So it came down to this. My horse wasn't quite right. He wasn't lame, but he wasn't right. I present to you a series of videos to further explain what went on.
(The first three videos are all short, just me lunging him. )
Here is Kaswyn the day I decided he needed to go to the vet.
You can see the left front leg has a shorter, choppier, more stabbing stride than the left front. So that became -
A horse went to the vet.
When I got to the vet I sat down with Dr. G and I asked about doing a "long term block" on the leg that would mimic repeating the neurectomy. He said that there is really no such thing as a long term block, only what he'd call "extended analgesia". There is a mixture of meds that, when injected, are called a "racing block". They will provide extended pain relief, but not really block the nerves. You can only get that for a short amount of time with a "real" nerve block.
This cocktail is carbocaine (local anesthetic, something that will block the nerves short-term), vetalog (steroid anti-inflammatory), and sarapin. Sarapin is derived from the pitcher plant, and has been used for years as a pain reliever for neurological or muscular pain. This is the long term analgesia that Dr. G talked about. The carbocaine would tell us immediately (well, in eight minutes) if we were on the right track. The vetalog would help relieve any inflammation, and the sarapin would give long term pain relief. So then...
A horse got injected.
Dr. G injected the cocktail of meds right above the neuromas. As we waited the eight minutes we discussed the possible causes of his discomfort. Dr. G said that it could be the neuromas. I said that they weren't painful on palpation, but Dr. G said that didn't mean that they didn't hurt when he loaded them with weight. Or they could be rubbing up under the joint and bothering him. Maybe that's why he's never really lame - because it's just discomfort. It's enough that he compensates and then messes up his back, hocks, neck, etc, and it makes him uneven enough that I couldn't really show him.
After the eight minutes we lunged him and saw a 80% improvement. Dr G said "Now, you have an hour and a half. Get him home and ride him. Then call tomorrow and give me a report."
So I got him home and rode him. He felt kind of weird, because he still had carbocaine in his foot and I'm sure it felt weird for him to be working on it. After I finished working him I decided to take video of Kaswyn on the lunge line to send to Dr. G so he could take a look for himself.
Here is Kaswyn that night after getting his injections.
The next day Kaswyn started one gram of bute in the morning, no turnout, with riding at the walk. This happened for three days. This video is Kaswyn two days after the injections. Still on 1 gram bute, no turnout.
Looks pretty good, right?
Here is the last video. It's longer, as it was the day Kaswyn could go back to full work. He had NO bute that morning, so he'd been off of bute for 24 hours. He also hadn't been turned out yet. This video was shot by Susan, who was sitting on her horse. She's not a very good videographer anyway, but Albert wouldn't stand still so it's very bumpy.
A horse is sound.
You can see that he looks great. Don't you think? Am I just imagining it? I don't think I am. He felt really great also. I'm pretty damn happy about it.
So now what? Well, I think we know now that it's the neuromas that are bothering him somehow. I don't want to repeat the surgery, since that will just cause more neuromas, and higher up which would certainly interfere more with the fetlock then they are right now (if they are, but they might be).
Dr. G had a suggestion. There is a technique, being tested by a vet at Ohio State, where they inject the nerve with an alcohol solution. This would be in place of repeating the neurectomy, which I don't want to do at this point. So depending on how sound Kaswyn is and how long he stays that way, he may be a good candidate for the alcohol injection in the nerve technique.
But right now, my boy is sound. And I can tell that he feels better than he has in years. So we're both happy!
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