My Good-Bad Diagnosis:
It’s not every day that you get to hear “well, his face broke,” from your vet. It’s also not everyday that a broken face is actually what you hoped for. In Leo’s latest Evil Kenevil stunt he managed to fracture his frontal bone with no trauma to his face. How? Your guess is as good as mine. Here is the story of my good-bad diagnosis.
It all started when a strange swelling popped up on Leo’s forehead. There was no sensitivity, just a smidge of warmth, and no other symptoms. The next day the swelling was still there and Leo had the tiniest stream of blood trickling out of his nostril. So I did what any reasonable broke horse owner would do. I made a mental note to watch it and went on my merry way. A week passed with no symptoms. I’m talking nothing. There was no sensitivity, no temperature, no discharge, no change in swelling, no change in diet or behavioral habits, no odd smell, nothing that would cause me any alarm. Then, I came to the barn and his nose was a horror scene. It was covered in goopy/crusty/thick/runny/green/yellow discharge (sorry peeps) and to boot he had a slightly elevated temp.
I couldn’t ignore it. He had symptoms and something was wrong. I called my vet and made an appointment for x-rays. Without being able to peer into the inner workings of his face, my vet suspected a sinus infection. It would require a 3-4 week dose of antibiotics to clear up, plus x-rays to officially diagnose. Oh god, please, no. I JUST finished a round of ulcer treatments. I feared my weary heart and even wearier wallet couldn’t take the stress.
Admittedly, Leo is great at eating unappealing things and even things he’s not supposed to, but I dreaded having to dose him with antibiotics for four weeks straight. I could already see him resenting me for it. Plus, who in the heck likes to see their horse be obviously hurt? I waited a week for the appointment…longest…week…ever. I drove out every single day, checked the swelling, took his temperature, checked for changes, and crossed my fingers.
My x-ray appointment came around and after only four frames I was saved by a tiny gray fracture line. He had a broken frontal bone and by the looks of it, it was healing nicely.
Okay, so I sound crazy for celebrating the fact that my horse had a broken bone in his face, right? But here’s the thing. It could have been so much worse. The bone was a clean break and was already healing nicely. The lump on his face was a simple callous. His sinuses weren’t infected. He didn’t need antibiotics. He never seemed to be in any serious pain (although I mean HE BROKE HIS FACE). And unlike most horses who break their frontal bone, there was no massive external trauma (think those awful trailer loading accidents you see floating on Facebook). It was a good diagnosis.
Why you’re not crazy to celebrate:
It’s no secret horse owners are stressed out roughly 8,000% of the time when it comes to their horse’s health and happiness. Every scrape or tender hoof can take you on a roller coaster of emotion from “it’s nothing,” to “CALL THE VET,” to “no, really, he’s fine, it’s nothing,” back to lying awake for hours at night.
The worst is when something happens that is serious or mysterious enough for you to call your vet. Every odd comment, weird article, bad advice, and horse movie you’ve ever seen begins to plays in your mind creating a thunderstorm of possible problems and panic. After all you are your horse’s caretaker and their voice. You took on the responsibility of putting them first and keeping them safe. When something happens it is honestly terrible and the waiting to know can be unbearable.
So, when you do finally get the diagnosis and it isn’t the worst case scenario go ahead and celebrate. There will be time to be serious the next time your horse hurts himself (which ya’ll know is gonna happen). For now, take a breath, do a dance, and enjoy the lesser sentence.
So Leo broke his face, big deal. It could have been much worse. Now he gets a few relaxing arnica cream massages while his face continues to heal. He also gets a cool story and a lump that I’m not sure will ever go away. If not, I basically just got a free unicorn so I’m happy. Have a strange “good-bad diagnosis” to share? Comment below! And as always please share this post on Facebook, Pintrest, and with family and friends.