Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Magical Mystical World of ... Splints

Bast's training has been swimming right along. Or, well, it was.
Here's a cute photo to momentarily make you forget that blatantly sinister foreshadowing...
A week ago Friday, I showed up at the barn with my mom in tow. It was her first time meeting Bast, and I was excited to show her how nice his training in the ring was coming along. He'd had a great school just a day before, and I knew he was primed for another great ride. However, I put him in crossties, started grooming him, and boom. There it was...
Spoiler alert: Of course it's a splint. If it was anything else, I'd be so much more screwed.
As my fingers ran over the massive, hard bump on the outside of his right front, my heart dropped. The placement of the lump made it obvious it was a splint, though I was happy it didn't seem very sensitive or hot to the touch. Despite the huge size of the thing, I had a hope it was maybe not going to be a big deal. (It's okay, you can laugh with me now.)

While a quick spin on the lunge line in the field showed him to be pretty sound, it quickly became obvious he was a the barest bit sore on that leg. While he never showed lameness, he was resistant to bend that direction.
Actual recording of my reaction.
I slathered some Surpass on it, and resolved to check on it the next day. I think we see where this is going ...

The next day the lump was hot. Plus, I could see Bast head bobbing away walking across the pasture. Obviously when I'd found it Friday it was very very fresh. With a little more time to sit and think about its trauma, the bone was clearly quite angry. The vet was called and scheduled out for x-rays immediately.
It's hard to tell just how hot this thing was in a photo. Try to imagine flames shooting out of it. Also, note how close to the soft tissue that lump is getting!
Of course, it was only just about two years ago that Pig developed a very similar sized lump that turned out to be a broken splint bone with a lump aggravating the suspensory, requiring almost 30 days of stall rest and a lot of time off. Plus, I've had Charlie's splint saga in my head a lot recently, too. Basically, all my experience points to not underestimate a massive lump that nearly sits directly on the suspensory.
Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Proceed immediately to vet for x-rays and bankruptcy court.
The vet was immediately on board with the x-ray plan, especially as the location on the high outer part of the leg indicates this was probably from a blunt trauma (like a kick).  We got to work, expecting the worst. Thankfully, the rads showed a clean splint bone with a big calcification bump over the top.
The calcified bump is that faint lump near the top. The splint bone is that very narrow sliver behind the cannon bone.
Bonus: That fetlock looks goddamn beautiful.
The diagnosis was an overly responsive reaction to a kick. Because there was no break, the vet gave him a steroid shot right away to try to keep the lump from further impinging on soft tissue. He further prescribed stacking the NSAIDs, giving bute twice a day while continuing with the Surpass ointment once a day. He recommended full compression wrapping, and as much stall rest as Bast would tolerate.
Wait, wait, wait. I live in a box again? What is this bullshittery? 
The barn only had an extra stall for 2 days, so we shoved him in and hoped he would deal with the restriction. Thankfully, he was a total gentleman in the stall, settling right in like he hadn't been a feral field boarded horse for the last 6 months. Those racehorse manners are really the freaking best.

He's been back out in the field (with full wraps) for the last 5 days. The size of the splint has gone down significantly, no longer sitting so close to the suspensory. While this makes me feel better, we've been struggling to get the little bastard to eat all of his meds. He started turning up his nose at the grain dusted with bute. Not great, since he could really use all the calories we can pour into him.
Bribing him to eat his medicine with applesauce, macerated carrots, mints, in his own private dining tack room.
Given the size of the splint, I'm planning to be very cautious about bringing him back to work. He'll have the rest of this week off. This weekend I'm planning to work him on the lunge line for a few days while monitoring the splint for signs of irritation. If everything is still cold and unaffected, I'll start him back under saddle the week after that.

Overall, this splint should cost us about a month of down time. While that's a bummer, it's really not the end of the world when you have a young horse. I keep telling myself breaks in training are good, and that not all training has to be in the ring and under saddle.

21 comments:

  1. Damn Bast :( at least you caught it quickly and hopefully it will be fully resolved quickly!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It seems to be healing fast, which is SO lucky!

      Delete
  2. Oh damn. I’m glad that it wasn’t more serious and that it didn’t happen further into the season.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed! The middle of summer would have been terrible timing. As it is, we have a snowstorm right now anyway. ;)

      Delete
  3. Wow, that’s a scary splint. Really amazing that you caught it so fast!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Bankruptcy court does not sound enjoyable. I'd like the vet visit and the $200 instead...

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh, Bast. Please heal good and fast!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Ugh- I feel your pain. However good on you for getting the vet out so quickly!
    Also- Jack is kind of an asshole about his meds too, and he's another one that I don't want to drop weight. So he's getting them forcefully administered- in an apple sauce concoction with a syringe

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha! Great minds think alike. That's exactly the route we decided to go down.

      Delete
  7. I seriously never even knew splints were any cause for concern until I entered the blog world. You guys have all been such a great education for me. ;) Hopefully he comes out the other side a better man for it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pig has had several tiny splints that never caused a problem. But these big suckers .... EEEEE!

      Delete
  8. Man, I'm really glad it's not any worse! Although, it still sucks. A lot.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Totally. I'm trying to see the positive side. Lol

      Delete
  9. I bought Hampton some Splintex and that seems to be helping. Damn horses.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I am glad he is doing better and you figured it out fast. Yikes I saw on Instagram but knew you would be all over that :) HA

    ReplyDelete