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Skye's Sarcoid Saga!

16th April 2022

I've loved horses since I was really young and spent lots of time at my local riding school and Riding for The Disabled. During the first Covid Lockdown in 2020, I wasn't able to go in to work for several months and I was at a real loose end and my mental health was suffering. I had wanted a horse of my own for so long and I felt like I couldn't wait any longer! I was finally in a position to get my own horse once I started working at Amayzing Saddlery, so I starting looking for horses locally. My boss Laura kept sending me adverts for horses and telling me about some of her saddle fitting clients who were selling their horses. When I saw Skye's advert, I thought she sounded ideal. She was currently being used in a riding school, was the right age and height that I was looking for and her price was very reasonable.

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Laura knew Skye as she had fitted her saddle the year before and came with me to view her. Skye was lovely and chilled when I met her and I had a great ride on her in the school, she seemed perfect. I went back for a second viewing and took her out on a hack and after I had her vetted, decided to buy her.

Looking back I maybe should have taken a bit more time looking at horses first as Skye was the first horse I went to view. I was so desperate to have a horse of my own and she ticked most of the boxes. The only issue was that at the vetting the vet saw that she has sarcoids on the inside of her hindleg. At the time the vet said that the sarcoids would be easy to treat by freezing them of and it wouldn't be very expensive. Skye was also slightly nervous when we went out for a hack but at the time it wasn't anything I was concerned about as she was so great otherwise.

Skye moved to our new yard on the 17th of July 2020. It was so exciting and everyone at the yard was so nice. At first Skye was going to live in the 24/7 turnout field without a stable which I was happy with as the yard doesn't often have spaces for new horses. After a few months, a space with a stable became available but I had to move Skye into another field with different horses. She got on fine but definitely preferred being in the larger 24/7 turnout field.

In December 2020, I had my vet out to look at her sarcoids to decide if they needed to be treated. My vet gave me the option of removing them or leaving them, but I decided that I wanted them removed as they may have grown over time. In January 2021, Skye started her treatment, she had the sarcoids removed with a laser and then had to go to the vet hospital 3 times over a couple of months to have cryotherapy and local chemotherapy injections. After her first visit to the hospital, my vet said that it was ok to turn her out as normal if I thought she would behave herself. I had had no issues turning her out before her surgery, but after she had been out for a few weeks, one day I got a call from one of the girls at the yard to say that Skye had started fighting with one of the other horses and had torn open her wound from her surgery and was bleeding everywhere. The vet came out and cleaned her up and luckily she hadn't done any more damage. Skye had always wanted to be top of the pecking order in the field and I think after all the stress of being away at the vets and being a bit sore from her surgery, it was all too much for her.

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Skye then had to go on box rest until she healed up and was feeling a bit better as I couldn't risk her doing something else in the field. She was amazing being on box rest, really calm and always happily munching on her hay and saying hello to everyone who came into the barn. After a few weeks I started trying to turn her out in a small paddock on her own with other horses next door. She was ok some of the time, but she was clearly very stressed and was really difficult to handle outside. Her slight nervousness that I had seen when I took her on a hack when I viewed her really flared up when she had a lot of stress going on. She managed to open up her wound again, and so I had to put her back on box rest.

In May, I started trying to turn her out again. We took it very slow, only turning her out for short periods supervised until she was able to cope being out for longer. She seemed to be very spooky if it was windy, so I sewed noise-cancelling ears on a fly mask to help to keep her calm which worked a treat. After a while she was able to cope without this on. She moved into a slightly larger field and we got into a good routine with her being out for most of the day. She was great for the first couple of months but started to panic if the horses in the field next to her were brought in before her. It was a real challenge to manage this as the other horses would sometimes come in at different times each day.

 

In August I decided that she had healed up enough and I wanted to try putting her back out in the 24/7 turnout field that she was in when we first moved to the yard. When she first went back out she ran around bucking quite a lot and unfortunately managed to open up her leg wound again. Unfortunately she had to go back to the hospital and the vet was worried that there might still have been some sarcoid tissue there as it was unusual that it was taking so long to heal. Luckily the sarcoids were definitely gone, she just had a lot of scar tissue in the area that was making it more difficult for it to heal.

The next two months were spent back in the field on her own. At the end of November she decided that she had finally had enough of being turned out on her own and jumped the fence into the field next door. Nobody noticed until the other horses were being brought in and they saw Skye grazing quite happily with them. I decided enough was enough and that I would put her back out in the 24/7 turnout field and she has been there ever since. She's settled really well as she had sorted out the pecking order when she had been out with them a couple of months previously so there was no crazy running around or bucking :) She has been able to move around a lot and has been way more relaxed which has helped her heal much more quickly.

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Now her wound is almost fully healed, after more than a year and lots of stress and vet bills. Luckily the vet was happy that her sarcoids were all gone from after her last treatment at the hospital, all the issues with her re-opening her wound were due to the area where it was located, right at the top of her hindleg on the inside, where the skin stretches a lot when she moves. After this whole saga I have learnt a lot but am so glad it is over. I will definitely be more careful if I buy another horse in the future to look out for any potential vet issues. I am also better at judging Skye's behaviour and looking back there were warning signs that she might have some behaviour issues once she moved yard and had to go through a lot of stress.

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