Saturday, September 26, 2009

Riley update: A holding pattern

Here's a photo from Sept. 2006. Riley had just been weaned and shipped to me. I didn't know it at the time the photo was taken, but Riley was sick. That night he spiked a fever and the vet came out the next day -- he had a virus but we also discovered a worm infestation (ascarids) that was fairly advanced. Things it were dicey for a few days, maybe a week, but he steadily got better. I look back at these photos think, "Wow, he looks sick. How'd I miss it?" And it was a good thing he got that virus, or we would never have caught the worm issue. THAT could have killed him.

How's he doing now?
Short answer -- Riley is doing okay, for now, but it's looking like this isn't the end of the story. Here's the rundown...
  1. Good sign: The hoof hole is nearly closed with horny growth.
  2. Bad sign: Drainage from the hoof wound has continued since his surgery July 29 -- a tiny but steady discharge.
  3. Questionable: Riley is reasonably comfortable but he is toe-sore. This has not improved.
  4. Bad sign: a radiograph shows a defect on the dorsal side of the pedal bone.
The possibility of another surgery was raised at our last clinic visit on Sept. 9--only five weeks after the first surgery. Am I happy with the possibility of a second surgery on the same hoof/same location? No. Am I feeling good about how his case is being handled? Well... What to say. Communications has been tough.

Try not to roll your eyes, here, but...
On October 12, we are going to a tertiary care center -- to New Bolton. Staff there have reviewed the x-rays and MRI and read Riley's lengthy case history. Not having seen the horse, and with standard "long distance diagnosis" disclaimers, they think the MRI is suggestive of a bone chip, keratoma, foreign substance, something more than just bruising. They won't know for sure until they see Riley but they've shared a basic plan of action for the visit. Whatever they do, the expense is now out of pocket.

In closing...
I am grateful for the time New Bolton staff there have given me so far, their accessibility, and the thoughtful analysis they have given to Riley's case already. And at home, I'm grateful to the people who are helping me bandage Riley.


  1. Oh, goodness gracious...I am so sorry.

    However New Bolton! Yes! Tons of good people there to analyze, evaluate, and do the right thing for your boy. I have tremendous confidence in them and the facility. You are doing the best for Riley.

    Wish the news were better, but perhaps there are alternatives to more surgery that will work to finally fix this.

    When you look at his baby picture and know there is something wrong, it's easy to see. Otherwise you just might think he was tired. How nice to have those baby pictures, though. Reminders of how far you have come and how strong your bond is.

  2. Bless Riley and you for extending so much care in his short life. What trials they put us through!

  3. Very hard stuff to deal with - keeping you and Riley in my thoughts and hope you have some answers soon as to what the next steps are.

  4. have been a good mama to Riley and how loving and patient you are. I wish you the best in his care hoping and praying it turns out with a speedy resolution.

  5. Poor Riley! Whatever you can do to make him better is a good thing and you're doing so very much. New Bolton has a great reputation and I'm sure they'll recommend only what would be vitally necessary.

    If it helps, this spring we took our dogs to the vet for their annual checkup. One had a broken tooth which we had missed but which must have caused her pain. She never showed that in her attitude, her eating or her playing behaviour in any big way. But once she was finished with surgery, you could sure see the increased assurance with chew toys and *sigh* barkiness.

    Here's hoping that Riley's road to recovery is smooth, easy and as inexpensive as possible from here on out!

  6. Have been following this long story for a while now - wishing you all the very best, you're doing a great job - physically and mentally :)

  7. Continued prayers and hugs for you and Riley.

  8. Best of luck to you and Riley. I'm sure he sleeps well at night knowing he is so well loved and cared for.


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