Monday, May 31, 2010

Arthritis, or how I learned to stop worrying and love the needle

Look Mom, I look FABULOUS!

After months pass with good food and good conditioning, Guinness is looking FABULOUS! I took these photos a few weeks ago, and you can't imagine what he looks like now! He's so shiny I'm afraid I might cause the cars on the road to crash. Not only that, but he's putting on so more muscle every day.
So Shiny, we blind cars! It's really not safe :)

But, while I've been thrilled with every improvement in The Man's body, not everything has been going to swimmingly. Instead, it has seemed like every week there's a new development - and a new set back. So much for a long active summer.

First, there are the tender feet: It seems to take about 2-3 weeks for GP's feet to build back up after a trim. Until then, he is useless on rocks - making our lovely (but rocky!) outdoor ring useless to us. All the rain we've been getting this month hasn't been helping much either. Plus, my dog knocked over our bottle of Keratex.

It's been rough, okay.

Second, HOLY CRAP rain! I mean, seriously. There's been so much rain this month I've felt like we're about to float away (and in Kentucky/Tennessee, lots of people DID). On top of the torrential downpours, it's been hot. Like steam the skin right off your back hot. Oh, and humid. So humid that you don't want to change clothes because you're afraid you might not be able to peel your pants off. It's gross. And hot. And ... yeah. Ew.

Thirdly, I pulled the big man out of the field a week ago to find that he had sliced himself open in two spots. One on the chest, and one on the left front knee. Seriously? What a disaster horse. After cleaning the wounds and leaving him in for the night, I came back to find his left leg swollen to the degree that it looked like a softball was sewn into the joint. Horrifying doesn't even begin to explain how that looked. The vet examined him, and let me know that the injury avoided the joint (thank god!), but that we had to get that swelling down. Needless to say, 4 days off with cold-hosing, poulticing and wrapping were had. It was the opposite of fun.
(For those interested in how GP hurt himself: He pulled down a section of gate and went tramping through the untamed wilderness surrounding the electrical tower in the field. Then he and his best friend Kirby couldn't figure out how to get out. They panicked ... and thus the injury. Oh Disaster Horse ...)

Finally, we've been having lots of weird behavior from the horse department. Lots of head tossing and sore steps and bucking and resisting and general tail swishing and unhappy. I had the vets check Guinness out, and we went through a flurry of misdiagnostics. First, it was a possible torn or strained suspensory. Then, a loose stifle joint. Then sore hocks. Then, inflexible fetlocks. Even EPM was thrown around for a minute. That was dumb.

We finally came to a decision. Guinness' arthritis has finally gotten to the point where supplements alone are not going to cut it anymore. So we had him injected. Four shots for the hocks, and then both of his front fetlocks too. The actually process was pretty cool. I got to feel GP's nasty old joint fluid. The fluid is supposed to feel like oil a little and be stringy, like good mozzarella. This stuff was inert. It felt like warm water in my hand, and didn't have any stretch. After seeing that, I'm very happy I took the step to have him done. I know it's something that we'll have to keep up with, but seeing him move out so happily now and being able to jump again is completely worth it!

Now, with the weather starting to even out to a good summer, and my horse feeling FABULOUS. I'm very excited to see where this summer is going to lead us!


Look how much he's filled out in the last few months! These shots are pre-injection, so his ankles are still huge and inflamed. I'll have to get some now shots ...

Stay tuned for an update on our jumping and riding this week!

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