Dealing With Stall Rest and Long Term Rehab June 13 2014, 2 Comments
Rather than a product review, this time I have a more serious topic to share - how to deal with stall rest when your horse...or in my case, horses...are recovering from a catastrophic injury. Two of my OTTBs suffered major injuries that were completely unrelated and a total stroke of bad luck, just a week apart. Lucky, who is semi-retired due to an old back injury, reopened a 9 year old scar on his hind leg, taking more with it this time, and even hitting an artery in the process. Sky, while finally getting back to work after some minor but slow-healing muscle pulls, tweaked a hind suspensory. And all of a sudden I have two horses on stall rest for a very very long time. Both are healing well - which is the good news. Even better, to date, neither have been on bute for even one single does, and both are doing great with regards to swelling.Lucky was challenging because of the depth of the wound, however pressure wrapping and some solid antibiotics helped keep infection at bay while the skin reattached and healed. Sky is my usually very very hot OTTB, but fortunately? unfortunately? he was sore enough this time to accept stall rest easily. Both horses are usually good eaters, but when in pain, Lucky wants to eat more, while Sky wants to eat less. Adding meds and supplements to the mix works for Lucky, but not so much for Sky. So rather than bute, I used my Draper Recovery Wraps. Fortunately, it's kept swelling down for both horses that neither has needed bute and Sky is on week 2 and Lucky on week 3 of recovery. Not bad, I say (and they both agree!).
And then there's supplements. I tried a few different things. Lucky again was easy, just some antibiotics (apple flavored please!) and his usual mix and he's good to go. Sky was a much different story. He was off his feed, and even applesauce didn't help. He had just started WellPride (aka Horsefish blog for more info) and had been eating it fine but then decided he was over that as well. And the increased joint support we put him on he was dead set against. After playing around with a few options, he's now on a different joint supplement, SmartPak Smart Tendon, Jet Breath (meant for racehorses to increase oxygen in the blood, in this case the increased oxygen will help get more blood to the damaged suspensory and speed healing while delivering more of the supplements to where they are needed), and WellPride. Turns out he really does love the WellPride and Jet Breath, and the Smart Tendon he will eat if I mix it in well with the other two and some oats and pellets, which works for me. Neither horse is on a lot of feed, and instead on a high-hay diet as they are standing around all day, but a little feed to get the meds in is okay.
So I am happy to say that several weeks into rehab, and Lucky is in great spirits, and Sky is back on his feed and eating away, supplements and all. I completely credit Draper's leg wraps for not needing any bute for either horse, and Ace flexible ice packs bought at Wal-Mart work great as an affordable alternative to ice boots for Sky (polos hold them on just fine). And while this isn't nearly as fun as posting a blog about some cool new products I've tried, or where my fun travels are taking me next, I do have some follow up show pics from this past weekend to share in the Jin Helmet, and will have hopefully some more from tomorrow with my new horse at our dressage clinic in our FITS gear, Jin Helmet, and Voltaire saddle. See? I'm still the product person you know and love! Just with an expertise in leg wrapping and OTTB rehabilitation added in. ;)
Have a horse on layup or have a story to share on how you made it through stall rest with your horse? We want to hear from you! And check back soon for more on the upcoming Back On Track sale (wheeee!).