Veterinarians who specialize in equines are a bit few and far between. Generally we can call most any of our local vets and get wonderful treatment for our mules, horses, or donkeys.
But Sunshine's case seemed to be turning out a bit different. So we called the Riverdale Vet Clinic in Muscoda, WI and made an appointment for 'Dr. Clay' to see Sunshine and geld Eddie.
Eddie was prepped, drugged with Ketamine and Rompun. He stood quietly ... drooping until Doc laid him down. The surgery went quickly and quietly with the usual jokes men make while an intact male is becoming 'gelded'.
'Is his voice going to be higher now Doc?
I don't know, Rich, can you improve a donkey's bray?
Dang Eddie, you are now going to sing a different tune!
Yep Rich, no turning back now....'
and so forth
Next he examined Sunshine. She was a stellar patient. She is shown here getting prepped for a nerve block at the fetlock. Doc didn't think the problem was in her hoof or ankle and wanted to make double sure. [He'd already tested her foot for a possible abscess.]
She never moved a muscle when he poked a needle into her fetlock. Jeeze, I cringed.
She moved out when asked and gimped swinging her leg as she limped. Doc shook his head and said ~~
'I'm really concerned about her knee. I think the problem is in her knee. I'll need to do some x-rays to she if she has a fracture or slab fracture. I have to rule that out.'[Here Sunshine is going to have x-rays done. No flash so the pic is a bit blurry, but you get the idea.]
Imagine how my heart skipped. A fracture, a slab fracture is very bad news.
The x-rays turned out negative and we took the next step.
The diagnosis was this:
Probable severe tear in the collateral ligament that holds the knee straight for equine. This would be very much like an ACL tear in a human.
Doc was a bit glum about her injury. Her prognosis was not great.
We are treating her with stall rest to limit her movement. In 4 weeks we are to check with Doc and see how she is healing, if at all. He wants her to go 8 weeks in a stall.
If that doesn't work, he said we had the option of going to the University of Wisconsin Madison Vet School and having surgery. No real guarantees on ligament repair for equine, as you cannot immobilize them like you can a human patient.
I spent the last 24 hours agonizing over this. I don't want her to suffer in the pain that she must be in. She can barely walk.
[you may have guessed this already if you follow my blog...I am walking around with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat.]
This is where we get into the touchy field of quality of life. I really don't want to face those choices right now, but I have decided to go with a positive attitude that
Sunshine will get better with stall rest.
So we wait and see.
Oh by the way.
Eddie feels better today.
I am headed out to hand walk him.
He is one of the most willing donkeys I've ever laid hands on.