Reuben – 12.17.2017


This is Reuben's good side - he used to have a thick mane, which got very singed, and protected his neck.

This is Reuben’s good side – he used to have a thick mane, which got very singed, and protected his neck. You can see his other side, below.

Reuben’s definitely brighter today, but he’s also definitely not out of the woods.

You can tell by his eyes that Reuben’s feeling better.  They’re clear and bright, and he’s eating eagerly.  Even though he’s a stallion, he’s also kind of a saint.  He’s so patient with all of the treatment that he gets – even when something’s uncomfortable, he might warn you off a little bit, but there’s never a sign that he wants to strike out.

Pain control is still the big issue.  I think that there are two reasons for his discomfort.  One problem is his feet.  Skin is peeling away from the coronary band and lower pastern region, and even though he’s not showing any signs of laminitis, the skin is pink and raw, and there is some separation at the coronary bands of three of his four hooves.  He’s still walking stiffly, but it’s hard to tell how much of that is from his feet, and how much is from his skin.

The skin, of course, is the other big problem.  He’s peeled a lot but there’s a lot more to peel.  I feel like if we had saved everything we could have made another horse..  But there are areas – particularly on his left side – where there are pustules forming before the peeling.  Once the skin peels, his skin is super sensitive for a few days.  We’re trying a different ointment on those recently peeled areas – thank you, Kinetic Vet – and we’ll see how that works.

To control pain, he’s getting flunixin three times a day and low dose of ketamine up to 4 times a day.  To help keep him relaxed while he’s bathing, we’ve given him a low dose of detomodine – which is also a sedative – and that seems to really help him relax.  But we don’t want to do that TOO often because detomodine also can slow down the intestinal transit time.  We don’t want to stop the pain and end up with a colicky Reuben.  I’ve got other ideas for pain control if we need them, but so far, I think we’re doing pretty well.  Oh, and he’s off antibiotics, and doesn’t show any signs of any problem with which antibiotics would help.

The amount of supplies that we are going through is truly remarkable, and the generosity of suppliers has been absolutely overwhelming.  Here’s some photographic evidence of what we’ll mostly use up in the next week to 10 days, all of which has been donated by Kinetic, Zoetis, Patterson, Henry Schein, and, of course, those intrepid beekeepers at the Valley Hive in Chatsworth.  Note that the absolutely enormous cannister of honey in the lower right corner was full just 9 days ago.

So, for now, things seem at least stable.  Uncomfortable, for sure, but stable.  I hope that by the end of this week most of the skin that is going to shed will shed.  Hopefully then the healing can begin in earnest.

This is really something, isn’t it?  You just have to love this guy for his indomitable spirit.  And, in addition to the generosity of the suppliers, I am just in awe of the dedication that the crew working on him has shown.

Every day that passes is one more day we can breathe a little more easily.

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