Saying a horse will return to full athletic soundness after a navicular bursa infection is an extremely guarded prognosis. Dr. Carter was quick to let the owners know the severity of the situation revealing that “only 55% of horses are deemed sound and return to work if they recover from a navicular bursa infection." Lower limb infections are problematic - consider the location, the severity and the structures involved.
Liana (Travis’s owner), who competes on the University of Tennessee Martin Equestrian Team, was finishing up her last lesson before she headed off to college to begin the fall semester. The sliding stops ended abruptly when rider and trainer both noticed something was not right with Travis. Upon inspection, they noticed that Travis had stepped on a nail. The nail was removed and everything was fine. After consulting with Countryside, they kept a close eye on Travis and watched for any changes in soundness or demeanor.
Infection hit - painful pressure and inflammation built up. Barn manager Brynn described Travis as being a “three legged horse” as he was not putting any weight on his back leg.
Travis was brought to Countryside where he was placed under anesthesia and underwent what is know as the "Street Nail Procedure" for the infection located in his navicular bursa.
Liana (Travis’s owner) received the text that he was going into surgery while at a meeting for her college equestrian team. Tears rolled down her face as she heard the news. She had the opportunity to ride horses while away at college, but as Liana stated "there is something special about the bond you build with your own horse."
Travis remained hospitalized at Countryside for 10 days. Any lessons or thoughts of returning to the show ring was far from anyone's mind - it was all about survival.
"Recovering a horse after surgery is no easy task and the risk for infection returning is high," explains Dr Carter. Thankfully Travis had an entire team that was able to assist with his recovery.
Barn manager, Brynn earned her title as an expert in the field of changing out a treatment plate. She kept her eyes on Travis 24/7. She expressed, “Travis had good days and bad days, but we were ready for them - Countryside did a great job of letting us know what to expect throughout his journey.”
Everyday after work, Ann (Liana’s mom) could be found hand walking Travis around. She stated, “Travis is a horse with a big personality and a big heart, he needed a purpose in his life." That purpose was the reason their walks took place in the arena following the same reining patterns that her daughter Liana had once loped.
Christmas break finally rolled around, which brought Liana home from college. Travis let out his infamous high pitched whinny when he saw Liana round the corner. As Liana’s mom states, “It was the perfect time for her to be home and work with Travis."
The family relied on hope, faith and aggressive veterinary acton throughout Travis's journey.
Liana also relied on her mom, Ann to help condition Travis back in to shape while she was at school. Ann actually learned to ride and climbed in the saddle for the 1st time to work Travis back into shape.
Travis returned to the show ring with owner Liana for the first time after his 9 month recovery in May (pictured above). He placed 4th out of 38 entries. For the team at Countryside he placed 1st.
Dr. Carter states, “We are about the win for the horse - Travis is sound and back to work, that's the real reward."