Foal with hock chip WWYD sorry long post UPDATE 29/01/ Aliens stole my bone chip WTF?
I have just come out of a gruelling 12 hr battle saving my mare from a bad gas colic, was up every hour then checking through the night and have been turning her out for an hour and bring in for three all day. my mind is fried and my emotions are running high and still have the two hour checks all tonight to look forward too.
I need help sorting through what I should be doing in the following situation from clearer minded people please.
I lost my treasured gelding 5 1/2 month ago to a sudden and brutal neurological problem and organised the purchase of a weanling colt 6 weeks ago to help my mare and myself deal with the loss.
He is 8 weeks old and is just beautiful - he is also 800 km away - I've met him once and fell in love at first sight.
30/12/09 the breeder contacts me to tell me he has a wound on the hock - it's a puncture wound and they are treating it with antibotics, they are in a remote area and breed cattle so are not the call the vet types (I'm in Australia so we may do things differently here in that regard).
Fast forward to two days ago, his hock has been improving but he is still favouring it they are continuing the antibiotics but will be taking him to the equine clinic when they pick up a mare that has gone down to be AI'd.
Tonight I get word that they x-rayed the hock and there is a small chip. The vet has said it is operable and given a good prognosis off the film, however this information was relayed to the breeder through her husband and she cannot speak to the vet himself until Monday as he away.
She has said that she will be let me know everything as soon as she has spoken to him.
I have paid a 50% deposit on the foal and feel like he is mine already, she has been great with photos and updates and he is gorgeous and I was very excited about him as a halter and under saddle show prospect.
My heart says fine do the op and see if I can get him weaned somewhat early and trucked up ASAP so I at least have him here.
Their closest vet (not the clinic) did the insurance check on him but did not give me the required paperwork - I have been contact with the insurance company and the vet and am still waiting for the correct form to be completed - net result is there is no insurance on foal as yet.
My head is saying my heart has had enough punishment and this horse stuff is a mugs game. I should be thankful I have my mare, cut my losses and pull out of the agreement, even if it means losing the deposit.
But then there is this - this foal is everything I want in a horse of his breeding and maybe after the colic stress has faded I will wish I hadn't. Did I mention the falling in love bit?
I know there will be others out there in COTHland who have had this sort of experience or know someone who has.
Oh add to this I had sustained a bad back injury at work a month before I lost my gelding and am waiting to get the results of a discogram to find out if I will be having surgery in the next month or so.
Please some words of sanity would be greatly appreciated right now, because I really can't think straight..
Last edited by Weese; Jan. 29, 2010 at 06:26 AM.
So sorry to hear how badly life is hammering right now!
For some of us, there ought to be a "waiting period" imposed similar to those applied to buying hand guns. Don't do anything in the heat of the moment!
On the other hand, know that surgery in babies is pretty good. The op itself is tough on them, of course, but they are growing so fast that they tend to heal well and continue on their way.
You might ask a couple of questions:
Of the vet-- assuming the prognosis now would be good, do you lose any of that outcome if you wait weeks or months to have the chip removed? Does the infection pose a problem to surgery?
Of your insurance company-- will this joint be forever excluded as a pre-existing condition if the surgery is done? Will it be excluded anyway since the chip is already known?
Of the owner-- can we make a deal about the cost of the foal or fixing his problem? Yes, you paid 50% and perhaps more with your heart. But it sounds like someone somewhere ought to fix up this foal so that he has any long-term value to anyone.
I would have a good chat with the consulting surgeon. If the prognosis is good I would think getting that chip out sooner would be best. I would think that as long as there is no cartilage damage your foal would have good chance at soundness. Early surgery might increase your chances of hock arthritis down the road but that is very manageable should it occur in the future. I feel for you, after dealing with lameness for almost three years (hoping this surgery works!) I would be afraid to buy anything that wasn't 100% on vet check, but my horse passed his vet check five years ago with flying colours, then he injured his collateral ligament and two year rest and rehab later we did surgery. Even the soundest horse can become injured and suffer chronic lameness at any time. Where as your colt may remove the chip and once recovered may have many, many years or a lifetime of soundness once the chip is removed. Follow your heart, horses are never a guarentee.
Thank you both for your sympathy - right now I'll take all I'm given with gratitude!
Believe me I understand only too well the risks involved in horse ownership, after 32 years of ownership I've had my share of issues.
This is my concern here, it is one thing to 'pay your money and take your chances' on a sound horse. But this is a bit different.
I agree that the consulting vet and I need a good long chat before decisions are made, but when I laid the money down it was for a sound weanling, not one who has been compromised in a pretty severe way.
