Kaswyn’s not doing so well right now.
He started out a few months ago feeling a bit off. Since he was on "light duty" I decided just to take is easy on him and mostly walk and maybe trot a little. He’s been getting steadily worse since then, despite some time off and a course of bute. He started slightly head bobbing at the walk, and definitely head bobbing at the trot. I suspected his hocks needed injecting plus a resurgence of the left front foot issue that has plagued us for many years.
Dr. B came out to take a look at him. To my surprise he started his exam at Kaswyn's knees. He palpated his knees, finding fluid there. Then he felt his back legs and found thickening of both suspensory ligaments. The flexion tests were pretty positive for lameness, 2 out of 5 for all legs involved. Surprisingly he was Churchill negative (which is usually indicative of hock pain).
After the x-rays and a long discussion with Dr. B, what it comes down to is this: Kaswyn has chronic arthritis in both front knees and chronic desmitis in both hind suspensories. He is now in total retirement, no riding even at the walk for now. According to Dr. B it's nothing that I've done in the past year or so. It's just old age, and possibly a genetic predisposition to have these conditions.
We have begun a course of bute, which we will reduce slowly until we find a dose that is the lowest amount of bute that keeps him sound at the walk. From there we will replace some of the bute with aspirin, or Previcox, or both, until we have a combination of meds that is as low a dose of bute as possible and still keep Kaswyn comfortable. Kaswyn is also on isoxsuprine, and Equithrive. I tried to take him off of the Equithrive and put him on another supplement, but he got worse, so we're back to the Equithrive. After five days I could already see from the look in his eyes that he feels better. We have a lot of fiddling to do with his meds, but we'll get there.
I am quite sad about this whole thing. I really thought I still had years of hacking him around, or even trail riding. I'm not sure if we'll be able to do that anymore. But I owe that horse everything. He taught me so much, was there for me through all my fumbling to learn dressage, and always tried his little heart out. He has always been an extraordinarily smart, selfless partner. The very least I can do is keep him comfortable and happy for as long as possible.
Just before Dr. B left I said "Knees and suspensories. I certainly didn't expect that." Dr. B said "Neither did I. He just had to be different."
That's Kaswyn. Never boring.