When Bad Luck Lingers

I’m going to be really honest. This post has taken awhile to write, and not all with dry eyes. Things are just not going well with Rio’s recovery. I am so incredibly disappointed. I can’t shake the feeling of having this unlucky storm cloud that just hovers over him constantly. When I found out he had broken his right hind splint bone and needed surgery, I actually took the news very well, and was able to keep a positive attitude. I felt confident for the first time in awhile that he would recover smoothly and that all this bad luck would soon be behind us. I mean- we have been through a lot already, how much more trouble can one horse  get into? We have certainly filled our quota for at least a few years, right???


Wrong. Amazing vet is flummoxed about his poor healing- as am I. We are currently 2 weeks and 3 days post surgery (so more then a 1/3 of the way into the estimated recovery time) and both wound sites look terrible. Just terrible. Only proceed if you want to see graphic photos.


As a recap- surgeon did a wound revision on his left hind from a non-healing wound that originated from a surgery on 9.20.16, so an entire year ago. The sutures did not hold, which surgeon said was a strong possibility due to location, but we still felt like with clean borders it would be easier for the area to heal properly. Unfortunately, the wound has only gotten bigger every time we change the bandage.


Pre-surgery non-healing wound. This is the one that he was laid up with for a month in January and we treated with antibiotics followed by rounds of steroid injections and shockwave treatments. Still wouldn’t heal all the way.




So… ya #depressed



He also operated on the right hind- where Rio broke his splint bone, which also happened to be the same location as his snake bite area that was almost healed but not quite. Surgeon was very confident this area would heal well. Unfortunately, Rio tends the defy the odds.



What the spider bite looked like before he broke his splint bone and tore part of the wound open again


We thought this leg was healing well…


… until the sutures came out







Anyway… I in no way blame any of the medical professionals involved in his care. I am just incredibly frustrated/disappointed/heartbroken at the situation. I feel that everyone has been doing EVERYTHING they can, and we are ALL upset at his lack of healing progress. Good news is he otherwise seems happy and healthy- minus being a bit miffed at being stuck in his stall except for daily hand grazing sessions. I’m having a hard time staying positive lately, and it’s only getting harder as he seems to be getting worse, not better.


On a lighter note, shout out to MM and Amazing Vet- who love Rio as much as I do and have been a big part of his care post-surgery!



MM sends me snaps of Rio (to cheer me up) and helps out with bandage changes and grazing when I can’t make it out!


Amazing Vet continues to be super involved in his care, and is the only reason I haven’t had a complete and total meltdown yet LOL



Now, I am looking for ADVICE! Who among you has dealt with (or knows of someone who has had experience with) non-healing wounds similar to Rio’s??? What treatments have you tried? What worked and didn’t? I am seriously willing to look into anything and would be happy to throw any ideas around with his vets to see what could be an option. We are currently putting SSD cream on the wounds to promote tissue growth. Please share your stories with me, I am wanting to investigate all treatment options even if they are experimental.

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  1. I haven’t had one with exactly similar issue, but when Sterling got thwacked in the stifle this spring a good friend recommended I look into AniCell. They have a great website and seem to specialize in the issue you’re having with Rio. They treat with stem cells and if I were you that’s what I’d be strongly considering right now. Luckily for me Sterling’s issue seems to have healed and he’s back in work. He was off work from mid-May to the end of August, so not a short vacation!

    1. Thank you for your suggestion! I looked up the company (anicell) and I have been in contact with them to see if it’s an option for Rio.

  2. I am not sure exactly how similady situation is, but one of my horses has a large wound near a joint so has been hard to heal and he reopened it. It is about 3 weeks in and he has a small amount of proud flesh so I think I am going to try Equaide

    1. Sounds very similar! Definitely let me know how you like the Equaide and if it works for your guy, as I am still looking into all possible options/

  3. Omg this is terrible – I’m so sorry! Totally understandable to feel so down about it too 🙁 hopefully it ends up being one of those things that feels like an eternity while it’s happening but then is completely forgotten once resolved? Idk. Ugh. No personal experience with anything like that – the only stubborn issue I’ve had with recovery revolved around a fungal infection. Blargh. Wishing you and Rio good luck and hopefully a turn for the better soon!

