Eight.

Stitches.


In my pony.

From a kick.

Don't go much further if gore makes you tingly, but I like to document everything. All the time. Forever.

I got one of those before-8-AM-texts from the BM that we all love to get.    It had the following photo and a request for direction:


As though someone else were answering for me, I replied, "Call the vet.  That looks like it needs stitches."  And then a fucking sledgehammer hit me and it dawned on me, This is Archie's leg. And I proceeded to babble about my new job, my boss, could she give him some bute and stick him in a stall, oh god, I wanted to be there when the vet was there.  Verbal diarrhea and shaking hands.
"Hi Mom.  Make better."
It worked out that A) my new boss was in the office and B) he was completely okay with me darting off on my third week to be around for the vet visit.  I left work at 9:30 and got back to work at 12:30. This awesome new boss is also letting me flex my time.  

Bearing weight.


I pulled him out of the lane pasture minutes before the vet arrived.  I told him that I hadn't had a chance to even really look at it, much less clean it.  Which he thought was perfect.  Brought him into the aisle, gave him some happy juice, and started clipping and cleaning.


Clipped.


After the clipping and cleaning came a local anesthetic.  


So here's the really gory part.  I warned you.




After accessing the damage, the vet sutured it up.  He told me not to worry if a stitch or two pop because the area had so much tension.




Only with a good (drugged) pony could you safely sit on the ground while suturing.  The attempted-face-kicking happened later. 


Eight sutures.




The vet has me come over and look after he's numbed the area and began his assessment, because he knows I love this stuff and that I'm not at all queasy.  And he shows me Archie's exposed cannon bone.  I immediately ask about tendons, which the vet tells me are okay.  They were missed.

So he starts to stitch up and I'm asking recovery questions and he's giving me basic answers.  He finishes and stands up and directly addresses me.  Archie's bone was damaged.  Not broken.  His leg isn't broken.  But the lining on the bone, the periosteum, was damaged.  Cue me having a sudden fascination with the colors of the sky, because oh my god, my eyes are watering and this is Archie.  This lining provides the bone with blood for nutrients.  This leads to a concern about the bone dying.  You know, the bone in my horse's leg.  It's called sequestrum.

Bone.  
So for the next three weeks, Archie will be on antibiotics.  His legs will stay wrapped, 24/7.  His bandage will be changed at least every 2-3 days, depending on how gross it gets.  And at the end of the three weeks, we'll access his pain.  If he appears in pain, has drainage or puffiness, it's indicative of the bone having died.  Which means that he'll have a little surgical procedure to remove the dead bone, sutured again, wrapped again, and an even longer recovery period.

My vet assures me that if this results in bone surgery, it will not limit his abilities.  He'll always have a home with me regardless, but this shouldn't affect our riding time.

I surreptitiously started googling this stuff when I got back from the barn.  I found a really good site with this information, in case anyone else wants to learn more:  Atlanta Equine.  Here are some points:
  • Open injuries are more likely to result in sequestrum.
  • Not only does the bone piece have to die, it has become infected or contaminated.
  • As long as the sequestrum exists in the body, it's a perpetual source of infection.

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30 comments

  1. so many hugs for you right now its not funny, I did zoom past the most graphic pics (because I was eating this morning when you told me and I'm again.. eating). I'm dedicating a bunch of candles for Archie healing quickly and completely (aka not dead bone plz).

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  2. Oh Archie :( Talk about the wrong place at the wrong time. Thinking good thoughts for you and he both.

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  3. Holy cow that was a huge, deep hole! Beka! I'd be freaking out, as I'm sure you are. Many, many candles and prayers so that Archie heals absolutely A-Ok, soundly and uneventfully! All the bone-healing good juju for leg! *hugs for you*

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  4. Archie, noooooo. So many good vibes your way for healthy bone and an easy recovery.

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  5. Wow, I never would have guess that it was that deep! Thinking good thoughts for a quick recovery!

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  6. Big hugs & 100% healing vibes being sent to to you and Archie. It deff didn't look that deep in initial pics, crazy. O.o

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  7. Ohh goodness. **hugs** Hate that this has happened. Ugh. I learned something from this post though. And I was definitely looking at that photo the first time it appeared going, "IS THAT BONE? TENDON? WHAT THE..." So insane. And so awesome your vet just lays it all out for you!

