The good news is that the month long mystery lameness finally has a proper, solid diagnosis.
The bad news is that it's basically worst case scenario on our list of possible fuckery.
When all this first started, I'd planned on doing a detailed post on all that's gone down so I could look back and celebrate how far we'd come. But then we started crossing things off the list from least fucked up to What The Fuck fucked up, and now I just don't have it in me. I have my timeline I wrote up for the vet's first visit, and I have her pages of notes she's compiled for me.
But I will give a slightly abbreviated summation of how we went from suspected soft tissue injury in the right front to x-raying the left front foot.
The vet came out on 9/23 with the plan to ultrasound the swollen RF. On the longe he was showing lameness on that side, and with the previous injury to the DDFT, all parties concerned had settled on that leg as our problem child before we even began. Vet palpated the leg (which had, of course, completely lost all swelling by the time she got there in the evening) extensively, but wasn't able to feel anything besides possible thickening in the suspensory branches. The second vet who was there for a ride-along also palpated the leg and didn't even feel comfortable confirming that much.
Before ultrasounding, we took him to the ring to see how he looked on the line, and he was dead. fucking. lame. on his left front. We did flexions on the fronts, all of which turned up negative. We put the ultrasound on hold and decided to block the LF foot. Once blocked, he was close to completely sound--including no lameness on the RF.
With the sudden onset on lameness in that foot, of course we immediately jumped to abscess with a stone bruise being close on its heels. I'd already discussed with Farrier putting shoes on his fronts for several reasons (hold on a second), so Vet agreed to put the shoes on, have Farrier dig for an abscess, and if he wasn't sound in a week, call her back out.
|massive overnight swelling was a sure sign|
of an abscess! or not.
Farrier was out last Tuesday to put front shoes on. Before the lameness was concentrated to that foot/leg, we'd already agreed it was time to try something different. Bobby has flat, wide feet with a low heel. They're pretty typical shitty Thoroughbred feet, and it's only been through a lot of hard work and careful management on my part over the last three years that he's handled being barefoot so well. But on top of shitty feet, he's also got shitty conformation, and his ultra long pasterns leave him predisposed to soft tissue injury with the hard work that he does. Adding shoes will not only help with making him more comfortable on the cement-like ground this summer's drought has produced, but it will also give him greater heel support which will in turn support his long, weak pasterns.
Farrier was unable to find any sign of an abscess, and she was reluctant to dig into his sole to search for bruising since they're already so thin. He was tricky to shoe on the LF, and she was only able to get four nails in. The next day she checked him again to make sure she hadn't put any of them in to the point of making him uncomfortable, but he didn't react to any testing.
I'd been soaking and wrapping all this time hoping to draw an abscess out, but with nary a sign on Wednesday, Farrier called it and said to give it til the weekend to see if he showed any improvement in hopes of a stone bruise. Still just as lame as he was on day one yesterday, I called the vet and was able to get her to come out first thing this morning to x-ray.
|no turnout was missed in the making of this diagnosis.|
wet mule says better wet than on stall rest.
True to Bobby form, he looked about eighty percent better on the line before the vet came. She had me jog him quick, and we agreed it was still time for x-rays. Vet loves Bobby, and we did about ten minutes of loads of images on both feet with zero sedation before we broke into his bag of carrots. He may be lame, but he still wins at best ground manners.
So. What we were originally thinking we'd see on the x-rays was a fracture of the coffin bone--not an uncommon jumping horse injury, and one with an excellent prognosis for full recovery with some help from shoes. Only Vet started taking more and more angles, and then switched to the RF for comparison shots, and finally the N word was dropped.
|vet: bobby, why are you standing like an idiot?|
me and bm: no, that's just how bobby chills.
Final diagnosis is significant navicular in the LF with a flat palmar angle and mild pastern arthritis. The good news is that for now, the RF looks pretty damn good in comparison. Vet works closely with Farrier and put in a call to her shortly after they left to come up with a shoeing plan. Farrier will be out tomorrow morning to measure for special order bar shoes with a three degree wedge for both fronts. We'll give those a few weeks to see if they work any magic, and if not we'll move on to injecting the coffin joint.
I know navicular is one of those things that people feel strongly on one way or the other. Either it's an instant career killer, or with proper maintenance it won't affect the horse at all. The right-now diagnosis for Bobby's particular case is that he will not be able to event anymore. Maybe down the line that will change, but I have to take into consideration how much I want to risk my horse's already compromised feet.
Obviously I'd love to hear if any of you have any personal accounts of managing navicular, but please be respectful of the fact that I'm working very closely with both my vet and farrier, and we're the only ones that have seen the x-rays and watched the horse go. Please no couch vettings is what I'm trying to say.
|still get to play with this guy, although he's been|
a bit of an excessive pill lately as well.
I'm not too upset over any of this yet. BM kept telling me she was amazed with how well I was handling everything, but I think I'm still planted pretty firmly in denial land. I was more upset with having to put shoes back on him last week and ending my barefoot journey than I am hearing that the inside of my horse's foot is a deteriorating grey blob, and we probably won't ever be able to do cross country again.
Probably I'll be really fucking distraught later. Probably need to take BM's advice and go and eat an entire chocolate cake.
All. By. Myself.