Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Worry, worry, worry

If only worrying could make them heal faster or hurt less.  My poor horse still seemed to be in a lot of pain on Sunday afternoon.  When I went into his stall to apply more triple-antibiotic to his eye he spun his butt to me, put his head in the corner and kicked out.  Not acceptable behavior obviously, I clucked to him and made him walk back around in another half circle til he was facing me before I put his halter on.  It just broke my heart though.  He never does stuff like that so he must have really wanted to keep me away from that eye.  Once I caught him, he did let me put more triple in but I could tell from his mood that he just wasn't feeling well. 

I tacked him up to get on and go for a little walk around the indoor, and he was literally wincing and shutting his eye as tight as he could when I went to put his bridle on.  More heart break.  We walked around the indoor and trotted a little on a loose rein just to get his parts moving a little but he wasn't himself.  I know he's a bit... dramatic... when it comes to pain, but I feel so bad for the guy.  Hmmm, perhaps he's learned to be dramatic because I then shower him with pity?  Who's training who?

The vet came out to re-check him that afternoon, and unfortunately said it's not healing as well as she'd like.  The ulcer was a little bit smaller than it had been, but she was hoping to see more progress.  So, she numbed his eye completely (at which point he finally perked up and started begging for treats and being his usual goof ball self) and then did some swabbing to (a) take a culture and be sure whatever bacteria is in his eye isn't unresponsive to the antibiotics we're using; and (b) remove some of the dead cells and stimulate healing. 

Naturally, I start doing a little online research and drove myself into a bit of a panic.  Have you ever googled corneal ulcers in horses?  You'll find articles that tell you that your horse has a 50/50 shot of going blind and/or losing an eye.  (To be fair, WebMD will also tell you that your sore throat is cancer.)  I learned that the cloudy appearance to his eye is a corneal edema, which could end up becoming a solid white spot and cause vision impairment.  I learned that some corneal ulcers don't respond to treatment at all, and I learned about something called a melting ulcer that just sounds, well, horrific. 

I've made the executive decision to stop reading up on this.  I thought maybe I'd do a little educational post on the topic but that exercise leaves me with images of Tucker with an empty eye socket so... you're more than welcome to do a little online research on your own but I'm afraid I can't be in charge of the lesson today. 

The vet's coming out to see him again today so hopefully she'll see some more improvement this time.  I'm really hoping this is one of those things I'll look back on and wonder at how worried I was over nothing.  Or, maybe it will be something more serious, but either way, we'll get through it. 

In the meantime, I'll have to work on a post about all the lovely horses I've been able to ride since my boy is out of commission.  It's been wonderful, and eye-opening. 

As they say on the COTH forums, send Tucker some jingles please!


  1. Girl if we could only get paid for worrying. It is a full time job. I'm sure Tucker will be fine, but those words won't keep you from stressing. I'm thinking about you guys. Give him a muzzle kiss for me and granite.

  2. Been there done that more times that I care to count. I just can't help researching every little ailment my boy gets. I've been freaked out about permanently debilitating tendon injuries (he just banged his leg hard enough that it hurt for a while then was fine), losing half a hoof and months or riding to a hoof infection (it cleaned out and healed in a few weeks), and what could possibly have caused the hives he broke out in randomly from head to toe (and haven't been seen since). The information we have at our fingertips is simultaneously empowering and debilitating. I've learned to do a little research on a few good resources to educate myself, then just stop worrying and take care of my horse and see how it goes. Of course, as a devoted horse mom that is so much easier said than done! I have faith Tucker's eye will heal up and be just fine.

  3. Most of them heal up just fine. Would your vet let you give him some Banamine for the pain? - it also helps with the inflammation.

  4. Poor tucker! I hope he heals quickly-- there is nothing worse then having to worry about their health.

  5. sending him healing thoughts. Hang in there!

  6. You made the right decision to stop reading up corneal ulcers. You can absolutely drive yourself to panic with way too much information!! Tucker is young and healthy and strong. He will come out of this OK. Healing thoughts are being sent your way!

  7. OH Tucker. I would just keep giving him as many cuddles as he needs. Poor little bugger. Hope he feels better soon - hope you feel at ease soon!


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