Thursday, August 27, 2015

So Lame: The saga continues

You may have noticed Pig looked kind of off in this video from earlier in the week. I didn't mention anything, partly because I was trying to stay in the land of denial. That's my favorite place to hang out when my old horse is gimpy and I can't find a single thing wrong with him.
"Who? Me? Lame?"
Seriously, though. I couldn't find anything actually wrong with him.

He has been a little off for maybe a week. I'm not talking off because he hasn't loosened up his newly funky stifle. I'm not talking off because he tripped in the grass and tweaked an arthritic fetlock. I'm not talking off because he stepped on a big rock with his big, dumb, barefoot feet and now thinks he's crippled for life.

Nope. Just a little off, not working out of it, and without any heat/swelling/cuts/bruises/marks of any kind on him. So I free lunged him just to make sure I wasn't imagining things....

Nope. Definitely lame.

I've had this old horse for a long while now, and because of him have become pretty proficient at performing an impromptu lameness exam. So at first sign of persistent "off-ness" I palpated his tendons. No response. I flexed him at the joints that still flex. Nothing. I tapped on his feet. No response. I basically whacked on his legs with a pole to find a weakness. Nothing.

I did find a spot of deep suculus thrush, with corresponding heel soreness. And, I thought, maybe that's it?

So, I showed up yesterday ready to do battle with sore feet and thrush (silver spray, keratex, magic cushion, the works), only to find...
Whaaaaaaaat the efffffff is thaaaaaaaat?!
Shit. I've been here before. It's kind of amazing to me the number of times this horse has whacked himself, resulting in a bruise or catastrophic lameness issue. I'm not really sure how he's made it to 17 years of age with all of his limbs still functionally attached to his body.

Despite being sad he is on the injured list (THREE DAYS BEFORE A BIG SHOW), I'm kind of happy this bump showed up. Why?

1. It's a classic splint. It's a hard bump on the bone. ZERO soft tissue involvement there.
2. Now that it's shown up, it'll be just a minimal time to heal.
3. I finally have something to focus on, instead of wondering if he was somehow broken somewhere really serious and on the final leg of his retirement parade.

With a probable diagnosis I headed off to treat. Ice, bute, compression, more ice.
I'm off to the barn to do much the same today. We're still planning to head to the show on Friday. It might seem cruel, but he's not that lame, riding isn't hurting him, and it's too late to get my money back. If he's worse, we'll scratch. If he's not we'll make an attempt. I'll bute up until the minute I have to stop (cue rereading USDF drug rules...), and we'll see how it goes. My hope is that now the splint has shown itself, it'll heal up fast. It tends to do that.

A trainer mentioned there's a woman coming to do laser therapy on a horse on Friday, before we leave for the showgrounds. It seems like total crazy-horse-person-wasted-money to me. Anyone have actual evidence to the contrary?

27 comments:

  1. Hey, now we can be cold-hosing buddies! Hope Pig is all healed up by tomorrow :)

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    1. Yay! I'd rather be any other kind of buddy, though. ;)

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  2. Your horse has the worst bones ever.

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    1. His nickname isn't "Rustbucket" for nothin!

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  3. Laser is worth a shot! I had my BO laser Hampton's stupid little bed sores late last year and they did heal up very nicely after I tried everything else to get then to heal. Oh Piggy Pig Pig.

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  4. "The retirement parade"... oh, is that what we're on?! Why don't our old horses know better? :|

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    1. That's totally what we're on. Related. I need a baton...

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  5. ugh c'mon Pig!!! it's always amazing how imaginative they can be in injuring themselves. fingers crossed he's back in action soon and ready to show!!

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    1. "Imaginative" "magical" "psychic" "depressing" really all the same

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  6. My barn is full of crazy-horse-person-wasted-money stuff, and they have DEFINITELY done the lasers. It sounded like no one really saw a difference and the laser lady hasn't been back. My barn is also into energy bodywork and equine chakras, so maybe you could try that lolz

    Hope Pig feels better before the show!

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    1. Chakras! You're right! By golly, why didn't I think of those?!

