So Saturday I was lucky that the vet wasn’t planning on coming until 11 am or so and I slept in a little before going to the barn. I caught Paige easily enough and brought her in and groomed her, making sure to scrape all of the mud off of her hooves for the vet since he’d be handling her feet (or foot).
Once I had her nicely groomed I realized how incredibly hot it had gotten. I sat on the mounting block and Paige slept, then I remembered the spare box fan that was supposed to be Joey’s show fan (yet all the overnight shows keep getting scheduled during cold weather) so I brought it over and plugged it up and pointed it at Paige. I pulled the mounting block over and sat beside her so we could share the fan.
After waiting an hour, the vet arrived and had me lunge Paige for him, then we began the process of getting her leg cleaned up for the first of MANY blocks. Long story short, we blocked, lunged, blocked, lunged, blocked, lunged more times that I counted. It got to the point where Paige’s pastern area was swollen from the fluid and she’d tolerated 12+ needle sticks in the leg, all while standing and looking bored. Such a good mare. The only time she acted remotely alive was when my buddy that mows my brother’s grass drove his lawn mower trailer up the driveway. She neighed to it, likely thinking a horse was being hauled in since she heard the trailer rattle.
At this point I was a little confused because I expected Paige to go sound after a certain point in her leg was blocked because I expected ringbone to be the culprit of our issues after she didn’t like a particular lump on her coronet band being poked earlier in the week. Apparently it wasn’t the cause of the lameness because she stayed lame all the way through the entirety of the blocks. Her legs are anything but clean/tight, so the lump may have been there for a long time honestly.
Doc did flexions both before and after the blocks and the only one that seemed to make Paige uncomfortable was the left shoulder flexion. On the right he could get her front foot nearly back to her hock, but when he flexed the shoulder on the left, she acted as though she’d lay down before allowing him to stretch it nearly as far, which was the most reactive she was to anything that we did. When he used the hoof testers, she acted sore in her toe briefly then ignored him on the second pass with the hoof testers. He pointed out to me that during the evaluation, she typically had her left leg pulled up further underneath her, which was possibly putting extra weight on the toe/foot and potentially relieving what she was feeling in her shoulder.
So our game plan at this point is to treat the shoulder and see where that gets us. So he gave her an injection of hyaluronic acid to ease inflammation and said to give her 1g of bute a day for five days, then two days off, then repeat for two more weeks for a total of three weeks. During that time she’s not to be ridden (obviously), lunged, or out on hills.
At the end of that three weeks, I’m supposed to put her on the lunge line and see how she looks and call him. If no improvement, he’s wanting to do three more weeks of the rest/bute and see where she is in six weeks. I think for most horses he’d be requesting stall rest, but since Paige is so quiet and will be prone to stiffness if stalled because of her age, he’s saying just to keep her on quiet turnout. There’s not of turn out situations more quiet than the combination of Joey and Paige when just the two of them are turned out together, and there’s limited risk of being kicked by Joey, so I think she’ll be fine.
As for what the shoulder injury is, or what caused it, that remains unknown. If she hasn’t improved at the end of week 3, I think I’ll be requesting xrays. He’s leaning towards a stretched tendon, so not something we can see on xrays, but between the coming three weeks and the amount of time she’s already had off (albeit on hills…) I would think a tendon would be starting to heal? From my Google searching, it doesn’t sound like he’ll have the capability to do an xray on the shoulder as the muscle mass in the shoulder may require a fixed machine vs. a portable one. So I may be asking for a referral to the vet hospital this fall. Though apparently even with the proper equipment shoulder xrays can be hard to use to diagnose an issue. *facepalm*
So, here we are. The vet also recommended starting her on anti-inflammatory/joint supplements, which is likely overdue, so I’ll be ordering that this week. Right now I’m leaning towards the Legacy pellets since they can be fed without grain, but the vet recommended Cosequin, which is more expensive, plus I’d need to buy her grain (she doesn’t need the high cal stuff Joey and Copper are getting…). Anyone have any joint supplements they find particularly useful that I should research?
Until then, cross all your crossables that my Paigey gets sound after three weeks and I don’t have to fret about all the possible other diagnostics that may or may not make the situation any clearer.