Tuesday, October 4, 2016

What's the word on Bobby?

Welp.

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.

loves rehab.

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.

46 comments:

  1. Oh shit. I don't have much personal interaction with navicular so I've got nothing to say other than I really hope that chocolate cake is delicious and that I'm sorry to read this.

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  2. I love your little note under the "Post a Comment"!

    I'm so sorry that these were your findings. I don't have much experience with this at all, except that if you had x-rays from prior years they might help give you hope for a better recovery (as in, navicular changes are hard to assess without something to compare them to). Best of luck to Bobby in his recovery, and for you too! ps. if you ever want to make a trip down to Philly, we've got lots of fun ponies to ride:)

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  3. Oh my gosh Carly I'm so sorry.. this is so shitty. Just. Shit. Have some cake. And plenty of booze. <3

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  4. So, as you said, I've not seen Bobby's x-rays. Also, I don't event. And lastly, definitely not a vet. But I have a positive story to share.
    When I was a junior, I had the most wonderful horse in the whole wide world. He was an appendix quarter horse. So obviously had terrible feet. Which eventually included really terrible navicular. However, we were able to keep very happy and comfortable, and surprisingly SOUND. He showed in the junior hunters at 3'6" AND the working hunters at 4' all the while. He was on isoxuprine which was legal at the time, though honestly i have no idea if it still is and he wore special shoes. He passed every jog, even at Devon.
    So like I said, I don't event, and that's probably a lot harder on the feet than jumping in a sand ring. But there's hope you'll be able to jump once you figure out a treatment plan.
    Sending healing thoughts your way, and some cake too if you need it.

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  5. No armchair vetting here, just so sorry to read this and I hope your cake is delicious, your alcohol copious and your horse's navicular managed well by your great team you've got up there. Hugs to you, no one should have to go through that. :(

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  6. Cake. And so many pats on the back for keeping that horse so sound for so long barefoot. That is a goddamn accomplishment. Mostly tho, cake. :(

    My fingers are crossed that the shoes move the needle for Bobby. Ughhhh. Bobby. The deer in Mendon wouldn't pull some shit like this, bud.

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  7. Hugs and warm thoughts your way. I don't know much about navicular but I know of a few horses with issues at my barn who made significant strides with the easyboot shoes. They can be a bit on the expensive side, but maybe worth considering?

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  8. I'm so sorry Carly. That's shitty news. I vote you get a chocolate cake with alcohol already in it, kill two birds with one stone.

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  9. My Navicular story is very negative but that is based on Carlos' terrible foot and I'm sure Bobby will do awesome due to the options you have and the methods you can try.

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  10. Not sure if you're brave or crazy for actually asking for internet feedback, but either way I hope you get good information. No useful help here, just a hearty round of solidarity.

    And yeah. Piecaken?

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  11. Oh man. I am so, so sorry to hear this. That just sucks.

    I've known a few horses with navicular, including a Grand Prix dressage horse and a couple of low-level eventers. I think it very much depends on the horse as to how much they can do. The fact that you had him barefoot probably helped keep him sound longer, plus probably helped you figure out there was a problem sooner.

    It sounds like you've got a great vet and farrier team and I sincerely hope that they can get Bobby to be comfortable in his work.

    Also, cake and booze. Hell yes.

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  12. I'm so sorry to hear this. :( Eat the cake.

    When I was in my late teens I owned an ex-eventer who had competed up to prelim. He was a big half-TB with a really lovely personality. He had terrible navicular in both fronts and was subsequently nerved (before I owned him). Due to that, we never jumped, but he was a wonderful dressage horse and partner and we never had issues with any front leg lameness.

    *hugs*

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  13. I am so, so sorry :(

    I was really hoping that it would be something simple...

    I don't have much experience with navicular in the sense of a riding career. It, coupled with massive amounts of arthritis in her knee and my mare's riding career is out. She has a large hygroma on her knee in addition to some pretty bad arthritis so she can't bend it as well as she used to...

    Anyways, I do know that some navicular horses do really well on previcox or osphus. Might be something to look into. I know vets also recommend injections as well.

    Good luck you guys

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  14. Definitely eat that entire chocolate cake. It'll help, I'm sure. So sorry to hear about the diagnosis, I'm glad it doesn't sound completely career ending, I've known several horses that with proper management continued to compete at low level jumping or just transitioned to dressage land completely. I would be super bummed too about the shoes again after how successful you were with him barefoot! And at least it seems like you always have access to ponies to steal at your barn so you can jump if the mood strikes!

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  15. This sucks. I'm really sorry. I'm sure you'll still find plenty of fun things to do with Bobby, but I know that you were both so happy running XC.
    Cake and booze. And candy. Don't forget the candy.

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  16. Navicular is so individual, but I earned my Silver and got the first two scores toward my Gold on a horse with fairly serious navicular. He went on to get people more medals and wasn't retired until his mid 20s. Fingers crossed that the shoes help keep him comfortable enough to do what you want him to do! And yes in the mean time, eat lots of cake.

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  17. I have no direct experience. I've seen others have success with shoeing and others not so much. I love that your farrier and vet are working closely together. That speaks a lot for the odds.

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  18. Chocolate. Cake. Vodka. Vets should dispense alongside navicular diagnosis, always.

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  19. Not in any way trying to armchair quarterback, but I had a mare diagnosed with navicular changes 2 years ago and she successfully returned to work after a combination of corrective shoeing am OsPhos -- just dressage, I didn't jump her either before or after her diagnosis, so that might not be helpful for you. Would be more than happy to discuss my experience with you privately if you have any interest, but sounds like you're working with a very competent vet and farrier! I think chocolate cake and vodka are in order 😔

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  20. Carly, I am so, so sorry. Any remotely negative diagnosis of the equine variety is frustrating, expensive and emotionally fraught.

