Saturday, December 6, 2014

Good News/Inconclusive News

The vet was out this afternoon to see Ramsey.  The good news is that we couldn't find any sign of life-threatening problems.  The coffin bone shows no signs of reinfection or fracture. The coffin bone that he does have is in great shape.  The dark blotches that are visible on the right, near the hoof wall are the areas of poor wall connection that I have pared out trying to drain this abscess.  The 'bite' taken out of the coffin bone is what was removed at Cornell when he had surgery.

The vet was very happy with how I am trimming his foot.  Her words were "an absolutely amazing job", which was nice to hear.  Up until this week, I had been feeling very good about how his feet look these days.

The one thing we did not find is a clear area of infection or an easy fix.  There is no track that we can follow to drain the abscess.  I am generally adamantly opposed to draining abscesses from the bottom of the hoof, but with the missing coffin bone and poor wall connection in that area, Ramsey is always at a much higher risk of a repeated bone infection, which would likely be the end of him.  If we could have isolated the infection, we could have tried draining it.  I know that it is in his heel and I think that is why it just won't rupture.  It is hiding out, deep in the soft tissue at the back of the foot and because the tissue is so soft in that area it just "makes room" for the abscess rather that forcing it to find a way out and finally heal.  I think that the shadow I've outlined below may be the infection, hiding in amongst the most vital and sensitive of tissues.  That is definitely the area where all the pain is.

The only thing to do is to keep trying to draw it out.  I've changed my approach to that today.  I have been soaking, wrapping and using Magic Cushion.  Tonight, I packed the foot with a sugar-dine poultice instead.  That is just a mixture of sugar and betadine mixed together to form a paste.  It is a strong antiseptic that will also draw moisture out of the foot, hopefully bringing the abscess with it.

On another positive note....Since she was here with the x-ray machine, I had her take a new film of the fetlock.  I wrote here in some detail about what Ramsey's foot looked like at this time last year and the arthritis he had developed at that time.  We didn't see any sign of arthritic changes today however and the sesamoid bone (that knob on the right) is much smoother looking.  Goes to show that, if caught early and treated right, arthritis can heal.

Now, if we can just this this darned abscess to pop without causing any other damage, he'll be in good shape.


  1. Yaaay for Ramsey's good news, for vets that make ranch calls and for owners who are such good advocates for their animals. Fingers still crossed for this stubborn abscess to daylight and drain.

  2. Awesome and she has a portable x ray? Fingers crossed here also.

  3. What a relief for the good news. And wow, once again, I'm learning something new from Ramsey. Never heard that arthritic damage can heal.

  4. Exactly what Sue S said! Great news.

  5. Oh well, more good news than bad. Come on abcess! Get out of there!