Hallelujah hallelujah, we have a plan!

Backtracking a little though- we did our joint-specific nerve blocks on Thursday, and they revealed that our issues are primarily in the coffin joint area. This is apparently better than having issues in the fetlock, since the fetlock can be a bit of a complicated joint to rehab. Though a little troublesome to get to, the coffin is slightly more straightforward.

Jack also got his pour-in pads, and based on lunging he already looked better before and after his new kicks.

So, the golden boy’s immediate future looks like:

Next 3-4 Weeks
We will be injecting IRAP into both coffins (the other for good measure) every 5-7 days. The first injection is today, and there will be at least 2 more injections. Jack will stay in his small rehab paddock during turnout to minimize concussion on his feet and allow the bone bruising to heal.

Month 2
We start tack walking! And then building up to W/T/C on very soft footing to limit concussion still. Jack will graduate to a larger paddock if all goes well. For his next shoeing, Jack will move into aluminum shoes, which being lighter should make any fetlock joint nonsense a bit happier. Since these shoes are also deeper he will get even thicker pour-in pads, which is very helpful as his feet are so flat/not concave.

After that
From there, we will see what happens. At this point I’m loathe to really truly make plans. But I’m hopeful.


A little more good news

This week’s MRI was a wealth of information and, albeit rather expensively obtained, it was well worth the 4-hour-each-way trek to learn more about what’s going on in that left fore.

It turns out that the collateral ligament isn’t actually of prime focus. The main observations, as described to me in laymen’s terms, are this:

  • Significant bone bruising on the medial side (which explains him being worse going right)
  • Arthritic changes in both coffin and fetlock joint

So, really, we are not looking at soft tissue as the primary cause of Jack’s lameness. There was some discussion around mild aggravation to the DDFT, but not enough to think that it was related to the overall lameness we are seeing. Which is good!

Tryon Equine Hospital (And standing MRI)

Our next steps are thus:

  • Do balance x-rays and pour-in pads for shoes (today)
  • Make plan for IRAP injections (blood draw today)
  • Do joint-specific blocks to determine how much coffin vs fetlock joint are causing lameness (today)
  • Keep Jack on stall/rehab-paddock rest to limit concussion on feet (in progress)
  • Take baseline x-rays of coffin/fetlock for future reference

Once we determine which joint is more at play in his lameness (or both, who knows), we can make a more exacting plan in regards to time off, and/or when to work our way back into work. Hopefully more on this tomorrow, if all goes well!

MRI update and a semblance of a plan

At the time of writing this, I only have limited details on Jack. Having received the findings report just minutes ago, I am still waiting to discuss with a human that can translate the “vet speak” into something a laymen like myself can understand.

A little bit of good news, though:

Jack did not have to get an additional MRI this morning. This is good- that means the original images taken were clear and he doesn’t get the stress of being re-sedated and entering the MRI box.

I have a horse to ride, this summer at least. A sweet (and flashy) draft cross that I can hopefully bring along and have fun with, and stay in the saddle for a few more months.

A plan to find Jack a more appropriate facility for rehabbing him has been discussed and approved with the barn manager.

I hope to have more news tomorrow as I translate the findings. Tomorrow or Thursday- stay tuned!

Collateral damage

I have some answers, but not all. But what I do know right now is that our season is a total washout.

After using what many say is the best radiologist on the east coast to ultrasound Jack’s pastern, my vet called me with the opinion. The main abnormality that could be found had to do with the collateral ligament near the coffin joint. It appears that the inside of that ligament is enlarged, but unfortunately because of its location (partially in the foot) it is a difficult place to ultrasound.

So, our next step is to go to Tryon Equine Hospital, which is the closest facility to have a standing equine MRI. The MRI will give us so much more information around what is going on in Jack’s left fore, and allow us to come up with a more specific rehab plan based on the images.

Some of you may recall that Tryon is where Foster had his surgery, and I admit there is a strong sense of deja vu that I hope is mere coincidence for Jack. For now, I’ve been told to expect 10-12 months of rehabbing Jack but with the expectation to return to his job as an eventer and sporthorse.

Our MRI is July 2nd and 3rd (for follow-up images) and I will certainly keep everyone in the loop as we go on this unexpected journey. Stay tuned.

In Limbo

If you follow my BGD page on facebook, you may have seen a rather vague but slightly depressing post this week. And this would be the follow up explanation as far as I know for the moment.

Jack has been NQR for a couple weeks, but nothing so alarming that we should call the vet. Until it got alarming enough to call the vet. And the vet confirmed that I’d likely be drowning my sorrows in the barn’s boxed wine that afternoon. Which I may or may not have done. (I did.)

