Boomer, the Hoarse Horse | Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet

published on July 2, 2020

Oh

I definitely hear some–

[wheezing]

NARRATOR: Boomer the colt
has a nasty lung infection

that may be spreading–

MICHELLE OAKLEY: Ooh!

NARRATOR: –and
invading his knee

What the heck?

When a young horse gets
a respiratory infection,

the bloodstream loves to deposit
those bacteria in joints

NARRATOR: A septic
infection would be

devastating for the yearling

MICHELLE OAKLEY: If you were
in an equine surgical center,

you would have to open
up that joint, flush it

Yeah

MICHELLE OAKLEY:
It would probably

be months of treatment

We're in remote Yukon,
so a septic knee would be

a very bad outcome for Boomer

We're just watching him try
to see if he looks lame

Come on

Nope

No, it doesn't
look too lame now

It looks good

Yes?

Yeah

Oh, ho, ho!

MICHELLE OAKLEY: We don't
see any signs of lameness,

but there's still the swelling

So what we need to do now
is actually get an X-ray,

and get a picture of what's
going on in the knee itself

OK, I'll go get it set up

There's a lot of
different things

that can cause
swelling in the knee

I mean, a simple
injury, a twist–

that can cause it

Hold it up a little
higher if you can

Right there, hold it

Any other type of
infection can cause

swelling or fluid in the knee

And lift it up a
little, there you go

Perfect

It may be linked to the
pneumonia, but we're not sure

Here's the X-ray that we took

The knee looks like,
not infectious

So that's good

NARRATOR: Boomer's swollen joint
is not linked to his pneumonia,

but the yearling
has other problems

This is like the
kneecap, the patella

You can see right here,
there's a fairly large divot

Right

That's where there's
unstable bone and cartilage

from an OCD lesion

Every time he moves,
it's going to start

to become painful eventually

Correct

Yeah, that's exactly right

MICHELLE OAKLEY: So what
we can see in Boomer's knee

is classic for OCD or
osteochondritis dissecans

When his joints were growing,
that cartilage kind of

malformed, and we're
not really sure why

Eventually, that can cause a
lot of arthritis in the joint

But in some cases, it
doesn't cause a whole lot

of obvious lameness

It really depends
on the individual

if they ever do develop, and
how much arthritis they will

develop from these lesions

NARRATOR: Boomer's stifle is
a watch and wait situation

But his pneumonia
needs attention now

So what do you think about
just trying to treat that,

then?

Well, I mean, I think it's
going to be tough, you know?

We've been dealing with
this for a long time

I'd probably go another
round of treatment,

maybe four to six weeks, and
see if it's helping him any

He's a fighter

Yeah, he is!

We know that

And so sweet

So sweet

MICHELLE OAKLEY: We're
going to give a try

with a really good antibiotic

It really gets into the
lung tissue quite well,

and you can give it
for an extended period

All right

Well, I'll line you up
with some TMS, and–

Sounds good

–away you go for
six weeks with it

Is his name Sweet Pea?

NARRATOR: The coming
weeks will determine

if Boomer will join his herd
or spend another winter alone

So our plan is to check in on
Boomer and see how he's doing

If he's still sickly,
he won't be going out

And Boomer wants
to be out there

He was born out there

So I really hope that
he is healthy enough

to live that wild Yukon life

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