View Full Version : Seriously, when to just give up? *Just when you think things can't get any worse**

Perfect Pony
Dec. 16, 2004, 09:08 AM
Well this month is my one year anniversary of returning to horse ownership. In this one year I have had two horses, the first one that I didn't clique with at all, who also hurt himself, and the second my dream horse, who now it looks like may just have a career ending (at age 4) lameness. It's a long story, but in a nutshell my wonderful Vegas is almost crippled behind, and neither the chiropractor (who believes he has early onset arthritis in his spine) nor my vet (who is reserving judgement until we xray, but doesn't think a 4 yo flexing off 3/5 behind is a good sign) think this horse can physically be an eventer.

This week has been a literal hell, it has been coming on for the last 2 months and I have tried everything. He is currently on a high dose of dex to get rid of his skin infection, which should also decrease any inflamation, and I have the chiro coming out tonight for another adjustment, so I am trying to make him comfortable for the short term. I'm really just sick about the whole thing, and don't know wht to think or do. I guess I am looking for some advice on what is best for the horse, and what those of you who cannot afford more than one horse would do in my situation. I now have mounting vet bills that will cut into any savings I have, a horse that may or may not ever be sound without expensive treatments (we talked about various treatments depending on what the primary issue is) may never be sound enough to be a sport horse at all even given the treatments, and who cannot even be turnedout for a couple monthsand only if the skin issue is resolved.

My SO and I love this horse, and want what is best for him, but he keeps asking me what my options are. I don't even know. I just need some words of wisdom or support from someone who has maybe been there before I go crazy http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

Perfect Pony
Dec. 16, 2004, 09:08 AM
Well this month is my one year anniversary of returning to horse ownership. In this one year I have had two horses, the first one that I didn't clique with at all, who also hurt himself, and the second my dream horse, who now it looks like may just have a career ending (at age 4) lameness. It's a long story, but in a nutshell my wonderful Vegas is almost crippled behind, and neither the chiropractor (who believes he has early onset arthritis in his spine) nor my vet (who is reserving judgement until we xray, but doesn't think a 4 yo flexing off 3/5 behind is a good sign) think this horse can physically be an eventer.

This week has been a literal hell, it has been coming on for the last 2 months and I have tried everything. He is currently on a high dose of dex to get rid of his skin infection, which should also decrease any inflamation, and I have the chiro coming out tonight for another adjustment, so I am trying to make him comfortable for the short term. I'm really just sick about the whole thing, and don't know wht to think or do. I guess I am looking for some advice on what is best for the horse, and what those of you who cannot afford more than one horse would do in my situation. I now have mounting vet bills that will cut into any savings I have, a horse that may or may not ever be sound without expensive treatments (we talked about various treatments depending on what the primary issue is) may never be sound enough to be a sport horse at all even given the treatments, and who cannot even be turnedout for a couple monthsand only if the skin issue is resolved.

My SO and I love this horse, and want what is best for him, but he keeps asking me what my options are. I don't even know. I just need some words of wisdom or support from someone who has maybe been there before I go crazy http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

Dec. 16, 2004, 09:22 AM
Sorry. Been there.

Have you given any thought to switching your goals to match something this horse will be able to do?
Or does it have to be Eventing??

Maybe you can keep and enjoy him as a 3' Hunter or even a Dressage horse. You know the old saying about God opening a window when he closes a door-or slams one in your face?
Well?? Give it some thought...maybe it's meant to be.

Even if you realy don't want to persue another discipline, you can train him up in one and get him safe. Biggest market is for the confimed packer and, with a price break, folks will line up for a good one despite maintainance issues.

Posting Trot
Dec. 16, 2004, 09:25 AM
A lot depends on a getting a diagnosis of what is actually wrong. At that point you can make some kind of educated guess as to how comfortable the horse can be, with what kind of treatment, costing how much money, etc.

I wouldn't automatically assume that the scenario envisioned by the Chiro (spinal arthritis) is correct. I'd get a complete diagnostic work-up, probably by taking the horse to a respected clinic and to a vet who has a reputation of dealing well with lameness issues. This will cost you more money upfront, but you're more likely to get useful diagnostic information.

In my experience, for whatever it's worth, you may buy a horse thinking that you'll learn one set of skills, but the horse will teach you what the horse needs you to learn. I learned a lot less about eventing than I'd hoped to from my mare; but I learned a lot more about healthcare issues and horsemanship generally.

Good luck.

Robby Johnson
Dec. 16, 2004, 09:25 AM
I wouldn't get too down until you've properly diagnosed him. Arthritis of the spine sounds a little flaky, even for California.

Take him somewhere and have him properly worked up, then know what you're dealing with. As he is only 4, you might just need to give him some time off.

Did he race long and hard?


Dec. 16, 2004, 09:27 AM
My sincere condolences go out to you! Poor guy; poor owner! http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/cry.gifIf it's turning into a situation where you can't afford to give him the treatment he needs to stay healthy it's best to throw in the towel, try to find a good home for him, and move on. If it's turning into a situation in which you could keep him but all your funds would go to just (and the emphasis is on just) keep him healthy, then again it's time to move on. While you will be depressed for a long time over this, do realize that the world does go on and perhaps your real dream horse is just waiting for you around the corner.
NOTE: If this poor fella is starting to have real quality of life issues then you know what would be truly best for him and should do it (talk with your vet and perhaps get a second opinion). I know it's very hard and sad, but any animal's welfare needs to be taken into consideration before our love to keep them.
Good luck, may everything work out in the end, and prayers.

Perfect Pony
Dec. 16, 2004, 09:35 AM
That's for the support. I would like to address the other career option. Right now he is really sore from the sacrum area of his back (he drops about an inch or more when it is palpated) and is very off behind. He is also spending time in his stall leaning against walls and constantly resting his hind legs in weird positions. The vet gave me a few options: 1 in a million chance it's all stemming from the vasculitis, or more likely issues with joint lubrication (meaning possibly getting him sound with legend, etc) or arthritic changes (joint injections to probably get him sound in the short term). Because of where his pain and issues are, if it is the later two he doesn't really recommend dressage or jumping since this is starting at 4.

He didn't race at all, I know absolutely nothing of his history before I bought him in July. He was totally green at that point, so who knows http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_confused.gif

I do plan to do as much as I can for him, but at the same time I don't believe in pushing a horse this age to do anything he physically shouldn't do.

I try to think positive, like maybe I was meant to take care of him or whatever, it just wasn't supposed to be like this after all these years without a horse.

Dec. 16, 2004, 09:44 AM

I don't want to scare you but I know of one that was leaning in the stall and sore as you describe. Early diagnostics were inconclusive. It got worse and the horse went in for a full work up...Broken Pelvis. It took a full clinical work up to find this so please get one started.
Something is certainly wrong beyond "arthritic changes". Finding out what will help guide your decisions.
But, again, that leaning on the stall wall is not a symptom of simple joint issues and needs to be diagnosed.

BTW the horse with the fractured pelvis is expected to return to work at some level last I heard.

Dec. 16, 2004, 09:44 AM
Has he been checked for a broken hip? Or tears in the deep muscles running along the back?

Dec. 16, 2004, 09:46 AM
My dear, a whole lot of us have been there, in one shape or form, before. It is heartbreaking and exhausting to think about this, but I want to REALLY strongly agree with other posters on your next step:

Get this horse completely worked up so you know exactly what is wrong, and what the treatment and outcome options are. Trust me, this will be easier and cheaper in the long run then doing a little bit of diagnosis, a little bit of treatment, then trying something else if it doesn't work.

Go to the nearest REPUTABLE hospital or specialty lameness clinic. Make sure they have sufficient tools to get this diagnosed in one visit -- digital xray, ultrasound, bone scan, scintigraphy. You don't want to have to do this piecemeal. Be prepared to have him stay over night if need be -- discuss this when you make the appointment.

Not only will a specialty clinic or hospital have all the diagnostic equipment you need, but the vets should have a considerable amount of experience in looking at the images and telling you what this means for treatment and outcome.

I am not saying you have to USE all that equipment, but if, for example, xrays don't tell you anything, you don't want to have to come back another week or go somewhere else for the next tool in the box.

The only thing worse than where you are now is to spend 6 months with repeated vet visits, treatments (or stall rest, or handwalking, or whatever), think maybe you are fixed, and then starting all over. Repeat for 2 years. I've been there, done that. In my case the tool we really needed wasn't available for much of that time (MRI), so I don't feel completely as though I wasted options, but doing this for 2 years utterly wore me down emotionally.

Please, please, get a definitive answer. THEN you can think about next steps.
The sooner you can get this done, the sooner you can move from this agonizing state to a place where you have some clear paths in front of you and you can process what you know.
We are all here to help! So many of us have had to travel this road...

Dec. 16, 2004, 09:51 AM
This means more money, but I would recommend a full body radioactive scan (can't tell you how to spell it but they do them down here at University of Florida). I have had two horses in the past that looked like they might be done for that ended up going on in eventing for years and years after they were properly diagnosed. One my local vet had suggested might need to be put down. That was 8 years ago. He is still competing today. He had a bone chip so high in the stifle area that the local vet could not get a picture with his x-ray. The other guys had severly pulled his back and just needed to be turned out for a month and then back into carefully progressive work. Because it was misdiagnosed he was on stall rest which turned out to be the worst thing for it. That was showing up as a lameness in one hind leg.

Good luck !!!

Dec. 16, 2004, 09:53 AM
Don't get too discouraged here.

Getting a clinical work up will end all of your questioning and many of these things CAN be treated.
In the meantime it will help with the terrible pain this horse is obviously suffering if he's leaning on the wall.

Perfect Pony
Dec. 16, 2004, 09:55 AM
I have to say it being something really major like that didn't occur to me, what with the comments made by the chiro and vet. If the vet had told me to get him on a truck yesterday I would have. I am within a couple hours of UC Davis and Pioneer Equine Hospital, but I keep hearing warnings about both... I actually called Pioneer last week and spoke with a doctor about the spinal arthritis thing, his response was that he really respected Dr Gleason as a chiro, but typically back pain comes from the hocks, that was my own vet's comment. But all the weird things that have been happening since he came home have lately started flooding into my mind. The BO worried about his leaning on the walls, his weird bucking fits, and yesterday I saw him roll for the first time, and it looked like he struggled a bit to get up, really rocking himself onto his front legs. It just broke my heart.

If anyone has any recommendations or input on the various large clinics around here in NorCal let me know. Thanks.

Dec. 16, 2004, 11:02 AM
I agree wholeheartedly with the others about the work-up. You really need to get him to a clinic for that.

In the meanwhile, I am wondering about the chiro? I know that a lot of folks do this for themselves and their horses...but I have heard of chiros causing injuries and exacerbating existing injuries. Since you don't yet know what you're dealing with you might want to stay away from that until you do.

Just a thought.

Dec. 16, 2004, 11:11 AM
PP, has he had any kind of discoordination of the hind limbs (apart from the bucking)? Some of what you describe sounds like it could be potentially neuro-related and not necessarily just hock issues. I didn't think of it when I talked to you the other day, but after hearing about the resting on the stall and standing funny, it definitely pops into my mind. Ditto what everyone else said on getting a full work-up.

I've heard nothing but great things about Pioneer, and would probably head there first. I've heard less great thing about Davis. You could also try Dr. Russ Peterson at Peninsula Equine- they deal with the top jumpers/hunters/dressage horses in the area and have just about every diagnostic test except for nuclear scintigraphy (i.e. bone scan) which is the only reason they wouldn't be my first choice. www.peneq.com (http://www.peneq.com)

Dec. 16, 2004, 11:32 AM
Another clinic alternative might be Alamo Pintado ( http://www.alamopintado.com/index_home.html ).

I may not be as close as Davis or Pioneer but they also have a very good reputation.

Dec. 16, 2004, 12:30 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Where'sMyWhite:
Another clinic alternative might be Alamo Pintado ( http://www.alamopintado.com/index_home.html ).

I may not be as close as Davis or Pioneer but they also have a very good reputation. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Alamo has an EXCELLENT rep, and I (and my friends) have sent several horses there for treatment/diagnosis ranging from the simple to the obscure. They are great. I HIGHLY recommend Dr. Rick. He's a great vet and is also very patient and easy to talk with... Feel free to PT me if you want details.

Good luck.
Seb http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Dr. Doolittle
Dec. 16, 2004, 12:34 PM
I agree with the poster who was thinking neuro issues--I had a horse (who I had to put down last year; my 10 year-old partner and competition horse who I had had since he was a weanling http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/cry.gif), and he wound up having demyelination of and lesions on his spinal cord (no known cause, from the necropsy) which caused all sorts of neuro issues which only affected him only from the lumbar region back--he would lean (support himself on stall walls, and other horses), and walk crookedly, and eventually he started spinning uncontrollably in a circle--he was strong and supple, having been a competitive event horse literally right before he was stricken, so never went down until the very end, but I think it was just his strength of will. He was worked up twice at Morven Park (for EPM--spinal tap--and athritis of the neck--both negative findings), and he was tested (and treated, prophylactically) for everything else
(infectious, viral, etc.) It was a gruesom ordeal, and I know just what you're going through--I truly feel for you! http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/cry.gif I think if you get him thoroughly checked out and at least have some sort of diagnosis, it will both give you peace of mind, and also make your options more clear to you...Have everything checked out, and please post again with the results...Good luck, and my heart goes out to you!

Perfect Pony
Dec. 16, 2004, 12:39 PM
Regarding the chiro, I was/am worried as well. I've never been a chiro fan, but I gave it a try. He has been adjusted twice in the last 6 weeks and both times he was as close to 100% sound as he has ever been right after the adjustments - this is the only reason I have decided to give it another go. I am trying to make him as comfortable as possible, and wanted to see what this chiroprator thinks is going on in her mind.

I have thought of neuro issues too, and asked the vet about it. He does not have any weird syptoms other than the hind end lameness, the BO mentioned the leaning. The vet did the typical tests on him and he doesn't exibit any of the tell-tale neuro signs. We will also get a better idea if it's inflamation, as the dex should start kicking in and he should start to appear more sound.

Today I palpated his back again and noticed that he has severe spasms along the sacrum area of his spine if you press on any part of the top of his hindquarters, all the way down past his hip bone.

I have a recheck with my vet next Tuesday and I now have many more things to talk to him about thanks. I am sure my vet will be thrilled http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif I will call Pioneer and find out just what they can see with the different tests.

btw, does anyone have any suggestions of how to start dealing with my insurance company??

Robby Johnson
Dec. 16, 2004, 12:43 PM
I would wager that UC-Davis will be a better option than your chiro or local vet. Get this horse to a full diagnostic center ASAP!

Perfect Pony
Dec. 16, 2004, 12:54 PM
BTW, I'd just like to thank you all for bringing my paranoia to the next level! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_eek.gif

But seriously, I really appreciate all the feedback, you really can only imagine how my mind has gone completely wild over the last few days. He's not dying at the moment, still eating, happy, trotting around the pasture, and begging for treats. he's enjoying our hand walks and grazing, and our grooming sessions. But I know how these things can get worse and worse. Even the SO keeps telling me to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

Robby Johnson
Dec. 16, 2004, 01:00 PM
Hey! I went through this same angst in November, 2002, after having Rhodey for just 6 months. He was minorly off - not nearly the acute indicators of your horse - and I rested him for 90 days, injected an ankle and hocks, and he was still NQR. That begat the "further diagnostic work" phase which lead to him visiting Hagyard Davidson McGee in Lexington, Kentucky, when we went up for Rolex in 2003.

It was SOOOOOOOO worth it for all of the reasons other posters have stated. Because he was insured and had a major medical policy, we were able to have quite a bit of diagnostic work done - including full body scintigraphy and digital x-rays - and left with a proper understanding of his limitations.

I know where you were because I, too, was having to decide what I'd do if it worked out that Rhodey couldn't be ridden.


Miss Maddie
Dec. 16, 2004, 01:22 PM
As far as the insurance company, I talked with my local vet first. Then I just called the insurance co. and said my local vet can't figure this lameness out, she's recommending a bone scan. They said fine, do it, no problem. They were great. Great American was the co. I would call your agent and explain the situation. He/she will tell you what to do.

Dec. 16, 2004, 01:35 PM
Because of the amount of pain he is exhibiting I would skip the chiro completly. I do use one but he would not touch a horse with the symptoms you describe and would NEVER presume to diagnose...and has no business doing so.

I would not rely on anything she "thinks" when diagnostic work is needed by qualified medical experts.

For that matter, I would seek another vet's opinion. I've had horses with arthritic hocks, navicular, ringbone and bone chips but they NEVER reacted like yours is. I agree it could be a neurological issue too.

I think it's time to call in the A team here. The vet doesn't sound like he knows what's wrong...he may be trying to save you money but that ends up costing more when a hidden condition keeps getting missed. The chiro has no business guessing at the problem and can do damage if there is a hairline fracture someplace.

About the insurance? Call your agent and let them know what clinic you will be using, ask them what you need to do. Most will deal directly with the vet clinic for all of the information and those clinics are as good at it as your own family doctor's staff.

