Over the past four weeks, I have been writing a series about the equine slaughter/auction pipeline. Each post has taken hours or even days to write. I have spoken to countless people and read innumerable articles. It has been a labor-intensive and emotionally draining series. I will be writing more, and I have many ideas about related topics, but I need a break. This week, I bring you the good news that my gelding’s splint bone fracture has healed and I can start his rehabilitation.
I first wrote about Kadeen’s puncture wound in mid-October of last year. We were on the road when he sustained his injury. We tried a standing debridement at Colorado State University Equine Hospital, but the wound persisted in healing on the outside before the infection was gone on the inside.
Ultimately, he had to undergo general surgery in late October. It wasn’t until he was in the surgery suite that they realized his splint bone was fractured. That complication meant that we couldn’t haul him from Colorado to our winter home in Arizona for 6-8 weeks until enough healing had occurred that he could withstand the trailer time.
In this post, I shared the 8-week post-op films that showed enough healing had occurred that we were cleared for travel. We had quite the journey from Colorado to Arizona, complete with a big-rack buck running into our brand new trailer and denting the fender! Nevertheless, we made it safely to Arizona by mid-December. Kadeen was still on stall rest, with 10 minutes of hand walking twice daily.
A second set of films, 16 weeks post-op
Although I had previously identified a small animal vet here in Arizona to meet my dogs’ needs, I had yet to find an equine vet for the “normal” stuff. We do have an equine dentist we visit in April every year, but she doesn’t do anything but dentistry. However, the small animal gal that I really like told me who to contact, and I arranged for Devon Kartchner to come to our Arizona home and take another set of films.
Alan and I were quite anxious to see how much healing had occurred, and to learn whether or not we could look forward to a sound and trail-ready horse by the summertime. The last set of films were taken on Tuesday, January 24th. We actually had to delay our appointment by one day because we had snow on Monday morning! Dr. Kartchner was understandably unwilling to subject his expensive radiography equipment to blowing snow and moisture!
A healed splint bone fracture
Kadeen’s leg looks fantastic! We received an enthusiastic response from his surgeon and permission to start his rehabilitation. I can start riding him at a walk for 15 minutes a day, increasing by 15 minutes for the next few weeks, and then adding in some trotting. He can have limited freedom but we really don’t have any “in-between” options here in Arizona. Either he is stalled or he has 2.5 acres to run around with Sadie.
His rehab will be somewhat delayed thanks to the considerable amount of traveling that Alan and I have been doing. We just returned from Kansas City. That was not a trip planned well in advance. It was more of a last-minute decision.
We watched the Chiefs win the AFC Championship at a sports bar with lots of other Chiefs fans! We worshipped at the church we miss so much, even though we watch online every week. We spent time with my daughter, Laura, and watched our grandkids while Laura met some work-related obligations. We enjoyed time visiting with several other dear friends.
Additionally, I experienced yet another prolotherapy treatment, this time getting 600-700 injections! Once again, I was high on Xanax and Oxycodone, but it sure does mess with my stomach. I was essentially unconscious the entire day of the procedure. We flew home on the second day, and poor Alan wheeled me through the airport in a wheelchair! I felt foolish, but I wasn’t very steady on my feet. Not to mention the fact that I felt like I had been hit with buckshot…
We are back in Arizona but when this blog posts, we will be in Belize scuba diving! I will be focusing on Kadeen when we return to Arizona in mid-February. In the meantime, our house sitters are walking him 30 minutes twice daily, so he’s still getting increased exercise. I will get one or two rides on him between trips, and I simply can’t wait! We have plans to spend a week in Bryce Canyon in June, so we need to get him back up to speed.
Update on Leah and her T-Cell Lymphoma
As long as I am updating the health status of Kadeen, I thought I’d share some other awesome news on another one of our family members, Leah. I wrote about Leah’s diagnosis of Canine T-Cell Lymphoma almost exactly a year ago. Leah is a rescued smooth-coat Border collie that has blessed me with her presence for nearly 12 years. She was an abandoned adult mama with 8 nursing 4-week-old puppies when she was rescued in 2011.
Canine T-Cell Lymphoma is a little-understood and rarely diagnosed leukemia in dogs. There are very few scholarly articles about this disease. The awesome clinicians in the Colorado State University Oncology Department are hopeful that this disease will not be what gets her in the end. After her initial diagnosis, my instructions were to monitor her status with periodic CBCs, or Complete Blood Counts. Every couple of months, I draw blood and check her white count.
She’s due for another CBC, which I will do when we return from our next trip. Her last count two months ago showed a normal total white blood cell count, but elevated lymphocytes. Nevertheless, her lymphocyte count was no where near a dangerous level or even high enough to warrant any kind of treatment. She’s clinically normal and she still loves her daily 3-4 miles in the desert. She eats well, and if she’s not eating or walking, she’s claimed a dog pillow for the duration of the day.
One thing that has changed this past year is her ability to hear… or should I say her lack of ability to hear. She’s as deaf as a post. I don’t think it has anything to do with her lymphoma… I think it is just old age. I can remember having clients come into the clinic exclaiming that their dog seemed to go deaf overnight! The truth is, hearing deteriorates over some time until the threshold is passed when the pup can no longer compensate. At that point, it appears that the change was sudden. In reality, they finally became deaf enough that there was little ability to accommodate for their deficit.
My biggest issue with Leah is keeping her close enough to me in the desert that I can get her attention if need be. She gets in her “zone” and trots ahead of me, oblivious to much of what is going on around her. She also has mild cataracts, so her eyesight isn’t perfect either. But she’s a very happy, contented dog and an integral part of our household.
I miss all of the critters when we travel, but we are certainly enjoying retired life. I can’t wait to get home and start riding Kadeen on a regular basis. Alan and I have both really, really missed being on the horses.
I am thinking that my next post will be related to the slaughter series… but I’m not sure. I’m too busy having fun right now to think about it!