Saturday, January 22, 2011

Looks good, feels good

It looks like putting in the extra time to wrap Kaswyn's leg is paying off already. Two days of being wrapped and the inflammation was gone when I unwrapped him. It's wonderful. I can tell that he feels better just by the way he's acting. It's now been four days and the wound looks so much better. It's been very cold here and the horses haven't been going out, so having someone unwrap and re-wrap him has not been an issue. I've been out every day to walk him and tend the leg myself.

There are three reasons why I'm hesitant to ask someone to wrap him for me.

#1 - I want it done right, and since there are a lot of steps (see below) I'm afraid that it might not all get done to my liking.

#2 - If someone else wrapped him and there was an issue then we'd both feel bad about it.

#3 - It's kind of a pain in the butt to do. This is what I do every time I wrap him -

Step #1 - Clean the wound.

After walking Kaswyn in the arena, the wound gets arena dirt all over it. So it looks like this -

The wound needs to be cleaned gently with Nolvasan surgical scrub using sterile saline and gauze pads. I don't scrub it hard, but just gently clean it. Then it needs to be rinsed with more saline, and dried with gauze. After it's been cleaned, it looks like this -

Step #2 - Apply Dermagel to the wound and let dry a bit if possible.

The Dermagel looks like apple jelly.

It's a bit thick and will dry with a skin on it if you leave it long enough. I don't know if it makes a difference, but I usually put the Dermagel on and then groom Kaswyn and get his wraps all ready to go so that I give the Dermagel a chance to dry at least a little.

Step #3 - Put silver ointment on a gauze pad and stick it to the wound.

The silver ointment is white, but it's got silver in it to help the wound from getting infected. It's thick and a little goopy. I just scoop a little onto a gauze pad...

...and stick it right to the wound. The ointment is so thick that the gauze will stick there until I can get the wrap ready.

Step #4 - Add the pastern cuff.

In order to keep the wrap in place, and to keep a bit of pressure on the wound, Dr. G told me I must wrap the leg with a pastern cuff. It's just thick cotton wrapping that is cut to the size of his pastern, then wrapped around and secured with a strip of duct tape. High tech, I know!

Step #5 - Wrap the cannon bone with another cuff.

This cuff makes the pastern and the cannon bone the same size as the fetlock, but allows the fetlock freedom of movement. Dr. G also told me how to do it this way. Again, this is secured with duct tape.

Step #6 - Wrap whole leg with standing wrap and bandage.

I'm using no-bow wraps, but I was using my trainer's thick quilted wraps when he first came back from Dr. G's. The no-bows are working just fine, but the quilts are nicer.

I wrap the other leg too, just because I was taught to always wrap both legs if you're going to wrap one.

And here is the bucket I keep all of my wound treatment stuff in.

So that is six steps to re-wrapping his leg. It's not like someone would be able to just slap a wrap on him and be done with it. That's why I'm going to have to get my butt out to the barn every day until this thing is healed. Which might not be that much longer, because the wound looked fantastic today. The pics of the wound above are three days old. It already looks so much better than it did. I'll have to take some pictures tomorrow. It really looks good.

So good, in fact, that I did just a little trotting and cantering today on Kaswyn. The whole ride was ten minutes, with a lot of walking, but I wanted to see how he felt. Not only did he feel good, but he also was super willing. I was riding him bareback and in a halter and was not prepared for the big jumping canter depart he did when I asked him to canter. He certainly was eager to go after all this time of not working.

I am hopeful. Maybe two more weeks and the wound will be skinned over - maybe sooner.

One last thing - what's your opinion on wrapping an injured leg? Do you wrap just the injured leg or do you wrap the corresponding leg in the pair (like both front or both hind legs)? Just curious about what other people do, or were taught to do and why. I was taught that the uninjured leg should be supported. So what do you think, what do you do, and why?


Now That's A Trot! said...

I like adding the "cuffs" for extra support, and the way you did it so the fetlock still has some mobility! That's a trick I'm going to have to keep in my toolbox.

I, too, was always taught to wrap both legs even if only one is injured... The justification I was taught is that if you're wrapping for an injury, the horse may be taking weight off that leg and stressing the other, thus the other wrap is to add support. (Whether it does or not, it makes me feel better.)

Even if the horse isn't favoring a leg and you're just wrapping to keep out dirt, I still do both legs for symmetry.

Glad to hear he's doing better!

OnTheBit said...

I was always taught to do both legs. In fact, I am looking for a new place to board so while looking at a perspective barn I saw that they had two injured horses who only had wraps on the injured leg...and that was enough for me to cross them off the list. I really feel like even pressure helps to prevent compensation injuries. When my horse was hurt and had to be wrapped 2 times a day for 10 months I would always wrap the uninjured leg as well. I cannot imagine how uncomfortable it would be to walk with one leg in a pair of skin tight jeans and the other in a baggy sweat pant.

Mare said...

