As I wandered up to the pasture on Sunday, just after Archie had eaten, I immediately knew that he was not quite right. Like the good pony he is, he hobbled up to me, let me halter him, shove my finger around the frog of his left front, then he requested a moment to get a drink before we slowly ambled up from the back forty to the wash rack.
- DDx = differential diagnosis - the process of elimination to make a determination
He soaked for a miserable fifteen minutes until he finally knocked over the bucket. I dried him off and applied a poultice from his knee to his coronet band. Standing wraps, some bute, and the "lane" pasture overnight, which is pretty darn tiny.
Monday afternoon had me pressing into his foot with testers and showing no response. I crossed abscess off my list and moved on to tendonitis or navicular changes. Even so, I stuck a duct-taped diaper on his hoof and still wrapped both legs.
Tuesday morning saw me looking skyward and airing my eyeballs while asking the BM if I could hold her nippers.
The vet came out about mid-morning and had some student with him. Walking up, he had the hoof testers and I could hear him telling the guy about the percentage of sudden onset lameness cases that were actually just abscesses. While waiting for the vet to come, I'd already pulled up Archie's rads from 6/12 and convinced myself that he was dying. I told the vet that he was unresponsive to the testers and that he had the other clip embedded.
After taking the digital ("digit" like hands) pulse in his right front to check for laminitis, it took him approximately three seconds to find the abscess.
You know what? On my list of good, okay, and fucking-kill-me-now potential diagnoses, I am so goddamn thankful for an abscess.
...So Archie has the rest of the month off.