If it happened when he got to my place then it would have been on my watch and so my problem no question.
But it happened in the breeders care and mvp makes a lot of sense when you suggest negotiating with the breeder on the cost of the foal or the surgery.
I'm not one to skimp on my horses but the reality is I have clocked up pretty close to $2k in vet fees with this colic and I am not of unlimited funds.
I hear you when you say the outcome on young foals is often good, but it is still buying a known risk rather than just the hazy general risk of horse ownership.
I guess at the end of the day I agree responsibility for his future well being has to be taken and I am willing to do so, but not at full price.
If anyone has been in this type of situation with a foal injured while still at the breeders it would be great to hear how you dealt with it.
A chip doesn't bother me so much, depending on the price of the horse compared to the cost of surgery. If you will have access to a good equine surgeon, the prognosis for the chip removal should be quite good. The surgeon can also advise you on the best timing for chip removal.
However, if there was an infection that involved the joint, I would be a lot more nervous. I have known several cases of horse with joint infections--even very brief and properly managed ones--who were essentially pasture potatoes the rest of their lives. In that case, if it were me I would consider walking away from the deposit (or whatever the terms of your purchase agreement specify).
See I don't own him until weaning. That was why the breeder requested a 50% deposit not full purchase price.
I cannot register him until I pay full price and I have had no say in how the wound has been managed.
I requested a vet to look at it immediately and offered to pay if that was the issue - the request and the offer were not accepted, because he is not 'my' horse yet.
The agreement was the cost of keeping the foal up til weaning was the breeders. The deposit was simply to 'hold' him.
Even on the breeders website he is listed as deposit taken, not sold.
The breeder hasn't asked me to cover the surgery ... yet ... and they may not so it might be a moot point.
I hear you on the joint infection, which is why I need to speak to the vet. It was not seen by a vet for a week, and this might cause issues. To be honest I'd rather lose 50% of the purchase price than pay for the surgery plus the remainder of the purchase and wind up with a foal that is going to be unsound forever.
It's a damned if I do damned if I don't situation really, I guess it is having the option to walk away that makes this a tough call.
Jingles for you during this impossible time ~ as exhausted as you are your guts will still tell you what you need ( want) to do IMHO ~ take some time and write down what you want to do -- plan your work and work your plan. I believe you just need some time ~ an hour with some soup and quiet and listen to what your brain is trying to tell you. Good Luck ~ Jingles for your mare ~ your deposit foal and especially you. Hoping you can get some rest tonight. Jingles and AO ~always Optimistic !
I'm sorry for your loss and recent stress. I am going to be a wet blanket here and tell you to go with your brain, not your heart, and walk away. If you have not fully purchased and taken possession of the horse, you are not obligated to sink thousands of dollars in vet bills into him (esp. since I'm sure that if you had responsibility for him this probable joint infection would have been addressed much sooner).
Like the posters above, I would be VERY nervous about the general state of the joint, given that he had what sounds like was probably a septic joint. The radiographs don't tell you how much cartilage damage there was just from the infection (let alone the chip) or whether there are still active inflammatory processes affecting the joint. Heck, this was less than 2 weeks ago, the hock could still be infected and waiting to flare up again after they stop the antibiotics. I'm assuming they did not tap the joint or flush it based on your post. Unless/until the sellers take the horse to surgery so that the vets can figure out what is going on and clean up what needs to be cleaned up, I do not think you can get an accurate prognosis and I think you are setting yourself up for potentially huge bills and massive heartbreak.
Even if surgery goes better than anyone expected, are you going to be up to bandaging and dealing with a weanling on stall rest with your back problems? If not, do you have the money to pay someone else to deal with him? Are you prepared for the idea that, so soon after losing another horse, he may not become pasture sound and you may have to euthanize him? What if he does come pasture sound: are you prepared to keep him as a lawn ornament and forget about ever riding him, or rehome or euthanize him?
IMO, take the money that you would have to spend on vet bills and find a horse that does not ALREADY have a problem that is not only potentially catastrophic but also ill-defined (and will remain so until he either gets surgery or goes downhill even more).
ETA: I just saw your post. It sounds like we are thinking along the same lines.
The plural of anecdote is not data.
Eventing Yahoo In Training
Sorry back again - this is not about a chip ~ this is about you're having lost so much and needing to replenish your soul and passion. If this colt is the "filling back up" of your spirit than you know (in spite of 50% deposit) he is and always will be yours. Your heart is stronger than you are giving yourself credit for because you are exhausted and scared ~ both conditions are treatable = prescribing your new colt as your treatment. IMHO
Zu Zu I honestly appreciate your good intentions and well wishes and in a perfect world I would be right there with you.
