Friday, June 4, 2010

I need a helmet...

... for my horse.  Yet another head injury!  This time, it was his eye. 

Alicia called me while I was at work this afternoon to report that Tucker's eye was tearing and swollen half-shut.  He had come in from the field this morning ok, but must have done something to himself in his stall.  We talked for a few minutes about it -- allergies?  anything in the eye?  other eye look ok?  Then we hung up so she could take a picture and send it to me (what did we do before camera phones?).  We were already leaning toward calling the vet, but the picture confirmed it...  Tucker displayed some serious light sensitivity to the camera flash, which probably meant it was something a little more serious than just some shavings or dust in his eye.

Tucker was apparently overjoyed to see his vet and immediately came toward her and rested his head on her shoulder.  "Thank God you're here!  I am in urgent need of immediate medical attention!  Look at me!  It's been two hours of this...  I was starting to think they weren't going to call you!"  (As I've mentioned before, he's not exactly stoic.)  We made the right call, because she found a pretty large, though shallow, scratch on his eye. So she dilated it for us, gave him banamine and left us with triple antibiotic, to be applied as often as possible.  We have to dilate the eye again tomorrow morning with Atropine and then she's coming back to check on it Sunday afternoon.  She thinks it will end up being just fine, but is treating it aggressively to be on the safe side.  It's a good thing that we caught it so early though, much less risk of infection or more serious complications. 

Tucker can be lightly worked indoors and continue with turnout at night, so long as he wears a fly mask.  Under normal circumstances, Tucker finds fly masks to be embarrassing and uncomfortable (and destroys them immediately once the humans are out of sight so they can never be used again -- he feels its his civic duty to prevent others from suffering similar shame and embarrassment).  I rode him (bareback) in it this evening, and he didn't seem too bothered by it.  He did spook at himself in the mirror though.  ("Well how am I supposed to know what I look like with a fly mask on?")  When we pulled out of the driveway tonight he was happily grazing with fly mask still intact, so we'll see if he's still wearing it tomorrow morning.  He may feel differently about it, now that he knows it's for medical purposes. 

My PSA for the day:  with a potential eye injury, it's always a good idea to call the vet.  It's impossible for us to see scratches on the eye's surface, and if caught quickly they can be treated fairly easily.  Without immediate treatment, the eye can become infected (not to mention painful), which can then lead to a more serious situation.  I actually know a horse who lost his right eye because of an infection that went untreated (thankfully, he has had a very successful show career and has learned to adapt quite well to jumping and competing with only a left eye.  Horses are marvelous creatures).

Hopefully Tucker will turn out just fine and (despite his dramatization of the events that unfolded this afternoon) he'll make a speedy recovery.  In the meantime, anyone know of an online retailer for Dutch-Warmblood-sized helmets?  Or perhaps safety goggles?  Could I just get him a giant lampshade collar like they put on dogs?


  1. I've had to treat a number of those - they do head up pretty quickly although doing the meds is a nuisance - hope he feels better soon!

  2. Thanks for sharing Melissa, sometime it's really hard to decide: to call the vet or to not call the vet? Hearing how this played out is a good reminder to err on the side of caution, no matter what the checkbook fairy is whispering in your ear. Hugs and kisses to Tucker...and please tell him that The Mo Man (The coolest horse in the land, who takes appearance very seriously) agrees that fly masks are a necessary fashion statement in the summer.

  3. Maybe commission a set of these fine specs for him. Glad he is ok...dont you love how horses can so creatively find unexpected uses for your paycheck month after month!

  4. Poor Tucker! You seem to be taking it pretty lightly, so I'm glad it wasn't the big deal it could have been. Good luck with your helmet search. Tell me if you find any bubble suits while your at it.

  5. Poor Tucker! Yeah, let me know about the bubble suits TB is the King of Accident Prone-land!! Too funny about Tucker with the vet. That's how my TB is when I arrive on the scene when he's injured/sick. Thank God you're here! What took so long?! Can't you see I'm DYING????? LOL gotta love the drama llamas!

  6. Poor Tucker....feel better soon!


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