The Big Snip: Revenge of the Ballsack

This is a warning to those reading that there
will be bloody pictures in this blogpost.
I will post them at the bottom of the blogpost so that you can choose whether or not to view them.

When you hit the cherry candy, that’s when the gore begins! 

So, the Big Snip took place on the 4th of February, and on the afternoon of the 5th we were home. He was on absolute stall rest for the coming week. No walking, no going out of his stall at all.
By the next day Quincy looked like he had regenerated his testicles.
The vet had warned me that swelling was to be expected, so I didn’t think too much of it. I was also keeping tabs on his temperature but of course he was getting anti-inflammatories and antibiotics so his temperature was being kept down by the meds. 

We were sent home with three days of anti-inflammatories and seven days of antibiotics. He was meant to get 60gr of antibiotics a day, but as I said in the last blog post, he really couldn’t deal with the taste of the antibiotics. This also means that he only got a part of them, he would spit them out, or we would miss his mouth while trying to inject them.
So in hindsight I should’ve been more proactive about bringing him back to the hospital. But then again, hindsight is 20/20. I also stayed in close contact with my vet and the surgeon about the developments, sending them photos and receiving care tips from them.
By the 10th the swelling had still not gone down any, and my worries were starting to pile up. But he was still being his happy and awake self so I decided to table my worries and give it time. We had a small trim session that day, taking our time and giving him loads of breaks.
However, the following day I was not tabling anything anymore. It went from his scrotum being swollen to his entire sheath being swollen and inflamed. I arrived at the stable at 2PM and by 2:30PM I had spoken to my vet, in a slight panic.
Her and the surgeon’s recommendation was to bring him back to the clinic as soon as possible. This of course was a bit nerve racking as I immediately cracked down on myself for not acting sooner and listening to my gut. I was pretty angry at myself, and very worried about Quincy. 

Mother to the rescue:

As I don’t have a trailer, and am not even allowed to drive one, I was at a loss for transport. The friend who had brought Quincy to the hospital was unavailable, the other friend who had picked us up had broken his foot on a hack the preceding weekend, so he was out too. So I started looking “horse cab” up on google. Yes, that is exactly how nervous I was.
AND THEN MY MOM SAVED THE DAY!!!
My mom had been driving around Ghent months ago, before I bought Quincy, and had seen a HORSE TAXI and (because she’s the absolute best and is always thinking ahead) she had taken a picture of their number.
So I called. And wouldn’t you know, they were free, and the driver was also available. And he would get to the ranch in an hour’s time. I was so incredibly relieved. But at the same time, also worried because Quincy does NOT load well. Like at all. I had hoped to have him rest for a month or two and then come back to the trailer loading with the fantastic girl who had helped us before his castration. And now we would have to load, into not a trailer, but a small truck, which for him is just a whole other ball game because the slightest change throws him for a loop.
But he needed to go so we didn’t have a choice really. And the driver was also experienced in loading horses so I figured, even if it did take an hour, we would be able to get him on and get going.
The guy arrived by 4PM and by 4:30 he was loaded and we were on our way. This man was a real professional, stayed calm, let me deal with Quincy the way I wanted to and helped me the way I asked him to.
I have to say, it can’t be underlined enough how fantastic it is when someone listens to you on how to handle your horse. I’m not claiming I know Quincy through and through, but I do know him. And even if you disagree on how I am doing things with him, there’s a reason I do it the way I do. Respecting that is so important. And I appreciated this calm and quiet man giving me and Quincy the time we needed. 

Quincy is in the first truck, the horse in the trailer in front of me was also heading to the clinic.

And we’re back…

After one week at home he was back at the hospital. He wasn’t as impressed as he was the first time we walked in, but you could tell it wasn’t going to be fun times. The vet came and saw him, the surgeon was in surgery at that moment so he couldn’t come and discuss.
She told me they would probably drain the wound the morning after because the pressure was getting too high. But she wanted to have the surgeon take a look. I stayed with him for a couple more hours and then had to leave.
The morning after I went and saw him with my mother, when we entered his stall I was in shock. The entirety of his hindlegs were covered in blood. Now, he has white socks on his hindlegs so the contrast was heightened but still… It looked like his scrotum had exploded and dumped blood on his entire hindend. Not a pretty sight. So I quickly asked a student if everything had gone according to plan and it was meant to look like that. It was. She did say that they were going to wash his legs off and that they monitored the wound every hour to see that there would be no additional swelling.
He did look a little peppier than the day before. But you can imagine he wasn’t in his happy place…!

The pictures will be at the end of the post if you want to see what I’m talking about. 