Sadly the world we live in is far from perfect and GatoGordo I am hearing you loud and clear. Not a wet blanket so much as a voice of reason and I appreciate it immensely.
I have spoken to my vet (who is one o the best equine specialists in this country thank goodness) and she has agreed to talk to the treating vet as long as I can get the breeders consent for her to do so.
She agrees that the potential fo disaster is of major concern, and I have had my horses treated by her for the better part of 20 years so I know she cares about my best interests above all else.
So now I need to get the consent and wait and see what her take on the situation is.
At the end of the day I have my mare to think about too and whether or not I have fallen in love with this foal is irrelevant, any funds that I poured into what might be a hopeless case would be money that I am taking from her and that is just not fair.
So I will wait and see what the vet to vet conversation yields before making my decision, but I am prepared to cut my losses and walk away if I have to.
It might not be the fairytale ending that I'd like, but it is the smart thing to do, and to be honest I am just so grateful that my mare came through the colic that any disappointment I might feel is well and truly mitigated.
Only you know what you need to do ~ Jingles for your mare and for you & Jingles for the colt regardless if he becomes yours or not. Sending thoughts and prayers and some wishes for some rest & recovery to all involved in this difficult time period. Please update us and again Jingles for your heart.
Not necessarily. I've seen joint infections that were multiple days old and only partially resolved in which the horse was lame but not crippled. It sounds like this horse is still on systemic antibiotics, which may be enough to keep things from completely exploding. That doesn't mean that the joint is not damaged, though -- you don't know what the cartilage looks like without surgery.
I'm not saying that I have a crystal ball and KNOW that the joint is infected. It might well not be, but it's a possibility given the minimal treatment. It might also be that the infection has resolved but left an inflamed, eroded joint. I'm just trying to warn of all the possibilities which could end in a dead or crippled horse and thousands of dollars of vet bills.
Again thank you all for your contributions they are much appreciated. I slept last night!!!!! Yay! I checked my mare at 9 pm then went to bed.
Thinking MUCH clearer today I can tell you.
Originally Posted by EqTrainer
All of these questions can be of course answered by the vet who has actually seen the horse...
You are dead right EqTrainer and I am 100% in agreement. The treating vet had gone away for the weekend when the breeder called him and won't be back til Monday.
My vet will be calling him on Monday (subject to gaining consent from the breeder - which further establishes that this is NOT my horse yet) and then I will have accurate information.
All I have from the breeder is that he is 'favouring' the leg - it could be just a slight hesitation, it could be totally non weight bearing.... she is scant with the information.
I honestly hope more than anything it is simply OCD - if my vet is happy that there is no issue with the infection being in the joint after the discussion, pull the chip out, wean him and send him here when he can travel or maybe wean him early and send him up here to get the chip out? BUT if the joint is compromised... well that is a fools game seeing it won't even be ME overseeing the treatment.
I believe a puncture to the hock requires immediate evaluation by a vet and had he been with me that would have happened, and really the fact that they didn't follow my request to have the vet out - at my expense even - concerns me more than a little. but I am 800km away .....
So fingers crossed and jingle for the little lad, and hope that it's OCD and he has a clean joint.
I think before you make any decisions, you need to get the verdict DIRECTLY from the vet, as you said, on Monday. I wouldn't make any decisions until then.
It sounds like the breeder isn't handling this in a professional manor, which is more concerning to me than anything at this point. Do you really trust them to care for your horse? Are they being totally honest.
I sold a foal in-utero who injured himself at 3 weeks old. It was not a career threatening injury at all, but you bet I was on the phone immediatly with the owners, and the vet saw the foal that night. I transported the colt to the nearest University the next day, and from there I got updates from the owner... not the vets. The owners dealt with the vets as it was their colt, I was notified on the status of my mare, but that was it.
I went over that colt daily with a fine toothed comb, essentially, until he left my property. He was not mine anymore, but was MY responsibility to notice any little thing, and deal with it accordingly. I am shocked that the breeders of your colt are not being more proactive... especially with an injury involving the joint, and could be a serious issue for future soundness. You've entrusted the breeders with caring for the colt... essentially, your boarding it there. Wouldn't a barn owner call you immediately if there was anything amiss with your foal?
In the case I mentioned, the buyer was responsible for all veterinary costs. That is the risk when buying a horse. However, it seems your situation is a little different due to immediate action not being taken. When I sold a weanling, and he just hadn't shipped yet, I heard him cough a couple times in one day and called the owner.... turns out it was nothing, but I'd rather be cautious... It just shocks me that a puncture wound wasn't seen that same day, especially on a baby, and near a joint.