Monday, April 12, 2010

Maggie's Aftermath

Monday, April 12, 2010
I last checked on Maggie sometime around Midnight. I iced her legs one more time, then poulticed and bandaged them for the night. I considered spending the night in the barn with her, but was worried she might be more stressed and less likely to relax with me there.

I'm anxious to get to the barn, but I'm also afraid. All kind of scenarios have invaded my head: Maggie always lays down at night, but what if she did, and couldn't get back up because of the pain in her legs, or abdomen? What if she has punctured a bowel and has been shivering and thrashing in extreme pain for the last few hours? What if, what if?

The blackness of the night is just beginning to ease as I shakily make my way to the barn. I step through the door, into the feedroom. There are no noises from the stalls beyond. Normally in the morning, the horses are banging on their doors, demanding to be fed. Not this morning-- then again, I'm about 2 hours ahead of schedule. I walk into the isle way and flick the light switch. The bulb takes a few seconds to reach its full intensity, but I can make out the outline of Maggie's hind end in her stall, so I know she's on her feet. Blinking, she swings her head toward me then slowly shuffles around until she's facing the door. She looks ok, groggy, but no signs of extreme distress.

Her hind legs have that swollen, stove-pipe look to them-- right from stifle to hoof. I palpate her belly. There's definite bruising, but nothing that leads me to believe there's internal damage (not that I'm 100 percent sure what to look for). I move onto her gums. They're back to their normal colour (they were quite pale last night), and there are no signs of the "muddy purple" that would mean she's heading for septic shock. She didn't drink much overnight, but then she rarely does.

I take off her bandages, re-wrap her legs with ice packs, and give her a light breakfast. She's still scarfing down her hay. That's a good sign. When she's finished, I take her outside to cold hose her legs. Leaving the stall is a slow process. She takes tiny, hesitant, painful steps, but the more she walks, the easier it seems to get. Murray whinnies to her from his stall. She doesn't answer. I let ice-cold water splash over her legs for 5-10 minutes. With her legs numbed by the cold, I lead her for a short walk down the gravel path behind the house. She balks a bit as we pass by the twisted metal gate, it's top wrung still smeared with her blood.

I give Maggie more bute, and turn her out alone in a small, sunlit paddock behind the barn. A worried Murray is close at hand on the other side of the fence. He reaches out to her and they nuzzle briefly before Maggie shuffles stiffly toward to a patch of grass. I call the vet and wait to hear back so we can arrange a tetanus shot and some antibiotics.


  1. Glad to hear she - and you! - seems okay. What a scary night!!

  2. Glad to hear she is doing well. But I have to say, I would look for another vet. If I was that scared, seeing what she had done, and the possible injuries she may or may not have had...I want a vet there!

  3. What a relief!! You must be exhausted! I'm sure you'll feel good once the Vet gets there and gives her some antibiotics. Can she take pain meds? Poor Maggie!!! I hope that you are able to get some rest sometime today.