I feel like we dodged a bullet today and it wasn't from a crazy hunter. With the coming of the cold, wet, miserable weather Ramsey has been somewhat lame on his bad leg. It wasn't the hoof, but the arthritis he has developed in the fetlock joint. At least, that is what it was until a few days ago when he came up VERY lame and I opened an abscess in his bad foot.
I have to admit, it's been a rough few days. This foot is far more vulnerable to another bone or joint infection then normal and another such infection would be the end. I was on the phone with two of Ramsey's vets last night listening to a discussion about doing regional limb perfusion again and....well, it was a rough night.
Fortunately, Ramsey is still a very good patient and this morning, he was significantly better and still no hint of fever. I think, knock-on-wood, that all is well, something to be very thankful for this week.
I am going to continue treating the foot well past the point of my extreme paranoia and will probably put a cast on it for a couple of weeks to protect the sole and prevent any possibility of reinfection.
Speaking of treatment, I have been using a product called Magic Cushion made by Absorbine as a sole packing underneath a bandage and I truly believe that this stuff helped avert disaster. It will be in my emergency kit and hoof care arsenal from now on and I would highly recommend it, especially for treating any kind of sole pain and for removing false sole. It is sticky and messy and you will probably have to swear at it a lot, but it works. It is a thick, black, tar like substance that has an oddly pleasant herbal smell to it.
Wear gloves. It does not wash off well.
The stuff may seem a bit pricey, but a little bit goes a very long way and I think it is the best abscess treatment I have ever found. It's worth it. I especially like the way it draws out infection while simultaneously sealing out and killing bacteria. It is a topical anti-inflammatory and analgesic as well. I was skeptical about all of its claims at first, but I have used it for several different applications now and have been pleased every time. It's earned a place on my shelf.
Aside from this darned abscess, I had been cautiously pleased with Ramsey's feet and had been planning on writing an update soon. I think there has been some improvement in the lateral distortion I have been concerned about. I decided to sort of throw out the instructions I had been given about his foot and try to let it tell me what it needs. I have been "trimming" very minutely every two weeks, trying to encourage healthy growth and mimic his natural wear pattern. Taking only what I think might wear off naturally if he were walking on more abrasive ground. I am mostly just trying to let his foot do whatever it needs to while keeping it from overgrowing and distorting.
Aside from the nasty stone bruise that abscessed, I think it is working. The feedback I got from the Donkey Sanctuary when I sent them photos a while ago was basically, "You're doing a great job trimming feet. Try not to over-analyze too much:)."
Thank you to the great folks at the DS, I certainly appreciate all the input. And as for that last bit....let's just say you aren't the only ones to tell me that I think too much:) I'll try.
I actually have a bunch of very interesting feet pictures to share along with some equally interesting nutrition stuff. The two are very much related. Hopefully I will get to them soon. With all the snow, high winds and below zero temps that have descended on us, maybe tomorrow. I'm sure not gonna want to go out and actually deal with it. In fact, I'm off to go hide under the covers.