Thursday, April 30, 2009

Three Vet Vists in 18 hours...

I'm going to start this post by saying, "Holy crap, I need a vacation." The good news is that Dan and I will be leaving tomorrow to go to my cousin's wedding for the weekend. The timing is impeccable...

Where to begin? Let's start with Amy...

Last night Dr. George showed up around 10:00pm to examine Amy's leg. The swelling was massive and she was obviously in a ton of pain. He was worried about either a torn ligament or a broken splint bone. Unfortunately, she wasn't being very clear where the pain was coming from, which made things all the more difficult.

We made plans for him to come back first thing in the morning to take xrays. On his orders, I put her in a compression wrap last night to help minimize the swelling and gave her more banamine. She seemed more comfortable, but still would only touch her toe to the ground, refusing to flex her pastern joint and put weight onto her heel. There wasn't anything else we could do until the morning. Needless to say, I didn't get much sleep.

This morning Amy appeared much more comfortable on her right hind leg. She was actually bearing weight on it, which was a huge wave of relief. Dr. George showed up and I pulled her wrap off: the swelling had definitely gone down overnight, but it was still fairly puffy. I helped Dr. George take four radiographs of her leg, even dressing up for the big event. I wore a simply stunning silver lead-lined grey dress with matching blue lead-lined gloves that must weigh 10 pounds a piece. I looked smashing! Good news: all of the radiographs came back clean! No broken splint bone - thank GOD.

As Dr. George was finishing up, Dr. Barnes arrived for Faith. He also evaluated Amy and between the two of them, the consensus was that her injury could either be a stretched ligament, soft tissue damage or a sole abscess that hasn't broken through yet. Regardless of which one it ends up being, it is still better than a broken bone. Whew! If it continues to be a problem, we will have an ultrasound done, but so far, so good.

Just on a side note... I have owned Amy for 10 years next month. She came to me as an abused, barely halter broken four-year-old that would tremble when people came near her. When you opened her stall door, she would literally try to crawl up the corner of the back wall to get away. She was fearful, and she was explosive. But she was never mean. I spent hours upon hours building her trust and it paid off. I bought her in June of 1999 and the picture below is me showing her in September of that same year. This mare is the absolute best horse in the world. (And that's a totally unbiased opinion, of course!) She's sweet, safe and the barn favorite, by a mile. (With the exception of Faith, because, well, she's a celebrity!) Amy has taught tons of kids to ride throughout her years with me, including children with physical and emotional disabilities. I cannot even begin to explain how badly it hurt me to watch her in so much pain.

Amy with me at her first show in 1999.

Amy being shown by my niece at her first show in 2005.

Onto the next topic: Faith...

The first words out of Dr. Barnes' mouth were, "Wow she looks 1000% better." (Yes, that's THREE zeros, thankyouverymuch!) He began running his hands over her body and within a few minutes said to me that her lameness was coming from both left legs.

He quickly narrowed her front end lameness to her hoof. (This is the infamous clubbed foot of hers, so no big suprises there.) He said that the farrier work she has been receiving is great, but the thrush that we can't seem to get rid of may be to blame. Our course of action with this leg is to pack it with diluted-bleach cotton balls and wrap it overnight, which we will start tonight. Hopefully the thrush is the cause and we can fix her front end issues fairly quickly.

Now onto the hind end... Dr. Barnes narrowed down that the soreness was permeating from her stifle and hip. This is more than likely caused by her strained suspensories. When she is standing still, all of her joints in her hind leg are extended straight. Therefore, when she moves, she has to hyperextend them to make each step. The pain could either be coming from an injury to the joint itself or pinched nerve.

He ran a pointer over her back and croup and she winced in pain with every stroke. Dr. Barnes suggested adjusting her pelvis to ease the tension. He stood next to her, hind leg in hand, and picked her hoof to about waist high. She appeared more annoyed than uncomfortable, and she fought him a little bit. He was trying to get her to shift her weight back to make the adjustment, but she refused. He held her leg up and then I was then given the funniest order I've ever heard: "Clock her a good one on the nose." What?! I knew Faith was going to make me pay for this one later, but I walked up to her and flicked her on the end of her nose with my finger. She immediately rocked back and just then I heard the loudest, most awkward popping sound coming from her hip. He put her leg down and she stood on it squarely. He picked up his pointer again and ran it back and forth over the same areas as earlier... No more pain. It was gone. Holy crap. I felt like I just watched the coolest and most rewarding magic trick ever.

Fast forward 5 hours... Right now she's cantering back in forth in her paddock waiting to come in for dinner. Normally she'll walk, maybe even take a few trotting steps, but rarely canter. She is hitting the ground sound on all fours, for the first time ever.

The plan is as follows:
-> Faith's farrier is going to put Faith in hind shoes with trailers to help realign the angle of her pasterns and alleviate the stress on her stifle joint.
-> We'll start lunging her about 5-10 minutes daily to help not only with her suspensories, but to build up strength throughout her back and hindquarters.
-> We will be packing her left front hoof overnight to eliminate the thrush.
-> Dr. Barnes will be back to reevaluate and readjust Faith on May 21st.

When all is said and done, Faith should be sound enough for her new career as a Grand Prix Jumper in no time! OK maybe not. :-)

Faith munching on some hay after her lameness exam - 04/30/09.
Like the new "do"?!



  1. I swear, there is NOTHING better than a chiropractic adjustment (for me OR for the horses). Congratulations on your fine team of vets ;o) This is wonderful news and I will bet that Faith's disposition will improve too. I took my horse to the chiropract a week ago yesterday and his back was, in her words, "...a MESS!" (I love all that technical talk ;o) She worked on him for 20 minutes (usually the entire adjustment takes less time than that), and he was so much happier afterward. A couple days of rest and turnout and our lesson last Sunday was wonderful.

    Keep up the good work with Miss Thang ;o) She is gorgeous--and I love her new "do." And so is Amy. She IS a looker, and I'm glad her issue is not a broken bone.

  2. Wow. I didn't even recognize Faith in that picture. Her new hair do makes her change so obvious - Look at that neck! You've done an awsome job on her. She really looks like a horse now and not a sack of bones!

  3. She looks so so very beautiful, I am so amazed by her eyes - before and present. I can highly recommend this for serious thrush or white line, its really effective:

    CleanTrax. Manufacturer is Equine Technologies, Inc., (978) 443-8078, 416 Boston Post Road, Sudbury, Ma 01776. They also sell a tall soaking boot (horse size!) which makes it easy to keep the solution in contact with the hoof for a half-hour soak.

  4. I'm happy to hear she's becoming more comfortable every day!

  5. Bless the chiropractor! Love mine! You sure have a great group of professionals! Best wishes to Amy and hope she feels better, soon.

  6. I want a canter picture I bet she floats!