I was ALWAYS taught to wrap both legs, whether it be both front or both back, so the uninjured leg would get the same amount of support as the injured leg. There's some people at my barn who only wrap one leg, and it drives me crazy...I don't know if it's true, but I've been told that you have a better chance of a horse bowing a tendon in the uninjured leg if you don't wrap it too?!

achieve1dream said...

I know this probably makes me sound stupid but why does wrapping a leg help with inflammation? I don't know anything about wrapping legs, so just curious.

I'm glad he's doing so much better! It sounds like all the effort you're putting into wrapping his legs is paying off. :)

Rebecca said...

I wrap both legs because that is how I was taught too, but I have been told recently that you really don't have to do that. I am not really buying it..I will stick with tradition!

SO glad to hear your boy is doing better. I am sure it has removed some stress from your life not haveing to worry as much.


Mary said...

Definitely wrap both legs. It doesn't ever hurt to give it extra support and they often favor the "good" leg causing extra stress to it. I've seen a horse that was wrapped on one front leg due to an injury develop a bowed tendon in the other when left unwrapped. BTW, it's looking really good! Great job doctoring...standing wraps are a bit of a dying art, but yours look lovely.

Mary said...

I was always taught to wrap both legs. It never hurts to give it extra support and often they tend to favor the "good" leg causing extra stress. I once saw a horse recovering from an injured front leg get a bowed tendon in the other! Talk about bummer! Your standing wraps look's a dying art form and nice to see them done so well!

Amy said...

Like you, I was always taught to wrap the other leg in the pair (both front, both hind) to support the non-injured leg.

But I've been taught two theories on which way to wrap:
1. wrap both legs in the same direction (clockwise or counterclockwise) to make the wraps wear out the same way
2. wrap each leg toward the outside of the leg so that when you tighten the wrap, you're pulling it over the cannon bone, not the tendons

Any opinions on which is correct (or if direction just doesn't matter? :-)

Wiola said...

Really glad to hear Kaswyn is feeling better and the wound does look much better!

I've been taught the same re: wrapping - both legs, as the "good" leg will be used by the horse more hence needs support as well as the "bad" one.
I noticed Kaswyn has really long toes (unless it's an angle of the photos), nice to see him without shoes though as I am sure his circulation will have improved thanks to no shoes.

As you probably know I am obsessive about feet since Kingsley's navicular problems and if you ever fancy a good read on hoofcare check this book out:

Hope Kaswyn continues to improve :)

85 said...

I always wrap both legs, no question. Something I was taught, and it just makes sense to me too, Want to make sure there the horse is putting even pressure on both.

Also glad to see someone else likes the quilted better then the no-bows. I recently got the no-bows on my vets recommendation, after having been using my trainers quilted ones (which were so nice! Sad to see them returned). I like the quilted ones so much better. Your the first person I've heard of that agrees with me.

Rising Rainbow said...

It's looking good. I like the fetlock cuff. Haven't seen that before but makes perfect sense to me, even if that wasn't the area that needed treating. I can see where it would help keep the whole thing from sliding down too. Very cool.

I was taught the same as you and after seeing my horse that dislocated his fetlock, I can totally get why. The thinking behind it is the other leg will be taking more because the one is compromised so the added support helps assure that leg stays healthy. No doubts for me that I will always wrap both legs.

Mandy said...

I think you are doing an excellent job of caring for Kaswyn! It is not easy going out to take care of a laid-up horse. My mare has been out of work with one thing and another for about 2 months. Working on the last injury now - a swollen front pastern. She is on stall rest, so this requires hand-walking, then cold hosing, then wraps or boots. I agree that you should always do the legs in pairs. I think this just helps to keep everything in balance. You don't want them putting more weight or strain on the uninjured leg while the injured one is healing. I hope he recovers fully really soon so that you can get back to work.

Gauze Pads said...

The wound needs to be cleaned gently with Nolvasan surgical scrub using sterile saline and gauze pads. Thanks for posting all the helpful information.

Lauren said...

I wrap both. Balance is so important to horses, and there's never any problem with being cautious!

Corey said...

I always wrap the legs in pairs as well to at least prevent the other leg from stocking up, and at worst avoid a compensation injury. That's what we were taught in USPC, which is what I grew up doing and learned most of my stable management from.

Chloe said...

hi just found your blog. very interesting will continue to follow it.

being a farm girl, where my horses all live in big paddocks..yes even my big warmblood dressage horses. You keep wrapping to the absolute mimium possible!

This means as litte wrapping as possible and definately only on one leg. was also taught to change dressing only every three days... to help skin heal..

got a broodmare who sliced her legs open from the hock to the fetlock at the moment. I put a special type of honey on the wound and wrap it tight then change it every 3 day...sio far wound is almost completly healed, with minimal scarring, and absolutely no infection or complication...

anyway check out my blog to

Horse Rugs said...


Your technique for dealing with this wound is excellent. Your post could be used as a guide for anyone having to treat such a wound!!

Header Image from Bangbouh @ Flickr