Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Vet call - Part 2

Part 1

There are worse things than being presented with three options for fixing your horse. So I listened as Dr. B went down the list.

#1 - Back the training program up to where I was two months ago for 30 days. During that time apply Surpass (anti-inflammatory cream) daily to the left front inside splint bone. If Kaswyn is not back where he was before this this new injury after 30 days, call Dr. B back out.

#2 - Shock Wave Therapy. We had such success the first time, there is no reason to believe that another round wouldn't help tremendously.

#3 - Pin Fire the leg.

WHAT? HELL to the NO.

When he said that and saw the look on my face he just laughed and said, "I told you you wouldn't do it! But honestly if I pin fire that leg it will set it up for good and you'll never have another problem."

Pin firing is putting a hot, thin metal probe into the injury site, which basically burns a little tunnel into the skin, connective tissue, and bone. The idea behind it is to create an acute inflammatory response, which the body will react to in a different and better way than it does to a long term lingering injury. Usually the pin firing will require many sticks with the probe, and usually results in little pin scars. The horse is sedated and the site blocked, so they don't feel it. Most people think pin firing is terrible and wouldn't consider it.

Here is an article from horse.com about pin firing.

I told him that I wouldn't be able to do it, and he said "Let me tell you, I've never had a horse that I've pin fired come back with the same injury. It's always worked for me. I hate to do it because it's so labor intensive, but I'll tell you it works. However, in your case I think we can get by with one of the other two options, so trust me I'm not pushing it."

We talked about why this injury happened again. He said that when I took my horse to the next level of training I stressed the site enough to cause some new injury. At first the injury was at the top of the splint bone, but now it's farther down. The splint bone is only so long, and eventually he might have injured and healed the whole length of the bone. The stress of training is setting up and continuing the process of healing on the previously injured parts, so laying my horse up at this point would eliminate the stimulus and thus dramatically slow any healing.

Our plan right now is Option #1 - back off the training and use Surpass. In 30 days if he's not as good as he was in the beginning of October, Dr. B will come out for another evaluation. And maybe more shock wave therapy.

But pin firing? I just don't think I could do it. Then again, I never thought I'd nerve my horse either....


Anonymous said...

I've seen some horses come back from pin fireing with amazing results. Yeah, it's not pretty to look at and I'm not saying that you should definitely do it, but don't eliminate it completely from your options. It may be the best option in the long run, especially if it will allow him to go back into FEI work.

Good luck. Those are some tough choices. Definitely do the least evasive and see what works.


dressagemom said...

Man, I just don't know if I could do it. It's just such a nasty procedure. But so it cutting a huge piece of nerve out of your horse's leg.

Right now we'll just wait and see. I don't know how brave I am!

And sorry to hear about Simon. At least he sounds happy...probably fat and sassy too!

Beckz said...

Well honestly I wouldn't pinfire him. Sure he is nerve blocked while they do it but after that wears off thats got to hurt alot. The whole point is to create an inflammatory response and inflammation equals pain. Always. I guess I see pin firing as a short cut to get a result that would come with time. I'm glad you went with the first option.

Wiola said...

Oh dear, I hope you won't have to go the pin firing route. It was one of the options for my navicular boy (for tendon problem) too but I didn't agree.
I remember reading about pin firing race horses. Yes, they improved but due to pin firing they were given a very long time off. It doesn't seem conclusive whether the most important recovery factor was the rest or the firing.
The practise is banned in the UK and was actually discussed heavily a few months ago in magazines and on forums.
Some info on here:

All the best with your boy.

craig said...

When you told me about it you made it sound like they would be hammering hot spikes into his leg. What you just posted doesn't seem so gruesome. But what the hell do I know about horses?

EquineSpirit said...

*shudder*...poor guy! I'll keep my *fingers crossed* that the option you chose works! It's one I'd have definitely chosen for a first try! Good luck!

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