So, as I mentioned yesterday, the barn manager let me know that Tris came in from turnout with his RF fetlock swollen again and quite lame.
Last night at midnight, after getting back from my 15 hour workday with a program in another part of the state, I checked on him.
RF was swollen and hot from fetlock to knee. No definition to the tendon sheath. Three-legged lame.
I paced, and checked it again, and paced some more, and finally left the barn. I couldn't cold hose, since it was still going to be below freezing overnight and the hoses wouldn't run. I didn't have ice, and it was midnight - I couldn't get any. I thought briefly about liniment, but that felt like flicking drops at a fire, and I didn't have any Sore No More - only Absorbine, which I kind of hate.
While I was driving home, I formed a plan that I carried out this morning. After about 5.5 hours of sleep, I returned to the barn. I stopped for iced coffee and a bag of ice on the way, and when I got to the barn filled a gallon bag with ice, added a little water, and wrapped it on to his leg with a snug polo wrap.
He was turning up his nose at his grain - he really hates his new bute - but chowing down his hay and happy and cheerful otherwise. I was struck by how much his leg looked like it did back when he had his first abscess. You know, the one that started the year of misery and vet bills and surgery and rehab.
On the one hand, of all the personal nightmares I do not want to revisit, that one is pretty high on the list.
On the other hand: if it isn't an abscess, there is something very, very wrong going on in his fetlock. That has all sorts of possibilities that I don't want to think about right now.
The silver lining is that I am so maxed out on stress with the house and work that while I am worried and upset and stressed about this, I am not quite freaking out. Yet.
Barn manager, who I am nominating for sainthood as soon as I can figure out the paperwork, is negotiating with the vet right now for an appointment today or tomorrow for Tris as well as another horse in the barn. She'll pull and periodically re-ice through the day today, and I left it up to her discretion whether to put him in standing wraps otherwise.
Onward, I guess. I just wish I knew where.