One thing you can do is sit down and write out what you saw and when you noticed it starting from day one with this horse. Shorten it up and put it in chronological order, take it with you for the diagnosticians-it can tell them where to start looking.
If you have the prepurchase x-rays, or any others bring them along too. Saves time and can establish a baseline.

And please, don't wait.

Perfect Pony
Dec. 16, 2004, 02:01 PM
I cannot tell you all how much better I feel. I debated for days on whether to post this and ask for information - I feel like such a paranoid whiner. But, I went ahead and called my insurance company and started a claim (what good is insurance anyway if you never use it??) so the ball is rolling and there is no turning back now without a full diagnosis (since his hind end is sure to be excluded next year).

Thanks again.

Robby Johnson
Dec. 16, 2004, 02:15 PM
You're doing the right thing. Get him onto Davis, or wherever you choose, and find out what's wrong with him. It will most definitely be worth the deductible.


Posting Trot
Dec. 16, 2004, 02:24 PM
You're definitely doing the right thing. When I had the bone scan (nucelar scintigraphy) done on my mare, the insurance company was very good about it.

Dec. 16, 2004, 02:28 PM
Yeah for P.Pony! http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/yes.gif

You are not whining at all and posting here was a great idea to get some support and ideas.

And you do have that horse for a very good reason HE NEEDS YOU.
Might not be the reason you thought but I think it's why fate brought him to you.
Do right by him and keep us posted...I am dying to know the diagnosis.

Perfect Pony
Dec. 16, 2004, 02:43 PM
You guys are so right on! I called my chiro and she recommended not adjusting him. She has seen him and knows his back pain, and when I discusssed how he is reacting to pressure on his lower back her first reaction was to have films done and to check for fractures, something I would have never thought of. She also feels it's such a difficult area to diagnose, and thinks a scan would be my best option for him.

I will keep you guys posted for sure. Thanks again, I feel so much more empowered now.

Dec. 16, 2004, 03:10 PM
Yay and Good Luck! Keep us posted.
Seb http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Dec. 16, 2004, 03:38 PM
(Frugalannie goes to the cupboard to pull out her hobbyhorse)

I agree with all of the posters who have recommended going to the diagnostic big guns. But just for grins and giggles, ask them to rule out Lyme, if it is prevalent in your area or where the horse came from. Around here, a horse like that would have both an ELISA and Western Blot test done to rule out lyme disease.

Good luck, and let us know what you find out.

Pocket Pony
Dec. 16, 2004, 03:47 PM
Good luck PP, I'm rooting for you and Vegas!

Where are you going to take him for diagnostics? I've known of a few people who have gone to Alamo Pintado for nuclear scintigraphy (or whatever you call it). I have another friend who has gone to Davis for work-ups.

Keep us posted, please!!!

Dec. 16, 2004, 06:49 PM
PP, I wish I had some words of wisdom, but I don't. I do have lots of well wishes and many jingles to pass your way. Keep us posted. I am sorry that you are having to go through all of this.

california rider
Dec. 16, 2004, 07:42 PM

So sorry to hear you wonder pony is ill.

May I suggest a myelogram ASAP and that you also consider a nuke scan as well. Cover all bases.

I am not a fan of UCD for a lot of reasons, you have my email and I will tell you why there!

My favorite place to take horses for the tests mentioned above is Alamo Pintado.

Best of luck with your Vegas!

Dec. 16, 2004, 08:08 PM
PP, so sorry to hear of your troubles but glad that you seem to be leaning towards a full workup at a vet clinic. My mother in law's mare was lame in the hind end and local vets had been out. Told the MIL to walk her mare 4x a day etc etc. Time went by an the mare didn't get better. Finally MIL takes her to big vet clinic and they x-ray and find that the mare had a broken pelvis. MIL of course felt just terrible for making this mare walk around 4x a day. But the local vets didn't have the right equipment to diagnose. (I guess pelvic x-rays and not done my the little portable machine smost vets have) Good luck and I'm crossing my fingers for your guy.

Pocket Pony
Dec. 16, 2004, 08:11 PM
Just curious, but what is the prescribed treatment for a broken pelivs? Just turnout? Stall rest for a long period of time?

Dec. 16, 2004, 08:41 PM
Did you have a Lyme titer done? A friend's horse was badly lame in back, you couldn't touch his back, and he was leaning on the wall sometimes, sound familiar? His Lyme titer was through the roof.

Dec. 17, 2004, 04:43 AM
As everybody else said, you're taking the right decision to get a complete work-up done.

Last year, my horse got really lame he was fine in the morning and the afternoon, he was on 3 legs. We took X-Rays for a broken coffin bone, but nothing was showing. The following week, one of the best vets I know of, came and told me it was a deep abscess. New set of X-rays still nothing. Then, a 3rd vet (lameness specialist came) and still couln't find what was wrong.

Bottom line, the condition of my horse got so bad that he couldn't stand up anymore on his legs. My vet told me to put him down or to try to put him in the trailer to go to MSU to get a full check-up.

They found a hole in the coffin bone, an infection in the coffin joint, infection of the 2 phalange and a bunch of very bad stuff.
They told me that he needed surgery NOW and that I will be lucky to save him and that he would be pasture sound at the best.

I called my inusrance company (EMO - Great American) and they told me to go ahead. My horse had 3 surgeries, stayed one full month at MSU and 3 months later took reserve champion at training level at a dressage show. Yesterday, I free jumped him 4' and Sunday, he will have a clinic with a Grand Prix dressage trainer.

If I had to do it again, I would go to MSU right away to save all the pain and the aggarvation my horse went thru. Sometimes, it's very hard for local vets to find what is wrong. I learned that time can be crucial.

There is an happy ending to my story.

I wish you luck and keep faith.

Keep us posted.

Dec. 17, 2004, 06:04 AM
Mademoiselle, Check your PTs http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Dec. 17, 2004, 06:53 AM
Treatment for broken pelvis?

Well, since there was no displacement it was treatable. I don't know what they did during the clinic stay (nothing invasive) but when it came back they kept it quiet as possible in the stall by using the long acting tranqs and administered pain killers to keep it as comfortable as possible. They did do a little hand walking to keep the swelling down and the gut active. Basically just kept the animal quiet and waited it out. They shipped it home when it was strong enough so I have no idea how it's doing but, as I mentioned, I did hear it would return to work.

The others I've known with fractures followed about the same recovery regime regardless of location or whether they had a plate put in or not.

I've come to believe that small fractures are more common the we used to think and to blame for alot of the more severe on again/off again lamness that just won't go away.

Perfect Pony
Dec. 17, 2004, 08:51 AM
So now for the hard part. Anyone know of anyone in NorCal that might want to take a free road trip? Access to a truck and trailering experience is a plus (I have access to a trailer, and maybe a truck). Could possibly have a free day at a spa somewhere, and spend 2 glorious days with me! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Pocket Pony
Dec. 17, 2004, 09:32 AM
When, PP - where are you going and when?

Perfect Pony
Dec. 17, 2004, 09:42 AM
I'm not sure yet. My vet likes Davis, but they weren't the nicest on the phone, and they wont take any appoinments until January. The verdict is out on Pioneer, but when I called last week a vet called me right back that evening and spent 15 minutes on the phone with me at 8 pm at night and I'm not even a client (I need to see what their hours are and what facilities they have). Alamo Pintado I have not called yet. I am sure they are great, but a 6 hour trailer ride/drive for myself and vegas might make Pioneer (1 hour away, and I have a friend to stay with in Oakdale even) the better option unless someone can give me a serious reason NOT to go there.

Pocket Pony
Dec. 17, 2004, 09:59 AM
Hmmm, perhaps we can discuss tomorrow. If you go to Pioneer or Davis, I could probably help you out. . .

Perfect Pony
Dec. 17, 2004, 10:04 AM
OK, well it appears Pioneer is out, they don't have a nuclear scan, and even the doctor there said if it ends up being higher than the stifle that's what we would need, and I would be referred to Davis or Alamo Pintado. Hopefully my vet will call me back today.

Dec. 18, 2004, 06:52 AM
Porcelain P -

I am so sorry. I have read through all of the posts here and am glad you are going to take him in to a qualified clinic to get a full work up. It is so so so hard when your horse is not right and you don't know what's going on. You will feel a lot better once you get him in to a specialty clinic or hospital where he will be in good, qualified hands. Chin up.

Pocket Pony
Dec. 29, 2004, 08:47 AM
Any updates, PP? Have you taken him to any clinics, or any plans to?

Sandy M
Dec. 29, 2004, 08:55 AM
I would go to Pioneer long before I would go to Davis. My horse had succesfful (leg) surgery there, and his former local vet is now with their Oakdale clinic. I have heard of some people who had negative experiences there, but all mine have been positive, whereas I have found dealing with UCDavis always a negative. My vacation days/sick days status at work is a bit fuzzy at present, but I MIGHT be able to help. I have a rig (two horse slant). Perhaps you might PT me??

Perfect Pony
Dec. 29, 2004, 09:14 AM
Well I wish my update was better. Because of the holidays it has been pretty well impossible to get an appointment anywhere for any real work ups. I called both Davis and Alamo and both could fit me in for a general exam the week of the 3rd, but if they determined he needed a scan or anything I would end up either having to return there, or leaving him there for an unknown number of days. Insurance wont pay for boarding or travel expenses, so when I take him somewhere it needs to be for a day or two with a specific goal. I also called Pioneer and spoke with a doctor there. Pretty much all 3 clinics recommended a lameness exam performed by my local vet to attempt to pinpoint a general area, and then a referrel from my vet. I have an appointment with my vet on Tuesday the 4th to do an initial workup and blocking and/or xrays from the hocks down. I was of the mind to just schedule a nuclear scan and just pay for it, but neither clinic will scedule nuc scans and ultrasounds etc without a general exam at their clinic first, or a referrel from a vet. I have discussed all this with my vet and have him scheduled for the entire morning next week. Neither of us want to spin in circles. If we cannot pinpoint something specific in the joints or lower legs he will refer me to a specific vet at Davis that he knows and has worked with to get some pictures higher up.

I have heard all the horror stories about Davis and discussed them with my vet. My vet went to school at Davis and knows who to send him to if needed, and he would go there to use their technology. I actually called Pioneer and the vet who returned my call said if the issue is above the stifles and we need pictures they would have to refer me to Davis as well since they do not have the technology to get a decent shot.

For the past week I have been battling his vasculitis with not a whole heck of a lot of luck unfortunately. He is currently sound and in work, although quite drugged. He is on a pretty large dose of dex everyday for the inflammation on his legs, which the vet pretty much said would probably reduce the lameness, even though that is not what we are giving it to him for! Now I know why dex is used on show horses (hunters), he's been a joy to ride, lol http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Anyway, I tried to get a fire lit under someone's butt, but not during the holidays. Hopefully I will have news next week.

Dec. 29, 2004, 09:36 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Porcelain Pony:
He is currently sound and in work, although quite drugged. He is on a pretty large dose of dex everyday for the inflammation on his legs, which the vet pretty much said would probably reduce the lameness, even though that is not what we are giving it to him for! Now I know why dex is used on show horses (hunters), he's been a joy to ride, lol http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I really really don't want to sound judgmental here, but YOU ARE RIDING THIS HORSE??!!##!??? If the symptoms are still as bad as they sounded in the earlier posts, I can't imagine why you would be doing this. Particularly with drugs that will mask pain, and therefore inhibit your ability to know when you horse has really had enough or even making things worse.

Come one, let's use some common sense, please.

Perfect Pony
Dec. 29, 2004, 09:55 AM
Well you are being judgemental. I would never ride a horse that shouldn't be ridden. My vet (who has seen the horse several times) wants me to continue to ride him. I have discussed everything with him at length, and every possiblity. He has done a general physical on him and believes it is a joint issue, probably stifles or lower. he does not want him out of work prior to the complete lameness exam scheduled for next week.

Perfect Pony
Dec. 29, 2004, 09:57 AM
BTW, my vet is also a very well respected vet in the area who works with a lot of upper level dressage and eventing horses (up to the 4* level). I use him because I have complete respect for his opinion, and his horsemanship.

Dec. 29, 2004, 10:02 AM
That's cool - I am not one to baby my horses, either, it just sounds so serious, it is difficult to believe that the benefits from riding the horse would outweigh the risks. The immportant thing is that you've thought about it and discussed it with someone you really respect.

Perfect Pony
Dec. 29, 2004, 10:11 AM
Sorry I didn't mean to over react. You can only imagine how much this totally sucks. You can also imagine I have every person in the barn telling me what to do on top of it, everything from put him to sleep, to inject the crap out of him, to turn him out and retire him, to it's nothing and don't worry about it.... I stopped riding him and I got checked by my vet who said not to stop riding him since if he goes totally sound on stall rest we'll be back at square one. It's bad enough that he's sound now on the dex, but the vet says we can't rule out 100% that he's not off and acting weird because of the vasculitis, the infection is really bad. He does not think it's nuerological or a fracture based on his general exam, although at the moment he is still open minded. For what it's worth I am doing 10-15 minutes of walking with a little trotting and a little hand gallop both ways just to loosen him up, all on a fairly loose rein. I stick him on the lunge line for a couple minutes a day to watch how he's going.

Dec. 29, 2004, 10:19 AM
I wish the both of you the best. I can only imagine how awful it is. My horse is a little off right now, and I am literally losing sleep over it even though it is probably very minor, easily resolved stuff. Horses are such amazing/complicated/stupidly fragile animals!

Dec. 29, 2004, 10:40 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Porcelain Pony:
You can also imagine I have every person in the barn telling me what to do on top of it, everything from put him to sleep, to inject the crap out of him, to turn him out and retire him, to it's nothing and don't worry about it.... <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Probably because it seems you're only half-heartedly attempting to find the root of his problem.

I wouldn't make my horse wait. Yes I would haul my young event horse up to an equine clinic ASAP if he my vet had no way of making him comfortable.

If there was no *possible* way of making him comfortable (or it was outside of my means), I'd put him down. No animal or human should have to be MISERABLE day in and day out.

I don't know if you were just being overly dramatic in the beginning ("almost crippled behind"), because otherwise I don't get WHY would you be on this horse's back.

Pocket Pony
Dec. 29, 2004, 02:55 PM
Olympicprincess, everyone has a different definition of miserable. What you think of as miserable may not be PP's definition. Miles is miserable since I've cut down on his rations and he's on a diet. Should I put him down? http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif I could make him more comfortable by giving him more food, but that could jeopardize his health so poor Miles has to live in misery... http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_razz.gif He'll get over it, I'm sure.

I'm sure PP is doing everything in her power to make the right decisions for Vegas. It is hard when you get conflicting information on different clinics, and to top it off you don't have your own rig to get wherever you need to go. She needs to have all the information on what clinic would best suit Vegas's needs so that she doesn't have to go through this over and over again.

Her vet has been out multiple times and they have tried many diagnostics and treatment modalities to investigate the issue. So now she's moving on to the next step. I don't think she needs you to tell her that she's a miserable horse mom, 'cause she's not.

Perfect Pony
Dec. 29, 2004, 03:29 PM
Well, at this moment Vegas is not miserable, as a matter of fact is pretty close to 100% sound. He has been on dex for almost 3 weeks, which is a potent anti-inflamatory. He is happy, eating like a pig and generally enjoying his pampered existance, and spending my money. Like I said, I have been battling a really terrible case of vasculitis ever since I brought him home almost 3 months ago and found out what it was on his legs. Just so you guys can see how terrible this infection is and why my vet wants to battle it head on right now, here are some pictures of vasculitis. (http://community.webshots.com/album/239696095mdfGty). And before anyone gives me crap about his feet, he is 5 weeks out after pulling his rear shoes, and the farrier warned me they would look terrible until his first trim sans shoes, not that I need to defend myself....

To me, when my horse is obviously in pain and lame behind, I freak out. Like PP said I don't have a truck and trailer, and after having the vet see my horse weekly for the past 2 months, and calling every clinic in the State of CA with a decent reputation, I am NOT going to borrow a truck and trailer, or con someone into driving my horse several hours away, just to have them do an exam and then tell me to come back, sorry. I made the statement about peoples reactions to illustrate that no "normal" people have the same opinion about the situation, to some I am crazy for even worrying about it, others think the moment something is wrong you just put the horse down. I figure in this instance I should probably listen to the veterinarians, don't ya think????

Dec. 30, 2004, 10:40 AM

I'm so sorry to hear about the trials you and Vegas are facing. Eesh, I knew something was up...but not what. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif Show and I will jingle like mad for you two....

If you end up taking Vegas to Alamo, let me know. You're welcome to bunk at my tiny abode (although it's about an hour away) if need be.

Jan. 1, 2005, 01:16 PM
Hows he doing Porcelin Pony?? Just wanted to ad a teeny warning, Dexamethazone has some great benefits, but it is a very strong steroid, and has great masking qualities and can make symptoms seem almost non existant! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Jan. 1, 2005, 04:47 PM
Keep us posted....

I reread the posting here- and we are all really guessing, but want to add a few "thoughts."