On the road to recovery

So now the prognosis was a three week rehab:

– A short week of near complete stall rest, he wasn’t allowed to walk for three days, and after that students (or I) would walk him for 15+ minutes three times a day.
– Followed by two weeks of walking. Only walking, no faster gaits, no explosions at all (yeah right!)

He stayed at the hospital for 8 days in total. I told my vet I preferred him to stay one or two days longer than necessary. Just to be on the safe side. Technically he was cleared to go home on the Friday, but I had him stay till Monday, for my peace of mind.
During the last five days I would go to him and walk him for 30-40 minutes. The hospital has a small indoor arena which we could use. But the weather was so nice that I decided to walk him outside. You could see him enjoying his time outside SO MUCH. Poor boy was getting a “little” stir crazy. I say little, because the worst was yet to come.

We used the same transport to head back home. Now, I’ve told you how Quincy does not load easily. So we were prepared to work on loading him for half an hour again.
Well, Quincy was ready to go home. He loaded in one go and stood quietly and calmly while we closed the truck up.
I’m not going to lie, I was a little emotional due to that. He was clearly done with being there and understood we were taking him home. My smart smart boy. 

And now… we WALK

So now he was only allowed to walk for the next two weeks. Luckily he is a gentleman and he does listen. Plus, he did have a literal open wound between his legs so running wasn’t on the forefront of his mind for the first week. But… by the time the second week came around, Mister was a little high in energy…
We went on a lot of “relaxing walks”. When it was just the two of us and my entire focus was on him, he was an angel. He stayed with me, listened and calmed down right away when I asked him to. BUT, when someone came with us… He took complete advantage of my divided focus and would spook at just about anything he could spook at. People running, bikers, a creaking branch… anything was a good enough excuse to play Pegasus. He is absolutely fine with bikers and joggers… And I know that haha so I knew he was just playing and just wanted to let loose a little.
One thing I did do to help him manage himself was adjust his feed during this last month. Instead of getting energy high grain feed twice a day, I bought a mash to feed him that in the evening. He actually loves the mash and I’m still feeding it now. I think I will buy another bag and keep this feeding schedule until he is entirely back into work. 

Back to the balls

Now, the swelling was supposed to lessen progressively over the two weeks. The first week I saw barely any changes and my worries started growing again. Additionally the wound kept producing pus and discharge. My vet reassured me that this was entirely to be expected and completely normal. I had been told not to touch the wound and to just leave it alone. So that’s what I did. But damn it it just kept nagging at me that it wasn’t entirely how it should be.
But you listen to your vet. Because they do know more than you do.
By the half of the second week I just couldn’t do nothing anymore and sent her pictures of what it looked like. She told me I could hose it down and wash it with antibacterial soap once a day.
I did this during two days, and my oh my, did it make a difference!!! All of a sudden the swelling disappeared, his stiffness lessened and he was back to his old self. 

So sometimes, listen to your gut. When you think something is taking too long, call your vet and argue your side.

Don’t be obnoxious obviously, but you are there on the ground, seeing the progress or lack thereof.

– Me in all my wisdom

After this came very boring days for him, which were actually rather eventful for me. I would arrive, take his temperature (for my peace of mind) and then we would walk. Now, this was murderously boring for him, but oh so interesting and suspenseful for me.
Will he spook? Will he not? I don’t think I’ve ever handled a horse that reared so much in so little time. We got it down pat though. He would accelerate in a tight circle around me, back up, and rear. Luckily his rears aren’t crazy, meaning he doesn’t do a “Black Beauty rear” every time. So his legs weren’t waving in front of my head. Which is cool, cause that can be so dangerous.
Mind you, I did have to learn by doing. I know Quincy is rather sensitive, so if I use my voice too much he gets more anxious, if I wave things around him he is mostly fine, except when he is excited. So, what remains to keep your rearing horse calm? Not much honestly. So I would let him rear (what can you do really?!) and then I would gently and sternly tell him no, and redirect his attention to me, and on moving forward.
Thinking forward, and not *UP*, really helped with redirecting his impulses. He also wasn’t rearing in anger, or fear or any negative motivation. He was rearing because he just had too much energy and didn’t know how to get rid of it. So also, not something you should get mad over. 

This entire adventure took way longer than expected, than hoped and longer than he could cope with honestly.
My anxiety was severely tested with this adventure, and his calm. But we are nearly entirely done with it. The wound is 90% closed, the sutures are starting to disintegrate and my anxiety is dying down. We have started up basic work again and I can tell you my Big Red Locomotive is chugging along, happy as can be.


Thanks for reading, 
Greetings from Belgium,
Q&A

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