Tristan health update – possible good news!

Potentially good news on Tristan aka the Old Man, Big Guy, Big T so read on….

Yesterday when I went out to visit, Big Guy had isolated himself from the rest of the herd (not good sign) and when I showed up, didn’t immediately respond (bad sign). When he walked towards me he wasn’t limping, but the right kneee looked swollen. I went in and checked it – it did have heat and swelling. This photo below is from today and it is worse then yesterdays.

The melanomas under his tail had tripled in size – about the size of a softball. Overall, his attitude was listless (really bad sign) and I think it was this listlessness that really frightened me.

This a.m. I got the call from the BO, that he had an oily, black drainage all down his leg. When I got there it all looked like this:

Now, not only was the right foreleg stocked up, but also the left hock and some of the right hind. Which goes to prove again the amazing diagonal connection between the legts (right fore, left hind). Overall, though his attitude had improved: he was with his herd buddies, actively grazing, and demanded his carrot treats.

When Dr. Cowgirl arrived, she checked him over and we both agreed that the drainage was odd as it didn’t smell. I actually think this was drainage from the melanoma itself and not infection because of the lack of pus, blood and smell but we’ll see. It was a black liquid the color of your used car engine oil; it did clean off easily with soap and water.

Her conclusion at this point is that he got an abcess under his tail melanomas (maybe through rubbing and getting a puncture/scratch that allowed an infection to start) and now that it’s draining he’s getting some relief. The leg puffiness is probably through the body trying to process it. 

The reasoning behind this is that when melanomas decide to grow the pattern is that ALL the melanomas increase in size… the ones on his penis haven’t changed. The bump on his left side at the end of his ribacage which I noticed about 3 months after his move to his retirement home (I initially thought was a reaction to a bug bite but it never went away) is most likely an internal melanoma that has gotten large enough to be seen externally. It’s about a 3″ diameter.

He’s going on a 5 day Sulfa antibiotic that is to be given once a day orally. Bute three days on and one day off, three days on and then we’ll see where we are.

I cleaned him up and he liked the cold water under his tail – standing for it by being only ground tied. He seemed even more mobile and alert afterwards, walking the pasture around to get his drink and being followed by his buddies. When I turned to get the bucket he even tried to sneak off to the BO’s back porch so he definitely was feeling more alert and up to a little naughtiness.

I still think the melanomas have gotten larger, but hopefully the grotesque size is due to an infection. We’ll know in a week to 14 days…maybe sooner if his mood continues to improve so much.

Since the BO’s wife was there we all got a chance to discuss Tristan and agree about his future – keeping him going as long as he maintains weight, continues eating, pooping, drinking, and stays relatively active with his companions. The BO and I also agreed on a burial spot for him and that if I was out of town, Dr. Cowgirl had the right to make a final decision.

We also all agreed that he wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed but we all loved that gentle giant, goofball.

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