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  8. poor Archie :( Good thing his mom is there to take such good care of him. Heal fast, buddy!

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  9. Holy shit, Archie!! I hope his healing process is one hundred percent drama free and he's back to good in no time!

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  10. Oh my gosh Beka, I am so, so sorry :-( But remember, Archie is lucky to have such an amazing mom who will take top-notch care of him. <3 <3 <3

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  11. AGH! Poor guy. :( Fingers crossed he recovers well.

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  12. oh nooo!!! poor Archie - what a gnarly injury :( fingers crossed that he heals up quickly and with no further damage to the bone... also very relieved you have such an understanding new boss. good luck!!

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  13. oh man! That is some gory injury! Fingers crossed for a quick heal for Archie and that the bone stays ok.

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  14. oh no. my first thoughts was that it was simply the flesh involved and then I looked closer (while eating lunch but not queasy. what does that say about me?). I hope that it heals without incident.

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  15. Oh no!! That is horrible!!! Another horse did that by kicking him?? Yikes! I will be praying every day that the bone is okay. *hugs*

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  16. Poor Archie!! I hope everything goes smoothly over these few weeks! Hugs!

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  17. Hang in there. It will be ok, i promise. Jez had the same thing (but in her head from slamming it god knows where in her stall) and it never developed into anything more serious. Shes got a bit of a bump now on her head under her forelock but thats all. Archie will be OK. It wont go any further then this because you take such good care of him.

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  18. Fingers definitely crossed for you! My general thought on ponies is that they are stronger and more resilient than we give them credit for -- yes, I may live in Egypt (home of Da Nile) but it keeps me calm. Good luck!!

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  19. Oh my gosh! I hope for a speedy recovery. I did enjoy all the pictures :)

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  20. Ditto to all of the above! That's crazy. Praying for a speedy recovery!

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  21. Wow, poor Archie and poor you! Hoping he has a smooth and easy recovery

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  22. That is terrifying. Sending lots and lots of positive thoughts in Archie's direction.

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  23. Ouch! Sending healing vibes :(

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  24. Ow, poor Archie & poor you!! I know exactly how you feel -- shortly after I got Encore, he was put out with a horse he was NOT supposed to be with. He got a nasty kick in almost exactly the same place which sliced open his leg very similarly. An inch farther back & his career would've been ended before it started. Yes, I about lost my mind...

    The injury was not discovered by BO soon enough for it to be stitched & OF COURSE it was on a Sat, but after hemming & hawing I went ahead & hauled him to the clinic. I'm glad I did because even though he didn't have any lasting soft tissue damage, vet assured me I made the right choice b/c it was VERY hot & humid and if I'd waited till Monday, horrible infection was possible.

    As it was, his leg turned into a sausage & we had to do a double course of SMZ's. He still has a scar (of course this horse scars from air, I swear, he also has scars from the NoBows, for the love of cod...), but aside from taking a few years off my life, suffered no ill effects -- just thought you might want a good story.

    Here's to no infections & quick healing for Archie!!!

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  25. I don't know where my comment went but BIG HUGS and lots of prayers for Archie! That's a nasty nasty injury. :(

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  26. Holy shiza! Snaps for Archie and you.
    I went through this exact issue just shy of one year last December with my mare. She caught herself in some downed electric fence tape and panicked, tearing into her lower cannon. Unfortunetly, I was away a couple days and BM did not notice so stitches were out. It was a long process for healing due to sub zero temps here and leg injuries not healing as quickly as upper body but it healed up just fine. Minor raised 3 inch scar but no resulting bone damages. Don't feel alone, if you need advise shoot me a message.

    Note: Wonderdust worked wonders for me. We had problems with the interior tissues producing proud flesh since we could not get the wound to close. This stuff was amazing for antibacterial and drying up the wound once the tissues were skin level.

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  27. Good lord! I may or may not have wigged out just slightly (or a lot). Hugs (if you are into hugs) and best wishes for speedy recovery!

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  28. Wow, poor Archie! That's rough! Your vet seems very competent, here's hoping recovery goes smoothly!

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  29. ouch looks painful!! Get well soon!!

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Thanks!