Unfortunately, I don't have anything good today. I went out to see Boomer this morning to double blanket him as it was snowing quite a bit. Boomer was not bearing weight on his hind left leg. I had a hard time getting him up to the barn. He was 3 legged, hopping lame. We got his blanket off, he was shaking and had lathered white sweat all over his shoulders. There was no heat or swelling in the leg. The vet came out and couldn't feel and fractures. He was sensitive to the touch on his left stifle area, inner flank, left cannon bone/tendon, and right rump muscle. His rump muscles were tight and quivering. Our best guess is that he reared up while playing, which he frequently does with his very tall friend, and slipped in the snow. He could have done the splits and torn a muscle, fallen and hyper-extended his leg, or landed on his rump and compressed vertebrae. It seems most like a soft tissue injury. The vet gave him DMSO in and IV, diluted with a liter of fluids. I had never seen that done before. It is basically a VERY strong anti-inflammatory. It stopped the shaking almost immediately. We got him into a dry blanket and put into a stall. I went back to check him in the afternoon and there was no improvement, save that he was no longer shaking and sweating. He was leaning against the corner, relieving himself of some weight.
Unfortunately, portable x-rays won't go up high enough to show us the pelvis. An ultrasound could show us a torn muscle or tendon, but knowing that info wouldn't change our course of action. We could take him to K-State, but doing an x-ray is very risky. You have to lay the horse down, and if you find a fracture, you are basically doomed as it is not uncommon for horses to struggle while waking up from anesthesia and shatter the fracture. So, you would almost rather not even look for a pelvic fracture.
It is so disheartening to know that even if I had seen it happen, even if we knew EXACTLY what and where he was injured, there is nothing more we could be doing. It is a play it by ear, wait and see kind of injury. But he is still hurt and he is still in pain.
There is nothing more terrible I can imagine than seeing him in so much pain this morning. He was clearly hurting. My heart breaks for him.
I discussed compensation injury/founder/laminitis risks with the vet. He said it is good that it is a back leg, but that I should wrap his opposite leg for support. I asked about onset of laminitis episodes and he said it can be as fast as 48 hours.
So, my fears are many. What if it is a totally ruptured muscle or tendon? What if he is unable to move, not because of pain, but because he PHYSICALLY can't use the leg? How long will we be waiting for the leg to become weight bearing? What if it is a fracture and we don't know? Will it heal on its own? is he at risk of shattering the pelvis during the healing time? What if he founders? If it is a spinal compression, should we seek chiropractic care? If so, how soon should we do that? Back injuries can cause pain and compensation for an eternity. How long do we wait to try that? Even if the best case scenario is a torn muscle, what do we do from there? How long until he will be weight bearing, how long until he is not lame? Time is no issue, he can have all the time he needs. I, obviously, have no rush.
I am going to check on him in the morning, the vet wants to do another DMSO treatment tomorrow. There is nothing I can do, except worry, until then. I really hope he is weight bearing tomorrow, but I'm afraid that seeing improvement is going to be a slow process.