Monday, August 29, 2011

Lameness, Day 13

Uh huh. Gus is lame again. I can't necessarily blame the abscess, cause I'm not entirely sure that it's the root of all the issues, but it does seem like Gus is off on the left fore still. I'm more then a bit po'd, but there isn't much that I can do.

Here's some photos from today of the left front:

I ended up taking some videos of Gus walking and trotting today as well. The first two videos were taken in the barn aisle prior to me lunging him in the arena. I wish I had taken video just as he walked into the barn, because about 15 minutes prior to these video clips, he was head-bobbing lame on the left front and really walking oddly. Of course the video doesn't show any of that. Go figure.

This video is a side shot that shows the sequence of hoof landings. If you listen to the video, you can hear a slight hiccup when he lands on the right fore (slightly louder). I think this may be due to compensating for the bum left fore. 

This video is shot from straight on. If I had taken this video just minutes before, you would've seen a very different walk from what you're seeing now. Unfortunately I wasn't able to obtain video footage that time. But this is Gus walking on the concrete barn aisle. 

This was taken in the arena. I wish I had continued videoing even after my BO/Trainer walked into the arena. Because after I stopped recording, Gus ended up being pretty short and off on the left front while going to the left. He did eventually "work" out of it, but it he was still short-strided (although that is nothing new). 

This video is taken as Gus left the arena. Typically when he's off, he'll leave the arena with a heavy head-bob and distinctively off on one of the fronts (least that has been the norm as of late). Go figure that he walked off  "sound" on the concrete. 

Anyways, I ended up cancelling my lesson that I have scheduled for Wednesday. First time in ages that I've had to cancel so many lessons, but it's worth it if we can get to the bottom of everything.

I did end up hearing back from the chiropractor regarding Gus, but I still haven't received the paperwork. Here's what she had to say about Gus:

Gus was definitely quite sore on Monday.  He was still short on his RF and fairly short behind.  He was very sore in his low back and pelvis.  I also did a lot in his neck.  I felt like I made a lot of progress in his neck.  However, I do think that I should see him next month after his abscess has resolved and then hopefully I can make more progress in his low back and pelvis. 
So, Gus is scheduled to be seen again on September 22nd. I wish the chiro appointments were cheaper, but I guess I shouldn't complain, as $110 is fairly cheap, all things considered. Gus will also been seen by J, the farrier, on the 22nd as well. Busy day, that's for sure.

I guess my plan is to lunge Gus again on Wednesday and see what we've got. He's currently not on any pain meds as he doesn't seem to be in that much pain, and honestly is walking just fine outside in his paddock. I did end up putting his Soft Rides back on, complete with the normal inserts. Hopefully by Wednesday he'll be feeling a bit better.

Abscesses SUCK! (As does any lameness issue, really).

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Boys

In addition to going out to tend to Gus, I was out to see Gringo as well. Gringo seems to be doing well enough, I wish I had more time to work with him, but working full time and trying to manage everything else, he's once again on the back burner. At least the seems to manage fine with minimal handling from me. And thankfully my MIL loves him, so he gets the attention he deserves from her.

Here's so photos of Gringo and Jade (his pasture buddy aka girlfriend) from today:


And here's some photos of Gus from today, enjoying a few minutes munching nice grass from the uncut hay pasture.

Abscess, Day 8

Well, it's officially been a week since Gus was diagnosed with an abscess in his left front hoof. After talking to the BM and the BO, I opted to leave Gus's wrap off today to see how things go. The draining has stopped and the abscess seems to be closing up. So, no more wraps for the time being. Thank GOD.

So today I ended up soaking his hoof for 20 minutes in epsom salts. Then, that was it. Done. Finite. I'm hoping this is the last of the hoof issues, least for a few months.

Here's photos from today:

Below are photos of the lovely sore that Gus has obtained on his left pastern/heel area. This is why I hate wrapping his hooves, as this is what happens. Poor guy. Thankfully he'll heal fairly quickly without any ill effects.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Abscess, Day 7

Well, things are looking good for Gus. Today is day 7 and I from what I can tell, we're done with the draining aspect of this whole ordeal. So on to just wrapping/booting for protection.

