We had a bit of a setback in Stormy’s healing process post-surgery. After the bandage removal, we continued to clean the incision site daily and administer antibiotics as Dr. Fleck had prescribed. He said to continue to treat and monitor it, but there was potential that her body was rejecting the ocular implant that was placed during surgery. Implants are commonly placed during enucleation procedures for cosmetic purposes. They give the appearance that the horse just has their eye closed, as opposed to leaving the socket hollow. They’re nice to have, but if her body was rejecting it then the only solution would be to remove it. After about a week and a half of the antibiotic and cleaning regimen, it was clear that she was not healing the way that she should and we would need to intervene.
On Sunday December 4th, Dr. Renner made a trip out to the barn to remove the implant. He sedated her, prepped the site, easily removed the black silicone ball from her eye socket, and bandaged her up. The skin surrounding her socket was inflamed and not ready to be sutured, so he opted to leave it open until there had been enough healing to suture the lid closed again. He returned to change the bandage on Monday and then again on Tuesday. By Tuesday enough healing had taken place to where he could suture the skin closed. He left a small hole to serve as a drain for fluid accumulation. Another bandage was placed, and this time we got the go-ahead to continue bandage changes on our own.
We are now removing the bandage, flushing the socket with a betadine solution, and re-bandaging every 3 days. We’ll continue this until the socket fills in enough that there is no longer a drainage hole. The new sutures will be pulled on 12/20. At that time Stormy can have her bandage off for good, but she’ll need to wear her protective eye cup until the site is completely healed.
Stormy is being an angel for this entire process. She stands quietly for her bandage changes, and doesn’t mind the flushing procedure. Melinda, our herd health manager, says that Stormy asks politely for a really good face-scratching session before having her bandage replaced. We expect the healing to take about a month. Stay tuned for her post-surgery reveal photos!