Cori at the equine hospital, patiently waiting to be put back together.
Between Amy's leg issue, William running head-first into a fence post, and Cori impaling herself on a door, I think I'm about ready to give up! Never in my life have I had so many bizarre accidents in such a short period of time. I asked my vet if they offered any frequent-flyer programs. He told me that if they did, he would already owe me 5 round trip tickets to Cancun - just from May alone. He laughed. I didn't.
Deep breath... Onto Faith. There is good news, and there is bad news.
Dr. Barnes was here around 11am to check on Faith's progress and readjust her.
The good news is that Dr. Barnes was highly impressed with Faith's comfort in her hind end! She has continued to improve since he was here last on April 30th. He ran his hands all over her spine and hips, (in the same areas that she was high-positive for pain last time,) and she had absolutely NO response! This improvement could be caused by her new corrective shoes taking the strain off of her weak areas, or it could be from being adjusted last visit. Whatever it is, we're on the right track!
Next up was his review of Faith's new shoeing job. He looked at Brad Erickon's work and was quite impressed with it - it was exactly what he requested. The shoes were limiting the amount of "twist" in her gait, therefore releasing some pressure from her suspensories. However, we knew that there were three possible outcomes of her corrective shoeing: She gets better, she stays the same, or she gets worse. Unfortunately when you require one aspect of their gait to change, (such as eliminating the twist in Faith's stride,) you are forcing something else to adapt to accommodate it. On a horse that is about 17 years old, who probably has been moving like this for quite some time, it takes them quite a while to adjust to the changes. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. The only way to know if it will work is to try it.
Faith appeared sound for the first three days after her shoeing, and now has become about a 1.5/5 grade lameness on her front legs. Yes, her front legs. She has obviously changed her stride behind and may now be putting more weight on her forehand to accomodate it. If this is from her shoeing job, there are two possibilities: The good news is that it just might take her an additional week or two to readjust and balance herself out. The bad news is that it might not and we may need to pull the shoes and keep her barefoot. Time will tell. In the meantime, she has been and will remain on bute on days she seems uncomfortable.
The front end lameness could also be something entirely different, and not a negative side effect to her shoeing. It could be that she has always been lame on her forehand, but that her hind end was always in greater discomfort, so she didn't show the front-end pain. Think of it this way: you have a small splinter that aches in the bottom of your right foot, and at the same time, a big painful blister on the bottom of your left. If you're walking, you're going to favor your left foot, thus appearing "sound" on your right foot. One the blister heals and the left is comfortable again, you'll favor the right foot because the splinter is still painful. You fix one cause of discomfort, and another shows up. This could be what's happening with Faith. We're eliminating the most painful problems first, and as we do, the less painful ones are becoming more apparent.
So the question is, what's causing the discomfort in her front legs? It could be just general soreness from carrying herself differently. We also are fairly certain that she's arthritic, plus she has an old suspensory injury on her front left leg. (That is the same leg as her clubbed hoof, and suspensory injuries are more common in legs with clubbed hooves, due to the angle of the pastern created by the hoof.) Dr. Barnes thinks she may possibly have ringbone, either high or low. If she does, we can start her on injections and see if she improves. Our plan for now is to wait another week or two and see how she changes. I have hope that she will improve, and this is just a little bump in the road.
Back to Dr. Barnes's visit: He did not have to adjust her back, but he did notice that she was tight through her poll and neck. He gave her a few adjustments, and she willingly let him do his job. Here is Dr. Barnes at work:
Does anyone know of a good equine massage therapist in the Southern NH/Northern Mass area that would come out for Faith? I think she'd not only thoroughly enjoy it, but benefit from it as well. Once I get caught up on all of these vet bills, I plan on scheduling her an appointment.I'm off to bed now - have a great night!.