When Bobby got diagnosed with the Big N Word last fall, he was so immediately more comfortable with corrective shoeing that his having navicular took a good long time to set in, and it never really felt like a final thing.
This spring when his feet grew too uncomfortable to hold up to more than an occasional jump on good footing, a sinking feeling started. When he started to get sore flatting in our deeply cushioned indoor, I steeled myself for trying to eek out one last season. Farrier assured me there were more shoeing options we could try, and Vet was willing to move on to coffin joint injections. You can't heal navicular, but you can slow down its effects and you can make the horse more comfortable.
The vet called me Monday morning with preliminary results from Bobby's biopsy samples of Fungus Leg. "Your horse has Sarcoidosis. It's an incredibly rare cancer, and I need you to come down and pick up new meds for him."
I'd heard of sarcoids of course. Little nubbins of usually benign cancer usually found in horses' ears. I didn't think much of it. No one wants to hear their horse has cancer, but I was flustered with dealing with the bank fucking up our first car payment and annoyed I had to drive the forty five minutes to the vet's office.
|fungus leg looking really good yesterday.|
i'll do a full progression post still at some point.
I met Vet when I got there and showed her the latest round of pictures of his leg. Nope, no fever. Yes, still eating everything great. I handed the receptionist my credit card while Vet pulled out a thin stack of papers. "I'm going to give you all the reading material I have on this because I think you need to prepare yourself."
Sarcoidosis is rare. It presents in less than 1% of horses. They don't know how horses get it. They don't know how best to treat it. There's no one breed, age, or gender that's more likely to get it than another. They can't give you a solid prognosis because it reacts differently in every single case.
Best case scenario is if it's localized to his leg, but even then the treatment is nothing more than throwing steroids at him for months or years--steroids that might affect his already compromised feet. He could go into remission, he could spontaneously heal completely, or he could go downhill and have to be euthanized.
Worst case scenario is that it's generalized and spreads to his organs. There's nothing to be done then. We could nurse him along on steroids and still have to euthanize him.
They're running more tests because they found cells that point to the latter in half the samples.
The good news, or at least the hope I'm clinging to, is that his weight looks fantastic and his temp has stayed steady. He looks incredible everywhere above the knee.
|does not look like a sick horse|
The bad news--more bad news--is that amidst all this his feet are spiraling downward quickly. Farrier was out to put him back in his aluminium wedges this morning because of the soreness he was showing before his leg exploded and the vet came out.
Overall he was being very shifty while in the aisle like he couldn't get comfortable anywhere. He usually parks himself in the middle and naps, but he kept stepping over to me and leaning his head against me while shifting his feet one after the other.
For the past couple days he's occasionally been resting his LF on his toe instead of putting full weight on it. Farrier said that the outside of it looks great, but we know the inside is a mess. The wedges lift the heel up, but they also run the risk of crushing them so we don't know if we're helping him with those or not because he's uncomfortable everywhere. It's hard to tell where the pain is originating from.
The RF foot is in dangerous territory. It might tip us over the edge before the cancer ever gets a chance to. Because of the prolonged swelling in that leg--a result of vasculitis--it's been impeding the circulation to the hoof. Along the coronet band it's been slowly bulging. Farrier has been keeping an eye on it every time she's been out without even telling me because she didn't want to freak me out. It's to the point now where a crack has split from the top down. He's in danger of the foot going bone cold and losing the hoof capsule, or getting burning hot and foundering.
|we love farrier because she's liberal with the cookies|
I don't know what to do, how to feel. Until the final results come in it's basically a waiting game to see how long I have until I have to put my horse down.