Sometimes, not always, muscle pain, esp back pain can be really tough. When they sink upon palpation, they are creating a lot of other muscles to compensate (sp) for the painful touch... think about having a back spasm yourself. Other things end up hurting. And when my back hurts, I can tell you I am miserable! and if someone prods me, I act miserable, well I AM miserable. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/yes.gif
He is young, still growing, and has the other painful skin issues. So, stands to at least thought, if not reason, that it might be that. And if the dex is working, I believe that it works on everything- and so the muscles might be getting a break.

I have had some horses that when they have started work, they act as if they are a zillion years old. And they all seem (okay, I have only had 3 really young ones) to go thru a pretty rough period, and they seem like its hard for them to get all their limbs and bodies on the same planet. Very funny to look at at times!

I peeked at more pics in your album, and he is just lovely. wonderful jumper...cute face...all in all looks like a great guy.

I am not trying to take anything away from your vets, nor other posters, just hoping and jingling like mad and praying that it might be better then all bad. good luck and keep us posted.

Perfect Pony
Jan. 1, 2005, 05:13 PM
I really DO appreciate all the input and ideas, it really helps to be able to put together a list of everything that possibly could be an issue and go down the list.

Vegas is completely sound on the dexamethazone - essentially saying that he is completely sound on an anti-inflamatory. I guess this could be good or bad news depending on how you look at it.

I know all there is to know about dex. I spent 2 months attenpting to fight the vasculitis w/o steroids because I know the side effects. I just spent $150 on Wednesday for the emergency vet because I felt a slight amount of heat in his LF leg and foot. Of course the vet came out and it was nothing, probably soreness from the bell boots that I have been putting on him for turn out (he ended up with huge sores on all his white pasturns http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif ). But...I know laminitis is a rare side effect, so I called the vet to make sure.

I don't know if you guys all get it, but Vegas is under pretty hard core vet care. I talk to my vet more than once a week and he sees him about once a week at the barn. If you think I'm being cheap, well you're far from correct, I'm already in this hundreds of dollars and have my insurance company engaged in the process. It's just the holidays and it's difficult this time of year. He's also happy, healthy, eating, drinking, and no one is worried he's miserable or going o drop dead.

The good news today is that I arrived to the barn to find him swollen from his chin to up oven his jaw line! Holy Moly! Again spoke to the vet, gave him some bute, and hopefully he'll be fine til Tuesday. He still happy and eating and drinking like the piggy he is.

He's a special guy, I've spared absolutely NO expense, and he will always get 110% attention and treatment, he's my little lemon http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Jan. 1, 2005, 05:50 PM
Good Luck- I am sorry that all of this is happening with him. I know its expensive- I went thru a ton with Taco, my now 9 yo OTTB and the vet became really good friends with us...had dinner with us more then once! He went to PA and KY and was on a ton of antibiotics, expensive ones at that. I think for the first 3 years I got to ride him maybe a total of 3 months. And I mean this! More then one time I thought that we would have to put him down. He has some really wierd autoimmune issues- never really figured it out. But, the golden part is this. When I finished his first TR course with him this spring, I was in tears. Mr A was there and his words...outstanding. And I know I could NEVER buy the feeling that I had finishing that event on him. Worth everything. I wish that for you and your guy.

Pocket Pony
Jan. 1, 2005, 05:53 PM
What a lovely story annikak! Do you have a picture to share?

PP, I think you should make his show name Lemon! But, of course, some fancy version of it...like Limon or Absolut Limon or something... http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/lol.gif

Jan. 1, 2005, 06:06 PM
I can confirm that Annikak is going thru a lot with Taco, but it's really worth it.

He is just a dream horse. If I could have any horse on this planet, that would be him.

Good luck to you Porcelain Pony, hang in there.
As I said earlier, since I've owned Ski, everybody told me to sell him or to put him down in several occasion (he is accident prone).
But, everyday when I see his face, I think it's worth it.

I really hope, you're going to find what is wrong, I've been in your shoes and there is nothing more frustrating than not knowing why you're horse is not feeling right.

Keep us posted.

Perfect Pony
Jan. 1, 2005, 06:49 PM
annikak, thanks for sharing our story! It's very weird. Sometimes I just cannot believe I spent 10 years horseless only to deal with this! But, Vegas is a pretty special guy. Even my boyfriend loves to go to the barn and love all over him, and he never even gives me one little ounce of shit about the $$ or time or anything. Vegas has that much of an impact.

2 days ago I rode him, and it was aboslutely heaven. When he's not in pain, he really is the best ride I have ever been on. When I was on 24x7 oncall for work I had a gal ride him that was smitten within a couple rides, he's that great, really. I just want to do right by him, that is all. I have an appointment Tuesday and we will decide what to do then. Whatever it is, I am there for him 100%.

Again, thanks for all the input, I really appreciate it!!

Jan. 2, 2005, 05:49 PM
Awwww.... Taco is blushing... http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_redface.gif But thats okay- he loves having people love him!

Pocket Pony- I would LOVE to post pictures, but I have no idea how to do it. But should anyone care to enlighten me, I would be more the interested.... I am as bad as a person can be...I do love to share pictures of him. I am way too proud to be in public http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/lol.gif

And Porcelain Pony, please please keep us posted- I think that between Vegas, Taco and Ski we could really have a fairy book story!

Good Luck tuesday- oh did I say keep up posted? http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/winkgrin.gif

Perfect Pony
Jan. 3, 2005, 08:00 AM
annikak, you can open a webshots account for free and upload them there. Then you can share pictures easily! (http://community.webshots.com/photo/162057976/178306933ICwXIG)

Jan. 3, 2005, 08:35 AM
PP -- no real help, but just some additional support. It sounds as if you are doing Right by Vegas and I think Buzz can join the accident prone/horse with weird issues group.

Our vet would call *me* if he went four or five days without hearing from me http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/lol.gif Just to make sure the boys really were ok. annikak -- what sort of weird autoimmune symptoms? We are waiting on bloodwork back from U of F -- a vet down there wanted to run a couple of more tests just to make sure we didn't have something lurking. With him, in order to do joint injections last week, we had to special order needles from a company in New York so that his body wouldn't react to the coating on regular needles.

But, when he's good, he FABULOUS. And he's stolen my heart, and Mr. Bensmom's too, thank goodness. I paid my year end vet bill last week, and it was more than I paid for my 4 horse trailer new http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_eek.gif

But, the boys are worth it, and having a vet that will work with you is priceless. Mine left private practice at the end of the year and is now the head state equine vet. His last day on call was Saturday, and that hit me on my way home from the barn Sat night -- I think I cried all the way home. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif He's still going to be there on the phone for me to answer questions etc., but he's been so involved with my boys and believed in them when no one else has. &lt;sigh&gt;

In any event, best of luck with tomorrow's appointment and we'll all be keeping our fingers crossed!

Libby & the special needs boys

Jan. 3, 2005, 08:41 AM

don't want to hijack this topic, but I need your email and it's not the one on your profile


Jan. 3, 2005, 09:01 AM
Hmm -- profile email is the right one, but I've sent you an email anyway!

Now, back to the regularly scheduled topic http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif


Jan. 3, 2005, 06:41 PM
Not too sure about protocol here, so if this is hijacking, it is NOT my intention- I have come to really like Miles and Vegas and their moms…either of you in the SD, CA area? I am heading that way this weekend and would love to meet any of the above.

Taco had something strange. Every scrape, every knock turned into something major. 3 things I can tell somewhat shortly are these. 1st- interfered or “speedy cut” himself on his fetlock. The cut became infected after it healed over, and he ended up with an infection in his sesamoid bone. My vet said career ending- so I being the stubborn person that I am, I took him from MI to New Bolton and Jill Beech. Well, 6 weeks there, and a total of 3 months on Baytril (and I do NOT want to tell you how much that is… http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_eek.gif.) he was better. Well, I felt that after all that, I needed to sell him- I knew that we would never recover the cost of the drugs, but oh well- ANYWAY- stubborn person that I am…he stayed! then 2nd, he got a cut on his knee from a pasture scrape, we think- he ended up with pockets of infection around the entire knee joint- on the opposite leg, btw-! More baytril and I spent a couple of weeks flushing out the wounds- getting up to (I am NOT kidding here) 120 cc’s fluid/pus out every 3 to 4 hrs, then flushing with 180 cc’s of some mixture made by the vets at New Bolton. So, then we had a few good months. He was to start back to work- for the zillionth time. Then, I got back from Plantation Fields HT and he saw me- got REALLY happy and ran around. Knocked his stifle, and got a small cut. I took him right away to MSU. They looked at me like I was nuts- WHY are you worried????? Suffice to say, within a week, his stifle was huge- and my poor VERY pregnant vet poked at it, and the smell almost cleared the barn of anything living, including the baby!!. This time, Rood and Riddle- there were 4 different bacteria, 2 anaerobic. Chloraphenicol (sp on this one…sorry) for about 8 weeks. That was about 1 ½ year ago. He started back into work in Feb, and all has been okay- except the splint that is huge- down to Haygard Davidson Magee- to have them say, no fracture, no idea why he keeps putting down bone- but NO vet will inject him anywhere at this point, Spring shots are always done with a prayer- and I am really careful to make sure that I catch everything. I am so very grateful that my best friend is a vet- Carovet made it possible by helping me get meds at a reasonable price- and New Bolton gave them to me at cost toward the end.

But Taco?? Priceless….

Jan. 3, 2005, 07:00 PM
PP- I might have done it!

taco pictures (http://community.webshots.com/scripts/editPhotos.fcgi?action=viewall&albumID=243855439&ran=14574)

Pocket Pony
Jan. 3, 2005, 07:31 PM
You're close annikak. From your webshots album, you need to click on "community" so that you can share the photos, then send the link that way.

I want to see taco pictures!!!

Jan. 4, 2005, 04:29 AM
Now?? I hope so! Feeling like a pumpkin!taco pics take 2 (http://community.webshots.com/album/243855439EzdwLD)

Jan. 4, 2005, 05:47 AM
Porcelain Pony and Annikak: you both have my respect and admiration for doing so much for your horses and loving then so much. Good on you both!

A left field suggestion: my vet (who also studies alternative stuff) recently had me put my mare on Platinum Plus Immune Enhancer for a month. It ain't cheap, and my mare was convinced it was poison the first two days (THYMUS? YOU WANT ME TO EAT THYMUS?), but the results were really quite remarkable. She has been struggling with Lyme Disease, and oral treatments were just not solving the problem. Rather than go to IV, we tried the Platinum Plus, and it was as if we gave her 10 times the antibiotics. She really bloomed. My vet says that some other tough cases have really responded well, too.

Annikak, I wonder since your horse seems to get every infection possible if this stuff would help him.

And PP, I have my fingers crossed and am hoping you find and fix what ails your boy soonest.

Perfect Pony
Jan. 4, 2005, 07:53 AM
wow annikak, what a story! The pics worked and to say he's stunning it putting it mildly, he just looks incredible. I CAN imagine what you are going through. Vegas' vasculitis is just the biggest PITA ever, and I am paranoid it may never go away, or possibly the hair will never grow back and it will just keep oozing and oozing. The last 2 days it has looked better, but I never know when I could go to the barn and find elephant legs and his legs scabbed over again. Yesterday was the first time I washed his legs and he didn't kick out every time I went near them. He's never tried to kick me thank God, but he is so sore that you touch them and he just flinches. He has been stuck in the barn for 2 weeks because of the weather, so I took him off turn out altogether while he's on the dex for the legs. Keeping them dry seems to be helping. He's kinda groggy on the dex anyway. My 4 yo (oh...5 now!) TB who has been in his stall for 2 days was the only calm horse at the barn yesterday!

I have a vet appoinment in an hour. How fun.

Pocket Pony
Jan. 4, 2005, 09:15 AM
annikak, taco is gorgeous!!!! Wow!

Good luck today, PP!

Jan. 4, 2005, 05:34 PM
Ya know guys, you all brought tears to my eyes...thanks. Not too many people know his story, but if (okay, i dream when) he wins a 3 day, it will be told! http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/lol.gif Anyway, thanks to Pocket Pony for the help getting pics up. I may get a bit zelous for a time!

frugalannie- I would love to know about that stuff. Is your vet Judith S? I have heard great things about her- my chiro has worked with her, and loves her. But no needles for him! tried that...disaster! Anyway, i dread the day something else happens- we are close to the end of the antibiotic rope. Sounds as if it might work for Vegas, too.

Its been an hour...whats the report? And I sense that at least on this thread, there is a lot of really positive support, and I am sure we can help somehow.

I am remembering a CANTER horse that I had here for a time that had vasculitis. It was a pain. I think it lasted for months- finally they sent him to me (he has been at MSU for months) and because i knew about taking care of cuts (okay, rep was too well known...) he became mine to foster. I thought it would NEVER heal, but eventually it did. And like you, keeping it dry seemed to help. It was only one hind leg, and I think we used some mix of furizone and dmso and dex topically- can't remember. But I bet I could find out... I know I wrapped everyday (which went against what I thought it needed, which was air, but vets orders) and used a lot of animalintex (sp). I know he is fine now. He was adopted a few months later, and i have seen him and you can hardly tell. Its a wierd thing, that is for sure. Also, something to know- the injectable dex is good for oral use, too- ask your vet. Its a lot cheaper!!!

As an aside, I was sooo scared that Taco was going to get it, I kept them on opposite ends of the barn and washed my hands endlessly- paranoid, you bet! (But, I can tell you that I don't change before getting my 11 yo from school, hay and all http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/lol.gif Not paranoid about people and what they think unless its about how I take care of my horses!!)

Perfect Pony
Jan. 4, 2005, 08:39 PM
Well there's nothing to really report I suppose. He's still on 10mg Dex daily, so he's sound. He's been a bit lethargic and starting to not eat as much and lose some weight, but the vet says it's normal with him being on steroids. The vasculitis wasn't getting any better until just this past week, even with both IM and topical steroids. I figured out that the turn around coincided to his lack of turn out due to the weather. I mentioned this to my vet today and he kinda flipped "you're turning him out on that new green grass!?!" Whooops! Vasculitis is not a bacteria or virus that can be spread, it's an infection of the actual cells in the skin, believed to be caused in white pigmented skin from the sun and some vets think possibly the photo-active properties of rich green grass/clover. So annikak, there was never any risk of you spreading it.

Anyway, more of an update. The soreness in his back is gone. He's moving happy and free, straighter than he ever has. He just seems happy being ridden again. The vet does not think there is any risk that I am doing any damage to him by riding him, it's essentially the same as buting a horse, or injecting joints, or whatnot. I made him take hock xrays today for fun anyway. I just feel like I should be doing something...sheesh. But the vet really, really wants to concentrate on getting his legs cleared up, keep him in work, and monitor his soundness. It's really easy for me to tell when he is uncomfortable since he is pretty dramatic about the whole thing, hence my freaking out - he flips his head, pins his ears, naps this way and that and REALLY bucks. Today he acted like a made horse.

But, anytime I feel like a fool for "over reacting" I just put on the video tape of him hobbling around....

I'll let you all know if we see anything in the xrays.

Jan. 5, 2005, 04:10 AM
I am glad that he is feeling better, and although I bet the check was hard to write (or visa slip to sign http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/lol.gif) I bet it was nice to know that things are somewhat okay. And yes, I know now that was impossible for taco to get...but it's Taco!! Who knows with him!! http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/lol.gif and I remember that grass was an issue, too. Somewhat similar to scratches, I think??? Darn white legs...

Glad that things are okay!!!

Let us know about the xrays.


Perfect Pony
Jan. 5, 2005, 08:27 PM
Well the vet just called. His left hock was as perfect as could be. His right hock was almost perfect with a littel shadow that could or could not be anything at all, but would not give the vet any concern at all if he was not lame. The basic idea is he doesn't have anything weird at all going on in his hocks. We can go back to the right if he comes up lame again, and we dont find anything else, but at this point his hocks do not seem like they could be the issue given the pictures.

He is sound on the dex, so whatever was bothering him was some sort of inflamation that is now gone with the steroids (I did not say gone for good unfortunately). Today he was fabulous, I actually got honest to goodness canter transitions from him, on the correct lead and everything. The vet wants to continue battling the vasculitis (something we can control) and just watch his soundness as we reduce the dex.

All I can do is keep on keeping on I guess. The vet says to enjoy and take advantage of my happy, sound horse while I can, and take it one day at a time.

Pocket Pony
Jan. 5, 2005, 09:46 PM
Well, good for you for getting some x-rays of Mr. Vegas. I hope that his troubles have just been the vasculitis bothering him, and nothing more. He is so beautiful, sigh, I'm sorry you're going through this!

Jan. 9, 2005, 07:48 PM
back from rainy CA...wow!

Glad that you got news, hopefully good info to have. Keep us posted...and good luck!

Perfect Pony
Jan. 10, 2005, 04:28 PM
Well I have more of an update, good and bad I suppose http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/sigh.gif

Vegas was in more pain and morelame today than ever before, to say crippled is an understatement, he could hardley leave his stall. The good news? Well...his vasculitis flared up something fierce, so bad that his hind legs were more swollen than ever before, and when I touched them it sent shivers throughout his whole body http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/cry.gif There really does seem to be a correlation between the vasculitis and his lameness now, especially with the negative xrays.

