Dear medical professionals,
Please talk to me like I'm a five year old and explain how to make my horse's boo-boo better.
|that cow collar really completes your look, bessie.|
Let's recap before we get into the down and dirty.
Bobby's vet--let's call her Vet A--that's done all his diagnostic work since we moved up here, including the injury to the RF last year, reviewed the x-rays and pronounced Bobby a navicular horse with "significant changes". Put a three degree wedge on him and we'll go from there.
Farrier--if we were getting picky, which we're not, we'd call her something like Baby Jesus--also reviewed the x-rays and said, "No, those are not significant changes to the navicular bone. Certainly there is some degeneration there, but I feel confident that with shoeing we can get him feeling pretty much normal." She also said she'd be curious to see what Vet B had to say.
|still incredibly large and incredibly awkward|
Vet B is technically retired but still holds his license. He's BM's old vet and is still close friends with her, so we sent the x-rays off to him for a second (third?) opinion. All the sudden we go from navicular horse, to not so much of a problem navicular horse, to "This horse is never going to be completely sound for anything. He's going to be a money pit and you'd be doing yourself a favor to not pursue treatment."
The x-rays were shoddily done, the horse has a bone chip in his foot, probably his coffin joint is ready to fall apart, and there's most definitely bursitis. I could inject this, that, and the other thing, but nothing would last. He might be sound for a short time, but nothing would ever be fixed.
|"but will there be cookies?"|
Obviously with that being about as far apart from what Vet A had told me as you could get, and being a REALLY SHITTY diagnosis and prognosis, I wasn't satisfied with that. I contacted JenJ who had told me she had a vet that could take a look at the images. She put me in contact with her vet, Vet C, who I sent all the reports and pictures over to, as well as what Vet A, B, and Farrier had told me. My plea was to just give me a clear picture of what the actual fuck I was looking at, and, without seeing the horse, how she'd recommend proceeding.
Vet C agreed that the navicular changes are currently a nonevent. Of all the things that could be going on, navicular is not at the top of the list for the guilty party. She was concerned with the angle of the coffin bone, and felt that a three degree wedge would angle the bone too severely and cause him more discomfort than he was already in. This also aligns with what Farrier discussed. She'd already planned on putting him in a two degree because of the angle instead, so that was good.
She saw no bone chip, instead saying there might be a cyst, but it was probably just bad x-rays. (So I glad I dropped $350 on shit x-rays. SO GLAD.)
|too lame for walking last wednesday, so instead|
we grazed out back.
Her line of thought was more possible soft tissue injury somewhere in the foot. She gave me lots of treatment options mostly revolving around injections, but her main message was that the best diagnostic tool for this case would be an MRI. Sadly I don't have $1k sitting around waiting to be shelled out for my horse's foot, nor am I currently interested in chasing down maybes with a needle that may or may not do my horse any good, and probably won't do any lasting help in the long run anyway.
So on Friday I took all this information to Farrier, and we agreed that the most likely scenario we're facing here is an acute injury inside the foot. Navicular doesn't just pop up overnight and make your horse 3/5 lame at the walk. Bobby competed barefoot heavily for three years on every footing known to man without ever having an issue in his feet. Too much jumping on too hard ground last month with changing angles in his feet probably did him in, but it's not necessarily the end of the world for him (that last bit varies dramatically depending on how morose I'm feeling at any given moment).
|he takes getting new feet very seriously|
We went ahead and put on aluminum shoes with a two degree wedge and a rocker toe to lift his foot up and alleviate heel pain. Initially she wanted to do a leather pad as well packed with Magic Cushion, but I've been packing them myself with Hawthorne's Sole Pack, and once she had his old shoe off, she felt his sole was feeling so much improved from the last time that she did without. He was also significantly less tender when she put the nails in this time around. Small wins!
|those toes need to come back|
|fancy feets complete with sole pack|
He's currently on bute to help him adjust, but he's slowly getting weaned off this week so we'll see how he feels without the aid of drugs. In the meantime though? When I walked him yesterday, he immediately felt looser and more comfortable all through his body. After our fifteen minutes were up (scintillating stuff I tell you), I cautiously asked him for a trot to check how he felt.
To the right? Sound as a dime.
To the left? Sound as a dime and trying to drag me over ground poles like a feisty sassy pants.
|feel good, must eat pretty things to celebrate.|
I'm in no rush to proclaim him magically fixed, and I'm resolutely sticking to a slow rehab schedule in the event this is a soft tissue injury, but that made me breathe a massive sigh of relief. We don't ever have to jump again if that's what this turns into, but I do need him to be sound enough to hold up to real dressage work.
Long term, he'll get the winter "off" to figure out shoeing needs and slowly seeing what sort of work we can bring him back into. If he still feels lame, or like we're still questioning what we're dealing with, in the spring I'll do the MRI and get a concrete answer.
Short term, my farrier is a magician. She should charge a surcharge for that shit. Only please don't because holy shit this horse is expensive.
|"there is a fly, i cannot work in these conditions."|