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  7. Mikey had laser therapy for his hock and his back. Meh. Don't waste your money. Trainer did borrow the vet's laser to use on a sore muscle... she did say it felt a little better, but she'd need like a week of it to be sure, and by then she'd feel better anyway. What did the best for that muscle soreness was Acculife Patches. But that's not applicable here.

    I'd still go to the show too- sometimes if you put the horse together it's hard to tell, and then any funny steps can be attributed to a disconnect or tension instead of lame. You know he's not working on a torn tendon or something serious like that, no harm in taking him and scratching an hour before the class or after the first. Plus, you won't be getting your money back no matter what you do! You might find all these days off with just cold hosing will be super good for him on show day- he'll be all rested and energetic and then adrenaline will keep him sound!

    Man, I sound like a scumbag with my 'show anyway' etc. But exactly, riding him isn't hurting him. And if he does get worse, you can scratch.

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    1. Wait. Too energetic and rested a horse doesn't sound so great either...

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  8. There's no actual research to support lasers. The plural of anecdote is not data etc. I'd save my money.

    I hope he heals fast! Poor you!

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  9. I guess I'm on the opposite side of the fence as everyone else, having dealt with splints before. The enemy of proper healing is inflammation and the best thing to help heal a splint quickly is rest, so I always give them off until they're sound and the swelling is gone, lest other problems manifest. I kinda have the 'there's always another show' outlook, even if it's super disappointing and means losing money... I don't think there's anything to be gained from asking a horse to work when it's injured, even if they don't incur further physical damage. Have to admit I'm a little horrified by the "sometimes if you put the horse together it's hard to tell, and then any funny steps can be attributed to a disconnect or tension instead of lame." comment. That said, good luck and I hope he heals quickly. Oh, and agreed that lasers are a joke.

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    1. I mostly meant that I've seen sound horses look lame because they end up bridle lame from a lack of connection. I promise, I'm not as sinister as the comment sounded.

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    2. I totally understand where both of you are coming from. Any other horse, and I don't think I'd consider showing with an injury. And if I hadn't already dealt with this same thing several times, I'd probably be more inclined to baby.

      If he's super lame, we'll scratch. But if he came sound on Saturday afternoon and I was stuck at home, I'd be pissed.

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  10. Sorry to see this...but at least you know now what you are dealing with! Sending speedy recovery thoughts your way!

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  11. Okay, so I don't know about laser for horses, but my 13-year-old dog is very arthritic. One of the things we do to help him is laser treatments. In my opinion, it is SO worth the money. He gallops around like a puppy after the laser treatments! Only takes a few minutes and it makes such a huge difference.

    That said, I would imagine the price is much higher for a horse, so it's just a matter of how much you want/need it.

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    1. I guess treatments are about $45. Which, personally, I'd rather put towards something that's proven to help (bute, ice packs) or pizza. And, $45 is kind of enough for both.

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  12. Ughhhhhh no, why do horses do these things to us?? I think you're making a good decision to keep the show on the schedule though, it seems pretty superficial.

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    1. It is. He's not really super lame on it, I mean, I thought it was thrush. Still, being cautious and trying to follow best practices. Bleh. Stupid accident prone animal!

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  13. Have you ridden a medium trot since the lameness appeared? I'd be a little concerned that if he is still off, he could incur a soft tissue injury by compensating for the splint-related lameness. I dunno- I guess I fall into the "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" club.

    With that said- I have all my fingers and toes crossed that the splint heals super fast and that he trots nice and sound for you the morning of the show!

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    1. I did a few medium trots in a lesson the very early days of the lamness, back when I was pretty sure it was feet or arthritis flaring. He'd worked out of the lamness by that point in those rides, though.

      Once the splint showed up, he's actually been on really low key work or rests. In fact, we've only done some short bareback walks in between stints of icing this whole week.

      I totally get where you're coming from. Medium trot is kind of our worst movement, too. If he's sound enough to show we may still be conservative with those, just because he often presented as uneven when he really gets pushing. (Lack of strength, bleh)

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