Faith and Lucy, May 22, 2009
Ten days ago, I was fully aware of the risks of going forward with Faith's corrective shoeing. I knew that there was obviously a possibility that she would begin to improve and her lameness would subside; I also knew that we had bigger odds against us.
The first few days after we had hind natural balance shoes with trailers put on, Faith appeared normal. (Ok, this mare has never been normal, but she was normal under the given circumstances!) However, she took a turn for the worst a few days ago, and as I previously mentioned, this time the pain is in her front end. From Monday through Thursday, the lameness slowly escalated from being "sound" to showing a 3/5 lameness on her right front leg. Let's hear a drum roll for more vet visits...
I have been in frequent contact with the two "Brads" in Faith's life, both Dr. Brad Barnes and Brad Erickson. Since her hind end appears comfortable now, with no more pain responses from her back, through her hips, stifles and hocks, we know that we're at least on the right track. (Thank God...) However, now we're shifting our focus, frustrations and finances to her front end. We have decided to shoe her front hooves in order to balance her movement out, and to make sure that she is breaking over as equally as possible on all legs. Through the advice of both the vet and farrier, we originally elected to leave her barefoot up front, as her clubbed hoof was presenting its own issues. However, with frequent maintanance and our farrier's painstaking attention to detail, we think that front shoes won't be as big of an issue as they previously appeared. That decision was made late last night, shortly after giving her Bute for her pain.
Today, Faith made a huge improvement. At her worst today, she appeared to only be about a grade 1 lameness, only slightly favoring her front right leg. She moved around as she normally does during her turnout, showing a little stiffness, but came into the barn pushy and eager for her dinner. This could mean that if the pain was caused by changing her stride with the corrective shoeing, (again, to alleviate the stress on her suspensories,) then she is growing more and more accustomed to it.
Our plan now is to see how she does over the next few days and then probably proceed with putting front shoes on her. Time will tell...
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Since we've been sharing rescue stories, I figured I'd share another one (or two) of mine!
In our household, Faith is not the only rescued animal that resides here. Our two dogs, Molly and Ginger, were taken out of kill shelters when they were puppies. Ginger (now 2 1/2 years old) came from Tennessee, and Molly (almost 3 years old) came from South Carolina. They are best buddies and play constantly. Ginger is sweet and loves to cuddle; Molly knows a bunch of dumb tricks and likes to counter-surf in our kitchen... They balance each other out.
The picture above was taken on Sebago Lake in Maine last summer. (Ginger is on the left, Molly on the right.) They wear matching life jackets for two reasons. The first is because the little one has a tendency to jump overboard after ducks, and the big one is dumb enough to follow. :-) The second reason is because the handle on the back of the jackets makes it ridiculously easy to pick them up out of the water and put them back in the boat where they belong. They're both excellent swimmers, but not very fast. Rest assured, no ducks have ever been harmed in one of our outings. :-) Tomorrow after barn chores are done, (and I can rest assured that we won't need to call a vet to the farm,) we will be doing another one of the dogs' favorite activities: going mountain climbing! The girls love the outdoors nearly as much as I do, and are wonderful off-leash. They are self-sufficient and carry their own treats and water in their backpacks. It's kind of pathetic: we actually have to hide their backpacks from them when we get in the truck, because if they see them, they will become so excited that we will have to listen to nearly constant barking and whining until we get to the trailheads. That makes for long car rides, especially when the mountains are 2-3 hours away... Here are pictures of our last adventure last weekend, Mount Cardigan, elevation 3,155 feet. Enjoying the climb with the girls near the top. Look at the gorgeous view!
Dan with Molly and Ginger, resting on a cairn just below the summit.
Have a great weekend!