And then the next day I got him all dressed up to take photos

As soon as the foot block proved negative I knew we were in trouble. We were able to improve his gait about 70% with the pastern block, and so that is where we will be doing exploratory ultrasound on Thursday to look for what is likely a soft tissue injury.

Until then, Jack has been resting, and we created a small rehab paddock that he could enjoy with as minimal risks to himself as possible. I was told to hope for a period of about 2-4 months out of work, but much of that will be confirmed Friday after my vet(s) assess the ultrasound images.

Unfortunately that’s all I have to go on right now. I’m also trying to devise ways of staying in the saddle while Jack is in rehab, but that is a similar work in progress.

Stay tuned and please think of my golden boy as we wait for results.


Keeping an Eye on the Eye

Luckily, Jack’s eyeball is starting to improve, thanks to my wonderful barn family stepping in to medicate him 4x/day while I was away. But as you can see in the picture below, there’s still noticeable swelling and weepiness.Jack’s been a pretty good sport overall about getting his meds. Which is great, because all of the people doing the medicating are shorties like myself, and fighting with a 17h giraffe is not the greatest time.
We have a check up today at 2pm, and I’m hoping the vet will give us the green light to ride again, but who knows- as I wouldn’t want the dust from riding to aggravate his condition.

And with all that said, I also want to look into his respiratory issues (the heavy breathing thing mentioned last week). So right now I’m seriously thinking of scrapping our next show (mid June) in favor of a lighter schedule while we all recoup.Again, sorry on being lighter news-wise. Medications and all that are not so interesting.

Horses R Dumm

In the latest part of Jack’s ploy to keep our vets in every comfort, Jack came in yesterday with this:

Unable to open it, swollen as hell, fuckery.

The vet came out, and he’s getting a fully fledged arsenal of medications. That I then misplaced.

Horses are dumb. And apparently so am I. Because being a human this week is basically more than I can handle.So if you’re wondering about us, I’ll be off gassing up my struggle bus.

Hope everyone has a good weekend.

Hives Update

So Dex must be some kind of miracle drug, because by 5 yesterday, Jack was looking so much better. And while still a little groggy, he was a little perkier- certainly better than the obviously miserable state he was in that morning.

Yesterday at 5pm L side

Yesterday at 5 pm R side

Y’all, I have never seen hives like that on any creature. Seeing a breakout of that magnitude on my own horse was equal parts amazement, stress, and shock. I’m so lucky that my vet was able to come out and ease my fears and give him the IV injection he needed to make everything better.

This morning, things are looking even more improved.

A LH that actually resembles a leg

No more hives!

The plan is to keep him on decreasing doses of oral Dex for the next couple days, and probably keep him off of his normal pasture since we still don’t know what it was that set off the reaction in the first place. This evening I’ll head out to check on the golden boy, ice his leg and stuff him full of carrots.

These horses, guys, they’re going to be the death of me.


So, because nothing is ever dull with horses, I spent the morning with my vet. Again.

Yesterday, I pulled Jack out of the field and noticed this:

Saturday afternoon

A bath in case it was skin related, icing around the legs where there was a little filling, and a dose of antihistamine and I stuck him in his stall and bade him goodnight.

When I checked in with the barn manager this morning, we found this:

This morning

Halp! My horse is mutating!

pool noodle legs and rather doughy sheath

Based on the distribution, we’re going with the assumption that he ate something he is obviously allergic to. He got an IV shot of dex and I’ve wrapped him all around to try and get the leg swelling down- right now he’s so swollen he doesn’t care to walk around.

I’m lucky to have a team of people keeping on eye on him, but it still makes a horse-mom worry. Has anyone else ever dealt with hives like this? Do you know what caused them, and what did you do to treat them?

A Quick Jack Update

So the vet came by yesterday to evaluate Jack’s slight lameness (slash just NQRness) and after poking, prodding, and whacking his feet with hoof testers (those being based on my observational terms, not the scientific ones), we narrowed the problem down to his hocks, particularly the right one based on flexion tests.

Instead of lollygagging and just waiting to see if things improved on their own, I chose to go ahead and get his hocks injected. When I purchased Jack, I knew that hock maintenance was likely to be part of the equation, and since it’s been 7+ months since his last injections… It could make sense that he needs a little extra help in that area.

So the golden boy will get today off, followed by a light hack tomorrow and Thursday, then gradually back to full work over the remainder of the week.

Fingers crossed it was just a little joint juice that he needed!