The problem is that we have a pretty low quality of farrier in the area. Most of them give you the hairy eyeball if you suggest shoes at all. And heaven forbid you try to ask a question or talk about hoof quality. So, we're importing one from town and covering the travel fee.
Really? At least on the east side of town, there's at least three great farriers for TB feet. I know of at least one who goes to the west and northwest sides of town, too. I hope you've found a winner this time, but if not, just know that there are others out there.
FWIW, I actually support most of your vet's advice. It sounds like it could be a very straightforward case of a horse that needs shoes and some joint supplements. But personally, if I'd had a horse butchered that badly for that long, I'd want some simple straightforward x-rays of the front feet and a farrier who would work with my vet. It would be MUCH easier to get the x-rays now and give them to your farrier than have the horse shod, potentially have to take the shoes back off to shoot x-rays, and then have your farrier attempting to put shoes back on the now-even-more-stressed hoof. It's cheap, it doesn't require the horse to be unsound, and it might save you big bucks in the farrier trying X, Y, and Z things rather than saying "Ah, the x-rays show _____. Let's correct that with good farrier work."
I sympathize with your plight of getting time off for work. What a bummer not to have trusted friends or fellow boarders to hold your horse for you.
I didn't get around to posting this, but I was finally able to get the vet out (between my work travel schedule and vacation accrual process, it took more time than I wanted).
It's bone chips. Right smack in the left front fetlock, clear as day on the radiographs. The vet was absolutely shocked, given that there's never been heat or tenderness- just lameness off and on.
Until I can cough up a few thousand dollars, surgery is not an option, financially speaking. We've done some injections to keep the area comfortable. Vet did some additional radiographs to determine what impact they're having, and it appears they're just irritating the fetlock joint at the moment- not impeding any major junctions. Vet's professional opinion is that he can continue his career as a pleasure horse when he's sound. Special Farrier is coming out next week to do what he can- vet feels that there might be a way to work the angles to help him be more comfortable, but obviously, can't eliminate bone chips through the feet.
Thanks for all the jingles, good thoughts, and suggestions along the way. I wish it had been something a lot less interesting than this!
Would Care Credit be an option for you to allow for surgery sooner rather than later?
In theory, yes. I've had one before when my cat had issues (I have a weird magnetism to critters with issues), and found it very useful.
Beyond the surgery, we have the problem of no truck/trailer, no time off from work available, the facility not being necessarily a good one for lay ups, and all those logistics that keep throwing me up against a wall. Yes, I can look into all of those, but it would be hard to make something happen say, this afternoon. Naturally, there are many crummy things happening in my personal life as well, which need addressed sooner than later. Hence why I'm doing everything in my power to keep the Big Red Horse as comfy as possible while I try to make magic happen.