Yesterday I arrived at the barn mid-day and the very first thing I noticed was the swelling in the tendon area of Freedom’s right front. I hate it when that happens — everything was fine the day before, but now it’s not.
It’s one of the advantages of seeing your horse nearly every day; even the small things jump out at you.
Freedom wasn’t off, but that leg didn’t look good. Immediately the various causes went through my mind. Since it’s muddy and icy I wondered if he’d twisted something — but no, with that amount of swelling and a small amount of heat, he should be hopping lame. And he didn’t seem even the tiniest bit off.
I remembered that I’d seen a cut up higher on his leg last week. He, of course, had gotten kicked or scraped while I was away. Horses have an uncanny knack for getting injured the moment you leave town. Maybe it was cellulitis? The leg was tender but the swelling was very low and he didn’t look stocked up.
I thought about his adventure with the blanket. Had he hurt himself then? There had been no sign of swelling on Sunday (and I’d gone over him carefully that day) nor did it look swollen yesterday. He must have done something to himself since I fed Monday morning.
I decided to take him for a walk to see if exercise would help the swelling go down. Not really, but I hadn’t gotten his heart rate up so there was still hope.
I called the vet, gave him some bute and wrapped his leg in my favorite Back On Track No Bow wraps.
I hoped that when I arrived this morning, the leg would look nice and tight. Then it probably would be cellulitis. Unfortunately, the leg still didn’t look right. Sure the swelling was down, but not the way it should have been.
The good news (?) is that my vet lives one town over. She checked in with me at 7:30 this morning and was at my barn shortly after 8. Her verdict: most likely a soft tissue injury, probably from an impact. Drat! We’re now on a regime of wrapping, icing, Previcox and resting for the next two weeks while we see if the swelling goes down. The problem is that Freedom isn’t very good at resting. Stall rest for him would be an exercise in futility as he is a champion weaver when confined. He’s a horse that is always moving. He’s still sound, even when trotted out on pavement, which is a good thing.
So, keeping my fingers crossed that this is mostly a bruise and there’s no tendon or ligament issues. If he doesn’t show an improvement in a week, it will probably be time to get an ultra sound. But I’m hoping that he stays quiet and that in a few days he’s looking close to normal again. Sigh. The weather here is going to be crummy for the next couple of days so maybe that will encourage him to hunker down in the barn and rest.