Reuben’s going through a bit of a tough time right now.
With fire, once the horse survives, then you have to deal with the aftermath of all of the thermal damage. For Reuben, that’s starting to show up now.
In some ways, Reuben is having a reaction like the worst sunburn that anyone could ever have. He’s starting to peel pretty dramatically. This isn’t necessarily all that bad, really, depending on the depth the the peel. Happily, most of it is pretty superficial, but as you can imagine, it doesn’t feel very good to have even the superficial layers of your skin peeling off, and especially if it’s over most of your body. Thus, Reuben is probably more uncomfortable now than he’s been in the past couple of days.
We’re trying to help with that by giving him flunixin every 8 hours. Today, I’m also trying him on a low dose of ketamine, which is has been useful in burned horses (according to experts at UC Davis and other sources). We’re also trying to use emollient ointments to help soften the skin. For Reuben’s part, he rolls from time to time, presumably to help with the discomfort. It helps get the peeling going, too (which has to happen, of course).
His pain isn’t being helped by the fact that there’s been a little bit of separation on the right fore and hind hooves, on the outside hoof wall. This is causing him to limp on his right fore and it’s apparent even at the walk. Apparently, this hoof wall separation isn’t that uncommon, and the horses end up doing fine, but it is definitely uncomfortable. You can notice in the photos that the two feet are wrapped; the hooves are being wrapped in the same SSD + honey mix that’s covering the rest of him.
Reuben’s temperature is a bit higher than normal – it was 101.9 degrees Fahrenheit today. I’m not really that concerned – it seems to me that he’s likely to have a high temp just by virtue of the fact that pretty much his whole body is inflamed. The flunixin that he’s on for pain relief will help with the fever, too. I’m also running another blood sample, and I gave him another antibiotic shot, just to try to cover the potential for infection at this critical time.
I think that Reuben is likely to look a bit worse before he starts getting better. The good things are that he’s still eating and drinking like, well, a horse. I’ve been told that as long as he keeps eating and drinking, things are likely to turn out OK.
For now, we’re going to keep cleaning, applying our SSD + honey mix, and removing dead skin layers as they peel off. We’ll try to keep the pain under control as best we can, and try to wean him off drugs as rapidly as possible. Mostly, this is a time thing.
My next exam will be Friday. I’ll keep you updated.