|Longitudinal split in Sonny's deep digital flexor tendon (looks like a cracked egg)|
|Effusion (swelling) in the deep digital flexor tendon sheath|
|Fetlock swelling, note the loss of the 'hour-glass' shape compared to the left fetlock|
In the meantime I had to figure out how to manage stall-rest, twice daily bute, and cold-hosing. The barn that I was boarding at could not accommodate more intensive care (only basic outdoor board available and do-it-yourself extras). I could not drive 1 hr round trip twice daily to provide the care Sonny needed plus trying to work and live (and deal with stress/anxiety). Our local equine vet referred me to a nearby barn that would be glad to provide full lay-up care. Sonny was moved that morning to Maple Crescent Farm, www.maplecrescentfarm.com Boris had a stall ready and then set-up an outdoor 'horspital' pen so Sonny be on stall rest and still be outside and see the other horses rather than cooped up inside 24-7. He cold-hosed the leg every morning and I did the evening session after work. He tried different bute flavors to find the type Sonny preferred (strawberry liquid), he knew how much hay he ate, how much (clean!) water he drank, and that Sonny enjoys drinking out of the hose too! He was more than happy to feed my pre-made baggies so Sonny received the amount and type of feed/vitamins/minerals that I prefer - no issue with having to feed the barn feed, etc. My stress level decreased 200% knowing that Sonny was being taken care of like I would take care of him at home. I didn't even realize how much subconscious stress I had been having about his care -- now I could just focus on his injury!
I was again amazed at the friendliness and openness of horse-people and Canadians when setting up the ultrasound. Dr. Bruce Watt (http://uxbridgeequine.com), a board certified equine surgeon, was recommended for the exam and he practiced about 1 1/2 hours away, but farm call only. He would make trips out (for a mileage fee) but I wanted to get Sonny in ASAP. I had met wonderful Parelli instructors while re-homing Rogan, that lived in the Uxbridge area of Dr. Watt's practice. While their facility did not have the setup needed, they put me in contact with a local friend. This complete and wonderful stranger, opened up her barn for Sonny, even waking up early for our 7:30 am arrival. She had the perfect setup, a quite and relaxed barn, with doors that shut (for the darkness needed for ultrasound) and electricty.
First, we did a lameness exam. One week after the injury, with bute and stall-rest, Sonny was already much better. He was sound at the trot in a straight line and left circles, but was slightly off on the RF on tight right hand circles, and a little worse on pavement versus the arena footing. Flexion didn't make much difference, maybe a little ouchy on both front but nothing significant. Then we moved inside for the ultrasound. Again let me say how much I love Sonny and how much he impresses me! He stood inside, in a strange place, by himself (no other horses), in the darkness, with machines, cold ultrasound goop, cords and strangers touching him without flinching. He relaxed, cocked a hip, and rested for the whole exam.
|NOT Sonny!!! Example of a typical 'core-lesion' tendon injury|
The good news was there was not a core lesion or an increase in size in any of his tendons. Typical tendon tears have a big black hole on the ultrasound and the injured tendon is swollen and bigger than on the other leg. These take 8-12 months to rehabilitate and the tendon will never been as strong as pre-injury. Sonny, of course, had an unusual and uncommon finding. He had a longitudinal or saggital split only visible in 1 view just at the fetlock, above the sesamoid bones. It didn't extend up and down the tendon, and while small and difficult to spot, was consistently visible on the injured leg and not on his healthy left front leg. What does this mean?? Well, we really don't know..
|Sonny's injury again, for comparison|
Ultrasound video showing the split - looks like a cracked egg
What we do know is it is a relatively small injury that is already responding to standard treatment. The plan is to continue small paddock rest (poor Sonny) so he doesn't have a momentary good gallop and re-injure or completely tear it. We have to strengthen it slowly prior to releasing him from horsey-jail, so it can support his kicks and giggles or mare-stealing activities. We are walking for 30 minutes under saddle several times/week for the month of June, slowly increasing about 5 minutes every week. Then in July we re-evaluate for any lameness and if all looks good will start adding 5 minutes of gait/trot per week. He also gets as much hand-grazing and love as I can give him. The walking is enjoyable for both of us and gives me time to re-visit basics (such as whoa, LOL) and play with fun ground work and obstacles. We are both enjoying Sonny's new home, the other boarders are very relaxed and friendly, we seem to have a lot in common with a focus on improving horsemanship, clicker training, well-fitting saddles, and hitting the trails. It is still on the 11,000 acre forest, so I can hit the trails straight from the barn. It is also about 5 minutes closer to home (20 min versus 25 minutes, which makes a bigger difference than one would think) and has farm fresh eggs for sale! So while we may be out of the endurance game this season, we are enjoying life!
|Happy Sonny enjoying the grass!|