Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Operation: Pickle Rehabilitation

So - here is the deal with Chester's rehabilitation.

It is a matter of what came first, the chicken or the egg. In this case DVM believes the injury to his hind end and not being ridden regularly caused the tendons to loosen through his stifle joints, thereby causing his knee cap to shift. There are two large ligaments crossing in the centre of his stifle joint. They form an X inside the joint by attaching to the femur and tibia. When he kicks out his hind legs, it is because that weak joint has becoming locked.

~ A weak stifle is basically caused from a general lack of muscle tone to the hind limbs. So the lack of riding (because of the original injury to his butt), caused the muscle tone to basically disappear (weakness), which has lead to his current state of weakened stifles.
~ Why are his hips and back sore...? Because they are over compensating for for his stiles being weak. Everything is connected back there and he is protecting himself from feeling uncomfortable, which is causing him to tighten everything up...amazing how it all works isn't it?

I am to administer the following: External Blistering for 3 weeks. I have shaved a square of hair over the stifles, so the skin is now exposed. The active ingredients in dish soap, yes dish soap, will absorb into the ligament through the skin, 'blistering' it ans causing it to to tighten and stay in place on the joints. Said blistering is NOT very fun. (I have only done one treatment on Sunday, and yesterday, I could barely touch it without him kicking out...poor dude.) It is a scurf and from what DVM has said, is a great tool for healing when used properly. Chester though, doesn't like it, AT ALL....and he is going to try and take my head off every time I touch it.
He has been prescribed the horse version of robaxacet and is getting 22ccs/day for the next 7 days which will help relax the muscles through his back and butt...
THEN DVM will come back, reassess and determine if we need to do an internal blistering. Which she doesn't think we will have to do....fingers crossed. The internal blistering is an iodine and almond oil (I think) solution which would be injected directly into the joint to cause scar tissue to form which will hold everything in place.
She told me to think about it this way: He went from not being in a program, to working 5 or 6 days a week, his body changed and developed as did his muscles and he was growing into himself...(She said he looks amazing, all things considering.)...then all of a sudden, he gets hurt and the level of fitness isn't able to be maintained. That is a HUGE change to his body, almost a shock she said. So, he tenses up to further protect himself, the ligaments loosen and it is a vicious circle with no end.
The most important thing now, is maintaining (well rebuilding) a high level of fitness to compensate for the the joints instability, WHILE THE BLISTERING IS GOING ON. Which, is going to be painful for him, but it must be done...basically it is like a rehabilitation program that an athlete suffering from a knee injury would endure. Once the blistering period is done, the newly strengthened muscles and ligaments SHOULD hold the tendons in place. If not, and DVM is not happy with the result, then we will move to the internal blistering....yeesh.
I should be working up to 45 - 60 minutes of walking/trotting over the next 3 weeks while the blistering is going on. I should be doing hill work, and anything else that encourages the use of his hind end while being ridden: grid work with trot poles, etc. For the next 10 days, I am to ride the trails only. Movement is good, standing still, he gets sore...so, we also are keeping him outside 24/7 to see how he does with that...last night was his first night outside, so when I get there this evening, I will speak with Jen (barn manager) to see how that went...I am sure he loved it.
Then, if all goes according to plan, I can start to ask for more collection, do some dressage figures and jumping...BUT - I'm not going to do that until I have have go ahead.
Phew - poor dude - but he is on the mends...

He was fun to ride last night- he feels FINE...it took me 10 minutes to keep him from jigging and actually walking like a normal horse. The hill will be gone up twice today with the trot for 1/2 of one of the climbs....he does enjoy that part...
Let me tell you - this blistering, is going to be super hard to endure. He absolutely HATES it and there aren't even any 'blisters' yet. I am to 'blister' every other day and then every 3 days once the blisters show up. I am assuming today will be a little easier to 'touch' then yesterday, but I actually have to apply said dish soap today...so I will have to be on my toes to avoid getting a square one to the chops. It is so hard seeing him react like that, BUT, I know we have to get through it.
19 more days to go....

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