But I have to say I am at my whits end with the vasculitis, and the vet seems to be getting really disheartened as well. He now never leaves his stall without wraps, doesn't get any grass, and is on 8 mg of dex a day. I'm open to suggestions...and actually may have a chinese medicine lady coming to see him next week....

Jan. 10, 2005, 05:45 PM
from what I know about the pain of vasculitis, it hurts like h*ll- so no surprise. And chinese medicine? Hey there, why not??? You have nothing to lose and a ton to gain...he is lovely. And animalintex did work well for us and poor Taz. But, whatever advice you get- take it. Its free... sometimes worth that for sure, but heres hopin'

Thoughts your way....

Jan. 10, 2005, 06:22 PM
Did you ever get the full scan of hips and pelvis at a clinic???

Pocket Pony
Jan. 10, 2005, 06:45 PM
Well I guess the positive correlation is a good thing since the xrays turned up inconclusive. Poor guy. Sheesh, I'd never heard of it until Vegas. I bet summer can't come soon enough for you!

Perfect Pony
Jan. 10, 2005, 09:02 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by findeight:
Did you ever get the full scan of hips and pelvis at a clinic??? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

No, at the suggestion of my vet, as well as the vets at Pioneer and Alamo. The pain seems to be coming from the vasculitis at this point, there is absolutley no indication that anything else has a problem, and until we get this under control it doesn't make a lot of sense to start a witch hunt. It's just all so depressing. I wrapped his legs tonight and called the vet and left a message for the morning. I've just never dealt with anything like this, it just will not go away! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

Perfect Pony
Jan. 10, 2005, 09:06 PM
btw Annikak, how did you use the Animalintex? Hot or cold? And how often?

I have tried the open and dry routine with no help, so I am going to try wrapping the legs now. Off to the tack store to buy a few dozen pairs of leg wraps....

Jan. 11, 2005, 12:02 AM
Have they looked for an infectious cause of the vasculitis?

See this link:


It mentions Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever as a cause. I suspect that other Rickettsii might cause it as well.

Good luck,


Perfect Pony
Jan. 11, 2005, 07:26 AM
No Lany, but I will today! There just HAS to be something weird going on, especially now that last visit my vet started shaking his head...

I think it's time to do a skin biopsy and draw some blood. I am now really happy I did such a comprehensive pre-purchase and have all his lab-work still.

Thanks for the link http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Perfect Pony
Jan. 11, 2005, 08:18 AM
Well I FINALLY found something useful (yet disturbing) about vasculitis in horses! And it comes from a study at good old UC Davis. Interesting this I stopped using an anti-microbial soap on his legs for fear that it was irritating, yet it may have been keeping a flare-up at bay.


Jan. 11, 2005, 09:07 AM
used the stuff dry, and then if there was a deeper pocket, wet. However, the mom in me thought that it needed to be kept dry. So, I agree on that point.

I used stuff to scrub it, again, counter intuitive, but so be it. And it was...cannot totally remember, but not betadine- seemed too harsh.

Then, with scratches, which is really similar- we used dex, plus someting that the vet mixed up. Have to call anyway today, will ask about it. might help....- keep us posted-

Jan. 11, 2005, 03:45 PM
What exactly is this vasculitis? Is it allergic, or infetious, and why can't he get grass?

Perfect Pony
Jan. 11, 2005, 06:19 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Lookout:
What exactly is this vasculitis? Is it allergic, or infetious, and why can't he get grass? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

From the above article:

"These investigators have confirmed what Dr. Stannard suspected; that the degeneration of the vasculature has an immune-mediated component which is central to the production of disease. While the work is neither complete nor conclusive as to the cause and effect of the disease, the research so far indicates that much of the damage caused to the skin and subcutaneous tissues of the lower leg and pastern may be a result of the horse's own immune response to an inciting irritant.

In other words, the initial agent which attacks the skin is not important. A type of bacteria, fungus, or mange mites afflicts the horse's skin which initiates a hyperactive or misdirected response by the horse's own defense mechanisms. The animal's own immune system then becomes the actual perpetuating cause of the problem. This "hyper" reaction by the body persists long after the original irritant (mite, bacteria, etc.) is gone which partially explains why the list of failed treatments is so long. Whatever particular treatment one employs, it may eliminate the particular pathogen present, but once that one is eliminated, another which is not susceptible to the medication chosen takes over because the horse's skin is too busy fighting with itself to defend against any new invaders."

Right now Vegas is not eating fresh green grass because there is a possibility the the chemicals in the grass may effect him as well, if his case is indeed photo-activated. We really don't know but we are taking a "just in case" stance since it's so bad.

Jan. 12, 2005, 04:38 AM
This is a long shot, but what about immune-surpressing drugs? They have made some progress in human issues like eczema using anti-rejection drugs for organ transplants. If his immune system is causing the problem, wouldn't it make sense to reduce that response? Are antihistimines a part os the treatment at all?

Perfect Pony
Jan. 12, 2005, 07:14 AM
All good questions. I have an appointment with my vet this afternoon, and I am going to suggest we contact the researcher and doctor at UC Davis that has been researching this condition for the past several years for some additional treatments, and possibly take him to Davis.

Jan. 12, 2005, 05:04 PM
dex (and all steroids) ARE imunosuppressants.
I'm not a vet (just a people doctor) but yes, there are other drugs that could be tried (eg. some chemotherapy drugs work well in human vasculitis). I hope you get some good news soon, and hang in there!!!

Perfect Pony
Jan. 12, 2005, 08:45 PM
I saw the vet today, all we can do is get really aggressive with it at this point. He is upping the dex dose to 40cc/day. I freaked but he said that that is less then half the max recommended for treating severe cases. He is calling UC Davis tomorrow to find out about an additional drug they recommend in addition to the dex.

I am also now wrapping him 24/7 and coating his legs with SSD.

Poor guy is in so much pain but he's such a saint. This last flair up is so bad he can hardly stand me even touching his one leg. Every time I get bummed that I am dealing with this I just feel thankful to have him. He should feel much better in a day or 2 with the upped dosage.

Pocket Pony
Jan. 12, 2005, 09:14 PM
Poor Vegas... http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/no.gif

Jan. 13, 2005, 06:42 AM
just got off the phone with my vet. Asked what we did with both of them. So, NOW with their help, I remember! http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/yes.gif

Take distilled water- add tetracyclene (god, I cannot spell, hope the spelling gurus don't shoot me!) add dex (about 40 cc's) and mix into about a 250 ml bottle. Its a yellowish somewhat thick but can still spray type of final mix.
Sweat the legs at night- (or animalintex-already apologized for the spelling...one per post, please! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif) then spray the stuff onto the areas affected. Spray (do the best you can-) 2 x a day.

It takes time (the big warmblood took about 2 or 3 weeks, the ottb took about 2 months after I got him home- had been in the vet clinic for at least 6 weeks prior.)

This just worked for us...I am in no way a vet, but this is what we did. (formal disclaimer)

This post started about giving up- seems as if you won't- congratulations! (or maybe you need to see a therapist like me! http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/lol.gif) Loyal horse ownership sometimes = lack of sanity!

I will be there when you get thru this, clapping, cheering and with tears in my eyes when this is over for you both. contunues jingles to you and Vegas

Perfect Pony
Jan. 13, 2005, 07:25 AM
Thanks Annikak! I will send this to my vet. Did you keep the horses legs wrapped too? I started wrapping him since he has semi soft poops during the day, and he is getting it all over his legs and I worry if that doesn't contribute to the unclean environment.

Oh, this horse is my lifer. He wins my heart more every single day. A couple days ago we went for a long hand walk around the property and he just follows along like a puppy dog. We walk and trot and explore everything together like a couple kids. I finally have my "Blaze" and he's going nowhere.

My SO an I are actually making an offer on a property today (7 acres) so I can have him and home (and get more??? http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif )

Pocket Pony
Jan. 13, 2005, 08:32 AM
Well PP, you're going to have to post an update on your offer - I'm sure everyone wants to hear about it!!!

Lucky you that the person who has so much info about this is at Davis. Very convenient, indeed. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/yes.gif

Jan. 13, 2005, 08:45 AM
Hey PP, sorry about the Vegas. Good luck on the property. You are in my thoughts.

Jan. 13, 2005, 10:50 AM
How cool about the property- congrats- hope all goes smoothly!

Yes, I did wrap- in order to sweat the legs, you have to wrap. I use furazone, then sheet cotton, then plastic wrap, then a cotton no-bow- (are the cotton anyway?), then the final bandage. For the day, I use normal wraps, but for this, I would use throw away ones-re use them as much as possible- it gets really ooozzzzy sometimes. And in the day is when i used the animalintex. That then protects the over wrap....
Wish I could be there to show you! Not that I am the expert wrapper, http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/sigh.gif but I would love to meet Vegas!

Perfect Pony
Jan. 13, 2005, 11:07 AM
Ok, how about a paid vacation to San Francisco????

Jan. 13, 2005, 06:37 PM
now you're talkin'! http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/winkgrin.gif

keep us posted- and good luck!

Its dropped 30 degrees here in 10 hrs- (its now 25) have to head out to the barn, reblanket, give haycube mash to all -
(Have to stave off the inevitable weather change
colic,) and think...

how much nicer is it in SF???? http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/yes.gif

Jan. 14, 2005, 09:06 AM
porcelain-i wanted to throw this report into the mix as some of it sounds very much like the progression vegas took with his illness-thinking of you and hoping vegas is back on top soon-cheers-

Equine Herpesvirus 1: Pathophysiology and Commonly Asked Questions
Catherine W Kohn VMD DACVIM

February 26, 2003

Typical Clinical Signs of EHV-1 Infection

Upper respiratory infection is the most common manifestation of EHV-1 infection. Commonly, young horses (weanlings, yearlings, and 2 year olds) have depression, poor appetite, nasal discharge and cough. If young horses are housed or pastured together, many horses in the herd may experience disease from which they recover uneventfully. Disease may be mild or unapparent in older horses.

EHV-1 infection in pregnant mares may result in abortion. Appropriate vaccination has greatly reduced the incidence of outbreaks of virus abortion on breeding farms.

Less typical Clinical Signs of EHV-1 Infection

Neurological signs occur infrequently as a result of EHV-1 infection; however, outbreaks of neurologic disease associated with fever, nasal discharge and cough have been reported both in the USA and elsewhere (see below). Neurologic signs may include incoordination that can progress to an inability to stand. Horses may be unable to urinate or may dribble small volumes of urine. Horses may have difficulty producing manure. Sometimes the neurologic signs are accompanied by cellulitis (inflammation or swelling of the limbs) and petechiae (small hemorrhages on the gums)

Pathogenesis of EHV-1 Infection

The primary reason that EHV-1 causes disease is that it causes vasculitis (inflammation of the endothelial cells that line blood vessels). Vasculitis of the brain and spinal cord are the most common abnormalities seen under the microscope in tissues from horses that die of the neurological form of this disease. Vasculitis elsewhere in the body is less commonly encountered in horses with neurologic EHV-1 infection. Signs of vasculitis are edema (swelling) of distal limbs, sheath, or ventral midline.

In studies of experimental intranasal EHV-1 infections, viremia (virus in the blood) develops in 6 to 8 days. We presume that a similar incubation period occurs in field cases of EHV-1 infection. Infected horses shed the virus in respiratory secretions (snotty nose, sneezing) during the viremia. This is termed the infectious period. The infectious period for EHV-1is usually about 7 days (range 6-10 days). Horses displaying neurological signs usually are no longer viremic (do not have the virus in their bloodstream), and they usually do not shed the virus while they are showing signs of nervous system disease.

The infection is likely life-long with the dormant virus residing in the trigeminal ganglion of the brain. Reoccurrence of viremia and shedding of the virus in nasal secretions of horses with dormant infections has been produced in a research setting (Slater 1994) by administering corticosteroids.(Edington 1985). The cycle of persistent latent (dormant) infection and intermittent shedding is thought to keep herpes viruses circulating in the equine population. Intermittent shedding by carrier horses is thought to induce sporadic outbreaks of respiratory and/or neurological disease in susceptible populations. When carrier horses shed the virus, reoccurrence of neurological or respiratory signs in the carrier horse is not reported.

Transmission and Spread of EHV-1 Infection

Transmission from horse to horse is usually by close contact aerosol. The virus is short-lived in the environment in the absence of organic material (dirt, bedding, manure, etc.). The virus is very susceptible to disinfectants in clean environments (in the absence of organic material).

Diagnosis of EHV-1 Infection

There are four tests that can be used to help diagnose EHV-1 infection. One or all of these tests may be employed during an outbreak of suspected EHV-1-induced disease.

1. The virus can be isolated from pharyngeal or nasal secretions. Isolation of the virus from respiratory secretions strongly suggests that the virus is the cause of the disease.

2. PCR can be used to look for the virus antigen in pharyngeal or nasal secretions. A positive test indicates presence of the virus.

3. PCR can be used to look for virus antigen in the blood stream. The test looks for the virus in the buffy coat (packed white blood cells). The presence of viral antigens in the blood indicates that the horse is currently or has recently been viremic. Negative PCR tests do not rule out EHV-1 as the cause of the disease.

4. Serology is used to look for antibody to EHV-1. The horse produces antibodies in response to virus infection, and this process takes time (7-14 days, depending on whether the horse has been previously exposed to the virus. Previously exposed horses produce antibodies more rapidly than unexposed horses.) Serum antibody titers are therefore often low during the acute phase of the disease, but increase dramatically as the horse responds to the infection. When assessing serum antibody concentrations, it is therefore important to have two blood samples drawn 7 to 14 days apart. A 4-fold increase in antibody titer indicates recent virus infection.

Questions Asked Commonly About EHV-1

What is the risk of infection if I take my horse to a show or if horses from my barn travel to a show?

Herpesvirus infection is likely life-long in horses. Latently infected horses may intermittently shed the virus at any time and potentially infect other horses. For this reason, there is always a risk of community-acquired disease. The aggressive EHV-1 virus that caused the outbreak of fever and neurological disease at the University of Findlay is likely circulating in the general horse population, but is probably less common than other strains of EHV-1. Outbreaks of EHV-1 neurologic disease are uncommon, but do occur regularly. Risk of exposure at a show is low if horses at the show are healthy.

How dangerous are horses that have been at the University of Findlay?

Horses at the University of Findlay are still isolated as of February 26, 2003 and no movement of horses out of or into the facility is allowed.

In general, we recommend isolating horses for 21 days after potential exposure to the virus. This interval represents approximately 3 times the infective period of the virus. It is unlikely that a horse will be actively shedding the virus 21 days after exposure.

If my horse has been exposed to this EHV-1 virus, when is it safe to assume that the horse will not develop signs of disease?

If your horse has not developed fever, cough, snotty nose or neurological signs within 21 days of potential exposure, it is unlikely the horse will do so. For potentially exposed horses that have not been isolated, the risk of developing disease or transmission of the virus decreases as the time after the exposure increases.

What is the incubation period for EHV-1?

After experimental intranasal infection, horses become viremic in 6Ð 8 days.

What is the likelihood that a recovered horse will infect other horses in its home community?

We can find no reports of outbreaks of EHV-1 neurological disease after re-introduction of a recovered horse to the herd at home. It is true that virus shed by latent carrier horses is likely the source of infection in herd outbreaks of EHV-1 disease. The factors that induce shedding of virus by carriers, and the risk factors for infection in susceptible populations of horses are poorly understood at this time.

Reoccurrence of viremia has been demonstrated experimentally after administration of corticosteroids; however, we can find no reports of reoccurrence of clinical neurological or respiratory disease in recovered horses that are shedding the virus.

What is the treatment for EHV-1 neurologic disease?

1. The antiviral drug Acyclovir has been used empirically, but efficacy is unknown. The drug is expensive.

2. Symptomatic treatment: anti-inflammatory drugs (Butazolidin, Banamine, DMSO, Corticosteroids); nursing care, sling if needed.

How often is treatment for the neurologic disease successful?

1. In most outbreaks, horses that remain standing have a good prognosis for life. Full recovery may take weeks, months, or years.

2. Horses that display profound and rapidly progressive neurologic deficits have a much poorer prognosis, although some may live with intensive care.

How is the disease transmitted?

1. Usually by close contact aerosol. Experimentally, transmission has occurred over a distance of 35 feet. Respiratory secretions are usually infected. Common airspace enhances transmission. Fetal tissues, placenta and uterine fluids from mares that abort are infective.

2. Fomite transmission (the virus can be transmitted via organic material on clothes, shoes, or tack for example). Contaminated water or feed may also spread the virus.

3. The source of the virus is usually horses that are unapparent carriers.

What is the best disinfection protocol?

1. Clean away all organic material.

2. Disinfect surfaces with a solution of 1 part bleach (sodium hypochlorite) and 10 parts water. Wear gloves to dispense.

3. Wait for surfaces to dry.

Can transmission occur in a horse trailer?