Today I opted to not reboot Gus. I guess Dr. K recommended Gus be booted on both fronts, so he was wearing his Soft Rides sans pads all day yesterday and again today. However, the barn got over three inches of rain overnight and it sounded like Gus was wearing galoshes. Poor guy!

So, instead of wearing boots, Gus is just wrapped on the left front with vetwrap and duck tape. I doubt it'll even last the night, it's so wet out there, but I figured his hooves to stand a breather from the boots for at least a night.

I also had the opportunity to lunge Gus today. Today is the first time in over a week that I've watched him go. I didn't think he looked too bad so I guess I'll take it easy and plan on maybe a ride either Thursday or over the weekend sometime.

Here's the photos from today:

What's upsetting me about this hoof is the separation that is occurring on the outside of the hoof wall. It's fairly evident in the last two photos, but it's just to the left of the abscess. Not sure what the heck is going on and I think whatever it is, it's new - I don't recall the separation being there a few days ago. So, I guess I'll be monitoring that from now on as well too.

Also, I guess Gus was a little you-know-what yesterday for Dr. K. Striking and biting, knocked Dr. K off her boxes and bit C (the BM) in the chest. Thank GOD he just got her shirt. He can be a real sh*t, but he doesn't typically try that stuff with me - or else the chain goes on. I'm not sure if they ever threw a chain on Gus, but it sounds like he needed it.  He's got better manners then that, but I think C is a bit afraid of Gus.

Anyways, I'm not sure what all Dr. K found or didn't find as I wasn't there (obviously), but she didn't leave me a note either. So, I guess I'll be emailing her to find out what she did or didn't find.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Abscess, Day 6

Well, today is day 6 of the abscess. And like the forgetful person I can be, I totally forgot to get photos on Saturday of Gus's hoof. As of Saturday, it looked like the abscess had stopped draining so that's always a good sign.

On Saturday morning I was out to the barn and unwrapped/soaked/rewrapped Gus's hoof. I wasn't able to make it out to the barn on Friday due to my work schedule, so I relied on the BO/BM to rewrap Gus's hoof. I'm not entirely sure if they did or not, to tell you the truth. Doesn't really matter though as long as his hoof is kept wrapped and debris-free.

Anyways, after soaking his hoof in epsom salts again and rewrapping, I opted to use Gus's Soft Ride boot sans pad instead of his Cavallo Simple boot. These boots (the Soft Rides) are super spendy but are a lot more breathable and a lot less irritating then the Cavallos. As of Sunday, the wrap and boot were still intact so I opted to not rewrap.

I had instructed my BO to rewrap Gus's hoof if need be today - for sure I'll be out tomorrow to take care of Gus, since I'll finally have an afternoon off again. Pictures for sure by tomorrow.

Today was also chiro day at the barn. Gus should have gotten adjusted again by Dr. K so we'll see what she had to say when I'm out at the barn tomorrow. Hopefully everything went well and if he had anything out of alignment, she was able to put everything back into place. I guess I'll know tomorrow.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Abscess, Day 2

Nothing new on the abscess front. Went out to the barn to see Gus again today and was able to soak his left front for 25 minutes today. I'm so proud of Gus being such a good and patient boy about standing still in the cross-ties.

After the soak, I applied an Animalintex poultice pad instead of the Magic Cushion. After doing a bit more research, I'm going to hold off on the MC until the abscess is done draining. Then maybe I'll go back to that.

Here's the photos from today. The first couple are of Gus chillin' in the cross-ties. The last two are of the abscess.

 The brown bits right around the frog are leftover MC. The abscess itself is in the lower left part of the hoof. 

I'm not able to make it out to the barn tomorrow, so B will be taking care of Gus's hoof for me. Plan is to go out again Saturday sometime to rewrap and then on Sunday is the big benefit show, so I'll have plenty of time to rewrap then as well.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Abscess. The kiss of death?

