Sunday, March 21, 2010

I've got bad news, more bad news...and even more bad news

Today, Dr. Bob came out to work on the horses that were scheduled for Thursday. He is an awesome vet -- he went to Cornell, does chiro and accupuncture, and is so good with his patients. I really appreciate how he explains everything, tells you what your options are, and goes over the costs of each. And he definitely made the last six weeks of Mac's life much more comfortable. At our barn, we are not afraid of showing our affection for our fave vet --


Yep, we're a bunch of 12-year old girls. :-)
(Please also note that Salem is a member of "The BFF Club," of course.
That was written/drawn by Sage, an actual 11-year old girl.)

OK, so...on to the bad news. Dr. Bob started adjusting Salem and, at first, everything was great. He adjusted Salem's head and neck with no problems. Then he moved on to his back and everything went downhill. Salem's lumbar area is incredibly sore -- he started bucking like crazy and pinning his ears when Dr. Bob applied pressure to it. Even after he was sedated, he was cranky and bucking. It wasn't until the last ten or fifteen minutes of the adjustmnet that Salem actually started to relax.

So, what does this mean? I, of course, told Dr. Bob about our recent saddle-fititng debacle and how he had a week off, a professional massage, and is now ridden in a saddle that fits him and a Thinline pad. However, the good news is that the pain in his lumbar spine has nothing to do with saddle fit, because it is far behind where the saddle sits. Dr. Bob assured me that nothing I did/didn't do caused this. His exact words were, "He has major underlying back issues that are completely unrelated to saddle fit. He's had this for a while. And I'm not just saying that because you made me baked Brie." :-)

He can't diagnose what it is without taking X-rays. It could be arthritis, it could be kissing spines, it could be issues in his sacro-iliac joints. It could be a combination of things. Salem could need lots of chiro, accupuncture, injections, etc. Dr. Bob was not impressed that this was not picked up on Salem's pre-purchase exam, as it has most likely been there for a while.

Oh, and all that was just Bad News #1. Let's move on to #2, shall we? Dr. Bob did some flexion tests on Salem to see if hind-leg lameness could be contributing to his back issues. And, guess what? He classified him as a 2 on a lameness scale of 1-5 on the right hind. He said it could be hock or stifle issues. Again, not impressed that this wasn't caught on the PPE.  I do realize that flexion tests are a highly-debated issue, so I'm not sure how I feel about this. But it does mean that his right hind might need to be carefully scrutinized.

Last but not least -- Dr. Bob looked at Salem's teeth to make sure they're okay. And he said, "How old did you say this horse is?" I told him that Salem was sold as a 5-year old in October, so he's either 6 or coming-6. He told me, "Well, his teeth are telling me that he's at least 7, possibly 8." Oooooh, my goodness.


Dr. Bob working his magic




So, where do we go from here? Dr. Bob said that Salem was so misaligned that, ideally, he would be adjusted once a week for the next three or four weeks. And, of course, diagnostics like X-rays would be a great help. Unfortunately, I do not have a bottomless pit of money. Don't get me wrong -- if Salem was my horse, I would sell my soul to make him as comfortable as possible. I guess I have to hand this mess over to Ruby and let her deal with it as she sees fit. At least she knows that he has back issues, and she'll have to decide how to go about treating them.

For tonight, Salem got two grams of bute to help him feel better since he had such a major adjustment. Tomorrow, he'll get the day off. I actually asked Dr. Bob if Salem needed any time off of work and he said no. But I think I might call him on Monday and ask him if riding Salem will cause him pain. I love that horse like crazy and of course I want to ride him -- but I also don't want to cause him any undue pain. I'll keep ya posted.

19 comments:

Kate said...

My mare came to me with pretty bad sacroiliac issues, and still has some stifle problems, but after quite a bit of chiro over several years - and you're right it was almost once a week at the beginning - she's finally pretty sound and not sore and we're on maintenance chiro about every 6 months or so.

Good luck with that!

wendyu said...

Wow! Major bummer! Hopefully the adjustments will help and hopefully his owner will continue on with them. I bet some massage would help to prevent the muscles from tightening up and adding to the misalignment.

We'll have to compare notes after my chiro visits my guy tomorrow... LOL!

Denali's Mom said...

Oh no! Not good news, and your right. Why didn't they pick this up during his PPE? I must say on a side note here that Salem looks super sexy! :) If I were Ruby, I'd pay to have everything done now, while he's with a vet that seems so awesome! I know, I love my vet.