Yes. Horse to horse transmission may occur because of the close proximity of passengers. Thorough cleaning and disinfection of a contaminated trailer should be effective in removing virus.

Are there different strains of the EHV-1?


Do we know anything specifically about the virus that is responsible for the University of Findlay outbreak?

1. The virus has been isolated from the buffy coat or pharyngeal secretions of at least 8 horses from the University of Findlay.

2. Currently, the virus genome (DNA) is being sequenced to see if this virus is similar to viruses isolated from horses in other outbreaks of EHV-1 neurologic disease. This information will not change the treatment of any current case of this disease or change the recommendations for reducing the risk of the spread of the virus. This information could help lead to the development of a new vaccine for this disease

3. The EHV-1 in the University of Findlay outbreak appears to be very aggressive and virulent.

Should I vaccinate my horse to help prevent the neurological form of EHV-1 infection?

The question of appropriate vaccination strategies to reduce the likelihood of neurological disease in an EHV-1 outbreak is complex. Vaccination may reduce the severity of the viremia experienced by infected horses, and may therefore reduce the amount of virus shed by infected horses, hence reducing the risk of all manifestations of EHV-1 infection. There is no vaccine currently available that claims to protect against the neurological form EHV-1 infection.
Investigators of recent outbreaks of EHV-1 disease have noted an association between frequent vaccination for EHV-1 and development of neurological signs. Although ÒfrequentÓ has not been clearly defined, vaccination every 60 days is not recommended; vaccination every 4 to 6 months is suggested. The relationships among vaccination, infecting herpes virus, and other risk factors in the selection for a high percentage of horses with neurological disease in an outbreak are poorly understood.
Consult your veterinarian to determine what vaccines have been given to your horse. If the horse has been vaccinated within the last 6 months, we do not recommend revaccination. If the horse has not been vaccinated for herpes in the last 6 months, we recommend using a univalent vaccine containing killed EHV-1. Do not vaccinate horses in an outbreak of
EHV-1 disease.

Follow your veterinarianÕs recommendation for vaccination of pregnant mares to prevent virus abortion. The neurological form of EHV-1 is infrequently encountered in appropriately vaccinated brood mares.

What precautions can I take at my barn?

1. Isolate new arrivals, sick horses, and horses returning from a show, Isolate horses for at least 7 days if you have a high index of suspicion of exposure. If you know that horses at the show had confirmed EHV-1 infection, isolate your horses for 21 days.

2. Disinfect all areas of the barn in which a suspect horse has been housed or worked. Use bleach (1 part bleach to 10 parts water.)

3. Encourage barn personnel and riders to wear leather or rubber boots/shoes that can be disinfected. Use a disinfectant tub at the entrance to the barn and ask all visitors to step in it before entering and leaving. This includes blacksmiths and veterinarians. Change bleach in the tub daily. Wash hands before handling horses. Do not share water buckets, feed tubs or stalls among horses.

4. Segregate horses into the smallest possible groups. Large groups of horses sharing a common airspace may all be infected by 1 or a few horses shedding the virus.

5. Take rectal temperatures daily. Isolate any horse with a fever (adult horses, &gt;101F). Consult your veterinarian immediately. Samples for EHV-1 testing can be sent by your veterinarian to the Ohio Department of Agriculture Laboratory, 8995 East Main St, Reynoldsburg, OH 43068; 614-728-62220. Your veterinarian should contact the ODA laboratory directly before sending samples.

6. Vaccinate horses every 4 to 6 months against EHV-1. Broodmares should be vaccinated according to the schedule recommended by your veterinarian to prevent virus abortion.

Ohio State University Veterinary Hospital Management of Horses from University of Findlay EHV-1 Outbreak


Six horses were referred from the University of Findlay for emergency treatment. All horses had signs of neurological disease. One horse was dead on arrival on 19 January 03; this horse went directly to necropsy and was never admitted to the Hospital. Four horses were admitted 18-19 Jan 03. One horse was admitted 28 January 03. All horses were segregated in the old part of the Hospital.

Outcome: All horses admitted to the hospital died between 19 Jan and 1 Feb 03.

Fever in horses hospitalized at The Ohio State University 18 Jan 03 to 11 Feb 03. (Note: these horses were not from the University of Findlay.) Could these horses have been infected with EHV-1?

Six horses developed fever during this time period. All were tested for EHV-1; preliminary results are as follows:

Acute Serology: 4 horses 1:80 (3); 1:160 (1).

2 horses: negative

Convalescent serology pending; as of 2/25/03.

Pharyngeal swab, buffy coat negative

Virus Isolation pending

All of these horses are currently isolated at The Ohio State University Veterinary Clinic.

Probable causes of fever

2 horses: positive for Influenza virus (Directigen test)

1 horse has pleuropnuemonia

1 horse improving on antimicrobial therapy for a respiratory infection

1 horse had a postoperative seroma

1 horse, fever is unexplained.

Fever and incoordination in horses hospitalized at the Ohio State University Veterinary Hospital 18 Jan 03 to 11 Feb 03.

Four hospitalized horses displayed fever and incoordination during this time period:

One horse was febrile before and during hospitalization, and had a history of cellulites prior to admission to the Hospital. The horse had severe, rapidly progressive incoordination while in the Hospital, and was euthanized. The PCR on respiratory secretions was positive and EHV-1was isolated from central nervous system tissue.

One horse was febrile before admission, had a history of cellulites, and was acutely ataxic in the morning, prior to admission to the Hospital. Work up for incoordination here suggested cervical vertebral osteoarthritis as the cause of the horseÕs incoordination. PCR tests were negative. The acute serology sample showed a titer of 1:80. Convalescent serology and virus isolation tests are pending. This horse is very unlikely to have had EHV-1 infection.

One horse became febrile 1 day after discharge, and was incoordinated 8 days after discharge. Incoordination progressed to recumbency, and the horse was euthanized. The PCR test in was positive in the buffy coat; virus isolation is pending. The acute serology sample was positive at a titer of 1:80. (This horse was in Van Wert County, Ohio.)

One horse developed fever and limb edema 1 day after discharge, and was moderately incoordinated 6 days after discharge. The PCR on buffy coat was negative and the acute serology sample was positive at a titer of 1:40; convalescent serology is pending. Virus isolation on blood is pending; a sample of nasal secretions was not obtained on this horse. (This horse is in Western Pennsylvania.) *The second and only other horse on this farm developed fever and neurological signs compatible with EHV-1 infection after contact with the horse discharged from The Ohio State University Veterinary Hospital. This second horse was euthanized at home. EHV-1 has been isolated from the blood of this horse. A necropsy was not obtained. *

*Information added to data base 2/26/03

Horses in the Ohio State University Veterinary Hospital between 7 January and 13 February 2003

146 horses were hospitalized or seen as outpatients during this period. As of January 12, 2003, every effort was made to contact owners of all such horses. Owners have been told that there is a risk that their horses were exposed to EHV-1 while at the Hospital. We recommended that horses that were at our Hospital be isolated for 21 days. We further suggested that rectal temperatures be taken daily on all horses in contact with the possibly exposed horse. We asked owners to contact us if fever or signs of neurological were noted. All horses now known to have or have had fever or neurological disease are accounted for above.

Strategies for Reducing Risk of EHV-1 Transmission at The Ohio State University Teaching Hospital

No admissions to the Old Hospital have been allowed since 2/12/03.

10 currently hospitalized client horses are isolated in Ward 4 of the Old Hospital for 21 days. 21 Days is 3 times the average infectious period for EHV-1 (7 days).

At the conclusion of the 21-day isolation period for client horses in the Hospital and for research horses in a separate Ward, all horse will be discharged from the Old Hospital and it will be cleaned and disinfected.

Strategies for Reducing Risk of EHV-1 Transmission at The Ohio State University Teaching Hospital

Emergency cases admitted after 2/12/03 were housed in Isolation stalls. These horses were never exposed to horses in the Old Hospital.

All horses have been removed from the Galbreath Equine Center and the facility has been cleaned and disinfected.

The Galbreath Equine Center has been functionally separated from the Old Hospital. No cross traffic of personnel, horses or equipment is allowed.

Continuing Service to the Equine Industry at The Ohio State University Veterinary Hospital

The Galbreath Equine Center opened on 2/20/03 for elective patients and emergencies. The Center will function as a stand-alone facility until all the horses have left the Old Hospital and it has been cleaned and disinfected (approximate date, March 24, 2003).

Continuing Surveillance for EHV-1 in the Eastern USA

Clinicians at The Ohio State University field multiple calls daily from concerned practitioners and horse owners. Recommendations for diagnosis and treatment of cases of EHV-1 are available. We will serve as a central repository for information about horses in our area with EHV-1 infection. Information about cases that have confirmed EHV-1 infection will be posted on our Web Site that can be accessed from The Ohio State University Veterinary College Home Page (www.vet.ohio-state.edu/ (http://www.vet.ohio-state.edu/)). Select ÒFor the PublicÓ and follow the link to Animal Health Information.

An outbreak of respiratory and neurological disease has been reported during the last 2 weeks in horses at Penn National Racecourse outside of Philadelphia (Grantville) PA. EHV-1 has been isolated from at least one horse. Two horses had neurological signs and have died or were euthanized.

Recent outbreaks of EHV-1 neurological disease in the USA and Canada

Southwestern Virginia, March 1998: Friday et al. Ataxia and paresis with eqine herpesvirus type 1 infection in a herd of riding school horses. J Vet Intern Med 2000:14:197-201.

Johnson County Wyoming, July 2001: The Horse, September 2001;p22.

Northern Virginia, April 2002: TheHorse.com

Ontario Canada: October 2002: TheHorse.com

Canada: January 2003: TheHorse.com

Selected Bibliography

Edington et al. Experimental reactivation of equid herpesvirus 1 (EHV 1) following the administration of corticosteroids. Equine vet J 1985; 17(5);369-372.

Slayter JD, Bochers K, Thackray AM, Field HJ. The trigeminal ganglion is a location for equine herpesvirus 1 latency and reactivation in the horse. J Gen Virol 1994;75 (Pt8):2007-2016.

Van Maanen Equine herpesvirus 1 and 4 infections: an update. Veterinary Quarterly 2002; 24(2):58-78.

Jan. 16, 2005, 10:12 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by annikak:
how much nicer is it in SF???? http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/yes.gif <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Well, we had some nasty weather last weekend, but this weekend, and two weekends ago, I was riding in a t-shirt and sweating. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_cool.gif

Porcelain Pony, good luck with the property, and I hope that you get the vasculitis under control very soon!

Jan. 16, 2005, 10:30 AM
I know someone at the barn where I ride that owns an ex-racehorse who has severe arthritis in his hocks and can hardly even canter, but my instructor always uses him in lessons for extreme beginners, especially for those who are somewhat afraid, because all he does is trot- even if he spooks, it hurts him too much to do much more than take a few canter strides away. Plus his arthritis has made him much more reliable and less likely to spook. He's perfect for beginners, so if you don't find anything else to do with your horse, you could always consider selling him to an instructor who needs a bombproof horse.

Jan. 16, 2005, 10:33 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>quote:
Originally posted by annikak:
how much nicer is it in SF????

Well, we had some nasty weather last weekend, but this weekend, and two weekends ago, I was riding in a t-shirt and sweating.

Porcelain Pony, good luck with the property, and I hope that you get the vasculitis under control very soon!


DOG. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/lol.gif Its 14 here...and I slid down the driveway to the barn....

Perfect Pony
Jan. 16, 2005, 02:51 PM
I hate to tell you this, but it's in the 60s here today. SUNNY and WARM. OMG it is beautiful. I took Vegas out for a really long hand walk, it was heaven.

The dex seems to be bringing down the inflamation, but all the skin on his back legs is just peeling off, it is awful. This last outbreak has spread to cover his entire back legs, down his partern to his hooves. It has also started showing up on his one front white leg http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/no.gif Annikak, I will probably be sending you a PT soon.

Jan. 16, 2005, 03:48 PM
PP, I'm glad to see that you've deduced the cause of the lameness to be the vasculitis. My white-legged mare would get the smallest owie on a leg, and be swollen and dead lame for a week. Really makes you rethink how you might like a horse with some chrome. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Now, I don't know the first thing about vasculitis, but if you removed him from the grass, and it is getting worse despite the dex, do you think it would help to remove other environmental factors? I'd almost be tempted to move him somewhere else for a couple of weeks to see if it started to clear up.

Also, how many vets have you had look at it? It might be worth putting in a call to another vet, or calling up Alamo Pintado/Pioneer/PenEq to see how they'd treat it.

Jan. 16, 2005, 04:39 PM
Well, I haven't really looked at this thread before, but had time today and have read alot of it. Vegas sounds just like a mare I have. As a three year old she got what I am now sure was the EHV - 1 vascular type that is dicussed in the article posted by Ringwraith. She had a runny nose and cough for about 2 days, but all four legs swelled, serum leaked out and eventually the skin split and the outer layer scabbed off. She was obviously in pain and it is difficult to know now if she was ataxic simply because she didn't want to walk, or whether it was another symptom. It became difficult to get her to pick up her off hind leg - she couldn't bear to weight bear on the near hind. She was in foal (probably picked the virus up at stud) but did not loose the foal, at that stage. It was born at due date, but was severly brain damaged and was put down at one week of age. The mare continued to have some ataxia and also muscle atrophy in her near flank. She was turned out for a year, on hills. At the end of this time some of the atrophy had corrected and she was stronger and better all round. Now, I ride her just for dressage, but have to keep her off grass altogther. She is fed old hay and non-grain feeds. She is very skin sensitive and gets skin infections lots. Mud fever, cellulitis, infections etc. She is black and white and all the scabby bits happen on the white. I have to be very careful of every little cut or graze. The incidence of cellulitis type flair ups has gone to almot nil since she was off grass altogether. If she manages to get some grass while I am out riding, I can notice it the next day in her work. She competes sucessfully at dressage, gaining points each time she has been out this season.

She still struggles to lift her off hind foot long enough to be shod, and does better if she's had no grass before hand.
Hang in there - it may take time, but it may also be worth it in the end.

Jan. 17, 2005, 11:47 AM
very interesting phoebe-it's a tough one-the ehv-1. good to read your post!

Jan. 18, 2005, 07:00 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by annikak:
DOG. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/lol.gif Its 14 here...and I slid down the driveway to the barn.... <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
I'm just trying to help Porcelain Pony convince you to come out and help get Vegas'legs back in shape. Plus, we have to have our lovely weather out here, it makes up for the living expenses, and we have a reputation to maintain. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Perfect Pony
Jan. 18, 2005, 02:02 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Whisper:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by annikak:
DOG. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/lol.gif Its 14 here...and I slid down the driveway to the barn.... <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
I'm just trying to help Porcelain Pony convince you to come out and help get Vegas'legs back in shape. Plus, we have to have our lovely weather out here, it makes up for the living expenses, and we have a reputation to maintain. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Whisper, I've tried and tried with no luck!

I really need help...he's now got heat in his front leg. That makes all 3 white socks. I hate chrome, always have. What is my luck I go against my desires and buy this chestnut with all this chrome and it's this much a problem??

I have another vet appoinment today, this time to start him on a new drug in addition to the dex (Pentoxifylline). I will ask about all the rest of the stuff and maybe we'll take blood today or something just to make me feel like I'm doing something...

Jan. 18, 2005, 07:38 PM
you are doing something- you are doing a lot!

And who knows, I may make my way up there, somehow someway!

Make sure to let us know what the vet says....

I had lunch with my vet today *bribe* http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/lol.gifand she thinks that you will get to the bottom of this- and also that you are on the right track. Distilled clean water is important. She has also seen the photosensitive situation. So, I think you are right about that, too. She wants to be updated, too! Vegas is becoming important in the midwest, too! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Perfect Pony
Jan. 18, 2005, 07:49 PM
LOL Annikak, thanks for everything! Vegas is important everywhere. It seems my vet is in contact with the head dermatologist at UC Davis that wants to follow this case. He fully believes the new medication should bring drastic results in the next week, although he says vegas may have to stay on it for 2-3 months. The good news is if he responds, I can start decreasing the dex next week.

Now how to get this picky damn horse eat these pills http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/sigh.gif

Pocket Pony
Jan. 18, 2005, 08:37 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Now how to get this picky damn horse eat these pills <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Just tell them they're for his own good. Doesn't that work for all horses? http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif Sounds like you've got a good plan going. I really hope that it works for you guys!!

Jan. 18, 2005, 11:08 PM
PorcelainPony, you sure your name isn't just jinxing you (and that you never set your password to your horse's name with $)? I really hope this new medication does the trick. You certainly shouldn't feel like you aren't doing anything. You're doing all that you can, and it sounds like your vet is getting the best help/additional advice to deal with the problem. Good luck with him!

As far as the pills go, usually hiding them in food he likes works. If they aren't too bitter, and are the kind you can grind up or empty out, you might be able to mix them with his regular food. If all else fails, I think that feed stores/vet supply stores have little thingies used to get the pill into the critters. I have had to use one a couple of times (including on a cathttp://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_eek.gif).

