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Colonel's Injury and Rehab


Colonel is a 13 year old Quarter Horse gelding who we retired last year due to arthritis in his neck.  He's a wild ride and we found it best to retire him and let him live out his life in pasture where he can relax and not put stress on that neck.  He has been happy and sound ever since he was turned out. 

Colonel was living out his life in pasture until one day a couple of weeks ago, Linnea woke up and saw him outside her window completely lame.  She went out to check on him and this is what she saw. Needless to say she had to take a moment to calm herself down.

She immediatly called Kim and the vet on call Melissa Keiltey.  She immobilized him and waited for Kim and Melissa to arrive.  After an evaluation, Melissa let us know that he'd completely sliced through his tendon, muscle and flesh down to the bone.  She said that most vets would put him down, but she'd delt with this kind of injury before successfully and wanted to give it a try if Kim was willing.  Because we all love the horse so much and he wasn't acting out, it was decided to try and save him.  Melissa cleaned him off and stitched him up beautifully.

There was a big hunk of skin missing, so it wasn't a total success as some of the wound was left uncovered.  She told us that the skin would start growing over on it's own to cover up the wound and the tendon would heal itself and grow back together. 

After 1 week there was still some doubt as to his survival, though the tissue looked great and there was plenty of bloodflow to the area so the flesh didn't start to decay.  He was having issues walking due to the tendon and was in pain.  It was hard for us to continue at this point and we thought about putting him down, however Melissa was convinced we should keep up treatment, so we went with her expert advice.

We had to come up with a solution for his antibiotics.  At twice a day, giving them intravenously was not an option.  They had to be given orally.  They tasted awful (I tried them...ugh!) and Colonel was choaking on the fluid.  We felt horrible for the guy.  We had to find another solution.  Kim created a mixture of peanut butter, apricot jelly, antibiotics and bute which we give to him in a paste.  He likes it so much he'll lick it out of the bowl we mix it in!  It has solved our problems and makes him look forward to his dose of meds!

Colonel has been such a good sport about his treatment that we've really had no choice but to continue.  After 3 weeks of steady treatment, changing wraps every other day and two times a day dosing of antibiotics Colonel has made a huge turn around.  His fiesty attitude is back, he's moving around quite well, his pain is greatly reduced.  He is REALLY enjoying being back at the barn and being the center of attention and is shiny, happy and healthy.  We are expecting a full recovery for him so that he's able to go back to his happy retirement (with a few fencing modifications so that he doesn't do this again)!

Update: Colonel had to have some necrotic tissue removed from the injury site.  The wound is healing well.  He's a smart horse and taking care of himself.  A week after the tissue removal, the wound is looking great. 

Thanks to Melissa Keiltey and her skilled hands for giving Colonel another chance at life!

12 weeks after the injury, Colonel is doing great!  He's trotting mostly sound on his leg even with the severed tendon.  The wound is still not 100%, but we expect in another month he'll be almost perfect.

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