It's long, please bear with me. I tried to include everything.
For reference, please see Swelling along tendon? Please, please read. =|
The vet looked at her leg, and said her tendons felt fine. I showed him the line that would swell up, it started on the inside of her knee and ran down to her fetlock. He told me it was a vein and it was just more prominent. He felt around some more and said that that vein on her right leg was just moved back a little bit, over the tendon, making it look more "swollen" then it is, but underneath it, it felt fine.
So then we brought her outside and did some lunging at the trot. He said she was more lame on her left leg than her right, but she was sore on both of them. That means that the swelling was from her over-compensating, carrying more weight on the right to relieve the extra pain in the left. This is a very minor lameness, by the way, it was very, very subtle. He told me that generally, when a horse is lame on both front legs, it's hoof/feet related. He used that pinchy-thing to test her hooves and got no reaction. Then he suggested we do a nerve block on her left foot. He said it would stop the pain in that foot and would tell us if she's still lame on the right [something like that.] So we did that, and then brought her out to lunge again. She was fine going to the left, but a good degree more lame on the right, showing she was lame in both front legs. At least I think that's what it was meant to show. o_O
He told me that considering how subtle the lameness was, he believed it was the soft tissue surrounding her coffin bone. He told me that if the coffin bone were crooked or if it was navicular, she would be significantly more lame. Not to mention navicular would likely show up during the hoof test. But we took three radiographs to make sure it wasn't the bones, one from the side and one from the front to check the coffin bone, and one from above to check the navicular bone.
He said that most likely, the problem will be solved with a different trim or a shoe, maybe a heel wedge. He said that usually the soft tissue injuries [which can only be seen by MRI, which I definitely can't afford] are caused by the way the hoof is trimmed, making it... uneven? as it lands. Something like that. He gave me the number of a farrier and told me to talk to him, and at least figure out what Ricci needs done so I can tell my current farrier if I don't have him out. I probably will though, even though I'm sure he'll be
Overall, I feel much better. I didn't screw her up by waiting. Nothing I was doing helped, of course, but it didn't hurt. I just need to get her trimmed and shod and that should fix the problems. And I just got a call from my vet and he said her x-rays looked great, the coffin bone looks great, the navicular bone looks great, but that she has very little sole and very thin walls so shoes are probably the way to go. I'll pick up the x-rays and have them with me to show this farrier.
God, I'm just so... relieved! Relieved beyond belief! For now, he told me that keeping her outside would be fine, but not to ride her until after she gets her feet taken care of. Things are looking good! And I'm only out $300. I even got a discount, because "I was so nice" and "my horse was such a GREAT patient, just a star." His words. =D =D =D