Right shoulder initial appearance.
This picture gives you an idea of how large the wound was. His previous owner thought he had caught it on something. A large, deep flap was ripped away, hanging by a small section of skin. She trimmed it off and had been cleaning the wound and applying antibiotics. It was too large an area to suture and was actually doing quite well. Horse anatomy prevents successful bandaging of injuries on shoulders.
See the plastic piece below the laceration? I had to create an exit and insert the drain to allow continual drainage of the unwanted fluids produced by the body. This was followed by liberal flushing, scrubbing and cleaning out debris. I discovered the cause of this injury.... my probing exposed the end of a branch embedded deep in the muscle. Looks like he impaled himself on a tree, at high speed I am guessing.
Remember blood is good.... I closed this in several layers. The deep muscle was sutured with suture material (we don't call it thread) that will be absorbed by the body over time. The skin layer was closed with suture material that doesn't dissolve.
Surgery complete. Finally.
There was more tension on the sutures than I liked, but that's the way it goes. The drain stays in for several days, the area will be hot compressed and flushed at least twice daily. There are medications to give and flies to repel. After washing twice daily, the entire chest is covered with a light film of Bag Balm or Vaseline to protect Wrangler from the draining body fluids, which will irritate the skin, cause hair to fall out and promote skin infection. I refer to this as serum scald.
Wrangler behaved wonderfully and cooperated more than I expected through the entire ordeal of twice daily treatments over the next month.
The next installment will document the healing process. Are you yawning yet? I am, good night and sweet dreams.