I came home from the clinic tonight... but Beau did not. The long and the short of it is, that if I hope to have a sound horse at the end of this, they think that aggressive treatment of the infection is the only course of action. While I agree, I am devastated by this turn of events. The financial and emotional drain has been enormous. I am afraid for my guy, and tired physically and emotionally. Much of that is overshadowed by an overwhelming fear of what this is going to cost. I have an incredible fear that after all this he will have some lingering issues. Or, something else will come up. I just feel like it has been one thing after another...and I so desperately want him to be well! With the fear, and a sense of what is realistic I did give the vets a cap; I felt for the financial solvency of this family, I had to be honest with them about what I could carry. The best Mom and Dad in the world gave me access to their credit card, and Ill have to pay them over time- but it was very hard to think about what we can afford, and what the prognosis for him will be. I had to come up with a number in my head that I felt I could afford and that would also give them an ability to treat it the way they were saying it needed to be treated. I was given a reasonable hope that with this amount of money he would be serviceable and sound at the end. I know there is no guarantee, and things could certainly still get worse, but for now he is in good hands- and I have to trust that they will do all they can to help my little Beau-ley.
While I was there they did an ultrasound of the hock to look for any pockets of fluid with the hope that they could tap one and culture it so we would know what we were dealing with and pick the most effective antibiotic. There was no such pocket- which in one sense was good- it is a sign that things are not too far advanced. But, without a culture we still dont know what we are dealing with. And, on the ultrasound, there were some changes to the fluid in the joint itself- so the question remains...has the infection moved into the joint?! The risk is too great to draw a sample just now- the surrounding tissues harbors so much contamination it would certainly put the joint at risk to put the needle thru it now. He has a catheter in his neck- for IV antibiotics and pain meds, this will be part of the longer term treatment. For an immediate attack they used a tourniquet to cut off the blood supply to the lower part of his limb and put in a line to flood the area with a heavy dose of antibiotic local to that area (since the blood was not flowing in/out) After the antibiotic flush, they pressure wrapped him with some gel that is supposed to draw out the moisture in the leg. In this way they treat the infection in one way (IV and directly to the lower leg) and the swelling in another (pressure wraps with sweat bandages) He will certainly stay at the clinic until Friday, when this antibiotic flush/pressure wrap can be done again. Hopefully the hock will be ready for another ultrasound and then they will go ahead and look into the hock itself and go in if they see the need. If all goes as planned, he will come home after that and continue IV antibiotics here for 8-10 days. I will have to do the catheter and such- but realistically it was the only option for us... the cost of weeks at the clinic is too prohibitive. I know I can be vigilant, and my vet will be able to monitor his progress here... so, thats the plan for now. Hopefully Ill be able to get some pictures tomorrow- he is totally wrapped hoof to stifle and was pretty dopey when I left. I know they will take great care of him, and I have all my fingers and toes crossed that we can lick this. And Im so grateful to my parents for being so understanding, without them this would have been a much harder decision. I'll forever be thankful, and in debt to them for about as long!