Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Visiting Dr. G

It always sucks to have to take your horse to the vet, but Dr. G's office is great. I actually like to go there because I always learn something. It would just be nice if I didn't always have to learn on my horse.

Susan was able to finish with work early and get to the barn in time to drive her truck and the trailer to the vet's office. When I was able to get a good look at the trailer I decided that I could have done it, but was just as happy to let Susan do it. After all, she had hauled the trailer before, and it was her truck.

Before we left the barn I got two videos of Kaswyn at the canter, since that is where I felt the problem the most. I didn't feel anything at the trot but that didn't mean it wasn't there. However, Dr. G has space to trot the horses for the lameness exams, but no room to canter them since he does the lameness exam on the road on a straightaway.

Here is the video of Kaswyn cantering to the left.

And to the right. Watch in this one where he takes a bad step. This is what it felt like when I was riding him yesterday. I thought this would be helpful for Dr. G to see.

We got to the clinic and the barn was almost full. They have eight stalls, I think, and it was obvious that they were very busy. We just happened to be the last ones of the day, and we had to wait a bit. My trainer was able to get finished with her lessons and training horses and she met us there. As soon as they could they checked us in and got the lowdown on why we were there.

As usual, they took Kaswyn's vitals and then Dr. G. did his exam. After trotting him outside and doing the flex tests he concluded that it was indeed his right hind leg that was the problem. We headed back inside and I showed him the videos. When he saw the bad step on the one to the right he said "Oh, that was a painful step right there."

Then he started palpating the right hind leg, saying "It's certainly right hind, but I don't think it's the hock. I think it's higher up here in his stifle." Then he had me feel the stifle joint on the inside, explaining that he felt there was fluid in the joint on the right, but not on the left. I could certainly feel the difference when he showed me the proper place to press on the joint. He wanted to get x-rays of the ankle, hock and stifle so we could see what was going on in there. The findings were as follows -

Right ankle - No Significant Lesions - NSL
Right hock - No active arthritis, middle joint a bit narrow. Dr. G. added "This hock looks great for a horse of this age and activity. If this were a pre-purchase exam and you wanted to pay $50,000 for this horse I'd say yeah, go ahead."
Right Stifle - Plateau of tibia looks good. At articular surface of tibia there is a bit of density. Some calcification seen on surface of tibia over darker area at cranial cruciate ligament attachment site. Three pits exist in cruicate area of femur. Tibia articular surface has a black remodeling area.
Left Stifle - NSL.

What all this medical speak means is that my horse has inflammation in the stifle joint at the attachment of the cranial cruciate ligament attachment site. I asked if this was from concussion, poor footing, or if it was a traumatic incident, and Dr. G said "It's because he's 18."

He suggested injecting the joint to get rid of the inflammation. The plan after that is as follows -

Bute - one gram two times a day for five days (starting Thursday), then one gram once a day for five days.
No turnout and hand walk for five days.
Day 6 lunge
Day 7 lunge and light work
Day 8 back to normal

I commented that would mean that he could go to the show, and he said sure. My trainer asked him if he was sure he was okay with this horse going to a show in ten days, and Dr. G said "If he's sound, yes. The only way we are going to know if we are right about the stifle is to treat it and put him back to work. If he's sound then we know we are right. If not, then this is just Plan A. We still have Plans B, C, D, and E to go. So don't worry."

Then he was ready for his team to get to work. He said "Okay, I'm going to inject that right stifle. I need him sedated and then I'll need 9 cc of Hycoat and 1 1/2 cc of Depo. Sue, you scrub him and Heather, you get on the penis."

At that, the entire room came to a halt. My mouth fell open and I stared at Dr. G. I was pretty sure he just told his tech to get on the penis. I looked at my trainer and she was thinking the same thing that I was. Then the techs looked at us and burst out laughing.

I said "Did he just say 'Get on the penis'?" They were all laughing too hard at our reactions to explain, so Dr. G said "I mean she needs to hold the penis and sheath out of the way. I need to get to the inside of the leg and it needs to be held to the side." Oh well, that makes perfect sense.

I asked if I could shoot video of the injection, so here it is.

Kaswyn was, of course, awesome for all of this. I discussed Kaswyn's work regimen with Dr. G, telling him that I used to work Kaswyn every other day, but recently since I had been riding the younger horses 5 or 6 days a week I had been doing the same with Kaswyn. My trainer commented that I had been doing hard training on those days and not having an easy day in between. Dr. G said I should just work him every other day like I used to, and his advice was to "Train light and show hard." He also said that he'll be able to pull Kaswyn through this and keep him going, and when I have a break in my show schedule that I might want to consider IRAP treatment. Then I asked him if I should consider retiring Kaswyn. He said no, not right now. Whew!

So, I have to say my trainer was right. She was concerned about Kaswyn after the last show, but I insisted that Dr. B had said that Kaswyn was fine. My trainer had said I should take him to see Dr. G, but I didn't and he got better so I didn't think anything of it. Now I see that I was way wrong. It appears that my poor judgement has not done huge damage to my horse, and that Dr. G can turn this around. Oh, and he'd like Kaswyn to stay on the Polyglycan. He says it's a great all around arthritis preventative.

As soon as Kaswyn woke up and was more alert we headed out of there. He was the last horse to leave. As we were loading him in the trailer Dr. G was driving away in his car, and pulled up beside us to say "Dr. B says hi! He's halfway to Pennsylvania to look at horses! He's really booked up!" It's really wonderful that both these great vets can work together without their egos getting in the way of the care of the horses.

So, good news - this is fixable, and Kaswyn might still be able to go to the show. Bad news - I have to hand walk him for five days! We both HATE that!

Oh, and tomorrow I have lessons at my trainer's with Skyy and Albert. I'll try and get more video. It's going to be another long night = my husband is a saint. And sexy, really really sexy. Smart and funny too. Just so you know.


Mac v Mac said...

Stifle joints. Urgh. My girl has a slight problem with her near side stifle, in that it "catches" when back up or picking up the hoof. Only sometimes, and it really "clunks" back into place easily enough.

Keeping her in work helps the problem, but seeing as she's on leave for the next three months (and just had a month off due to a skin problem), the stifle is beginning to go ... uhhh, no, no can't do iiiittt..

Strangely enough, she has no left lead canter. It doesn't exist under saddle, and sporadically on the lunge. It wasn't a problem out hacking, but when we took up a bit of dressage and bam! Problem.

Once she comes off leave, she's going straight back into work to strengthen those muscles up. Until then, its... guess what! Hand walking and loads of trot cavaletti.

Pregnant or no, those stifles won't get the better of us yet. Nothing available here to help though, no jabs, and I've yet to get a solid recommendation for an oral supplement.

Anonymous said...

Great news! Especially the no retirement part. I'm sure you will have a successful show with all three of your rides. Phinale said "bite Kas' butt for me".

Stephanie said...

Excellent to hear! He sounds like he is in such great shape for a very active 18year old. I love that the vet gave you the green light. 'Train light and show hard' good advice.

Hope that once you make it through the hand walking phase that he is nice and sound!

Chris said...

Eheheh, very amusing session with the Doc, it seems! Glad you were able to come away with a game plan and that he has backup just in case!

Good luck with your hand walking - hope it passes quickly for you!

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