Monday, December 5, 2016

Ranger’s Hoof

Ranger’s Hoof

I wrote some time ago about Ranger’s hoof.  He had a terrible abscess that the vet wasn't able to drain, so she poulticed it and several days later, it drained on its own.

That wasn’t the end of the story.  Over the next few weeks, he improved a lot, but he never completely recovered.  I have had way more experience with abscesses than the average person because of Mingo’s chronic abscess, so I knew this wasn’t normal.

We continued to take him on his walks every day, but he still wasn’t quite right.

About a week before the farrier was supposed to come out to trim him, he took a turn for the worse.  We decided not to call the vet out, again, since she wasn’t much help the last time.  Instead, we waited to see what Ken would say when he trimmed his hoof.

Ellen was at work, so I handled it on my own.  I explained to Ken the problem.  It took him all of 20 seconds to find the cause of Ranger’s discomfort.  Ranger had a pus pocket between the inner sole and the outer sole of his hoof.  Ken trimmed back his outer sole about a half inch and the fluid drained out.  There wasn’t much there.  It probably got caught there when Ranger was abscessing and the pus was trying to find a way out of his hoof.  It busted out the heel, but this bit in his sole didn’t drain out.  This is why we were so disappointed the vet didn’t establish draining out the bottom of the hoof.

Ken said he should be significantly better in a couple of days.  Of course, he would have a tender foot because Ken took so much sole off.  There was actually a slit about 2 inches long between the soles.

Well, Ranger didn't get much better at all.  A hole formed at the tip of his frog that led to the gap between the soles.  That whole area seemed tender.  He got so bad, that we couldn’t take him on any form of a walk.

Ellen didn't know what to do.  Was it another abscess?  It seemed serious enough to be one.  After 2 weeks, she decided it was time to call our farrier and get some advice.

Better than advice, the farrier came out that very morning to look at Ranger’s hoof.  He checked it with hoof testers and ruled out another abscess.  He ended up cutting off all of the outer sole in the sore area; thinking that stepping on that remaining section of hoof was causing the pain.

Ranger was instantly 15% better when they put him back in his stall.  Of course, he sole is now very, very thin in the sore area.  Ellen wrapped it up with vet wrap and a stall boot.  Ken said to call in a week and let him know how he was.

I was out to see the boys that night, and I took Ranger for a short walk in the indoor arena.  To me, he seemed at least 20% better, but 20% better was still pretty bad.  He was walking fast, though, and that was a good sign.

The following morning, Ellen and I took him out of the stall and walked a few laps around the indoor arena.  We saw real improvement!  He wanted to go outside, so we cautiously bought him out on the hard ground.  Yes, he was up to 40%

The next day, we took him outside and walked him about 15 minutes.  Ranger was so excited, he even tried trotting.  This was more than he had done in at least a week.   He only had a slight head bob.

We are going to ease him back into his old program of hand walking every  day, again.  He needs the boot to protect his sole, and he is wearing it in his stall, too.  Eventually, we will only put it on during his walks.

Ellen is thinking of riding, again...

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