Restraining horse for dressing leg (also in vet)

Lou_Lou123

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6 December 2006
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234
I have a mare that caused herself a nasty injury about 2 months ago where she managed to kick herself and cut from just above her fetlock down to her hoof, the wound went all the way down to the tendon. She was rushed to the horspital and they operated that evening. The vet thought she was unlikely to live due to the risk of infection. 6 weeks later she was discharged sound in walk and trot
so hopefully sound enough to be a broodmare.

The problem I'm now having is that the wound has to be dressed every three days as there is still a little bit of flesh that needs to finish healing. The dressing consists of honey straight onto the skin, followed by a melonin dressing, followed by gamgee wrapped around the leg from just below knee to coronet band, a similar layer of cotton wool, then vet wrap then an elastoplast bandage.

Understandably the mare is fed up with people bandaging, cleaning and otherwise poking her bad leg. So far we have tried holding up the opposite front leg while I bandage bad one, but this just results in her putting all her weight on the good leg being held up by non-horsey but strong and very patient OH, eventually ending up with her knee on the floor. With some success we tried OH holding up bad leg, which was harder to bandage without bandaging OH to her foot (!). Today she managed to pick up hind leg and kick OH whilst he had hold of front leg! We have also tried twitching her muzzle, and sedalin, neither of which had much effect.
Running out of ideas


Reluctant to call vet for sedation for this, any ideas??

Also in Vets

Thanks
 

Equus Leather

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1 May 2006
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Up North
Food, lots of eat.....can you give her some mix in a bucket whenever you do the dressing? Try picking up the hind on the same side as the poorly front....poor mare, hope she recovers.
 

ofcourseyoucan

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9 August 2009
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put a gypsy twitch on .. a piece of string under her top lip, or a skin neck twitch or get hold of an ear? could you not just whack manuka honey on 2 to 3 times a day and leave unwrapped? i know wrapping pulls it all together and helps squash proud flesh but if needs must and all that! daresay the horse is as fed up as you!!!
 

TarrSteps

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I would be leery of ear twitching because you can do damage and it's not really an effective pressure point, but would also recommend a neck twitch or lip "chain".

For the neck twitch have your helper hold the mare close to the halter with one hand and with the other, take a fold of skin just in front of the scapula at the base of the neck. You can just pinch the skin with your thumb and fingers but I've found it much more effective in a standing situation (rather than walking the horse or just doing something quickly) to take a "roll" of skin which gives you a better hold and more control of the tension. So if I'm standing on the left side for instance, hold the lead rope and possibly the side of the halter in my left hand, facing the horse. Put my right hand in front of the shoulder and sort of tuck my finger tips in front of the shoulder blade, rolling my knuckles towards the horse to take up a "handful" (really just a small roll) of skin, pressing my knuckles into the neck. I usually ease up on the pressure if the horse is standing well and roll my knuckles a bit more if it starts to fuss. If you're tactful this is a great method of control. I usually have the helper stand on the same side as me (actually I usually hold the horse and have someone else do the doctoring) but this method will also keep the leg on the opposite side firmly on the ground so you might want to experiment in this case with trying from the opposite side from the damaged leg.

If you use a lip rope (I actually prefer a leather or latex covered chain as the link "grab" on the halter rings and mean you don't have to keep it as tight to keep the tension and it's less likely to fall off) for best results you need one thin enough to slide through the side halter rings. Some people use a loop of binder twine. Clip (or tie) it to the off side ring then slide it through the near side ring (attach a second lead to it if you want or if the rope is too short/thin to hold comfortably) and then feed it under the top lip over the gums. The trick is too keep up tension so the horse can't slide it off but not to over tighten it.

In both cases, twitch the horse for a minute or so before you start working. You should see the horse start to look a bit "dopey" with endorphins.

Best is if you can get someone to show you. It's not complicated but it's a bit tricky and a little about "feel" to keep the tension properly.
 

Lou_Lou123

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6 December 2006
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234
Cool, thanks guys. I'm not sure food will work as she's pretty determined. Unfortunately it has to have a dressing on as it was such a big wound there is so much new flesh that is still healing, the dressing is for protection as much as wound healing. If she was to hit it I think it would easily split open again.

Monday is the next dressing so I'll give these a go then, and hopefully we won't need to do it too many more times.
 

humblepie

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5 February 2008
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Had really similar problems with my old boy who had months of a foot being dressed. Used to struggle and struggle - to be fair he was not being difficult, he had been in a lot of pain, was very fed up and a lot of what was done to make it better must have hurt him. Can remember sitting on his floor and crying with frustration at trying to help him and not being able to do it, particularly days when I was on my own.

Months later when doing something else to him we found out that a neck twitch made him stand like a lamb. Not sure if would have worked for his foot entirely but was really effective for other things. Had owned him about 16 years before I found out the effect a neck twitch had on him!
 
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