    1. Thank you! Honestly, just posting about it and facing my feelings has really helped. I was dreading that post, and now I feel a lot better. Everyone support and sympathy has really been amazing 🙂

  4. Oh man, that really sucks. )): I don’t have any experience with anything like this, so no great advice to give, but I hope that you guys find something that works for him soon.

  5. Oh my gosh, poor you and poor Rio! I don’t know if I’ve seen anything exactly like that, but just wanted to wish you all the best. It sounds like you are doing everything right, hopefully things take a turn for the better.

  6. Gah! I am so sorry to see things are not going as you expected with Rio 🙁 I have nothing to offer on wounds like this, but when Eli had a quarter-sized hole in his face, on of the things his vet suggested was scarlet oil to help granulate the tissue. But legs have joints and move a lot more than faces … I hope you are able to find something that works for Rio’s healing.

    1. Thank you! Yes, unfortunately both wounds are in bad areas which certainly isn’t helping. I’m feeling a lot more hopeful now and learning about more treatment options. All the good juju is much appreciated 🙂

  7. arghhh that is very disappointing poor you!! And poor Rio!! He must be a really poor healer. I hope you can get over the hump and maybe figure out something!

    I had a dog (i know not the same) who was bit by a snake in Texas and also hit by a car (different times) she had surgery on her leg and it never healed. I kept her going for 3 years with daily vet wraps and meds etc. It just would not heal. Depressing story and not to make you feel worse but we ending up losing her as the infection spread. HOWEVER it was a totally diff scenario but that leg would not heal.

    However a dog licks and licks so i am sure that didnt help. A horse doesnt so I am hoping you will figure out something to make the skin starting to heal.

    It sounds like you need SOMETHING that will close over the wounds. I feel like i tried everything on Ruby even some homopathic stuff let me look and see if i can find anything that might help Rio.

    Sounds like you have a great team on your side! I just cant figure out why one of the legs hasnt started to heal (One leg yes but BOTH??) SO ODD.

    Hugs to you and fingers crossed one day it just starts looking better. HORSES (And dogs) can drive us nuts.

    1. Thank you Michele! Rio’s issue does sound similar to the dogs- but I am determined to find something that works for him. At this point we are looking into so many options. I even had a friend tell me about a placenta patch (who knew!). Definitely not giving up yet. Hugs and good juju are definitely appreciated.

  8. Do you think maybe something to boost his immune system might help? No suggestions, but maybe something to bounce off your vet. Those are some gnarly wounds, I hope you find the magic fix soon!

    1. I’d be willing to try something like that, I just don’t know of anything either. I’ll keep my ears open though! And yes they are definitely kind of gross!

  9. I’m not sure about horses, but I have some experience with non healing wounds in people. We tend to use hyperbaric oxygen for the tough cases. A few of the equine rehab centers and some racetracks have them for horses. May be worth a shot if you have any accessible to you. As far as topical, we saw good improvement with a product called Medihoney compared to standard treatment.

    1. You must be telepathic because we have discussed both those treatment options just yesterday! I actually also had someone else recommend medihoney today as well. I definitely think I will be looking into trying some. Nice to know that vet and I aren’t crazy for considering hyperbaric chambers lol!

  10. I’m sure your vet has already done this, but I would probably want to get a little culture and biopsy, especially of that one wound that is growing bigger, just to make sure there isn’t an infection complicating things. Also agree with many of the above comments like the hyperbaric oxygen if available. Good luck, I am sure that has to be super frustrating!

  11. My mare had a very nasty non healing kick wound to her stifle. Super hard to keep any bandage on. Had the vet out several times- different vets- just wouldn’t heal. Vinegar is what finally did the trick. Sounds crazy, I know, but it’s all I use now. Good luck!

  12. We had a mare a few summers ago to split her knee open- muscle, tendons, all that fun stuff exposed- stitches and religious application of Banix brought her back. We kept an oversized fly boot (she’s a pony) wrapped over the site to keep out pests and that too helped. She was about 25-26 when it happened, and she’s still going strong and sound today at 29! Time and time again my barn owner has seen Banix work some miracles- its worth a shot?

    1. Never heard of Banix! So glad your girl is alright now. I will have to look into this miracle cure you speak of! Thank you!

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