Friday, March 5, 2010

Warning: Laceration Repair

Yesterday I shared the humor of watching horses frolicking in play. Following my 'just keeping it real' theme, I'm showing the real life results of two 1000# hoofed creatures playing their rearing, pawing, striking and biting at one another horse games.
Not to point any fingers but my patient here is poor old Remington and from yesterday's pictures you all know who his favorite playmate is.
Actually, we didn't see the insult occur. Late one night, several days after our return from Michigan, Jerry mentions that he saw blood dripping down Rem's face, the night before.... Excuse me? Last night? Well, we all know that when a horse is walking soundly and gobbles his food down as usual, we tend to forget things like blood trickling (pouring) down a face. Right? I get that. And as a very understanding wife, I hardly made any audible rude remarks about letting him (the cowboy) bleed for 24 hours if he ever got sliced, or cut, or stabbed. So, late at night we go out to the cold dark barn, sedate the horse, use buckets of warm water to wash all of the crusty dried blood off of his face, shave away all the the dirty surrounding hair and get a good look at the source of the blood.

Ugly, yes? You can't tell from the picture but the laceration was mainly the shape and size of a horse hoof. Yes, and there is one gelding living here who likes to play like is a wild stallion, standing tall on his hind legs and pawing the air with his forelegs.
Jerry's firm grip on the ear is to keep Rem's head steady, even sedated, he would try to shake his head with any touch to his forehead. The laceration was quite deep in the center, the area was contaminated with ground in hair, and the edges of skin had already started to contract. Ideally, when suturing a wound, you want a fresh, minimally contaminated surgical site. We weren't getting that.
Lots of scrubbing, trimming damaged skin edges, and attempts to closely oppose the skin margins led to a less than ideal laceration repair. There's not much extra skin on the forehead of a horse. Not at all like a cat or dog with so much extra skin you could make a whole new pet.

The finished result was quite disturbing to me. It will heal more rapidly than leaving it open to heal, but infection is more of a worry when a contaminated deep wound is closed, and it just was an ugly repair.

Most sutures can be removed in 10-14 days. I kept him on antibiotics for a while, twice daily scrubs, and didn't remove the sutures for 4 weeks. They could have been removed in 3 weeks, but you know, when a horse is walking soundly and gobbles his food down as usual, we tend to forget things like sutures. Right? You understand that.

So here is Remington on Jan. 31st, showing just a wee bit of a scar. Once his hair grows back and he looses that goofy pony tail, no one will ever know. Except us.

See, not bad for a bald guy. If anyone asks, maybe I'll claim to have done a little brain surgery.
Naw, horse people would never believe that, as much as we love them, they don't have much in the way of...... um never mind.
Happy Healthy Trails.


lov, mom said...

Good thing they have such a hard head...Poor horse, that hurts. Lucky to have a good vet to take care of him.

lov, mom said...

Kids and animals, just alike, ruff play till one gets hurt, never learn.

Karen Deborah said...

I love your witty vet repartee! Great post and you healed another one! I don't know how you do it. Love the comment about cats having enough skin for a whole new pet---just sayin...

your on a roll now with the posts!!

di :) said...

wow, u won't believe this...i didn't gag :)

Grandma Tillie's Bakery said...

ahhhh, this looks very familiar from my horse owning days. They were always doing this to each other, the dorks!

Jenn said...

Wow, that healed very nicely! Just tell people it's his face lift's in the right place!

Chief and Gabe play like a couple of schoolyard bullies...I'm more worried about Chief getting clobbered than Gabe. Gabe moves out of the way A LOT faster than poor old Chief can.

Kathy said...

Hard heads that's for sure Mom!
Thanks KD. Looking forward to June!
Not even a little burp Di?
I am glad to have you visit me, "Grandma Tillie". You post the very best pictures of your "backyard" and your baking results are beautiful.
Aw Jenn, that is a good idea about a face lift scar. Poor old boy.