This poor horse! I feel SO bad for him! Thankfully he hasn’t seemed to be in much or really any pain, but my gosh this thing is taking FOREVER to heal! This is what his stifle looked like a little over a week ago. Much worse than before we drained it the first time.
The fluid started accumulating inside of the top of his hind leg AND around his stifle. I don’t know that this photo does it justice. It was SO fat!
Last Monday the vet came over again to drain it, again.
If you zoom in on this photo you can see the fluid flying through the air as it drains out. So. Gross.
As it was the first time, the fluid was an amber color mixed with some blood. The vet cut two large holes and really got into the fluid buildup to break the capsule where it was accumulating. This time some chunks came out in addition to the fluid, which the vet said were the walls of the capsule where the fluid was collecting. Part of the reason for cutting two holes was to tie a piece of rubber tube through the holes so they won’t close up so quickly and allow the accumulating fluid to build up, yet again.
After the second draining with the rubber tube in place.
It has been a week since the second draining and yesterday Sterling was lame on that leg again. I felt like the holes were sore and ready to have the tube removed, so that is just what I did. Took out the rubber tube, cold hosed it for 20 minutes, gave him some banamine and put some DMSO on the swelling. Within a few hours of doing that he was running around in his paddock so I presume the banamine helped! The fluid coming out now is much more opaque and seems like pus, but it isn’t stinky and worrisome.
For now we will cold hose twice a day, DMSO on the swelling and he’s getting an antibiotic just in case there is some infection. This poor horse! Add him to your prayer list that this heals up and he can get back to his normally scheduled life. He is SO sick of being kept up while his buddies go out to graze at night.
At least he has this guy to keep him company. I’ve been making Simon stay in with him because he doesn’t seem to care if he doesn’t get turnout. You know, like most 3yo thoroughbreds who are off the track, he just wants to laze around in his sandy stall run.
They really do like each other, I promise, they were just cranky yesterday. I presume Sterling was grumpy because his leg hurts and he is SO sick of being hurt!
It is the week of the summer solstice, but Texas summer is still holding off a bit. Yay! It is supposed to be gross hot today, but then cool off for nearly a whole week!
Sterling has been a superstar about getting his leg worked on this week. He isn’t the most typical of horses, so I would have expected him to have been much more difficult for the twice daily wound draining procedure. Most days he would just eat grass while I squeezed on his stifle. The best part is that means it doesn’t hurt.
Sterling eats his meals while I do his hydrotherapy. The dogs LOVE the horse feed from Muenster feed mill because it has coconut oil. Mickey has decided to help himself to Sterling’s food during his hydrotherapy and went so far as to growl at Sterling to which Sterling’s response was to slowly walk away from his food. Yup, the 6lb dog ran the 1100lb horse away from his food!
This will be Dragon’s first real Texas summer. She isn’t a fan so far and when the temps get into the 80s she prefers the sofa to being outside, even though she LOVES to play with her buddy Dickens in the horse pasture.
Sighthounds passed out on the sofa. Notice that Dickens mouth is open. He played so hard and was so tired that he slept like an old man with his mouth open and even drooled. Ha!
Bubbles is the somewhat feral barn cat. For the first year we had her she didn’t leave the horse stall where her food lives. However, for the past few weeks she has been adventurous and we have seen her outside some. Yay for Bubbles! She also has started sleeping in the chicken wire in the ceiling of the barn. Presumably this is cooler, but it sure looks silly!
Bubbles relaxing in her chicken wire sleeping hammock. Eventually we will build a real chicken coop and tear down this old barn and the poor kitty wont have her chicken wire hammock any more. She also sleeps with her tongue hanging out. We always have the weirdest barn cats.
It is kind of a long video with cheesy music, but you get the drift. At first I was terrified that it was something neurological. He wouldn’t walk straight and seemed a bit drunk. It wasn’t until I got him in his stall and ran my hands all over him that I found this:
Super, duper, giant fat stifle.
I texted the video to my vet and my trainer and both agreed (independently) that Sterling had most likely gotten kicked HARD in his stifle. Trainer recommended DMSO on it and vet recommended DMSO plus hydrotherapy twice a day as well as stall rest. Blargh. I was relieved to at least find an injury rather than something disease related.
Thankfully we have a well, otherwise this would be one expensive water bill!
Well, after a couple weeks of DMSO, hydrotherapy and stall rest the swelling just wasn’t going down so the vet came by this week to look at it and devise a plan. After looking it over he offered two options. Option 1 we could either put him back in work (he isn’t visibly lame anymore) and see if it goes down, but the risk there is that the swelling actually gets worse and results in permanent fluid build up on his stifle. Not very desirable. Option 2 was to lance the swelling and drain it. Gross, but probably better to get rid of the fluid. We went with Option 2. Sadly I don’t have any media from the lancing and draining, but suffice it to say it was gross. A mix of pale yellow liquid and blood. I hope you aren’t eating when you read this! Sterling was sedated and the area was numbed for the procedure so it went easily. Of course this is when Vet advised that I’m going to have to continue hydrotherapy AND try to squeeze fluid out of the newly cut hole for as long as the hole remains open. Sweet, and I don’t get the advantage of sedative and numbing.
More hydrotherapy after the stifle was lanced and drained. I bet half a gallon of liquid came out. Ew.
Vet advised that we may need to lance and drain it again after a few days. We are on Day 3 of hydrotherapy followed by squeezing the area to get fluid out. I enlist Boot City to help when he’s around since he has much stronger hands and Sterling can be a handful for stuff like this. I can’t imagine it feels good to have someone trying to squeeze a bunch of fluid out of a hole in your leg that is trying to heal. There seems to be a new spot with a smaller buildup up fluid, but overall the swelling has gone down. Sterling is mostly just angry that he’s on stall rest again and cries for his friends when they get turned out. Hopefully this works and we will be back to riding by early July.