Thursday, April 14, 2011

Let's Pretend For a Moment, I Can Be Rational...

Note to self - DO NOT let me write posts at 1:00 a.m. when I have had an unusually shitty day and am 1/2 a bottle of Red in.  Noted.
After speaking with DVME today, I feel somewhat better - and I use the word somewhat very hesitantly - about what our next step is with Chester.  In a nutshell, we are going to hold off on the imagery for now - partly to save my wallet and having to refinance our house - and partly to try and isolate the problem area.  She keeps going back to his hoof, I keep giving her slack about it.
ME: DVME, you're telling me he can spook and have his hoof be the cause of his lameness?
DVME: I've had a couple handfuls of cases where horses have spooked and pulled tendons and torn ligaments in their hoof.  Carrie, do you know how many different things can go wrong in there?
ME: Yes, DVME, there are about a quadrillion things that can go wrong in there. (sighs audibly)
On Monday, she is going to come on out and we are going to nerve block his hoof. 
What are nerve and joint blocks?
Nerve and joint blocks involve the injection of a local anaesthetic (Lidocane anyone?!!) either close to a nerve or directly into a joint or into another synovial cavity, such as the navicular bursa or a tendon sheath. The local anaesthetic temporarily disrupts the function of any nerves or nerve endings it contacts. This results in areas of desensitisation (numbing). The desensitised area depends on which nerves or nerve endings are affected. Thus, if the local anaesthetic is placed around a nerve, such as the palmar digital nerve that runs down on both sides of the back of the pastern before entering the foot, the areas supplied by that nerve will become desensitised. If the horse has pain in this area, the nerve block will temporarily numb it and the lameness may disappear. These blocks are used as one part of an examination of the lame horse. Usually, the horse is trotted up (either in a straight line on a hard, level surface and/or on the lunge in both directions), and the degree of lameness is noted. The block is then applied and the horse trotted up again to see whether there has been any improvement in the degree of lameness. If the lameness has improved, it is likely that the site of pain causing it is situated in the area of the foot that has been desensitised by the block. 
Dinner anyone? My treat!
Hopefully, he blocks as she suspects he will at the hoof, because it will a- FINALLY pinpoint that there IS in fact something going on in there and b- at $55/shot, I can't afford much more then one. (Guess it is back to eating KD and wieners for the next 3 weeks).  At least by blocking, we will know (hopefully) exactly what area it is we need to focus our efforts on...and by efforts, I mean me trying not to bawl my eyes out every time I look at Chester to approach the situation rationally.  And by efforts I also mean, giving Chester all the help he can get.  Depending on what happens - and I am going to talk to the Boss first - we could potentially x-ray again...although after his last crystal clear x-rays which basically told us he had awesome feet....I might save that $285 and put it towards an MRI...because yep - that's the ONLY damn way you can see the tendons and ligaments inside the hoof.  Enter audible sigh here.   I swear to God, if this horse has to get an MRI, I am going to have to resort to means of income which I would rather not discuss openly. 
If there is something torn inside his foot - which is sounding more and more like it could be the case - the only thing we can do is give him some drugs and time to rest. Don't ask me how long, because I have no idea...AND, it isn't even like we know that is for sure what is going on anyway.
SO, once calmed down and rational, I feel a teensy tiny little bit better then I did 24 hours ago. 
I still believe in him. And you can bet your ass I'm not going to quit.


  1. Ok so this may be way off but...

    When I bought my old horse, he came with bar shoes. The "lovely" previous owners told us "oh that's just what the farrier put on him." Well, the vet x-rayed his feet and found nothing wrong so we pull the bar shoes and put him in plain, old regular shoes. He is seemingly fine in the new kicks but every once in a while he takes a few odd steps, usually on a circle. I wasn't really educated enough at the time (I was 12 or 13) to realize this was a problem - luckily my mom did. We take said horse to 3 different vets and get 3 different answers. We do what each one says, no change. Horse typically jogs pretty sound on a straight away but will almost always take a few funny steps when being lunged. Coach comes back from being south for the winter and says "hmmm...that's really not right, call this super famous vet." We call said vet who takes a gazillion photos (yes, that's a real number!) of the foot and privately tells my mother "this doesn't look good - there's no heat, no nothing but we'll see what the x-rays say." He calls a few days later and says "the horse has an old break in his coffin bone hence the bar shoes and no heat. Put the bar shoes back on and he'll be good to go." We put bar shoes back on and voila sound horse! Said horse went on to cart my sorry teenage butt around prelim, countless jumper shows, and many other exploits.

    The point of my very, long rambling story is maybe it really could be this simple. Now this was 15+ yrs ago (am I really that old?) so I'm guessing your vet is using digital but I do know the vet I mentioned above had to take a ridiculous number of pictures from a ridiculous number of angles to find the break as there was very little calcification along the break.

    Anyway, I'm hoping it really is this easy and a simple shoeing change will make all right in Chester's world (and yours by association!).

    - Sarah

  2. Sarah - AWESOME!
    I HAVE thought about bar shoes...thing is, the last round of x-rays we took, he was clean clean clean clean!!! Which at this point is why it is remaining somewhat of a mystery. Considering there are a bagillion (because yes that is a number also) things that could go wrong in his hoof, you could be right and we need to take more rads. At least with blocking, we will hopefully be able to pinpoint where his soreness (because I refuse to call him lame) is coming from.
    Let's hope you are right and he just needs some fancy new kicks!!
    Thanks!!! :-)