Perfect Pony
Jan. 19, 2005, 12:23 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Whisper:
PorcelainPony, you sure your name isn't just jinxing you (and that you never set your password to your horse's name with $)? I really hope this new medication does the trick. You certainly shouldn't feel like you aren't doing anything. You're doing all that you can, and it sounds like your vet is getting the best help/additional advice to deal with the problem. Good luck with him!

As far as the pills go, usually hiding them in food he likes works. If they aren't too bitter, and are the kind you can grind up or empty out, you might be able to mix them with his regular food. If all else fails, I think that feed stores/vet supply stores have little thingies used to get the pill into the critters. I have had to use one a couple of times (including on a cathttp://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_eek.gif). <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Do you think I should change my username to Perfect Pony?? Maybe he will comply?

Vegas is a saint..he's also a spoiled brat. He wont eat a thing without fully testing it out first..sniff..lick..sniff..nibble...then spit out. I have only found a couple treats he will eat, he spits them all out. After "ruining" his all-in-one yesterday trying to hide the pills (disolved in suger no less) he will not eat any food out of the bucket or my hand. Even apples and carrots are now suspect.

I've gone from sadness and depression to anger and now to complete comedy. I had to give him 35cc of dex this morning along with his 9 pills. Here's Vegas in the crossties at 7am looking at me like I'm either insane or the devil. I give him his first shot of 12 cc in his neck and it explodes to the size of a softball...I freak out and start rubbing his neck like mad. Please please please go down, I'm already freaking cause I have been giving him huge shots daily for 4 weeks. His neck goes down immediately, thank God, and I squirt the remaining 20cc into his mouth - to hell with IM shots anymore. So, now I have dex all over me.

I went to the barn armed with huge syringes, apple sauce, and pancake syrup. The damn pills wont disolve in the cold water so there are chunks (I didn't smash them well enough). I'm trying to suck the chunks into the syringe with the applesauce and syrup. My saint of a horse just keeps looking at me like I am crazy as I shoot 3 huge syringes (60ccs) full in his mouth. I shove a pill in his mouth that wouldn't disolve. By this time he doesn't know what the heck is going on so he just swollows it.

What I learned today? Go to the barn armed with the pills already disolved into the syringe BEFORE going to the barn...

How long until he doesn't let me come near him ever again??

Jan. 19, 2005, 12:47 PM
PP -- get a coffee bean grinder for the pills, cinnamon applesauce in the little individual serving size containers, and a bottle of molassess.

I have a plastic bowl and spoon at the ready and if you can get an old fashioned dose syringe, even better.

Grind pills, mix with applesauce, add molassess, spoon into dose syringe, and hopefully shoot into the back of pony's mouth and not all over you http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/lol.gif

Buzz has been on various doses of robaxin for a while and the coffee grinder is my friend. That stuff is awful to try to dissolve and doesn't mix well with water. You should be able to get a cheap one at Wal-mart or the like. I stole mine from my brother, but I think Bed, Bath & Beyond had a good one for under $20. Much better than smashing with a hammer! http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/yes.gif

Best of luck with him -- Libby

Jan. 19, 2005, 12:51 PM
To get pills in, there's a device called a balling gun. It basically shoots pills to the back of the horse's mouth, where they pretty much HAVE to swallow it. Have seen them in catalogs. Despite the name, it's just like a specialized syringe, you push the plunger, and the pill(s) are pushed back into the back of the mouth. Don't let the name "gun" scare you.

Jan. 19, 2005, 01:33 PM
be careful using the coffee grinder with drugs. I was grinding up some bute once in an electric coffee grinder (the small one from Starbucks) and I didn't wait until the blades had stopped spinning to take the lid off. I inhaled a bunch of bute powder--the good news was it cured my cough. . .

other than that, the electric coffee grinder works like a charm.

you can also use the worming bridle that someone makes with a dose syringe.

anyone remember when we had to have one in our pony club medicine kit for National Rally?

Jan. 19, 2005, 03:50 PM
PP, I don't have any valuable advice, but just wanted to say I've been following yours and Vegas's travails and wishing I could help...

Good luck with the property bid, by the way!

Do let me know if there's anything I CAN do from down here on the peninsula...


Perfect Pony
Jan. 19, 2005, 06:19 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Grasshopper:
Do let me know if there's anything I CAN do from down here on the peninsula...

http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/yes.gif <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Buy me a few margaritas at the COTH gathering next weekend!! ?? http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Jan. 19, 2005, 06:41 PM
Bensmom: That's almost the exact recipe/method for my famous "Bute Buster Parfait"!! You get your syringe. Then you grind up your pill. Fill some of the syringe with applesauce, then add the ground up pill, then add the next layer of molasses. It's a beautiful thing!! Works like a charm--Vegas will be licking his chops!

Jan. 19, 2005, 07:18 PM
Or get a horse like Gwen, who is so greedy that she never, EVER checks to see what you have in your hand and snarfs whatever is in there up IMMEDIATELY. She may then make a face at you, but if you do the same thing 10 minutes later, she falls for it again, LOL!

Sadly, I am reminded acutely of this endearing tendency of hers, because she is almost 3-legged lame with some unknown pasture trauma. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/no.gif Vet is coming next week--my show season is flashing in front of my eyes--but I am keeping my optimism, and this is your thread anyhow...can I say WHAT a weird case this seems to be? http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_eek.gif

I have a balling gun...those are made for BIG pills, the "bolus" type things like they give to cattle, which are about the size of a small dill pickle. No way to put smaller pills into one of those without them falling out. For a reluctant pill-taker, I agree with the applesauce/turkey baster method. You can also try yogurt, which is a little "stickier" but some antibiotics in particular (don't know about Trental or steroids) mustn't be taken with dairy, so double check on that one.

And just make sure the horse swallows the stuff! Kelly used to hold it in her mouth, refuse to swallow forEVER, and I'd find her 2 hours later drooling like crazy, having refused to swallow the stuff! http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/lol.gif Stubborn mare! If I tipped her head WAAAY up and rubbed her throat, she had no choice, heh heh heh.

Perfect Pony
Jan. 19, 2005, 07:26 PM
Hey I changed my usename. I was starting to get really paranoid about the whole thing!

deltawave, I am sorry to hear about Gwen. You can rant and cry and bitch as much as you want on this thread, hey, I've kept the damn thing going for all these pages!! LOL...

The Vegas did okay with me doing the giant syring thing filled with applesauce and maple syrup. He's not thrilled with the whole thing, but like I said the horse is a saint.

So he's been on 40cc (80mg) dex for 5 days and today he was crippled again, his RH leg swollen and oozing and crusty...not good. We're giving the new drug one week to kick in, than there is a very real possibility he will head to UC Davis for a stay. I wish I was independanty wealthy and I would just send him there to stay for a while.

Keep us updated on Gwen...she many of ours little hero http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Jan. 19, 2005, 11:17 PM
balling guns...that's right, I couldn't recall the name. I'm glad the syringe with applesauce and syrup seems to be working so far. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif Hopefully by the time I see you at the meetup, the medicine will have kicked in.

Deltawave, I hope Gwen is doing better soon, too.

Posting Trot
Jan. 20, 2005, 06:09 AM
Horse Journal once ran an article on best recipes for masking the taste of drugs. What it suggested was to put some plain grass in a blender, and then take the chopped grass and its juice and mix ground up pills with it. I have never tried this recipe on my horse but it might be worth keeping in mind if and when the applesauce stops working.

Good luck; Vegas seems to be getting the best of care, but luck always helps.

Perfect Pony
Jan. 20, 2005, 09:35 AM
Well the Perfect Pony aint so perfect this morning. His leg swelled up 3x worse than ever before and the poor thing can't even walk. I have never seen anything like it.

I have arranged for a horsie transport service to take him to UC Davis this afternoon before he looses a leg http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

Jan. 20, 2005, 10:27 AM
Oh, noooo. Poop.
Well, I hope that he gets to Davis ok and they can make him better quick!

PS--Um, I missed that we're having a get-together? When? Where? If it's anytime but Saturday evening, I'll plan to be there! And if it is Saturday evening, well, everyone's invited to my little housewarming party before or afterwards!

Jan. 20, 2005, 10:44 AM
Oh no! I hope the vets at Davis can fix him up!

Grasshopper, the get-together is a week from this Saturday, 5:30 PM at Chevy's across from the Winchester Mystery House. Here's a link to the thread: http://chronicleforums.com/groupee/forums?q=Y&a=tpc&s=6656094911&f=5566064631&m=547201474&p=1 I believe that you need to post to the thread, or otherwise let Cindeye know that you're coming, since she's handling the reservations.

Jan. 20, 2005, 12:17 PM
Thanks, Whisper!

PP, give our love to Vegas and tell him to get better soon so I can cheer for you two at events this year! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/winkgrin.gif

Miss Maddie
Jan. 20, 2005, 12:38 PM
Oh, geez, I've been following all this but not posting. Really hope he's going to be fine, so sorry to hear he's worse and has to go to Davis!

Fellow owner of horse-with-vet-stumping-lamenesses sympathizes!

And I know how paranoid you can get with all the superstitions. I have a new horse now and I'm afraid to change his name for fear of cursing him.

magic mushroom
Jan. 20, 2005, 05:01 PM
about getting the meds down - i have a little mini grinder from cuisinart that turns 'em into powder. also, has anyone ever tried this? a friend of mine adds the powdered pills to whatever concoction ( mollasses+grain,sweet feed, whatever) and puts it in a feed bag..i haven't tried it but it sounds like a good idea. as for the additives, i find molasses to be too runny. someone else suggested canned cake frosting, also baby food-smooshed up carrots? what about p nut butter? works for my dog .... actually now i am using cheesewhiz with the canine.....good luck. keep us posted. we all feel your pain-

Perfect Pony
Jan. 20, 2005, 05:02 PM
Well the Vegas is now at UC Davis. What a day. I guess all I can say is they believe everything I have tried up to this point was right, but the dermatologists all agree this is the worst case they have ever seen. He is staying until Saturday morning, they pulled blood and will be doing a bunch of biopsies and cultures and the like. They are putting him on IV antibiotics and switching from dex to prednisone, as well as keeping him on the pentox and doubling the dosage. The all agree it "vasculitis" but what is causing it, why it continues to get so bad, and why it isn't responding to treatment is a mystery http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

I took some pictures this morning since I had my camera in the car. Please note that 2 days ago there was no swelling. It's funny how it actually doesn't look as bad in the pictures..if you can imagine that. The first two pics are from 3 weeks ago

Vasculitis (http://community.webshots.com/album/239696095mdfGty)

Hopefully they will find a primary cause and get this under control...

Pocket Pony
Jan. 20, 2005, 05:57 PM
OH NO! Poor Vegas!

Well at least he's now somewhere that the vets can watch him all the time and really get down to what the heck is going on! I'm anxious to hear about what they come up with.

I know how much you love him, but I'm wondering if he's the worst case they've seen and they don't have a good prognosis, and they'd like to have him to study, if you'd consider donating him.

Jan. 20, 2005, 06:51 PM
Oh, PP, I am so sorry it came to this point. I've got fingers crossed that the Davis folks can figure out what is going on.

I think it looks pretty atrocious in the pictures, can't imagine how nasty it must be if it is worse in person. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/dead.gif The only time I've ever seen swelling like that was when the bay mare spent 12 straight hours kicking pipe panel in an attempt to maul her neighbor, and I still think Vegas has her beat. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

Jan. 21, 2005, 05:41 AM
Oh dear G**-
I have been off line for the past 2 days and am in someones office using their computer to check up on Vegas and...this. I am so very very sorry for you,PP. And so very sorry for Mr Vegas, who has put up with so much.

Really really hope that they have answers, and that they can get a handle on it. ANd perhaps, if they can use him for something in the study, they might give you a break on the costs. I am sure they know that its expensive; they might want to help out. Oh please...please make him okay!

his legs do look very bad, I agree- but still, there is hope. I hardly know what to say....

Carrots to him, and &lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;hugs&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt; to you-
(ps...taco torqued his back...can you believe it? But I am supposed to ride him- with drugs on board, hardly can believe it...usually its 3 months off!)

Perfect Pony
Jan. 21, 2005, 07:20 AM
I will donate this horse to a medical facility when hell freezes over. I would honestly euthanize a horse first, I just couldn't do that to any amimal. I've heard far too many stories, and well, I was there. I could hardley stand leaving Vegas there for 2 nights.

They have agreed to pay for the experimental antibiotics they want to put him on, to the tune of several hundred I am told. I'm still in the $300 for the emergency ride to Davis and $1000 for a 2 day stay. They also informed me his meds will be $600 a month for 2-3 months. I'm still trying to figure out how to get him home tomorrow morning actually. Cruising online for trucks to buy. Only $35,000 for a nice 3/4 ton GMC! This is approaching a 6 figure horse http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

I guess I should be thankful I bought insurance on him, they *should* pay for most of this...right? Can they drop your coverage mid-treatment? I think my policy is up in April.

Hopefully everything will work out and I will get a god update at noon today.

hey, thanks everybody once again for all the support. The medical problems never bothered me so much with my last horse Dan since I knew I wanted rid of him. But this horse is different, he's very special to me.

Jan. 21, 2005, 08:51 AM
Sadly, I agree about donation- its just not the thing to do with a horse you are so attached to, and we know you are attached to Vegas-

I am really glad that they will use him in some way in the study- usually, they will fight to the very end to make things work- they want success very badly. So, that is good.

And I think your insurance should cover all if not most of this. I scanned in everything and all my reports, and anything that I thought might be important and put them on a CD. they got that, plus hard copy- I threw it all in. And I got the check without any questions. I expected a fight- http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif but got the check about 10 days later- amazing! http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/lol.gif

They cannot drop you- i think there is usually a 60 day "follow up" care provision. Check your policy, of better yet, call them and speak to someone. They might be really helpful.

Computer is on again- just waiting for the news.

Jan. 21, 2005, 08:54 AM
PP, guess Vegas is in good hands now. I sure hope the insurance pays but you know how insurance company's are. They may not cover him after April for this problem. You better get them on the horn and find out.

Sorry The Vegas, hope you feel better and you beat this awful disease.

Hugs to you Kali.

Pocket Pony
Jan. 21, 2005, 08:56 AM
Oh good, PP, glad to hear Vegas will be coming HOME from Davis....I hope I didn't offend, I just wondered.

If you need a ride home for him tomorrow, I can do it - I don't have anything on my schedule. How long from Davis to your barn?

Perfect Pony
Jan. 21, 2005, 03:53 PM
Hey Thanks everyone! I feel like I have my own personal cheering section, or prayer circle, or the like http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

I just heard from UC Davis. He's been a very good boy for everyone and won over some hearts. The swelling has come down a bit and they have him on bute for the pain. The biopsies haven't come back yet, but they are pretty certain they are dealing with a typical case of vasculitis with a secondary infection. He is staying at UC davis until Sunday evening/Monday morning so he can get a full 3 days of IV antibiotics before being released.

I have some good news (I think). The SO and I are going to look at trucks tomorrow I have my eye on a nice 3/4 ton heavy duty GMC with a Duramax diesel motor... I never want to be put in a situation again like I was yesterday.

melliebay Aefvue Farms Chesapeake Bay
Jan. 21, 2005, 04:43 PM
I am so sorry about Vegas. His leg reminds me of a horse at my barn who has a chronic condition. I will find out what is wrong with him and get you the name of it, at least maybe you can rule it out. The horse I am thinking of was misdiagnosed for a while, but seems much better now, so keep the faith, I'll say a prayer for you and Vegas.

Jan. 21, 2005, 04:51 PM
Well, that is good news about the truck- I think that all the problems will be over then..its like insurance! (Oh wait...you have insurance on Vegas...that didn't help. there goes my theory!!!)

I am glad that he is better-- and the antibiotics will help- and all those eyes on him...the more eyes the better...
Hugs to you both....


Jan. 21, 2005, 10:08 PM
I've been keeping up with Vegas' progress through all this, and just wanted to say I'm wishing the best for you and your guy. That leg looks so sore, poor guy. My old horse's leg had some nasty swelling like that from an infection once (it was as severe as one would expect for a deep injury going untreated for 10 days or so-and formed over one night) and he is going strong again today no worse for wear.
Its good to hear that he'll be coming home soon, I know I was so upset when I had to leave my horse at OSU for a few days for an illness. Thoughts and Prayers coming your way! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Jan. 23, 2005, 11:21 AM
I've been away from this site forever, but I just want you to know, PP, that I'm thinking of you as well! You are incredibly strong and brave--I hope everything works out!

Perfect Pony
Jan. 23, 2005, 05:57 PM

The Vegas came home from the hospital today. He seems in very good spirits, he was a super star at the hospital and took everything like a big boy. I haven't seen the legs yet, but the look normal sized with the wraps on. Unfortunately he still doesn't look like he has an ancle or pasturn on his RH http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

He is walking sound now, and almost all the hair has grown back on his LF leg at least! He's got a long way to go and is on so many drugs I cannot believe it. I will be going to the barn 3x daily, and he gets 50 pills in the am and a squirt of bute, 13 pills in the afternoon, and 25 pills is the evening and another squirt of bute (he is on prednisone, TMS, pentox and bute). Add on top of this the wrapping (12 on and 12 off) and the handwalking, and the topicals and we will either really bond or he'll end up hating me for good.

