Amanda asked me this weekend if I was done blogging. I answered that I’ve just been feeling at a loss for blogging materials because Auto is currently halfway through an 8-week rest for a suspensory strain. I’ve ridden maybe twice (school horses at the dressage instructor’s barn) since he was diagnosed, and the few rides leading up to his lameness exam were pretty awful.
Auto has been NQR since late last year, but with the VERY wet winter our rides have been so inconsistent and scattered that I couldn’t put my finger on what was going on. He never looked lame, or even “off,” when I watched him from the ground (I was lunging consistently to work on topline and acceptance of contact). Any red flag showed up under saddle at the trot or canter. His pain manifested in violent reactiveness, especially tracking right. He’d be very unwilling to move forward (totally inverting and pinning his ears), he’d kick out, and at his worst he would bronc.
I was initially convinced it was chiro related (maybe a rib out on the right side), or pain in his SI joints (which he’s had injected once before). I had Dr. Jack work his chiro magic on him a couple of times. The last time was really intense and Auto was clearly suffering from pain and/or anxiety/expectation of pain, but there was no clear issue. So I came up with a plan: work him on the lunge in side reins and his equiband system until the next lesson to allow me to watch him move, try to identify any issues, and generally getting him using his body consistently. I lunged him 4-5 times and he was a dream. He moved beautifully, was happy and willing to work, and demonstrated no pain. I could see absolutely nothing wrong with him.
And then we had a lesson. And he was miserable and in pain. I hopped off and made an appointment for a lameness exam.
I was fortunate to get an appointment for just a day later, and thanks to my great BO we hauled him to the lameness vet at our local equine hospital where he got a work-over.
I wish I had taken vids of the exam, but I was too anxious and focused on watching. The vet flexed him and immediately found a significant issue on the right front. He was practically three-legged after fetlock flexion. With further flexing and gait analysis (that was so painful to watch), the vet suspected proximal suspensory desmitis and suggested we nerve block and ultrasound. Nerve blocks confirmed PSD but ultrasound showed no tear (thank goodness). The vet was really thorough, and followed up ultrasounds with fetlock X-rays to ensure there was no joint issue. He even threw in hock X-rays on the house, because he wanted to rule out any hock pain (he flexed a little sore on the left hock, but nothing worrisome). Auto’s X-rays were surprisingly clean! I was relieved.
I left my boy overnight so he could have shock wave therapy the following morning. When I picked him up, he was wrapped from knee to fetlock. Under his wrap was Elgin Vet’s magic “Runner’s Relief” salve, which is a Fura-Zone base with other magic stuff mixed in. I kept that on him for a week+, and now he’s just being lazy. The vet did not mandate stall rest and, as much as I’m sure turn out is good for his mental health, I’m not sure it’s helping him heal. Oh well.
Back for follow-up on 4/22. Cross your fingers for us. This time, I’ll drive him myself!