A Life-Threatening Lameness: Mohna’s Story
The Naturally Healthy Horse of the Month for February is Guardians IIM Neet , aka Mohna–a 16 year old Arabian mare who overcame a life-threatening injury thanks to a combination of Western medicine, holistic treatments, and the dedication of her guardian, Eileen Coe, a certified equine acupressure practitioner.
Mohna’s first brush with death actually occurred at the age of two when she was involved in a bad trailer accident (while living with a previous owner). The jaws of life were used to cut her out. “She came flying out of the trailer which earned her the nickname ‘Geronimo’,” said Eileen. The name eventually morphed into ‘Mohna’ “The ‘h’ makes it more exotic – she is Arabian after all!”
Fortunately, the only injury Mohna sustained from the trailer accident was to her front right fetlock. And now, “other then it getting stiff on occasion – or if she gets a little crazy out in the pasture – it doesn’t really bother her yet,” Eileen said.
In November, 2011, nearly three years after Mohna came to live with Eileen, the mare sustained a small scrape on her left front fetlock while on a trail ride. Two days later, she was lame. Since this occurred over Thanksgiving weekend, Eileen treated the seemingly minor injury with arnica (a homeopathic herb) and ice.
The lameness continued to worsen though, so Eileen took Mohna to her local vet. The vet first suspected a suspensory injury. X-rays were taken and no pathology was evident so the injury was treated with a topical NSAID.
“She continued to get worse, and the swelling actually started to spread UP her leg,” said Eileen. When the duo returned to the vet, cellulitis–a bacterial infection of the connective tissues just under the skin–was now suspected. Penicillin and Gentamicin were administered to treat the infection. At this point, Mohna was in obvious pain. “She looked like she could fall down as she tried to walk – it made me sick to my stomach!” said Eileen.
Surgical lavage was performed right away. “We were allowed to view the proceedings from an observation area. However it is quite disconcerting to see your beautiful horse on her back with her legs tied up in the air, and a tube down her throat that she is breathing through,” said Eileen.
with the other horses around,” said Eileen. “She loved being outside. And when she was in her stall, she had the company of her geldings keeping watch over her. The horses would choose to sleep in the barn, standing or laying, in front of her stall. It truly was amazing!”
Eileen began the process of slowly rehabilitating Mohna, starting with hand walking, and eventually some trotting. She did not attempt to ride Mohna for over a year, and even then, started out with a bareback pad and halter for fifteen minutes a day. “I really feel by being patient, and giving her the time she needed to heal, that I have a remarkably sound horse today,” Eileen said.
“My relationship with Mohna is on a whole new level, due to all the time we spent together,” Eileen said. “I used the Parelli games to help me with our ground time, and keep it interesting. I still use Parelli today – and am very grateful for it.”
Eileen’s words of advice for others is this: “If your horse is lame, do not hesitate to consult your vet. Was there anything I could have down differently? Probably not, but now I check her over with a fine tooth comb, and even if there is a scab, I use Vetericyn or Betadine on it. Where did the MRSA come from? That is another story – who knows for sure. We can all be carriers. Human and animal. Hand washing is of the utmost importance. I am just grateful that we had a good outcome, and that we can all learn from this. Mohna is a remarkable teacher!”