Yep. So Dr. N was out today (didn't know they were coming out... oh well hopefully the BO got a heads up) and took a look at Gus. Turns out he, along with three other horses that were "lame", had abscesses. Sheesh! This is getting ridiculous. Last year was just like this, but earlier on - dealing with lame horses, that is.

So, according to the brief phone call/email from the BO, it turns out the abscess was located in the toe on the LF. Figures as much and perhaps that might make since why Gus was walking so oddly these past few days. Least we have a diagnosis - although I've been down this road many a times, maybe we're finally dealing with an abscess and not *cough cough* coffin bone fracture or *cough cough* laminitis.

My plan for this evening, instead of having a lesson, will be to do an epsom salt soak for Gus's hoof for as long as possible and then rewrap with probably Magic Cushion and then gauze/vet wrap.

I do plan on taking some photos... so we'll see if those come out at all or not.

ETA: Here's the photos from this evening. I was able to soak Gus's left front hoof for about 30 minutes in a heavily concentrated epsom salt soak. I don't think I've ever seen him so relaxed. He was just chilling in the cross-ties enjoying life, from the looks of it.

I opted to wrap him with a little Magic Cushion, followed by some sterile gauze, a small square of a paper bag and then vet wrap. I opted for just putting on the Cavallo boot instead of applying any duct tape. I have a feeling that I'm going to regret that move by tomorrow. Because as it was, the Magic Cushion was already seeping through the vet wrap before I applied the boot. Uggh.

Anyways, the abscess is quite evident in the photos. Very bloody still. So I guess I'll be wrapping until it dries up/over. Again, that's part of the reason why I'm second guessing the MC I applied tonight. I would have probably been better off just applying nothing but gauze and vet wrap. Oh well. Lessons learned.

 Can we say "ouch"? Gus is such a trooper though.

I'll be taking daily photo updates as this thing progresses. I"m hoping that Gus recovers fast, but we'll see. Like everything else, Gus loves nothing more then to present a challenge.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Now I'm not sure what to think.

Well, like the title of this post states, I'm really not sure what to think about Gus right now. Today was the first time I've been out since Friday afternoon. Gus still had the Soft Ride boots on when I got to the barn today. Although they were extremely muddy and slightly off center, they seemed to have held up well enough. The only thing I wanted to do with Gus today was to make sure he was sound on concrete/pavement. Sure enough, after pulling the Soft Rides and cleaning out his hooves, he was.

So, after walking him up and down the barn aisle and making him make numerous small circles, both to the left and to the right, he was still sound and walking off comfortably. Again, not at all sure what to think.

Gus currently is sans boots for the time being and sans pain meds as well. He only got bute on Friday because he seemed so uncomfortable. Right now, he looks pretty dang good. We'll see what Tuesday holds for Gus.

I also went out to see Gringo this afternoon. Gringo seems to be doing pretty good himself, although still a bit too pudgy for my likes. I've had discussions with my MIL, but that doesn't seem to have gotten me anywhere. He's still on like 1/3c of alfalfa pellets a day plus his supps... hay-wise, though, I'm not sure how much he is getting. It should really be not much at all as the grass is very plentiful and rich right now, but I don't think that is the case (regarding the hay).

I didn't do much with him otherwise. Just a good grooming and brushing. He's still as sparkly clean as always, even when he's been rolling around. I'm amazed to have found a predominantly gray horse who stays fairly clean. Anyways, I'm hoping to get some time in to work with Gringo again in the next week or two.

Friday, August 12, 2011

So, what's new?

Well, yesterday Gus had his hooves trimmed again. And for the second time in a row, it had only been four weeks. Due to mainly the weather, Gus's hooves haven't been holding up as well as I'd like so rather then wait for six weeks to pass, I opted to have him trimmed earlier. Plus, being that he was off on that left fore, I wanted to have the farrier put some hoof testers on him.

Here's the photos from today, one day after the trim. As usual, the photos are taken from left fore, to left hind, right hind to right fore.

