Monday, March 30, 2015

"Treatment as diagnosis"

I had the vet out Friday to evaluate the funky movement of Guinness' back right leg. He immediately agreed there was an issue with the leg. I have to say, it's strangely reassuring to hear the vet say "Oh yeah, I totally see it too." Somehow, it's nicer to know I wasn't imagining things, and that there is really an issue to point to.

However, that issue isn't the hock. It's the stifle.

We didn't take x-rays, so we don't know for sure what we are treating. My vet offered me the choice of going to Purdue to get ultrasounds and x-rays, having some digital x-rays taken at his office, or just treating now and seeing how any improvement informs future decisions. I chose the later.

See, I've know there's a pain issue, even more so than I let on in my previous post. I've been through training issues, and stubbornness issues with this horse before. This hasn't felt the same. He's trained to this level, and knows his job. He even likes his job. So when he's recently started off easy and lovely in the bridle and remained that way through the whole ride, except when tracking right, alarm bells started chiming. Then, we very recently started working in the deeper footing of the outdoor ring, and Pig started panic sweating when we track right. The alarm bells got even louder.

So why didn't I leap in for the whole diagnostic shebang? Well, I have a 17 year old ex-racehorse on my hands. A really wonderful one, who has given me so much and means the world to me. But, his fetlocks look like they were pounded on with hammers, and his neck snaps and pops when he stretches. There isn't a lot of mileage left in him in the riding ring, and one more issue isn't the send of the world. It's one more issue to take into account when I look at his overall soundness picture.

The look of eagles.
The truth is, he isn't really lame. There's no sign of an acute injury. He resists and lets me know something isn't right, but moves just fine once he gets his balance shifted. I know what we're dealing with is probably arthritic changes due to damage to the cartilage around the stifle joint from our trailer accident. There's nothing I can do to resolve it at this point, but I can take pro-active steps to help manage Guinness' pain and try to keep the joint from degrading too much. Our previous track record with his fetlock arthritis makes me feel confident in my ability to do this.

Sweaty and gross from a ride in the outdoor.
 So I had my vet inject the joint, and we'll play the waiting game to see how the treatment helps him. If he doesn't improve, we'll seek more diagnostics. If he does, we'll move forward and put him on a similar treatment plan as for his fetlocks.
For now, he's been unhappily stuck in a stall for two days to let the injections settle and the site heal. I'll ride him today for the first time, and on Wednesday I'll ask for real work and assess his soundness. Friday we head to a show to make a grab for our last scores before 3rd level. We can do this.
"Stalls are terrible! Give me candy corn!!"

30 comments:

  1. I certainly hope he got his candy corn lol

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  2. Sounds like a good plan - I hope the injections help!!

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  3. Ugh! I hope he feels better, you guys are so close to 3rd! I know exactly how you feel!

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    1. Ugh. I know you do!! He is so close. We have it all, but the changes!

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    2. We should do a pas de deux. Do we get extra points if both chestnut thoroughbreds flub their flying changes at the same time?

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    3. Omg! Lolz! Yes! Extra points if they change first behind, then a stride later in front, I think. ;)

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  4. Hope your handsome pony is feeling better soon!

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  5. Hoping the injection does the trick.

    Very persuasive candy-corn face going on there. ;D

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    1. Omg. So persuasive. You have no idea how much he cons out of me.

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  6. I like your decision making process. Good luck to you both. Fingers crossed you have a lot more years left in the saddle with this guy--his goofy red face reminds of of the one I'll never see again.

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    1. :) Cuna reminded me a lot of Pig, too.

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  7. OMG that is the most kissable schnoz! Totally get what you're saying -- seems like a completely reasonable plan given his age and history and all that. You sound like an awesome horse owner!

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  8. Smart, rational thinking :) Hoping the injections work their magic!

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    1. Is there such a thing as "rational" thinking when it comes to being a horse owner? ;)

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  9. Oh cartilage damage- that's what Wilbur is dealing with in his coffin joint. I like your plan of attack!

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    1. Poor Wilbur! Cartilage is so useful, till it's compromised. :(

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  10. So many things are crossed for you guys!

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  11. Keeping everything crossed for you guys *hugs*

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  12. Sounds like a great plan for your boy! I hope that you see the improvement you are looking for! Also-your husky cracked me up-so excited in that video.

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  13. Poor guy, hope he recovers soon!

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  14. you can do it!! my fingers and toes and everything are crossed for you guys!!

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