Sunday, February 27, 2011

Riddle Me This...

Before starting in on my rant - because it will be a rant - I want to take a second to say thank you to everyone who comments and sends me emails. Honestly - it is great to know that there are 'inquiring minds who want to know' what is going on with Chester.  It means a lot to me. Thank you.
So what do I do:
1 - when DVME says for sure it is an abscess.
2 - when Farrier Extraordinaire says for sure it is NOT an abscess.
The farrier busted out the hoof testers yesterday afternoon - and HAULED on them.
Chester, did. Not. Flinch. Once. 
He poked, prodded and came up blank. "And his x-rays were clean?", he asked me. I nodded with a look of dismay on my face - "There is no way this horse has an abscess."  Think about it. His foot - after a month of wrapping - is soft. You would think that an abscess would be easy for a farrier - who is very very very good at his job - to find.  He came up blank. "I think it is higher up, in his shoulder maybe - but there is definitely not anything wrong in his hoof.  I would get him outside and moving around because he has been in his stall for the past month and that is not doing him any good." 
Great - I have one person who I trust telling me one thing that is the complete polar opposite of what the other person I trust telling me. Awe. Some.
So - now what? Mystery lameness it is?! Who knows anymore...because this morning - he was not lame.  He was stiff...but not head bobbing dead lame and there was no heat anywhere. (I have left this poultice off - because really, what's the point now?!).  We lunged him, and after about 5 minutes, he was looking more like himself...even stretching down a little and snorting. Hummmm. I am completely dumbfounded.  That is a complete understatement - I am going out of my friggin mind trying to figure this out.
There are a couple of theories now:
1 - Remember how a couple weeks ago - I really thought the abscess had burst, his shoe went on, he pulled it off in the field and he came up dead lame?! Well, if it WAS an abscess, then maybe it actually did burst and he was simply foot sore....?
2 - Because he has been in his stall for so long, and not moving, he has lost the majority of the muscle we had built up over the past 6 months, a lot of muscle through his butt, over his back and neck.  Also he has been standing, not moving, he has limited circulation and we know that this horse does better with mobility (ie because of his stifles) so he could be super sore because of the lack of mobility.
3 - There is soft tissue damage higher up in his leg. Which would be absolutely AWFUL...which is somewhat causing me to second guess everything now because originally when this happened ON DECEMBER 30 - FML - , I thought it was something higher up in his leg. Remember - we were going to the left, he spooked - at NOTHING, 30 minutes into our school - jumped to the left 10 feet, then came up dead lame. But - Dr. Cove (chiro) cleared his shoulder...AND on that note he has full mobility in his shoulder because I have been keeping my eye on that AND farrier and I yesterday checked it out.  No resistance.
4 - It is a complete mystery lameness that will haunt me for the rest of my existence....
Yesterday - I was thinking it would be a good idea to have DVME come out to block his foot and work up from there if need be. But this morning, I am thinking differently, simply because he was NOT lame.  (Remember that I am now an honorary member of eventer79's poverty induced veterinary bill club, so, I think we might hold off.  If I had an unlimited source of money - hahahaha - I'd more then likely block ASAP.) Stiff YES. Lame, NO.  I don't think blocking will tell me anything.  He is stiff, what does that tell me...? He needs to move, increase his circulation, and build up some muscles again.  (Right?!)
What will happen now.
~ EVERYONE has said - get the horse outside he needs to move: He will go outside in the morning, and I will bring him in around 2.  That will give him 6 hours/day outside for the moment.
~ When he comes in - I will lunge him for 5 or 10 minutes to see how he moves.
~ This will happen until Thursday and which point he will be looked over by a masseuse (we have one - LUCKY) who boards at the barn.
The consensus - for the moment - is he is muscle sore.  Let's hope hope hope HOPE that is the case.
It is sooo hard. 5 people will give you 5 different answers when you ask them the same question.  In this case - a LOT of people who are very knowledgeable are all saying the same thing.  Muscle soreness, stiffness, get him outside, increase his circulation, give him a couple days and see what happens. That is what we are going to do for the moment.  I will monitor him for the next 3.5 days - his movement, heat/swelling in his legs, heat in his feet, etc and see where we are.
March 20 - we are supposed to be doing a jumping clinic - but at this point, it might be safer to put off until April... WHEN I start to ride again, we will be doing nothing but walking for at least 10 days - 2 weeks.  I will NOT risk my horse at re-aggravating something because I am asking too much of him too soon.
I HOPE this is the right thing to be doing.  For the next 3.5 days, I'll eat my lucky charms and rub the Buddha's belly for luck:
In a nutshell, here is the summary:
December 30 - Spooks, comes up dead lame
On and off lameness for 2 weeks  - becomes REALLY bad the 3rd week of January
DVME thinks Abscess - we poultice - beginning of February
Middle of Feb - we think the abscess blows, he gets his shoe put on - stick him outside - he PULLS the shoe half off and comes in dead lame...again
Last Wednesday - Feb 17 - x-rays - Clean - poultice with Bran, Epsom Salt, Listerine and DMSO for 10 days
He has been in his stall since the beginning of February
Yesterday - Farrier can't find ANYTHING in his foot - says he needs to get moving and put him outside. I did not wrap his foot.
This morning - no heat in his feet - they all felt the same - no swelling, no heat - lunged and he was stiff, not lame. Put him outside and crossed my fingers.
If anyone has thoughts based on the facts, I would LOVE to know.


  1. I am so very sorry to have you in my club. It's not a very fun club and frankly, I'd LOVE to eat something besides noodles and the eggs that the farm chicken crap out. I don't know what I'll do when I run out of birthday cake. Perhaps lurk behind restaurants waiting for trash day?

    I know I am very biased when I say this, but keep chasing. If your gut tells you something is wrong, don't give up. (Why would I think that, LOL??) But I agree with turning him out and getting him moving. As much as possible. If you can do 24 hours, do it!

    It could be soft tissue and some people will tell you to block and image your guts out. But if you have a good, experienced vet, he should be able to use his eyes and hands to great effect. If he's not lame at present, this is good. But you said he's coming out stiff -- stiff where? That's where I'd start looking. The masseuse will be able to give you some clues, do keep us updated!

    I am very sympathetic to your frustration!!!!

  2. Your club SUCKS!! ;-)
    I continue to chase, keep my fingers crossed and do everything I can!!
    We made some progress this afternoon. I brought him in, lunged him, all I saw was 'stiff' not 'lame'.
    At this point, not going to block..fingers crossed, fingers crossed, fingers crossed...!