...and it's all my fault :o( He was almost better, but last Thursday he had a totally avoidable freak accident and we're back to square one. For the past couple of weeks Merlin has been spending two to three hours a day on the rich grass in the second field before going back down to the short-cropped third field and because he'd much rather stay in the second field he's been tricky to catch so I've been leaving him in a headcollar.
You can see where this is going, can't you?
On Thursday I switched the hose on to fill up the water bath in the third field and as far as we can work out he must have had his head in it at the time and spooked, because an hour later when I went down to check him before taking Mick out for his birthday dinner, I found the bath pulled about 10 feet across the field and Merlin's headcollar dangling from the taps :o(
I was very, very, VERY lucky that other than two small gouged bits of skin where the headcollar dug in and a graze on his shoulder he was absolutely fine - that could easily have been a broken neck.
Matters were complicated by us leaving at 7am the following morning for a 1300 mile round trip to see the Foo Fighters at Milton Keynes, but fortunately my very horsey neighbours were animal sitting and Merlin still had four sachets of bute to go from the original prescription, so I left them a letter authorising them to make decisions on my behalf and agreeing to pay for any treatment they and the vet deemed necessary, just in case.
He had his final sachet on Tuesday morning and 24 hours later was still clearing favouring the left leg over the right. The vet and I decided that the best course of action was another 8 days of bute, which he started on yesterday morning, and then another call out if the problem hasn't gone/nearly gone at the end of that. They've put him on a half dose because they want him to feel it enough that he doesn't go bouncing around the field thinking he's fine, but he does seem a lot more comfortable within half an hour of having it in the mornings.
Watching him today he's happy to take the weight on that leg when he's grazing and is looking a lot more sound on the flat. I'm seriously considering halving the roped-off space in the second field and putting him in there full time, because he's much better on the flat than on the sloped sections in the third field (which needs a rest anyway). He's definitely putting that right fore down toe-first though, whereas the left is landing normally. The farrier is out this afternoon to trim him (shoes have been off since November), so I shall ask him to take a look at the heel and if not then I'm guessing possibly he's pulled something in the back of the leg somewhere when he was dragging the bath :o( No heat or swelling in it though.
Hopefully time and vets will sort him out - whenever I start worrying about it again I remind myself that when I strained an ankle running on softer sand than I should have it took two months for it to stop hurting, so as long as he continues to improve, however slowly, I shall continue to thank whatever gods were watching over him last Thursday.