The Basketball-Sized Sore is Gone
Months ago, Dr. Espy who wrote a clinical on equine vaccines through Autologous Implantation, visited the ranch to perform the miraculous treatment that would allow Summer's body to create its own vaccine and kill off the large growth on its own. The treatment entailed cutting off a little piece of the Sarcoid, dropping it in liquid nitrogen, and implanting 4 pieces into her neck. Over the course of 180 days, her body attacked both the pieces in her neck and also the sarcoid. The basketball had shrunk to nearly half its size! But once there was nothing left of the four pieces in the neck, her sore began growing again.
Dr. Metcalf thought we should try tying a Tourniquet around the big ball. The Sarcoid itself is essentially a spongy growth that has no feeling. With all 3 of our doctors on board about this next step, Dr. Metcalf tied surgical tubing around the sore. To keep her from trying to remove the tubing, the team created "Spicy Vaseline" which is made of Cayenne Pepper and Vaseline - and they rubbed it onto the tubing itself. It worked! She never once tried to remove the tourniquet.
"This is Gonna Get Ugly"
Dr. Metcalf warned us that this process would get ugly, really quickly, as the tissue starts to dissolve and die. He wasn't kidding. We won't show photos here -- but over 7 days, the sarcoid looked like it was melting away. The team had to keep spraying fly spray on it. But every day, it would look more and more like the Wicked Witch who melted into the ground. Until day 7 when they found the remainder of it laying in a field.
Managing the Open Wound
Today, Summer is just a few days out from the loss of the ball, and we're working closely with the doctor to treat what is now a gigantic gaping hole in her leg. We're not out of the woods! Summer doesn't feel good at all. She's on pain medicines. And Dr. Metcalf has performed a Regional Limb Perfusion (RLP). This is a procedure where a horse is mildly sedated, and an IV is administered to the lower leg area so that high concentrations of multiple strong antibiotics can get delivered directly to the infected area to optimize the bacterial kill without treating the whole horse. A tourniquet is tied at the top of the leg to keep the treatment local to the leg. He will do this procedure several times.
Summer is getting the best care we know how to give, across all our doctors! She is in her young twenties and it's important that we give her the best quality of life possible. Sarcoids are difficult beasts of a virus. They get angry. They come back with vengeance and sometimes move around the body. We are optimistic that she will heal, possibly with a skin graft to the leg. And we hope the sarcoid virus stays gone!
We are so thankful your everyday purchases are helping us bring lifesaving treatments like this to such deserving animals! For the amount of labor a working draft horse goes through in their lifetime, she deserves a retirement fit for a queen.