Thursday, June 08, 2006

Vet visits, past and future

Yesterday my trainer and I took Kaswyn to the vet. We were not late - if fact, we were 30 minutes early! Dr. G. was the only one there, so he checked us in. He did the typical exam (heatrate, temp, body evaluation, etc.) and then took him outside on the road for the lameness exam. The clinic is on a dead end street so it's no problem to take them out on the road for this part of the evaluation. What they do to check for lameness is they flex test them. Meaning, the assistant holds the horse and the doc holds one leg up in a completely flexed and bent position for about 30 seconds and when he puts it down the assistant trots the horse away from the doc in a straight line. It usually gives an indication of where the problems might be before they start taking x-rays. Also doc did a neuro exam and, thankfully, that came back negative. So no EPM. Whew.

We also had a video of me riding Kaswyn from the day before so doc could see how he went under saddle. The flex tests showed nothing but the video made him suspicious of the left front leg, which is nothing that we have looked at before. We've always focused on the hind end because that's where his movement was off and where he would flex test positive. Fourteen x-rays later revealed two problems with his navicular bone. One is a suspected cyst in the bone, and the other is a small area where part of the bone has been detatched from the main bone by the tendon. None of this sounds very good, but doc said that this may or may not be bothering Kaswyn. So what he wants to have happen is to have a vet come out to the barn and have me ride him and evaluate what I feel. Then the vet will do a nerve block on Kaswyn's front feet and then I will ride him again and see if that fixes the problem. If it does, then we treat the problems that we saw on x-ray. If not, then we still have a mystery.

My concern is that Kaswyn isn't all that lame in front. Maybe he's a little off in the beginning of his work, but mostly he seems to just have no energy and not want to work. Doc said that it's possible that the lethargy and unwillingness to work could come from the pain in the foot. I'm skeptical, but he's the expert in this area.

The next hurdle we have is getting a vet out to the barn to do the nerve block, since Dr.G. does not do farm calls. He asked who we were going to have come out and do it, and we shrugged, since his son is leaving town and we haven't chosen a new vet yet. His son's old partner, Dr. B., still works for the practice and I've heard good things about him, but have been told that he doesn't come out to our part of town for farm visits. Dr. G. said "Dr. B. is great, and I'd like you to use him. He thinks like I do as far as diagnosis, and is a great vet. So here is what I want you to do. Call the practice and tell them you want Dr. B. to come out and see this horse. Then tell them that Dr. B. MUST call me before he goes and sees the horse. I will talk to him and update him on the situation." See, Dr. G. just expanded his business to a large practice which employs his son, Dr. B., and about 4 other vets. So what Dr. G. says goes. Period.

Then I call the practice. I can't get the scheduling people on the phone right away, and they said they'll call me back. No call an hour later, so I call back. They said they'll call me to schedule. With still no call three hours after that, I call again and explain that I have very specific instructions from Dr. G. and I really need to take care of this today. They get me right on the phone with the scheduling lady. She tells me that Dr. B. is at the racetrack all day, every day, and doesn't really have time for farm calls, but that she would talk to his wife who does his schedule and see when he could come out. She said she would call me that evening or tomorrow. Today is tomorrow and still no call yet.

Until Dr. B. comes out, Dr.G. wants me to continue riding my horse because he does not want to change anything so that we can know for sure that the nerve block made him better and not something else, like less work. I feel terrible riding my horse when I suspect that he might be in pain, but giving him pain reliever or time off might screw up this whole thing, so I'm kinda stuck. I just hope that Dr.B. can come out soon and we can get some kind of answer. I also hope that riding him is not going to do more damage. I'm really torn about what to do. I think I'll just ride him lightly and for a short period of time. I'm just too afraid to do more, and I can't push him if I know he might hurting.

I'm just stuck in a sucky situation. Blah.

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