I got all the wwarnings about how terrible the condition is, how it can come back at any time even if we get it cleared up, and how there is a good chance his leg may never look 100% normal http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif But he is happy and it's good to have him home.

On a kinda depressing note though, one of his best friends in the barn is being put down tomorrow. It's a bitter sweet time around the barn...

Jan. 23, 2005, 06:03 PM
been looking for information on Vegas' return to you from Davis! Great! I am so very glad that he looks better to you- and I am glad that he is getting no more pokes! You must feel better about that.

seems as if the trip was a good one!

So very sorry about your and Vegas horsie friend. Bittersweet indeed.


Jan. 24, 2005, 05:56 AM
I've been following this and really hope he's on the mend. Clancy wants to let Vegas know that having healthy legs that look funky all the time just means you've got some character.

Jan. 25, 2005, 12:47 PM
Wow, you two are really having a tough go of it. Vegas is very lucky to have you. Can you imagine what his life would've been like if you hadn't come into it?

Show and I send all the good luck, wishes, etc. we can muster your way.

Jan. 25, 2005, 02:21 PM
Best wishes for a speedy (but thorough) recovery! Let the bonding begin!!! (he won't hate you, trust me!)

Perfect Pony
Jan. 25, 2005, 03:01 PM
I first have to say I am so overwhelmed by all of your outpouring of support. I couldn't do it without all you of, seriously. No one even wants to talk to me about this in "real life", I honestly start crying like a baby whenever someone asks about him and I start talking about it. I cry every time I drive to the barn (3x a day) and days like this morning I sit in his stall and cry like a little girl. I cannot even begin to tell you guys how wonderful this horse is, he's one in a million. And through all this he still trusts me and patiently stands for treatment, as well as lots of hugs and kisses. He follows right behind me wherever I go, whether hurting or not. Well crap there go those tears again... http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Today started pretty terrible, he came out of his stall really lame on both legs at about 7 am, lame in a weird sense in that he was dragging his toes and actually almost fell down behind 3x walking about 50 yards. His poops are great and he's eating all his hay, and he isn't lame on the front, so the vet said just to watch him, he may be getting really stiff from all the standing about.

The rain was coming (is now here!) so today was my last chance to turn him out in dry paddocks, so I turned him out at noon expecting him to hobble around, boy was I wrong! There was no toe dragging at all and as soon as I took off his halter he let loose. He ran across the paddock a couple times, trotted around snorting for a while, then ate for about 30 minutes. All of a sudden he just went into some in-place bucking fits. He looked pretty darn sound out there so here's hoping he'll feel better as the infection and swelling goes down and he's being a bit melodramatic. The vet wants him moving as much as he wants to to aid in healing, getting the inflammation down and the blood flowing. I changed his wraps and his legs look the best they have since last Thursday. While hand walking him a bit he actually looks more lame now on the LH, which suprised the vet but at this point who knows..

Anyway, that's my journal entry for the day I guess. Thanks for listening http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Jan. 25, 2005, 06:16 PM
Perfect Pony--please keep us updated! I'm glad that he felt good enough to "play" in turn-out. And don't worry, I'm sure no one here cares if you cry--and we'd be happy to hear all about it all. Good luck.

Jan. 26, 2005, 06:29 AM
I'm glad his legs are *looking* better, and that he has the energy to run around and play! Thank you for keeping us updated, he's been in my thoughts lately. I know what you mean about it being difficult to find those offline who want to listen about the horsey details (especially the sad parts).

california rider
Jan. 27, 2005, 08:42 AM
Holy cow. It looks like what one of our geldings had. His ended up being part photo sensitivity but also staph. Each day twice a day I had to give hi mega IV anitibotics. Are they sure he does not have a staph infection?

perfect pony wrote:
Well the Vegas is now at UC Davis. What a day. I guess all I can say is they believe everything I have tried up to this point was right, but the dermatologists all agree this is the worst case they have ever seen. He is staying until Saturday morning, they pulled blood and will be doing a bunch of biopsies and cultures and the like. They are putting him on IV antibiotics and switching from dex to prednisone, as well as keeping him on the pentox and doubling the dosage. The all agree it "vasculitis" but what is causing it, why it continues to get so bad, and why it isn't responding to treatment is a mystery

I took some pictures this morning since I had my camera in the car. Please note that 2 days ago there was no swelling. It's funny how it actually doesn't look as bad in the pictures..if you can imagine that. The first two pics are from 3 weeks ago


california rider
Jan. 27, 2005, 08:45 AM
Forgot to mention one of the things we think happened was we used those wood chips (from chippers you can get for free) anyhow they kind of decompose and are apparently a BREEDING ground for some nasty stuff. We removed all chip and 1/2 of ground under them.

Some vets think stuff will grow under the cedar rest too!

Jan. 27, 2005, 09:27 AM
I've been following this topic, and wish both of you best of luck.

Given what CA rider said... a friend of mine had a grey gelding that developed a very serious staph infection on both front legs. His front legs were swollen from ankle to knee. Your pictures made me think of it.

Lots of jingles.

Perfect Pony
Jan. 27, 2005, 10:08 AM
Yes it's stap. He was at UC Davis for 4 days so they could do several biopsies on his legs, so they know for sure what they are battling. I left him there for the IV antibiotics and now he is on TMS tablets, which they know kills it.

Well after his appearant turn for the worse, he has made some good progress over the last 2 days. He is walking sound now, and yesterday was actually acting like a brat during our hand walk. I NEVER thought I would see the day when I would be happy to have a passageing, snorting horse at the end of the lead rope!! LOL http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif He is walking boldly out of his stall and trotting off with the slightest hint from me. The trainer out there saw him trot and snort around a bit and thought he looked good. He's still on 1 gram bute 2x a day, but I don't give that all the credit for him going from cripple to energetic. Tomorrow his dose is cut in half so we'll see if he continues to improve.

The leg looks horrid still. The swelling behind his pasturn is now hard, so it looks as though we will indeed have a "reminder" of this incident for the rest our our lives. There is already no toe dragging anymore at the walk and trot so I am taking that as a sign that we will hopefully (knock on wood) not have any joint mobility issues in the future.

Some more good news is we had a medicating breakthrough this morning. He actually swollowed the syringe full of meds instead of holding them in his mouth and trying to spit them all over me. I guess he has resigned himself to the torture. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Jan. 27, 2005, 01:46 PM
I too have been reading this post and wanted to say best of luck and I hope the worst is behind you now.
I know this advise might be several weeks ahead of you but I was training a mare several years ago who had a very similar (though mild in comparison) infection. She came in one day with a tiny scratch on her hind leg that healed up but then gave way to a situation very similar to yours. Both of her hind legs swelled to the point of the skin actually tearing. She looked awful - looked like raw flesh and she had the same diagnosis and went for several weeks on anibiotics and steroids, etc.
To help reduce the scaring this is what seemed to work: After you get to the point that you only have to keep the legs bandaged part of the day or not at all try this stuff called 'Healthy Hair'. It's sold in most tack stores and online order places. It's a liquid and is orange in color. (I'll see if I can find a link for you). We did a 50/50 mix of the Healthy Hair and water in a spray bottle. Spray it gererously on the leg and rub it in. We didn't start the treatment right away and she had some bad scaring and tough skin that looked like it would never improve let alone ever grow hair again. But after a month or so it was amazing! The skin sofened and hair grew. She was a dark chestnut with no white markings and the hair grew back in her natural color. When we started - the scattered hairs looked like it was going to grow back in with white hairs.
Just another suggestion that might help when you get to that point.
PT me and I might be able to scan a few before and after pictures for you.
I've seen this stuff do wonders with proud flesh scars too.
Good Luck!

california rider
Jan. 27, 2005, 08:15 PM
Fortunately the gelding we had with staph did survive and is doing well. The hard thing is that staph is not cured 100% of the time even with the antibiotics on the market both in the vet and human medical world. I sadly ended up with staph in my knee after a operation and spent 7 weeks with a pick line giving myself shots of Vencomycin 3 X per day and am happy to still have my leg.

I hope your Vegas pulls through this. One word of caution (I am sure UCD informed you already) but DEX can compromise a horses immune system so while it may bring down swelling and make a horse more comfortable it's use must be watched as a horse can develop staph or other infections when exposed!

Keep us posted!

Perfect Pony
Jan. 28, 2005, 08:46 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by california rider:
I hope your Vegas pulls through this. One word of caution (I am sure UCD informed you already) but DEX can compromise a horses immune system so while it may bring down swelling and make a horse more comfortable it's use must be watched as a horse can develop staph or other infections when exposed!

Keep us posted! <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

You know, I don't think I really grasped the concept at the time of what was happening exactly with the dex. I have spent hours and sleepless night this past week beating myself up for not keeping my appoinment at UC Davis on January 4th. Had I, I would not be in this situation now. All I can say is he was making inprovement to my eyes and I was not completely alerted to the dangers. Just a few days before the latest outbreak he had some swelling in his RH I had looked at, and we upped the dose of dex. Well, hind sight is 20/20 and I now know that was the wrong thing to do given the circumstances. I didn't listen to my inner voice and paid the consequences, I am so glad I listened to myself last week. I coulda/shoulda/woulda done so much differently. I know I am not the only person who has made mistakes when she thought she was doing her best, but that doesn't make it sting any less. I aksed about doing biopsies on several occasions over the last few months, but we supposedly KNEW what the issue was. Well, yes, we did, but as you said the possibility of a secondary infection was not communicated to me, and that is exactly what we ended up with. God knows how long he may have suffered it http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

He is not on dex anymore. The hope is the prednisone will be enough, combined with the antibiotics clearing up the infection, and the experimental drug Pentoxifylline.

On another note, today we are putting down horse #2 this week. I gave vegas extra hugs and kisses this morning to tell him how lucky I am that he's doing well and I'm not going through something like that... http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/cry.gif

california rider
Jan. 28, 2005, 09:27 PM
well I too learned my lesson with DEX with a retired event horse and went though hell and back after a cut turned into a $2,500 vet nightmare. I still use DEX but with caution. Currently I have a horse (my own) who has a hive problem and I use it with care and caution as the pred and anahistamine are not cutting it!

Are you putting down the horse you bought from Summer?

Sorry you are putting a horse down! UGH

Well best of luck to vegas!

Perfect Pony
Jan. 29, 2005, 06:54 AM
Oh no, I am not putting a horse down. Vegas is in a barn that is full of retirees. It has 12x24 stalls that are fully enclosed and matted with shavings, so most of the older horses end up in the barn. Both these horses were in their 20s, one had no hocks left, one foundered so badley he couldn't walk. It has been sad.

Glad I'm not the only one who has made mistakes with dex. And under a vets guidence no less. I will think twice next time.

Have you tried Hydroxyzine with your horse for the hives? Is this Tiny? My old horse Dan had terrible hives at one barn I had him at, big ooozing ones on his face. He didn't respond to dex except high doses, didn't respond to any cheaper antihistamines either. I tried the Hydroxyzine and it worked wonders even at a small dose. Will you be at Chevy's tonight? I can bring some if you'd like to try (and haven't yet).

By the way I have Updated Pictures from last night. (http://community.webshots.com/album/239696095mdfGty) They look much better but you can see his deformed RH http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

Welp it's 7 am on a Saturday morning, better get to the barn http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/sigh.gif

california rider
Jan. 29, 2005, 08:05 AM
The retired event horse did not have hives but another condition being treated by a Texas vet at the time. NO warning form vet and high doses of DEX led to a nightmare. The poor college student I was thought holy crap when I saw the bill. But live and learn.

As for the horse with Hives:
Yes he us also hydroxyzine. Typical of hive bound horses it seems related to the time of the year. We tried pred and hyrdrox but I have gone back to dex and have ordered transfer factor which actually worked on another horse so we shall see. Just completed 72 hours of morning dex at 10 and now will head to 5 for 72 hours and see what we get. The IV worked faster but the IM longer so I am playing a bit. Tiny was pretty awful looking for awhile and while his barn names with the juniors is Tiny Bubbles he looked more like a Lumpy ;-)
Fortunately the never reached the seeping stage and he has not been too itchy. He is such a large cow anyhow and of course loves to see the dex coming in the morning as it means treats or grain as he started to give me the cold shoulder with the needle every morning!

Keep us updated on Vegas though! Your lucky about your meds though as i had a heart attack for the first 2 days of our staph treatment and then just relaxed into it but flushing 35 CC twice a day into a vein was a pain!

Jan. 29, 2005, 05:44 PM
Oh, my. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_eek.gif I haven't been around for a while and THIS is what you've been up to? Vegas AND Gwen are hurt?!

Sending major get-well-soon thoughts out from Arizona to everybody dealing with injuries and illnesses!!

Perfect Pony
Feb. 2, 2005, 09:04 AM
Just a little birthday update! We have been given the gift of amazing weather (in the 70s!!!), and the Vegas was able to be turned out yesterday (and everyday until it rains again http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif ) Almost all the scabs are gone off his legs and the swelling is 90% down. He "appears" sound at the walk and trot, and since he is off the dex he has gained probably 50+ lbs in the last couple weeks. He is eating again, marching out of his stall like a happy boy, and generally just HAPPY again http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/yes.gif

I really couldn't ask for anything better for his 5th birthday. Hopefully we will have the truck by next week or so and I can take him back up to UC Davis and get the thumbs up from them. I'm just happy to see him happy again http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Maybe the username change worked???

Feb. 2, 2005, 10:21 AM
That is excellent news. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Happy Birthday to Vegas!

Feb. 2, 2005, 12:18 PM

Such good news for the Vegas. And a very happy birthday to him. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

(P.S. I wore the quiet mind socks last night for my lesson. It was the best lesson I've had in a long time. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif)

Perfect Pony
Feb. 2, 2005, 12:55 PM
That is SO GREAT RugBug http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif My SS sent me magic socks and the same thing happened to me..

OK I just cannot resist posting this picture of the Vegas. He was so SO happy to be turned out yesterday in the sun

WooooooHoooooo!! I'm FREE (http://community.webshots.com/photo/265366666/265368866ZRDeAe)

Pocket Pony
Feb. 2, 2005, 01:11 PM
Hee hee, what a cute backside he has! Happy Birthday Vegas!!! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Feb. 2, 2005, 02:35 PM
YEAH!!!!! YIPPEE!! What a great picture- and the boy can clear some ground, huh?
I know this has been a long road, but it appears that there is light at the end of the tunnel. You both deserve it-

Cheers from Cold MI! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/yes.gif http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/lol.gif http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_cool.gif

Send more photos as he gets on being a "normal
" horse.

I am so happy for you both!!!

Feb. 2, 2005, 05:33 PM
That photo is HYSTERICAL! Just one big, shiny chestnut BUTT. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/lol.gif

Perfect Pony
Feb. 23, 2005, 08:43 AM
Well I thought I would post an update since you all have been so kind and helpful. I don't have pictures unfortunately, but a couple people have asked about the Vegas lately, so...

He is now on week 4 since his trip to Davis and all the meds were started. He is still on all the meds, so I am still making 2 trips to the barn a day (just got back from the morning trip!). The vet wants to keep him on the antibiotics until we get all the crust off his legs, mainly because I am now a little more aggressively cleaning his legs. He will be wrapped 24x7 at least until the crusts are gone and the hair has grown back, so I have some serious incentive. So far the right hind has 90% of the hair grown back, and about 75% of the crust is gone. The left hind is having a harder time, as it has been affected the longest, only about 50-75% of the hair has grown back and about 75% of the crust is gone. The good news is the swelling and pain is gone in the hind limbs, there are no more scabs, and the biopsy sites are almost completely healed. We have legs coming back into health!

BTW, what I mean by "crust" is his hind limbs were completely covered with a film of plasma. It is very difficult to remove, and I cannot wash his legs nor get them wet at all. Once a day I change his wraps and lightly groom them with a rubber mit to exfoliate. I have started spot cleaning with dilute betadine in warm distilled water, then clipping, to remove more.

He has gained a TON of weight and is getting his topline back now that he is off the dex, which caused his muscles to waste quite a bit. I think he has stopped growing UP, but man is he becomming a tank. People at the barn comment that he gets more handsome everyday, I think he will fill out to be quite a looker, well, if his legs stop rotting off http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

I guess the only "bad" news is that they don't look as good as the vet would hope given the amount of time. This is the worst case the vets has seen in a non-draft. They are very worried about it not resolving 100% and him relapsing. The recommendation from UC Davis is 6 months to a year of wrapped legs 24x7. I have had to make some tough decisions about how to properly keep him, as there are no acceptable full service facilities near enough to me. A local well respected H/J trainer is building a brand new facility right down the road from my barn that should be completed by the summer. I called her and am considering moving Vegas there and consentrating on our flatwork and stadium, and having him in their program (mainly having him in a place with box stalls that will wrap him when I can't and will wrap him for tun out, which is not an available service where I am at). The trainer was very receptive to me boarding there and doing jumpers with her, and trailering out for dressage/CC lessons and clinics with other trainers, as long as I was in her program. So, this might be the best option

On another note, the money came through for the truck so we are truck shopping this week!!

