Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Mystery injury

On Sunday night Jan informed me that Charlie came in from the field with what appeared to be a few superficial wounds on the inside of his hind leg. He's had one inside his hock that is in the process of healing (he had pulled loose a nice sized flap of skin a couple of weeks ago) but is about 85% healed so I wasn't too worried about that one. I figured he probably pulled off the scab and made it bleed (which is what is seems he has done). The lower one had me a little more concerned though. Jan cleaned it for me and didn't seem too worried so I decided to wait to check it out on Monday morning rather than make a special trip in.

A pic from today to show the location of both wounds
On Monday it was pretty swollen (like half a golf ball size), and I wish I would have taken a picture than for comparison. The area around was hard but it wasn't hot to the touch and when I cleaned it it looked just like the skin had been rubbed off the surface, I couldn't really even see a cut. Charlie was completely sound on the leg and didn't seem to mind me messing with it, so I figured it was just brush burned and bruised, cleaned it and put on some furazone, and sent him on his way.

On Tuesday the area was a little less swollen and had scabbed over a bit. Getting better, I thought.

Then today when I brought him in from the field to ride the injured area was much less swollen than the past two days, and a clearish liquid with some blood was oozing from it and drying on his lower leg (no pus). I decided to do another good scrub with betadine to disinfect and see what was really going on in there. When I did I found what looks like a puncture in the center.

It was really warm outside today so I couldn't tell for sure whether there was any extra warmth around the wound area, but I cleaned it really well and scrubbed off all the crusties and dirt. While cleaning I squeezed the swollen area all around (which Charlie love, obviously, but was very tolerant for) trying to find a pocket of fluid or anything that might have been stuck in there, but I couldn't express anything other than a little blood.

My gut reaction, if it is a puncture, is to try to keep the area open and draining; I know with punctures if there is anything in there that still needs to come out you don't want to seal it up. I also want to keep it clean, though, and keep the flies away. That's why I was leaning toward the furazone because it tends to be goopy enough to keep out the bugs - more so than neosporin - and in my experience is less likely to dry out a wound and cause it to scab over (plus it's kind of a cure-all wonder drug).

To me the tissue looks pink and healthy, not red and not dried out or dying. I'm hoping it might just continue to drain itself if I keep it moist and clean and eventually it will heal from the inside out....I have some SMZs but I'm reluctant to start antibiotics on a whim, although maybe it's better to give him that extra boost to help prevent any infection?

Who knows what Charlie got into but this is the third inner hind leg injury he's had in the last couple of months. Maybe he's catching himself with a hind foot, although he has no shoes on so he'd have to get himself pretty hard. Could be a bug or tick bite that got infected. Makes me think of bot flies, honestly, but they don't usually burrow into horses legs like that, and it's still early in the season. And that would be really gross.

I honestly think he might have gotten a small splinter or something stuck in there awhile ago (maybe a thorn from a bush while on a trail ride?) that now has worked it's way up and out. That would explain why there didn't seem to be a cut earlier in the week but now it looks like something exploded out of his leg.

Anyone ever dealt with anything similar and have suggestions on how I should be treating it?

Oh, and we're also dealing with this raw spot under his jaw where (I'm pretty sure) either Colby or Leo got too rough playing fly mask tag and pulled off a bunch of hair and some skin. Ouch. Some friends. lol


  1. Not sure about the puncture, but sounds like you have a good plan. As for the spot under the chin, Fiction gets the same thing and he doesn't wear a fly mask or halter. I'm pretty sure it's from horse flies biting at an area he can't get them off of. I just coat the area in Corona or Swat or whatever I have on hand at the slightest hint of a sore, and it goes away :) It does come back though if I don't watch it!

    1. You're probably right about the flies, I never thought of that. Duh! I'll try the swat. Thanks!

  2. I agree with "Hawk" about the fly bites under the chin. Definitely Swat work but also for any sort of wound get some Vetericyn. It is probably the most amazing thing ever created. They have a gel and the regular spray, never tried the spray before. It works on anything even YOU! It's expensive but you don't need a lot and it lasts. Most of all, it really really works.

    1. Thanks I'll pick up some vetericyn tomorrow and give that a shot.

  3. Not sure about the hind leg wounds but Laz gets bites from gnats/flies under chin and once I cover it with SWAT it clears quickly.

    1. I'll give the swat a try. I've never seen flies there but that makes a lot of sense.