Long-term injury situations often lead to both an emotional and a financial commitment for the horse owner. And it gets serious when tough decisions need to be made. An injury with one of my own horses is an example of how complicated these cases can be.
In 2005, my 1-year-old Quarter Horse gelding came stumbling out of the pasture with a nearly severed hoof. Something, which I assume was wire, had sliced through the back of his pastern into the digital cushion, leaving the back portion of the hoof detached from the leg.
A local vet tried to stitch the broken and torn hoof back together. The vet confirmed my worst fears — Fritz’s injury would likely never heal correctly or maybe not heal at all. With frequent movement, the wound would likely keep reopening, making it impossible to heal.
The vet visited every few days for 3 weeks to mend broken stitches, re-wrap the wound and check for infection. Between vet visits, I changed the dressings, cleaned the wounds, applied medicine to flush out infection and yelled at Fritz when he tried to rip off his bandages.
The vet visits dropped to weekly and the wound began to show signs of healing. My daily routine continued for many months. After awhile, the bandage was left off for an occasional day to allow oxygen to reach…