I'm not really sure what to think of the "squared off toes". The more they stay "on" the more they just look plain weird. They don't seem to be centered at all and I guess I'm not sure if the square is supposed to be in the center of the toe or on an edge... but the pictures aren't lying.

And on to other news, Gus is now off on what seems to be the left front. After our ride today, in which he was a bit of a butt though we were able to work through it, he started walking off on the concrete of the barn. Considering that we are dealing with Gus here, that in itself is nothing new... but being off to the extent in which he was is unusual.

I had a hard time figuring out which leg it was cause he was landing really hard on the right front. B said though that it was because he was loading his right front, so in all actuality, it was his left front that he was off on. Makes sense as that's the same leg that he had been favoring for a while now, just not to the extent that he was doing today.

So, off to let the farrier and vet know. Sheesh. And in talking to the B, she didn't think the farrier had applied hoof testers to Gus's left fore, even though I had left him a message to do so last week. Whatever. Kinda irks me that there isn't any communication, even though I try my hardest.

Gus is sounder with his Soft Rides on. So he'll be living in hoof boots for a while again. We'll reassess the situation here in the next day or two.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Lesson Time!

Well, today was lesson day again. And again we worked on more of the same ol' stuff. Gus definitely seems a bit short-strided, but only on his right hind. As much as I was thinking he was off on his left fore, my BO/Trainer didn't see it. It's quite possible that my mind is just playing games with me - it does that sometimes.

So, we started off the lesson with some lunge work, as always. Gus was reluctant to really move out and down - and that's where we were seeing the short-stridedness. Under saddle, we began with working on getting Gus down and round. Today, he was having none of it. He was sucking back a lot and wouldn't get ahead of my leg. It seemed like every other stride for a while was kick, spur, whip, rinse and repeat. Finally, Gus seemed to get with the program. To attempt to get him round and giving to the bit, we first worked on small 10-15m circles at the trot. These circles were done at R, S, V and P. That then proceeded into serpentines, with a 10m circle thrown in at A, C and either B or E, depending on the direction we were going.

After getting a nice forward trot - and round - we proceeded to the canter. We did 15m circles at A, E, C, and B - switched directions and repeated. Pretty simple canter work for the time being. We ended up ending the lesson with leg yields on the quarter line to the rail, then cantering a 15m circle once at the rail, then trotting - rinse and repeat.

My homework for this lesson is to work more on leg yields again - incorporating more canter work into them as well. That and making sure that Gus is always down and round. No exceptions. He doesn't seem to like that, but once we get him to his happy place, he is always much more comfortable. It's just getting him there that is the issue.

Tomorrow is farrier day again for Gus. It has only been 4 weeks since he was done last, but there are some fairly significant changes in his hinds that I believe need to be addressed - along with whatever the heck maybe up with that left fore. I took a few photos of the right hind - it, in particular, has started to flare REALLY bad - or least looks like it has to me.

It really looks like it's flaring a lot on the outside wall, but looking at the shot of Gus's sole (the last photo posted), you can see a really round hoof - all the way around. So, we'll see. Looks like we may need to stop squaring off the hind toes...

Just for comparison's sake, this was Gus's hoof (sole shot) from July 20th:

Anyways, on one final note - we're dealing with some horrible bugs out at Gus's barn. It's been a battle for the past few weeks now to get these massive bites healed. I'm thinking they are from horse flies, but gosh are they such bad welts. Thankfully Gus is pretty nonchalant about everything and they don't see to be bothering him at all. But, I'm definitely not at all happy to be dealing with them. Plus being that they are right were the girth goes, we have to be extra careful. Here's a couple photos that kinda show what Gus is dealing with: 

There is at least 3 or 4 large, quarter-sized lumps on Gus's right side - this picture really doesn't do justice to what he's dealing with. So, for the time being, I"m still applying a combination of Vaseline and now Patch N' Go (a natural ointment/fly repellent) to see if we can get those healed up. We'll see what works.