"Smile! It keeps your brain from falling out when you're frustrated!" - Clinton Anderson (Downunder Horsemanship)

"They say boys never grow up, their toys just get bigger. I say I never grew up, my 'My Little Ponies' just got bigger!" - Me

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Cody's Surgery

Cody's knee surgery seems to have gone well.  Though it definitely had some scary moments.

At the clinic - 11-15-11
Thankfully I was able to take the day off work, so after taking away all food except water after 10 pm Monday night and leaving her in a stall with no bedding for the night to make sure there was no temptation to eat bedding, we headed out with her Tuesday morning and arrived at the MSU vet clinic by 10 am.

Cody was going to be the last surgery of the day, and since I had the day off, I camped out with my book in a chair in her open stall door making sure she didn't eat any of her bedding so she didn't have to suffer wearing a muzzle, while she stood there with me either snoozing or poking at my head or my book now and then with her nose looking for attention.

She was a good girl while they got her IV put in.  Not such a good girl while the students tried to put her meds in her eye for her eye problem.  That is definitely a bit of a battle.  Not that she's throwing her head around or anything, she actually stands there pretty well, but Cody can clamp her eye shut tighter than any horse I've ever met, and prying her eye open enough to get meds in there before she clamps it shut again is definitely a challenge.
IV in, now nap time - 11-15-11

But finally they came and gave her some sedation, then walked her back to prep for surgery.  And I sat in my chair outside her stall with my book, waiting and worrying.

Finally Dr. Caron came out and said the surgery went well, and she was in the padded stall for recovery.  Instead of doing five passes like he did last time, he did seven this time.  So that should have cleaned up any cartilage left in the joint to encourage it to fuse all the way this time.  And the parts that were fused were fused pretty solid with bone, so there shouldn't be any trouble with that part of the joint refusing itself.  And hopefully it will be enough to get the parts that didn't fuse last time, to finally fuse this time.  Time will tell.

But my heart just sank when they brought her back to her stall after surgery.  I heard her calling on the way back to the stall, but what I saw when she came around the corner definitely had me thinking "OMG, what have I done to my horse!"  She was still very drunk and shakey from the anesthetic, but she also basically couldn't walk on her leg.  And it's really scary when the surgeon and the people working there are all saying "That's not normal!  That's not good!"

Still shaky after surgery - 11-15-11
As soon as Cody saw me, she stopped calling and pretty much dragged the lady leading her down to her stall as she tried to get to me as fast as she could on three wobbly legs, weaving around like a drunk as they tried to slow her down, but she wanted no part of slowing down.  When they finally made it to her stall, I stood aside out of the way since Cody was pretty unsteady on her feet, but then she refused to lead past me and go in her stall.  So I went in her stall ahead of her and she followed me in.  She calmed down some in her stall, but kept tipping and stumbling forward.  She finally planted her forehead against my chest and just stood there trying to keep her balance.

Her degree of lameness and pain apparently was a first after this type of surgery, and very concerning.  Dr. Caron ordered morphine for her right away, and also gave her a half and half short term/long term nerve block in her leg so she could stand on it as she finished waking up and make her more comfortable.  And added another three bags of bedding to her stall to give her a nice comfortable place to lay down.  He said it's the first time he's ever had to use morphine and a nerve block on a horse after this type of surgery.  I felt horrible.
Looking better the next day - 11-16-11

But, apparently she had a pretty rough recovery this time around.  It sounds like she started trying to get up a little too early, and fought them when they tried to keep her down a bit longer.  And stumbled and tumbled a little in the padded stall.  So they're wondering if she wrenched her leg trying to get up and stumbling around, and if that's where some of the pain was coming from.  She also started calling for other horses, but since she was the last surgery she was the only horse back there, and started working herself into a bit of a panic and trying to pace when no one responded to her calls.  So that's why she was still so out of it when they brought her back to her stall, as soon as they knew she wasn't going to fall down trying to walk, they brought her back a little earlier than normal, hoping being back in her stall and with me and the other horses would calm her down, which thankfully it did.  Poor girl.

When I left that night, she was still a wee bit shaky, but able to stand on all fours and busy eating hay.  But we'd have to wait and see what morning brought.

Give me cookies! - 11-16-11
Dr. Caron called me Wednesday morning and said she was still more sore than she should be once the morphine and nerve block wore off, so she had another dose of morphine that morning, and he wanted her to stay another day.  Apparently morphine can slow down gut function, so he wanted her there where they could help her right away if she started having any colic problems.  Which I completely agreed!  But thankfully they were able to wean her off the morphine and by that evening she was staying fairly comfortable with just bute, no colic problems, and was standing on that leg and walking on it gingerly, a little more normal for this type of surgery.  When I went to visit her Wednesday evening, she seemed in good spirits and was happy to mug me for more of the treats I brought with me.

Thankfully Thursday she was staying comfortable all day on just bute, so she was able to come home that evening.

Trailering there and back was a bit of an adventure both ways.  Tuesday morning was the foggiest morning I've seen in a long time.  One of the awesome ladies that boards at the barn hauled her to MSU for me, and I followed in my truck, but even following a quarter of a mile behind the trailer, I couldn't see the trailer at all.  I noticed the running lights on the trailer weren't on (brakes and blinkers worked, we checked those), so I called Nancy to see if she could turn them on so anyone behind her, myself included, could hopefully see the trailer a little sooner.  Well, it seems her new Grand Traverse decides for you when to turn on the day time headlights, and the night time headlights, tail lights, and running lights on the trailer, and according to the Traverse, it was day time so we didn't need running lights on the trailer.  Gotta love modern technology.  I'm guessing the sensor on the dash needs to be covered so the Traverse thinks it's night time, but by that time we were finally on the express way and soon drove out of the fog.
Anybody out there? - 11-16-11

Coming home Thursday evening was another adventure.  Another of the awesome ladies that boards at the barn was bringing her home for me.  I met her at the barn to ride with her and we headed out.  It was still day light, but would be getting dark soon.  As dusk just began to set in, she turned on her headlights and bam, dashboard lights on the truck went out and no running lights on the truck or trailer!  Headlights, brake lights, and blinkers was all we had.  Blown fuse or something.  So we got Cody checked out and loaded up as quick as we could, so we could try to make it home before dark.  But we finally had to pull over because it was too dark to go any further without lights, and waited for my husband to drive out and meet us and follow us the rest of the way to the barn with flashers.  Thankfully Cody was an angel in the trailer for all of this.
Home sweet home - 11-17-11

Sometimes I swear Cody and I are cursed!

"It never goes smooth.  How come it never goes smooth?" - Malcolm Reynolds (Firefly)

"If we could bottle your luck, we'd have a weapon of mass destruction on our hands." - Edward Cullen (Eclipse)

Oh well, at least we can laugh about it now.

But Cody is finally home, and seems to be doing ok.  She's tucked in a nice deeply bedded stall for 3 to 6 weeks of stall rest.  And we'll see how sound she is in 6 months.  Here's hoping and praying!

Welcome home big girl! - 11-17-11
And things were back to normal with the girls.  Love each other one minutes, fight like sisters the next!
My hay! - 11-17-11
Laying down for a nap - 11-19-11


  1. Glad she's safely home. That must have been scary, but it sounds like she's now on the road to recovery.

  2. Glad it's over and done with. Phew! Hoping for a speedy and complication free recovery.