around me and tried to avoid the water at all cost.  I put the "cold clay" on it and left her in the paddock.  At noon she still looked alright.

I went back to the barn seven hours later and the swelling had doubled in size.  Great.  There was also some heat over the knee, right under the small cut.  Definitely an infection starting to happen.  I worked on getting Little Love closer to the water area and managed to negotiate a deal with her.  She stood in the middle of the barn while I hosed the leg with cold water.  She was fairly freaked out by both the drain and the hose, so we weren't able to cool down the leg as long as I wanted to, but I didn't want to get into a fight.  I managed to scrub open the cut and applied antibiotic cream to it. I also dug around in my belongings and found some anti-inflammatory drugs left over from our previous escapades in Switzerland.  I put some in her evening feed and talked to Manta's owner who is feeding in the morning to add some to the morning feed as well.  I'm hoping this all will do it, but if not, I'll have to call the vet and get some antibiotics.  The good thing is that Little Love still doesn't seem too bothered by the leg, so it must not be too sore.  Perhaps I can tame the infection with the already excisting drugs I have?

When I drove home, I beat myself up in the car for being the worst horse-owner in the world.  I know it's silly, but since I've owned Lilo, she has had so many medical episodes that I'm starting to think there is a message behind all that and that message is for me.  She used to be so "healthy" in her past life, but I guess when you keep a horse in a stall nearly 24 hours a day, not a lot happens to them.  Now it seems that if it isn't her skin, it's her hooves.  And if it's not her hooves, she's losing weight.  And if she isn't losing weight, she falls over and gets cuts all over her body.  Or just randomly gets a cut and then it gets infected.  I know she has a better life now than she used to, but sometimes I wonder...  I guess I understand why people keep their horses in a stall, at least they know the horse is "safe".  Selfish, but also so damn convenient.


  1. Some horses are just more accident prone. I have three kept in the same pasture--same feed, same fencing, same weather, same everything--but one of the mares gets into trouble much more than the others. I think we tend to beat ourselves up unnecessarily when our horses have a problem that we don't notice. We need to remember that horses evolved to be stoic and hide their injuries. That's just part of herd/flock behavior so the predator doesn't pick you out of the herd and go after YOU first. I think once she settles in here a lot of the health problems she's had will disappear.

  2. Do you know how she got the injury? My mare got hit on her leg where another horse struck her with his front leg. She had swelling on the inside and was mildly lame in trot. I took her for X-rays yesterday and a bone spur is forming and unfortunately it is interfering with her suspensory ligament.

    I really believe in keeping my horses as natural as I can, but I do understand why people keep their horses stabled. I still don't agree with it, but it sure seems safer!

  3. Do we keep our horses in solitary confinement because it's what the horse wants? Because they would rather not get dirty or scuffed up? Or do we do it because we THINK the horse needs to stay clean and not get an occasional scratch because it would feel safer? Little Love may have some bumps and bruises, not perfect feet, but she is for the first time able to be a horse in a natural setting, interacting with her herd, working out social order, and having to make choices regarding what is best for her. What a simple and perfect gift.

  4. Fetlock, I sure hope you are right about the health problems going away when she settles! :-)Although I shouldn't complain, none of this has been life threatening.

    And back to that keeping the horse in a stall. Would never dream of doing that ever again, no matter what, but on the same token I see how this whole "injury prone" thing is what keeps people from letting their horses live a horsey life in the first place. I would rather see Lilo out free with her herd and endure some cuts and bruises than have her standing in her stall 24/7. Cuts and bruises are part of life, I just wish I would stop being such a worry wart...
    PS. twohorses: have no idea where or how she got hurt, but am thinking it wasn't another horse since the cut is in a really strange place on the inside of the leg.

  5. I know horses who did stay "healthy" simply because there was no one who would have taken care of them or because being sick would have been the death of them. But as soon as they came to people who looked out for them, they had accidents and got sick and so on. It does not seem very just, but it is probalby linked to what Fetlock said.