From the outside, Earl’s neck wound was pretty icky. The hole was oozing infection from the tract that bored all the way to the spine. Aside from the fracture and subluxation, this wound tract was, and still is, a concern. While in the hospital, doctors flushed the wound and managed to extricate bone fragments. They gave him IV bone penetrating antibiotics and cleaned the wound three to four times per day.
As Earl became more stable, the doctors pulled Earl’s catheter and prepared him to go home. I was overwhelmed at the sheer amount of at-home care he’d need. I worried whether I could do it properly and without causing Earl more pain, because I was expected to clean the wound three times a day too. The constant flushing helped keep the wound clean and open. Given the wound’s depth, the doctors wanted it to heal from the inside out.
When Earl came home, the wound was pouring infection like lava from the hole. I’d stick the syringe tip inside and pump in diluted betadine solution. Then I’d rub antibiotic cream into and around the hole. Since it was draining so much, he developed a diaper rash of sorts so I’d apply Desitin below the wound and along his mandible. He tired of the treatments quickly and became very feisty during wound care.
Over time, proud flesh began to fill the hole making treatments tougher. My local vet, Dr. Sally, came out and cut away the bad tissue, opening the wound once more. When Earl would see me coming with the treatment pack, he’d pin his ears and he’d swing his big bum toward me basically say, “no more mom.” For his safety and mine, I started putting him in the mare stocks where he ate some nummies between to walls and I went through the procedure safely from the other side of the wall.
To my untrained eye, the exterior of the wound is looking much better. The tract seems to be closing. The unknown at the point is whether there is still bone chips floating around the tract space. If there is, the wound will never fully heal. However, I’m hoping they’re all out and the wound will full close. Only a CT scan will reveal if there is any pieces of bone present.Until Earl is stable enough to travel the nine hours to get a CT scan, he’ll continue to get frequent x-rays and wound care.
In other news, Earl’s legs are much improved after a month of combined therapies. I’ve been cleaning, scrubbing, peeling and treating his leg sores and also wrapping his legs to reduce the swelling. Elizabeth Welch came out with her Bemer gear and worked on his legs and MJ of Spotted Ponie Therapies has been coming weekly to do cold laser treatments. He’s still sloughing skin, but his legs look so much better.