Fun conversation. We keep it in mind that we might move to a more remote area someday. People are moving up here from California at a rather alarming rate, escaping the higher crime, traffic, high taxes, and fires. We love the beach and the weather, but we don't care to be around too many people.
@bsms, that area by Bryce and Zion is so beautiful! That would be amazing if you could live there. The big changes you are going through sound stressful, but things like that can make life so interesting too.
@SueC, it's kind of a joke most places around here where there are "rules" about dogs. No one follows them and they don't fund staff to enforce the rules, so basically it's a free for all. I'd rather err on that side than have everything over-regulated like in some states. We've been to beaches in other states and countries where dogs were kept on leashes...that seems so wrong to me. Roaming free on a beach is dog heaven.
It might seem odd but I get nervous sometimes when the vet is coming to see a horse. I've been a little worried about Hero's appointment.
When I told the barn owner I was having a vet visit, she decided to ask if the vet could do our fall vaccines for all the horses. So we had eight horses tied up at the lower barn when the vet arrived.
Nala's owner was working, so I brought Nala down. Since there were no horses in the field, I left Amore's gate open, planning to bring the horses back in through there. When I started bringing Nala back up the hill after her shot, Hero decided to miss her and was stomping around at the tie rack. He tried to go down and roll but his lead was too short. The vet's assistant went over to try to sort him out, and he struck out toward her with his front hoof. I was appalled, and the barn owner offered to take Nala from me and bring her back up to the field so I could go reprimand my horse.
Apparently, the barn owner went in through the front gates and didn't notice Amore's gate was open. So Nala went into the field and came right back out. When I came up with another horse, the barn owner was retrieving Nala from where she'd wandered off to the far side of the property.
The shots were finished, and all the horses back up the hill except Hero and Amore. The vet and assistant were a little unnerved by Hero's energy level that was now coming back down, and the vet said she wasn't sure about the stifle xrays. They require a lot of standing in the horse's kicking range. She asked if she could give him some ACE and I said sure.
Hero was still fairly energetic but his eyes got droopy after the ACE, and we did some trotting out and flexion tests. The vet decided to use some real sedation for the xrays, so I was glad we could get them done.
I'd sort of thought through all the possible scenarios, and what we found was my second best choice (first would be that every joint was perfect). The xrays showed that he did not have any bony lesions or OCD problems, or serious arthritis. The right stifle, which is the one I've thought was the worst, showed the tiniest speck of possible arthritis, and the right hock showed also the beginning stages of arthritis. The vet said that would be from compensating for the stifles over time.
She noticed how he does not put the stifle through the whole range of motion when he trots, and how he is sticky starting into a gait. She did not get the stifle to pop in the classic way, but when he was under sedation and relaxed, the assistant was holding the xray plate and his stifle had apparently been stuck because it popped out toward the assistant, startling her.
If you haven't seen how this looks, here is how it looks when it's the "classic" catch which is a stage worse than Hero normally exhibits. His is more of a light catch/delayed release of the tendon, which makes him sore as it drags over the bone over and over but is not visible.
The vet thought it suspicious that he was not raced until 5, and that maybe he had more serious stifle lock when he was younger, since many horses get better after growing. She thought perhaps they used drugs to help him race and then gave up on him.
The vet kept saying that Hero was very fit, and that she didn't think I could do any more in that department. The issue is that he is athletic enough to compensate and avoid using his stifles as much as possible, because they get sore. This means that even though his body is fit, those quad muscles are still not fit enough to help the tendon not catch. The phase one plan is to put him on Equioxx (anti-inflammatory pain pill) and then do stifle injections next week. Possibly if we get the pain and inflammation to go away he will use the stifles enough to where the muscles build up and prevent the catching.
If that doesn't work, we can try the Estrogen or blistering, and if all else fails he can go get surgery on the tendons. I'm very glad to be working on things at this point, and we might prevent progression of the minor hock arthritis if we get him using his body right. The vet says if we can get this resolved, there will be nothing wrong with him to where he shouldn't do hard work. If there is a little chronic tendon inflammation that goes away with the Equioxx, she said there would be no harm in having him just stay on it to help him keep his joints healthy.
It's tricky because you don't know if a horse has a somewhat minor problem they are rather hysterical about (bucking and such), or they have a very major problem they are being stoic about. Having the studies done helps me feel more secure about how to proceed, and hopeful that Hero could get to feeling much better.