Thursday, December 29, 2011

The big roll (July 2010)

Most of the time when Suki rolled, the result was a minor set back in the healing of that slow healing burn. But of course, one day in July, I received a telephone call that Suki had rolled and the wound was open, deep and bloody. One look and I knew that I needed help with this one.

Dr. XX had never seen Suki before, but of course he was well aware of her story. Overall, he was really impressed with how she looked, and how well the burns had healed. He was happy to see that the burn Suki's back was not infected, but now that she had taken it down several layers we added prophylactic antibiotics and an antihistamine for the itchiness. The excessive rolling was obviously due to the stage of healing of that area and when the itchiness had become unbearable Suki addressed it by rolling. Dr. XX cleaned the area and dressed it, suggesting that it now be cleaned, dressed and bandaged daily. That are is difficult to maintain with a bandage so it needed to be checked twice a day and Suki needed to wear a fly sheet for extra protection. My concerns were with the heat of July and August and Suki wearing a fly sheet. We tried several, but she sweated through all of them. The best way to handle it was to wait until well after sundown for turnout, when it would be slightly cooler. Thank goodness for Lori. She offered to help with checking Suki and doing bandage changes.

My office is a 15 minute drive west, and Isaiah's school is a 20 minute drive east. The barn was between school and home. We worked out a schedule for checking and bandage changes, but it was a grueling routine. The process was necessary, so we just worked it out. Suki also became difficult about taking the oral meds in her grain, even with the addition of applesauce and gummies. I decided to add water and just do an oral gavage. She got most of it, and I wore some of it. Overall, it seemed to be working, so we just kept at it. There would be several days in a row where the wound would look great, and the bandaging appeared to be successful, but then an aggressive rolling would take place. The whole time we kept cleaning, and the wound had nice bleeding edges without necrotic tissue. Infection did not seem to be a problem. The wound really just needed to close and finish healing.

I rode Nikki 5 days a week, and lunged Suki 2-3 days. Suki enjoyed the exercise and her training was apparent even in those simple lunge sessions. Her transitions were flawless. She was sound and happy. It's funny, Nikki as a 3 year old had reasonably good lunging skills, but I had been spoiled by Suki and jenny before that. Nikki was a fast learner, and an absolute delight to ride. My schedule was hectic but rewarding. The girls were thriving.

For the rest of July we battled that wound....would it ever heal?? I had my doubts!

The writer from Bellwether contacted me again. They wanted to do a follow up story for the fall newsletter. I had also been interviewed by The Horse of Delaware Valley and Equus Magazine. Equus ran a very nice article in their August issue and Horse of Delaware Valley did a small follow up to the fire story. I was surprised by the attention, but becoming increasingly aware of just how unique Suki's situation was. Most horses did not survive such injuries, or their owners usually elected to euthanize.

Lori continued to educate me about the human burn survivor treatments, counselling and support groups. We talked about how Suki might be able to inspire her fellow survivors and arranged for a visit from another burn survivor.....

December 28, 2011
Suki had been in for 2 days due to weather, and was finally able to go outside today. She loves her outside time, and bitter cold or not, she needs to get out! An extra layer made her comfortable so she had a wonderful day. Nikki twisted a front shoe, so I was not able to ride today. farrier is coming tomorrow...YAY!

I want to see the War Horse movie, but will probably wait for the DVD.....I hate to cry in public!!

I was also in a local gift shop earlier in the week and they had several animal/human bonding books showcased. In fact, a book signing is going to take place for one of these books in early January. The human-animal bond is a very popular subject, and many people can relate. I know how much joy all of my animals bring to me....

First ride on Nikki...2 weeks under saddle!

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