After work yesterday I went over to the equine hospital to meet with the doc who did the MRI on Kaswyn. He told me not to come over there until he called, but I thought "Screw that. They have my horse, so I'm going." When I got there I was told that they just got finished, and that Kaswyn was one of the best horses that they have ever scanned. Of all the scans he only moved on one of them, and it was easy to repeat. They told me that he had to pee right in the middle of the scanning, and he waited as long as he could but then just had to go. So they grabbed a bucket and caught most of it, but he ended up pissing all over the machine. Nice.
Dr. A. took me for a tour of the facility. It's still being built, but it's very nice so far. Then we went into the MRI room and he showed me the magnet and explained how it moves and what they are able to do with it. The magnet weighes 3000 pounds. Egad.
Then he took me over to the computer and went though every single scan with me, which I thought was very cool of him. He explained everything he saw and answered all my questions. The bottom line is this - Kaswyn has a degenerative area in his left navicular bone. This degeneration probably would have happened even if he had never been ridden a day in his life. It's certainly been made worse by his show career, but it's a pretty mild case of degeneration. There is an obvious pocket of inflammation in the bone, and slight roughening of the edge of the bone. Thankfully the deep digital flexor tendon is not hurt. No inflammation, no lesions, no tears or rips. So that's good news. The scans, along with Kaswyn's whole chart up to this point will be sent to Washington University where a team of certified radiologists will go over the scans and decide what they see. Dr. A. said they will give their unbiased opinion of the MRI, and that they might find things that he missed, or interpret some things differently. We'll have those results in 5-7 days
So right now Kaswyn needs to be kept barefoot with his feet wrapped in duct tape to keep them from cracking. When they get the results back, Dr. G., Dr.B., and Dr. A. will all sit down and decide on a course of treatment. This will probably be corrective shoeing to alleviate the pressure on the navicular bone and medication to remove the inflammation. If Kaswyn in rideable or not, and to what degree, all depends on how well he responds to the treatment. If he responds well, then maybe we're back to normal training and showing. If not, then maybe I can just ride for fun. If he is still very lame, then we have to explore other options. Like retirement, or even a neurectomy, where the nerves to the back of his foot are severed so that he cannot feel the pain anymore. That carries it's own host of problems, one of which is injury to the deep digital flexor tendon because the horse can't feel when too much pressure is being applied there.
Right now, I'm back in "wait and see" mode.
It occurs to me that even though this is called Dressage Mom, I have not been able to talk much about dressage. I had hoped to be able to write stories about how we were progressing with our pirouettes, or how a test went at a show, but all I've really done is talk about how I'm dealing with my horse and his lameness. I guess in a 15 year old dressage horse I should expect these kinds of problems. I've known dressage horses younger than Kaswyn that have had more problems. However, I've also known dressage horses who are older who have far fewer, if any, lameness issues.
Regardless of what happens, I'm thankful for every day I have had my horse. Even if we never train and show again, he has given me so much. He's learned everything I've tried to teach him, he's always tried really hard to please me, and he's never been grumpy or mean. He's truly one in a million, and I'm not the only one who thinks that.
I just hope I don't lose my four legged dancing partner. Because he's irreplacable.
Riding as exercise
6 days ago