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Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Disaster Strikes

After a very uncharacteristical stop at Eden Valley, I'd decided to hold off competing and check Thomas was physically & mentally sound. I gave him a couple of weeks break while I had a minor operation on my back, before having all the usual back, teeth and saddle checks done on Thomas. I was pleased to report that there were no issues. We entered for Cumwhinton 23rd August, but starting back at BE90 for one run.

We had great flatwork and jumping lessons in the week leading up to the event, but on the Thursday evening, Thomas came in with the biggest offside hock I'd seen, and one of the biggest my vets had seen. He was sound in walk, and not cuts or scratches on him. He struggled to move it in trot on that first night, but the next day, was almost sound in trot up, despite no improvement in the swelling.

With two weeks of ice therapy and cold hosing, along with box rest and walking out in hand for 15 minutes four times a day, we were referred to a specialist lameness clinic, even though he still was not lame. His flexion tests at the clinic showed no signs of lameness more than the expected for a horse of his age and workload. Nothing on the x-rays, and nothing on the scans. We did a joint tap for signs of infection, although there were no clinical signs & held high risk of putting infection in the joint. This came back at almost twice the normal 'high' count. Thomas was rushed to Redcar for emergency hock surgery where only one of his four hock joints showed infection, and on inspecting the joint with the keyhole camera, only the front part of the joint looked inflammed. It was baffling a number of veterinarian minds. 

The flush didn't work, and the white cell count from the joint continued to rise, before eventually finding a pocket of infection in the skin. The count came down to normal, but scans showed a mass of dead tissue behind where the pocket had been, which needed to be cut out.

The joint now seems to be doing well, and the wound from the tissue removal, although looks very severe, is healing well. If progress like this continued, we hope to have Thomas back home in a week or two - everyone, even beyond the team, is missing him.

We'll keep you posted with his recovery, and hope to be able to share some before, during and after photos. It will be a long road to recovery, and we may get the second half of next season, but the main thing is to get Thomas better and back to fighting fit. 

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