Have you noticed any lameness when riding or is it just during the flexion test? Denali is a 1 on the lameness scale. I don't worry too much about it. What does Ruby say about this? She's so lucky that he has you right now.

Alana said...

Aw, poor boy! Don't worry too much about the age part. I am going through a similar thing with Bailey, she is supposed to be 10 at the end of April, but last Sat. my vet/acupuncturist/massage guru came out, and said that her teeth put her at 16, but not to worry bc of her past (sever neglect) and that a lot of ex-racers teeth will look a lot older bc of lack of good care/hard lifestyle makes their teeth look much older. Does he have a tattoo to verify he is Salem? That is my next step for Bails. Don't worry, it'll all work out! Or maybe Ruby will decide he isn't what she is looking for and you can keep him. hmmm....

eventer79 said...

Oh nooooooooo! But don't lose too much hope -- Solo came to me with SI pain so when you leaned on one side of his pelvis, his back legs would buckle. We did the same thing, great chiro, once or twice a week for a while, then slowly spaced it out. His back is always high maintenance, but he can now do his job. And flexions are, as I'm sure you have seen, somewhat subjective, depending on how the joint is manipulated. He may just need some extra joint support, like an injectable? Keep us updated and I'm keeping all my digits, injured though they may be, crossed for the Salem man!

Nina said...

OMG!!!! No I didn't realise Salem wasn't your boy!!!! (I have just caught up on all the posts!) I cried reading your posts and finding out that he is leaving you!!!! Do you have another horse to take on? I don't know what to type! WE WILL MISS SALEM!!!!!!!

Frizzle said...

Kate, Glad to hear that your mare responded so positively to chiro. I hope Ruby continues with the treatments!
Wendy, yes, we will certainly have to compare notes. :-) I hope Hola is okay.
Denali, I don't notice any lameness is Salem. I notice that he can start out a bit short in the left hind, which I found out was due to tight muscles/scar tissue. He's also very stiff going to the right. But no actual lameness.
Alana, wow, thank you for telling me that about Bailey. Maybe Salem really is 5 or 6. Who knows! He isn't tatooed and did not come with papers, so we have no way of verifying his age.
Solo, I WISH I could do more chiro visits for Salem before he leaves me. But Dr. Bob is the only vet down here (that I know of) who does chiro and he charges $200 per session. I MIGHT be able to scrape together the cash for one more adjustment -- but what's the point if we don't have X-rays? Frustrating!
Nina, thank you so much for caring that much for Salem and me! I truly will be heartbroken to see him go. I'm sure there will be another horse in my life someday.

eventer79 said...

Holy gah, $200?! Whew, that is a backbreaker, no pun intended. That is very frustrating. I am glad though that he is with people who will take the time to make a good decision for him and he won't just get chucked in some back pasture to starve!

Alana said...

huh, no tattoo is very odd. I think,( but am definitely not sure) that any horse that races must be tattooed, and most are as soon as they go into training (Bailey is unraced, but is tattooed, so she evidently went to training), wasn't Salem posted as an exracer? Maybe I am just confusing him with a different horse. Keep us posted!!

Alana said...

yep, evidently I am confusing him with a different horse. Bummer on no way to check/verify! I really hope it all works out for you guys!

Frizzle said...

Alana, Salem was "race-trained" at the track on the farm where he was born. So, he was never actually went to the track. That's why he doesn't have a tattoo (which would make it soooo easy to verify his age!). I guess he could still be 5 or 6 because he teeth were REALLY bad when he got here -- the dentist said that he hadn't been done in a loooong time, if ever.

baystatebrumby said...

Dr Bob DOES look great! Salem is lucky to have such a loving environment to be in! What will Ruby do?

Anni said...

Poor Salem! I hope that Dr. Bob is able to help reduce his pain and get to the root of the problem.

Rising Rainbow said...

I had a horse whose teeth always looked older than he really was. It was just something odd about that horse. He had been with the one owner from the time he was a yearling so there was no mistake about his real age.

You just never know about horses. LOL

Sorry for all your bad news. Hopefully the chiro work will fix this guy.

Denali's Mom said...

Haven't heard from you in a while! Hope all is well!

Kristen Eleni Shellenbarger said...

Frizz-
Where are you? You ok? xoxo

Alana said...

I am following in the footsteps of Denali and Kristen...what's going on? How are you doing? You haven't updated us in awhile, and I haven't heard any of your wonderful wisdom on equisearch lately...

Nina said...

How is Salem doing? You ok?

Nina said...

How is Salem doing? You ok?