    I think so much depends on each individual horse. I heard lots of success stories with "N" when I was dealing with Boca's lameness. What guided my decisions were 1) Boca wasn't responding to shoeing changes, joint injections, a daily NSAID and injectable anti-osteo-arthritis support. And 2) I did have 2 sets of X-rays to compare, and his changes were significant and progressive.

    It sounds like you have a good knowledgeable team in place. I think Bobby will tell you what he can and can't do. I hope that a few simple changes is all it takes to get him comfortable and give you both many more years of Bobbi-ness.

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  21. Sorry to hear this. I agree with the cake/booze prescription for you. My high school TB had navicular and he did well on Recovery EQ. I've heard of lots of success on previcox too. I'm sure you and your team will figure out the perfect set-up for Bobby.

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  22. Vodka. Or tequila. Or make it a rum cake.

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  23. I would not be as chill as you. End of story. Drink some wine girlfriend, I have zero advice above that. Gah :/

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  24. Oh I'm so sorry, this really sucks.

    I'm a bf trimmer in Australia (long time lurker, don't think I've commented before though, sorry!). If you would like me to send my notes on bf rehab of navicular cases please email me at lisa@theglorioushoof.com.au

    Of course, completely up to you, and you're obviously doing everything you can for him, but if you're interested let me know.

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  25. Sorry to hear this dude that's sucky news. Sounds like you are working with a great team

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  26. Hugs!! Rooting for you and Bobby that he gets comfortable enough to still do All the Fun Things!!

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  27. Well. Fuck. Hate this. And understand denial land. I'm there with the whole news on Q still. Denial Land isn't so bad though, there's lots of food.

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  28. So sorry. Eat the cake, drink the booze. I'm sure you and your vet/farrier team will get Bobby sorted out the best you can.

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  29. Damnit Bobby! I'm so sorry you are dealing with this. I don't have any helpful comments past what others have already said, except that you should totally add some salted caramel to that chocolate cake.

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  30. Dislike. So sorry to hear you are dealing with this. I really hoped it was a stupid injury from Bobby being Bobby. Eat the cake. Drink the liquor. Deny the things.

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  31. Dude, I am so sorry. Here's hoping for lots of fun dressage work and corrective shoeing that will solve the #bobbyproblems

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  32. :( well, hell.

    mother f-er.

    How come there are never any dressage-ending injuries where you can only jump? So stupid.

    this just sucks. Sorry lady.

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  33. Well this is shitty. Poor Roberto. Poor you!

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  34. Oh nooooooo. As soon as you said he went lame on the other leg and blocked out to his foot I was like OH SHIT. Fuck that tiny little bone, man. Can confirm that chocolate cake is the best medicine post dx. Just be careful not to take melatonin with the entire bottle of wine you drink, because it will come right back up (ask me how I know).

    I am crossing my fingers that you catching it early and taking corrective measures means the odds are on your side. I didn't know any better and didn't have a good team so Pearl's crap went on for literal years before we knew what was going on... and she still ended up in a lot better shape than I thought she would, so I hope Bobby comes around even better. If you ever want to commiserate or bounce ideas or whatever, god knows I love whining about my horse's lameness to internet people. I'm so sorry, man.

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  35. Ugh the "N" diagnosis. Such a wide range of results. I rode with cheap bastards mostly growing up, so I didn't see great results, but I know there are better options now, and Bobby looks pretty damn fancy on the flat.

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  36. I'm in the same boat as L as far as my story with navicular too. I'm so sorry. Here's hoping he responds great to treatment and you can find peace in him being around to stuff full of carrots and enjoy even if it's not doing eventing. It's normal to lose your shit for a minute when their career is cut short, let yourself feel all the feels and cry it out. Horses are such a roller coaster.

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  37. Welp, this sucks a big dick. I have no advice or personal experience, but from what everyone has said it DOES seem like there are quite a few options to try to help him out. ... also, booze.

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  38. That sucks so hard!! I'm really, really sorry. Eat the cake. Then drink the bottle. The whole of both if necessary.

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  39. Oh man, I'm very sorry to hear that and hope you have elastic waisted pants for comfortable cake eating. Fingers crossed for Bobby.

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  40. Oh man, I'm very sorry to hear that and hope you have elastic waisted pants for comfortable cake eating. Fingers crossed for Bobby.

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  41. Man. I'm so sorry. I'm hoping that this is easily manageable. And damn well you eat TWO entire chocolate cakes if you want to. No judgement

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  42. Eat as many cakes as you want, Carly!

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  43. Oh no Carly, what an awful thing to hear and so stressful to deal with. I'm going to be sending good thoughts that with some great shoeing he'll be completely sound and you can go back to telling lots of great Bobby riding stories.

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  44. I'm very behind on my blog reading/commenting, so I'm sorry about the late comment. I did see on fb/ig that he had navicular. I'm so sorry. That's just terrible.

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  45. I'm just catching up on your blog now, I saw a little of this on Insta and was wondering what was up. I'm so sorry, fuck. fuckity fuck fuck. I trudged through a lot of lameness with Jingle and trying to get him sound, and him coming sound, and me being happy, and then him going lame again, and it was the fucking worst. I will tell you that. I am just sitting here hopeful that you guys can get everything together and Bobby will go on to kick some more ass, I know a lot of people personally that have had a lot of success managing navicular with a good farrier and vet team working together!

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If you can't say anything nice, fuck off.