Anyway, that's where we're at today. If things go well we will be back into some regular work in the next few weeks (right nowhe gets t/o in good weather, and light lungeing). Thanks again for everyone's support!! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Feb. 23, 2005, 08:47 AM
Good for you and your pony.

Feb. 23, 2005, 12:08 PM
Woohoo! Go Vegas! And Kali, your dedication is truly inspiring...

Glad to hear things are improving, I've got fingers and toes crossed for 100% healing! http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/yes.gif

Have fun truck shopping, and I hope the wrapping situation works out so you can free up some time...

http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Feb. 23, 2005, 05:48 PM
Wow, congratulations!!! What a long road to this point, but such a hopeful place you are in now.
Thanks for the update!

Pocket Pony
Feb. 23, 2005, 06:15 PM
Yay for the Vegas!!! I loff him. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/winkgrin.gif

Perfect Pony
Feb. 24, 2005, 04:26 PM
Thanks guys! He's being such a good boy. he's all I ever dreamed about on the ground anyway (haven't done all that much riding yet...). He has been a trooper through all this, and seems to love me all the more for it.

I finally posted some more pics. Here are his legs yesterday. (http://community.webshots.com/album/239696095mdfGty/0)

And here he is (http://community.webshots.com/photo/239696095/281819398haunpY) in all his chubby glory after his lunge yesterday. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

What a good boy http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Pocket Pony
Feb. 24, 2005, 05:39 PM
He looks great - you are doing a wonderful job with him!

Feb. 25, 2005, 07:22 AM
So the question is - Have his lameness problems disappeared now that his legs are doing better? (They look GREAT by the way!)

california rider
Feb. 25, 2005, 07:31 AM
he is very cute!

wow what odyssey

Perfect Pony
Feb. 25, 2005, 08:36 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Alyson:
So the question is - Have his lameness problems disappeared now that his legs are doing better? (They look GREAT by the way!) </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

That is a good question actually, with so many facets I don't really know where to start or what to think. The short answer would be "pretty much". The long answer is that he isn't in work except t/o and light lungeing. The last week I have lunged him about 5 times, and I would say that it looks like he starts off with a few stiff steps at the trot, then looks sound behind for the rest of the session. I you are really really watching you may see a bit of toe drag on the RH only at the trot. He unfortunately has been a bit weird in front though since our last shoeing http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif Just his typical uncomfortableness going to the right with that RF turned out the way it is. As soon as I get my truck (that the SO wants to ORDER cause he wants what he wants...) I am going to trailer out to a really good farrier and have a consultation. It's a bummer, cause my current farrier did such an awesome job the first 2 times and this last time just isn't "right". I also think part of the problem is that he is no longer really in work, so he is back to his old ways of really wanting to fall in going to the right - like when lungeing you always feel as though you have to move him out onto the circle. We had almost cured that but now I'm back to square one.

What I really need is my friend Gunnar to come out and watch him go! Where are you?? I can't get anyone at the barn to give me an answer as to what they see, actually I really don't think there is anyone out there with that good an eye. Everyone just comments how great he looks, but what I want is the truth about his soundness. I am tainted by my own paranoia.

Anyway...I am working with my insurance regarding the lameness issue as my insurance is renewed on March 20th. The vets cannot do a lameness work up until his legs are healed so it's a catch 22 for all involved as the insurance wants to not cover his hind legs anymore, btu we don't have any definite answers as to if there is anything else going on http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif I have to get him back to Davis on March 7th but of course I have a 6-8 week wait now for the truck to come in. AAAhhhhh!!!! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

I don't think I answered your question at all did I? I guess the answer is nobody knows for sure yet http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/sigh.gif

Feb. 28, 2005, 09:47 AM
The good side is that he SOUNDS like he's on his way to becoming sound or at least serviceably so and that it seems to have pinpointed to being really lame when he had flare ups. At least that way you know you weren't dealing with 2 different problems. Not very many people would go through what you did for their horse. For that I give you a heart of gold. Not many people realize that we owe it to our horses to at least try and you've gone above and beyond. Good luck!

Perfect Pony
Feb. 28, 2005, 11:01 AM
Today was really a fantastic day. This morning when I changed his wraps his legs looked SO GOOD. There was no heat in any of his legs, which is a first time in the last 6 months. I just about cried when I took off the wraps, felt cold, tight legs, and saw peach fuzz pretty much covering his entire hind legs. At this point it feels like a miracle.

While I appreciate all the positive comments (I get them from people at the barn as well), there really was no option. I mean, if I just let it go he could have because permanently lame or disfigured, or even had to be put down if the infection raged. It's not like he could be thrown out into a pasture. I would like to think that any horse owner given the same circumstances would do the same thing. Actually, I would like to think any horse owner would have heeded their own inner voice a lot earlier in the process http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

Vegas has taught me so many lessons through this. The best one being how to love a horse again like I did when I was a little kid. That has been his greatest gift.

Feb. 28, 2005, 11:07 AM
That's fantastic news! I'm so happy for you and your guy http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif I can't wait to hear about all of your successes in the future!

Feb. 28, 2005, 01:25 PM
That is SUCH good news - thank you for posting it. I hope the rest of his issues are due to being creaky from being out of work for so long. I'm sure he's gotten stiff from not wanting to move much while his legs were so sore!


Feb. 28, 2005, 03:00 PM
YAY!!! I'm so happy to hear that he's doing well (knocking furiously on wood) and I hope his peach-fuzz turns into real healthy hair! Hooray!

Feb. 28, 2005, 03:23 PM
I've been following your story and I am super happy you never gave up. Most of us do whatever we can to save our critters and sometimes we get just what we prayed for sometimes we don't. I've had both happen but I love 'the lesson' you learned. With all experiences we need to pick up on the lessons. When my filly was born a month early, I was the only one at my barn when my mare when into labour and at first I was freaking out (in my head as not to scare her) cause it was her and my first time. But the foal felt so cold and stiff I just felt she was dead. So I was in the stall with my mare praying and hoping my mare was ok cause she seemed to be in a great deal of pain. (no kidding but like I said my first time) and I just hoped she was alright. So after she delivered, I pulled the foal into a more comfortable position still no real movement. Then I heard a nicker and that moment changed my life forever - my little filly was alive and my mare was fine - eating hay and that was the moment I felt true, honest love and being 23 and still not at all interested in having children my motherly instinct kicked in. Unfourtnatly my foal died 13 days later...due to a freak accident (nothing to do with being early - after she got her plasma she was fit as a fiddle) Anyway, I'm not trying to steal this topic but horses give us so many lessons and gifts every day we just need to have our eyes open....

Mar. 1, 2005, 07:10 AM
Yay! I'm SO glad that Vegas is feeling better. I'm sorry the insurance co. is dropping him, especially when he isn't yet able to do the lameness exam. His legs look so much better. Here's wishing for no relapses, and continued improvement.

Perfect Pony
Mar. 1, 2005, 08:44 AM
Well the legs look great, but his RF lameness is getting worse http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif I just cannot catch a break! http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/sigh.gif He was full on head bobbing "I don't want o move" going to the right at the trot. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

Hopefully we can block him this week on the RF and see if it is really his foot like I suspect. I had a consult with a NB farrier who is going to do him March 18th.

One thing at a time...

Mar. 1, 2005, 11:08 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Perfect Pony:
but his RF lameness is getting worse. He was full on head bobbing "I don't want o move" going to the right at the trot. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
How long since the farrier, can it be a hot nail?

Perfect Pony
Mar. 1, 2005, 11:32 AM
It has been about 2-3 weeks since he was shod. He was definitely uncomfortable the day of and I was hoping it was just "new shoes blues". He always looks a little different (shorter) the the right because of his turned out RF. I had the farrier come a few days after the shoeing and he reset the LF that he was tripping worst on, but he made me feel like crap when I started talking about his RF (I thought you said LF??), and I tried to say, well both, but by then I was frusterated.

He seemed to get better, then worse, and he said enough last night. He's not in work except really light, light lungeing, I put him on the line and just let him do what he wants, which with his lazy self is typically walk http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

It could be a hot nail, maybe the beginning of an abscess? Or maybe he's just unbalanced and coming down wrong on that foot? Who knows with this horse, LOL.

I have a preliminary soundness exam tomorrow afternoon with my vet (I can't go ONE freaking week!) and we'll start from the ground up, literally.

I swear I got a lemon. sweet, cute and wonderful, but sheesh, a lemon nonetheless. So much for my $900 pre-purchase xam...

Mar. 1, 2005, 01:12 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Perfect Pony:
I just cannot catch a break! http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/sigh.gif He was full on head bobbing "I don't want o move" going to the right at the trot. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

Hopefully we can block him this week on the RF and see if it is really his foot like I suspect. I had a consult with a NB farrier who is going to do him March 18th.

One thing at a time... </div></BLOCKQUOTE>PP I have a feeling now that Vegas is not so sore behind he can really feel that RF. He was probably sore on 3 legs and now is only sore on one. Definitely get the blocking done to make sure. I agree he should like the outside of his foot a little higher. Is he bobbing in both directions?

Glad to hear he is on the mend. What is an NB farrier?



Perfect Pony
Mar. 1, 2005, 01:47 PM
Steph, I would agree with you to a point if he did not just all of a sudden be dead lame the day he was shod. It was a drastic change that day, and he just hasn't been right since. He hasn't been off behind for a few weeks now, at least not much. Something weird is going on. I guess we'll have a better idea tomorrow afternoon when we block him.

A NB farrier means a "Natural Balance" farrier. The practice the natural trim concentrating on the sole plane rather than "looks" in an attempt to trim the hoof in a more natural way based upon research with wild horses. The NB shoes are steel shoes that have a breakover that is much farther back than a normal steel shoe. You can see a Picture here. (http://www.hopeforsoundness.com/edss/store/perfprod.html)

Mar. 1, 2005, 02:05 PM
PP, good luck with the vet and the NB shoes. I hope it all resolves itself. Feet are hard to deal with while essentially being so important to a horse. Wish he could tell you exactly where and when it hurts. I am sure the blocking will reveal some cause. Give him kisses anyway. I still have your XMAS present and Vegas of course has treats in that bag. I hope to come see you Saturday.

Mar. 1, 2005, 03:40 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Perfect Pony:
Actually, I would like to think any horse owner would have heeded their own inner voice a lot earlier in the process http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif


Good gracious, girl. You were hot on the heels of this thing from the start...you just didn't know what it was and it ended up being the wrong heels. Don't beat yourself up over it. Our job is to take care of the animals in our care to the best of our ability using available technology. You did that. It's not like you just turned your back and hoped he'd get better...you called the vet and were doing what the two of you thought was the answer.

And now that you've figured out what the problems is, he looks FANTASTIC. Yeah, Vegas!

As for the RF (why is it always the right front with horses?), what does your farrier think about not trying to change the foot too much? Shows turns out "significantly" on his RF and we've pretty much done nothing to fix it. The farrier has tried raising the outside to make him land flatter, but it doesn't do any good, so I just ask him to leave it alone. I figure it has been that way for five years, trying to change it now would be close to impossible.

'Course, not trying to fix the issue means I go through protective boots like nobody's business. I bought brand new T-1's that were awesome and Show had removed the bottom strap from interfering within three weeks. Spling boots last about 3 months. I really need to buy rubber lined leathers (sheepskin are too thick, I think he would trip himself http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/yes.gif http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/lol.gif) that doesn't have a strap sewn on in the fetlock area. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Perfect Pony
Mar. 7, 2005, 09:17 PM
So the wonderful and amazing Pocket Pony helped me get Vegas to UC Davis today for his check up...

The legs look good, but not good enough. There is still some inflamation in the skin vessels, so.... 2 weeks more of his meds (pred, antibiotics, pentox).

So...I ask about what I think is his continued hind end lameness. Well the only leg I actually thought he was sound on (and that everyone else thought he was sound on) is actually the leg he is most lame on, his left front.

We block and we block and we block, and it appears he has a soft tissue injury. I can't even begin to go into the whole ordeal. I just know I cannot catch a break with this horse.

I guess the only good news is he was such a good boy. The clinic was absolute chaos, and he was not only a trooper, but an absolute joy. Everyone at the clinic couldn't stop telling me what a wonderful, sweet, beautiful boy I had. Too bad I will spend the rest of his life spending $600 a month for him to stand in a stall and eat cookies. Not to be negative, but I think I have had half a dozen rides on this horse since I bought him late last year.

Please send lots of jingles our way. We'll be going for an ultrasound in a week or so.

Mar. 7, 2005, 10:00 PM
Oh, PP...I'm so sorry http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif
What kind of soft tissue, any idea? http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/sigh.gif If it's a tendon, PT me--I've been through that. Or if you just need more venting and moral support! Hopefully the ultrasound will show good news, like healing already started. And, if turnout is recommended, at least it seems to be starting to dry up a bit here...

I really should buy you a margarita at the next get-together, I do have some idea how you feel (have spent over a year so far, of the 4 years I've owned my mare, with her injured and out of commission. Have leased her out for several months due to finances and was rehabbing her for about another year total. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/dead.gif She is finally--touch wood--sound and going well again...)

Anyway, he does sound like such a sweetie...I'd love to meet the Vegas. In the meantime, best wishes and thoughts to you both, and prayers for quick and complete healing... http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/yes.gif


Perfect Pony
Mar. 8, 2005, 06:27 AM
Thanks Grasshopper. I know lots of people have gone through all this. It's just hard because I barely bought him, and all I have done is treat something. It's really causing problems with my relationship with my SO at this point, and the job. I don't even have a time to look back on where things were good.

All we know is that it seemed to block out at the highest block below the knee. By that point I was in such a daze I just kinda shook my head and tuned out and figured I'm not going to know anything for sure until the ultrasound. High suspensory or tendon I think? They have prescribed hand walking 20 minutes a day until we we know more.

The SO got his truck on Friday but I have to wait until it has 1000 miles on the engine before he'll let me tow with it (damn mechanics...). So I've got about 700 miles to drive quick!

Mar. 8, 2005, 06:40 AM
I have been reading this thread PP and am so sorry to hear that you have hit yet another problem.
I know how frustating it is to buy a horse and before you can really enjoy him, spend what feels like all of your time dealing with injuries. I had had mine for 2 months before he injured himself so badly that he had to be retired from eventing and I spent the next year and half rehabbing him and paying vet bills. It is probably a good thing I did not have a SO at the time and my job was very understanding (between handwalking and vet visits, I don't know how much work I missed).
I doubt it makes you feel better just to know this same crap has happened to other people http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif but I just thought I would tell you I understand your frustration and it will get better.
I will keep my fingers crossed for you and Vegas.

Perfect Pony
Mar. 8, 2005, 07:10 AM
Well bambam, sounds like we are/were in the same boat.

I just looked at his discharge papers. It says he is 3/5 lame on the LF in a straight line and a circle. He blocked most significantly to a high four point. This would be most consistant of a lesion in the tendons and ligaments that run down the back of the cannon bone. We recommend a tendon ultrasound exam.

Mar. 8, 2005, 07:27 AM
If you are anything like me- this is the worst part. Not knowing what you are dealing with yet and not having a plan of attack.
When are you going for the ultrasound (translation- how long wil the torture of not knowing last)?

Mar. 8, 2005, 08:13 AM
PP, I'm so sorry! Sometimes it seems so pointless doesn't it? I know that you will take the best care of Vegas, but are you taking care of yourself? Please, please don't forget that your mental health is as important as his--and can only make him happier! I know you'll feel better as soon as you have a plan of action. Just remember, we're all here to help!

Mar. 8, 2005, 09:02 AM
I'm really sorry. It will get better and don't give up. Like many others--I too have had some bad luck--I like to think that I could have had worse luck and try to see the bright side (no I'm not one of those incredibly cheerful people--need a lot of coffee in the morning to be nice http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif). I had one horse who tried very hard to kill himself for several years. Got the barn name "Skippy the magical self-destructing pony." He has been doing very well for the past year and half so hopefully he's out grown that stage. My current horse that I got because I couldn't event Skip has been t/o to recover from a sickness since mid December and if I'm lucky, I will be able to bring her home at the end of March--very frustrating.

Anyway--you are not alone. It always seems to be good owners and nice horses. I just take my horses injuries one at a time and just deal with it day by day. Hopefully he will be able to recover--it always seems worse in the beginning but try not to let it stress you out. Nothing you can do about the injury--just find out how severe it is and take it day by day. I know easier said than done--and trust me I spent many a night staring at the ceiling---but he will get better and try to stay positive. Unfortunately--it's horses.

It is a learning experience--just not one that is very enjoyable. I really hope he gets better quick!

Mar. 8, 2005, 09:08 AM
PP, a lot of us can feel your pain on some level. I only had my horse for 3 weeks before he went on nearly 3 months of stall rest.
Trying to find the silver lining, I took it as a opportunity to bond with him and for us to get to know each other.
Hang in there! Before you know it, you two will be out kickin' butt and this will only be a (bad) memory. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif