success. I’d suggested relocating him
to a milder climate, but no one liked
We moved Enzo into a stall and
consulted with the state veterinary teaching hospital. They
suggested trying a fresh amnion
wound dressing; amnion being
the membranes that shroud
the fetus in the womb. As it
was January in the Rockies,
I doubted that I’d be able to
find an amnion source. None of
my pregnant patients were due
I was driving up north for
some scheduled appointments
when the phone rang.
“Dr. Diehl, we bought a mare at
One Last Try
a sale this fall and she just foaled!
We had no idea she was bred. Can
you come out?”
Feeling the workings of fate, I
wheeled the truck around, and a few
hours later I was headed back to Enzo, fresh amnion slopping gently in a bag on
the seat next to me. The foal owner was excited to be able to help and had kindly
waved away our offers of payment.
We washed the amnion and prepared it according to directions, and excitedly
laid the first strip over the awful wound on the lower leg. Enzo didn’t mind the
amnion, and stayed busy at his hay feeder while his leg was wrapped.
There wasn’t much difference on the first bandage change, but by the second, I
thought I could see some improvement. The owner thought so too, and encouraged, we continued.
By the sixth bandage change, things were looking really good, and thrilled, I
called the university to thank them. But that night I got a strange text from the
owner. It seemed that an existing mass about the size of a ping pong ball under
the skin on Enzo’s left hamstring had suddenly doubled in size. Could I come
look at it right away?
I went back out to the farm and inspected Enzo’s behind, and sure enough the
mass was a lot bigger. It was firm, lobulated, approximately the size of a small
orange, and tightly adhered to the muscle. At a loss for an explanation, I biopsied
the tissue and sent the samples to the same university.
A week later the results came in, and the news was not good. The mass was a
small-cell lymphoma, and the university wanted to perform additional testing.
Soon we were notified that the tumor was a differentiated B cell lymphoma
with a guarded prognosis for long-term survival, and radiation therapy had been
recommended for Enzo.
It seemed natural to wonder if the amnion had somehow played a role in
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