X-Rays of the Cannon Bone. More expensive than buying a real cannon ...

 My horse is still lame, but I'm on cloud nine. Why you ask? Because we had good news from the vet (an extremely rare occurrence!).

Wednesday my husband and I stuffed our pockets full of treats and loaded Guinness up in the trailer to take him 30 minutes down the road to the vet clinic. Our new clinic hasn't disappointed me yet (wow, that sounds negative ...), and I was very happy with how they handled our visit.

We rolled in exactly on time (impressive for my extra-slow driving whilst hauling), and GP jumped right out of the trailer. I was really impressed with my horse, again. He was "up" but very calm and just stuck by my side like glue. I try to be very confident in new situations, since he tends to take his example from my behavior. That really paid off here.

The vets met us almost immediately and had me lead Guinness into the examination room/barn. The vet we met was new to me, but I liked him immediately. After hearing our whole lameness saga he did a physical exam on both front feet with hoof testers and very carefully and thoroughly palpated the front left all the way from the knee down. Guinness was curious and wide-eyed, but stood stock still and 100% square. Good boy!

After the exam, our vet commended GP for having very sound feet (Oh. My. God.), saying he tested very well. He said he couldn't find any tenderness, and if there was an abscess it was reabsorbed. We agreed what we'd been dealing with originally was probably a bruise from overreaching.

Then the vet recommended x-rays to see what we were looking at in the front left cannon bone area. This was exactly what I expected, and wanted. We talked about the best (read: cheapest) way to do this, and decided doing an oblique shot of the cannon bone and splint would be the best way to evaluate any damage with a minimum cost. He also advised me not to worry about having revaluations done on GP's ankles until I notice a "noticeable" change in the way he goes. Since he's been so sound after injections, this sounds like a good plan. Plus, I'm not exactly rolling in the dough.

The good news? The x-rays look fantastic. Also, I now have an awesome look at my horse's super solid bone structure. It's really hard to imagine how the cannon bone can even break after looking at how solid it is on an x-ray. Crazy, and awesome.

The diagnosis is a bruise, most likely a bone bruise due to the severity of lameness. I've had plenty of bone bruises in my active life, so I can feel for Guinness. Those suckers HURT. I'm elated we aren't looking at a broken bone or too much inflammation. The vet's recommendation was to continue bute for the next couple of days, and keep GP in on stall rest (he's been in since Sunday night) and wrapped in front. He said to start weaning him off the bute and see how he does, then to go ahead and do some conservative turn out. Riding shouldn't be a problem after the lameness goes away (probably early next week, GP's been looking much better each day). I'm supposed to watch for any abscessing (could be a sign of bone trauma/infection that wouldn't show up on the x-ray yet) or swelling and heat from the suspensory tendon. The vet thinks these two injuries are unlikely, but possible and worth keeping an eye on.

Last night I took the wraps off, and his leg wasn't fat at all. There is a hard swelling right where he had a small cut from the kick to the outside of his cannon bone, and a little heat. We continued with the bute, which we'll probably wean him off of tonight. He was still slightly lame, but much better. We've been handwalking and grazing a little each night.

Hopefully I'll be up on the big guy again soon. We're still on track to make it to the IDS (Indiana Dressage Society) June schooling show. I told Jen from CobJockey that I plan on going even if I haven't cantered again yet :)

Wish us luck!

As long as Mom keeps me in cookies, we should keep healing appropriately!


  1. Hi Austen! Yes - my daughter was showing at Harmony. She is a working student for Jennifer Conour. We board at Coralie's place...small world :) Hoping to meet you and Jen at HHP at the June 24th show!

    1. Kelly, the horse world is ALWAYS a small world! We actually aren't all that far from you. I'm over in Terre Haute, and my GuinnessPig is in Clinton. We'll have to talk about dressage in rural Indiana at the show!


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