Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Gusituation ...

Haha. So I was so going to title this post "The Situation" but then the only thing I could think of was the guy from the reality TV show, Jersey Shore. So didn't want to go there, so instead I came up with Gusituation.

Gusituation = Gus + The Situation

So, what is "the situation" you may ask? Well, he's still lame. I guess that sums it up nicely in just a few words. The reason why he still is, is due to the fact that the vet hasn't had a chance to do the stifle injections yet. Back when he first came up lame, I called right away (rather emailed, I guess) and was told she wouldn't be able to make it out until the next week. Fast forward to then and well, for one reason or another, by the time he was looked at, it was the same day as strangles vaccination day at the barn. So it was a no-go for stifle injections then - due to the high risk of infection associated with both the stifle injections, because they are in a joint, and the strangles vaccination, because it's a live virus.

D-day for stifles is finally on Tuesday, April 24th. I'm really hoping that these injections work ... Dr. N wasn't very optimistic when I notified her again about doing the injections. In fact, here's an excerpt of our email exchange:

" I've been thinking a lot about Gus and wondering what to do next.  If you want to spend the money on xrays, I'd almost rather have you take him to Anoka and have the digitals done on the stifles and hocks.  He almost flexed worse on the RH than on the LH (I mean the change was more dramatic), and when we first put him on the longe line he was very stiff on the fronts.

 His eyes looked uncomfortable too.  I have to be honest, I hate to keep poking him with needles, injecting steroids as I feel I am playing with fire with the rest of him and I couldn't bear to think I induced laminitis. And, of course you know every time we put a needle in a joint we are potentially adding to the long-term problem.  So it's a dilemma--keep injecting and try to keep him comfortable in the short-term and hope we don't set anything off, or stop, let him rest and retire and see if he can be happy that way. I know you don't like to see him uncomfortable.  But I also don't want to keep spending your money on something, in the long run, I can't fix.  Please let me know how you'd like to proceed--I will honor whatever you choose to do but I just felt I had to let you know what I've been thinking about. "

So ... that of course hit me in the gut. I know we're dealing with multiple issues with Gus. Not only does he have long-term lameness issues (the stifles, primarily), but he's got Insulin Resistance, Equine Recurrent Uveitis, possibly Cushings and other funky, front-end issues. He's just a mess. Plus we have, more then likely, dealt with laminitis a couple years back ... 

Anyway, I decided to weight the odds and it still tilts in favor of the stifle injections. They have worked well for Gus in the past and doing nothing, well, we won't solve anything by doing that. Even being on daily bute right now does diddly-squat for Gus. 

On top of that (doing the stifle injections), I had Gus's blood drawn again to recheck his ACTH levels. This is the test to determine if he's got Cushings. Although last year he was well-within the guidelines of being a "normal" horse, Dr. N wanted to go ahead with meds anyways. Well, since he tested "normal" again this year, actually almost below normal, I opted to pull him off the meds. We are going to retest in about 6 months and see what everything looks like, but I don't think the meds are helping Gus. He's still lame (I think the Prascend can help reduce the risk of laminitis, and subsequent founder, if left untreated) and still hairy. So, nice thing about dropping the meds, I'll be saving about $50/month on medication. 

J, the farrier, happened to be at the barn last week while I was out and asked about Gus. I told him what we're dealing with and the fact that we still have front end issues. J decided to try Gus in some eggbar shoes the next shoeing cycle. So, this coming Wednesday, Gus will be sporting steel eggbars ... hopefully they offer some relief. Who knows?

And, I haven't done pictures in a while ... so here are a bunch from late last month and a few more recent.

These were taken March 18th ... it was hot enough for a bath. After which, Gus promptly rolled. <insert rolling eye smiley>

Pure bliss ... complete with grunting sound effects.

Very proud of his new, uniform brown-chestnut coat.
These next few were taken April 1st.

And, finally, we have the "OMG, is he DEAD?" photos from April 13th, I think. This is how Gus spends a vast majority of his time ... sleeping flat out, like he's dead to the world. His belly barely moves. On this particular day, I did get a big grunt before he finally "woke up". 

This is a "What did you want?" look ... and if looks could kill, ...

So, hopefully next week I'll have some better news on the Gus front. I'm hoping for some soundness from the back end and with the change of shoes, hopefully a better moving front end as well. One can only hope and cross every finger.

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