Wednesday, June 24, 2009

His Future

Linus enjoying being groomed by Nicole, Lucy, Rachel and Miranda - June 24, 2009.

The weather here lately has been terrible. Today was officially the 9th day in a row that we have had rain. Our turnout areas are getting muddy, so we have been rotating horses in the arena. Faith and Linus have been cooped up more than they'd like, but they are taking it well.

Faith has been doing fine. No big news on her part.

Linus's "part" though... Well, let's just say that it's still hanging around! (Bad joke, I know...)

Last night Melissa stopped by just as I was beginning my nightly routine with Linus. Every night I tend to his all of his wounds and need to make sure "the organ" is clean. It also gives me a chance to make sure the infection isn't getting any worse. Since Melissa was there, I figured she would eagerly and graciously volunteer for the cleaning task, but she somehow was a lot less excited than I had hoped. I lost the "nose goes" game, so she held him and I did all of the work. She must cheat because I seem to lose every time... :-)

I put on rubber gloves and cleaned him up with a topical cleanser. Some of the scabs have begun to break off, so it was rather nasty last night. (I actually felt sick a few times, and I'm pretty good at dealing with gross stuff.) After everything was cleaned up, I slathered Silvadene on it. Thankfully, since it has been exposed for so long, the nerve endings are mostly dead and he has very limited feeling in it. He has been a good boy and hasn't offered to kick or act naughty.

Although I have close-up pictures of "the organ", I know that a lot of kids read this blog, so I will not post them on here. (Actually, even if kids didn't read this, I probably still wouldn't post them.) However, many have asked about the severity of his infection, so if anyone is interested in seeing the extent of the issue we're dealing with, feel free to email me and I will forward them to you.

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Here are a few pictures of Linus taken outside today. Look at how much this guy has improved in just over three weeks!

Besides issues with "the organ", the only other issue that we're working on are the massive cuts Linus has all over his body. His hips, back and hindquarters are just riddled with what appears to be marks from bites and kicks. They are all 2-6 inches long and some are fairly deep. None needed stitches when he arrived - and they were too old at that time to benefit from sutures anyway. We have been putting topical ointment on them twice daily and many are improving. His hair is starting to grow back in some areas, which means his body is functioning better now. He has quite a few wounds on his forehead, as shown in the picture below.

Overall, we are on the right track and Linus is improving better than expected! Not to mention that he is an absolute sweetheart and just a doll to work with!

What is going to happen during and after surgery for Linus?

The surgery consists of removing about 90% of the actual penis. The surgeon will basically cut it off, reroute the blood vessels, and then reconstruct the urethra. The urethra is made of very elastic tissue and will try to collapse on itself. Therefore, Linus will have a catheter inserted during surgery, and it will remain in place for approximately 5-7 days.

When the surgery is complete, his penis will just slightly protrude the end of his sheath. He will still urinate like a normal horse and there should not be any long-lasting issues or concerns with it. The surgeon informed me that very rarely will this procedure have any concerns once it is healed. The only psychological anguish he will suffer will be from the other geldings cracking jokes at his expense... :-)

Linus will stay at the hospital for at least a few days for observations and IV antibiotics. Once out of the hospital, he will return home and be under the supervision and care of Dr. George. Hopefully Linus will be back to normal within 7-10 days. The catheter will come out in that same time frame.

This procedure should not affect his future use at all. Actually, it will improve it! It's not healthy to ride a horse with a paralyzed penis, so once it is taken care of, he'll be a new and improved model!

I stand corrected...

When Dr. Barnes came last week for Faith, I discussed Linus's problem with him and learned something new! Apparently, there is a difference between a prolapsed penis and a paralyzed penis. Get your notebooks and #2 pencils ready...

A prolapsed penis occurs when the muscles begin to pull the penis back into the sheath and the skin folds up on itself and basically gets caught. The muscles keep pulling the penis in, but it can't move, and eventually it cuts off circulation to the end of the penis and the tissue dies. And we all know what happens to dead tissue - it falls off. Gross...

A paralyzed penis is one which the muscles inside the sheath lose their strength and elasticity, (often from over-tranquilizing,) and can no longer retract the penis. The tissue still remains alive and functional, it is just exposed. The problem with the exposure is infection and pain. This is what Linus has.

My dad always says that you learn something new every day... He is probably just overflowing with pride from the article his daughter just wrote. Good thing the old man has a good sense of humor, right?! :-) I love you, Dad!

Future Plans for Linus

Once Linus has fully recovered from surgery we will continue to rehabilitate him and get his weight to a healthy level. Although he is making excellent improvements, he still has about another 175 pounds to go. I am sure that the stress from the surgery will also hinder his steady improvement, but I have faith in him that he will pull through despite the setback!

The way he has been improving, I think that we may try him under saddle around the beginning of August. This is totally a guess, but if he continues to improve, I think we just might be on him before summer is out!

I'm hoping that everything I have been told about Linus's work ethic is true. It would be great to find him a job to do. Having a "purpose" after their rehabilitation helps any abused animal recover psychologically from what has happened to them. And people too, for that matter!


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