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

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  • Seriously, when to just give up? *Just when you think things can't get any worse**

    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
    On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog
  • Original Poster

    #2
    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
    On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog

    Comment


    • #3
      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.
      When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

      The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

      Comment


      • #4
        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.
        "The formula 'Two and two make five' is not without its attractions." --Dostoevsky

        Comment


        • #5
          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?

          Robby
          When blood is the beverage of choice, the sharpest fangs feed first.

          Comment


          • #6
            My sincere condolences go out to you! Poor guy; poor owner! If 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.

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              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

              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.
              On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog

              Comment


              • #8
                Interesting......

                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.
                When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Has he been checked for a broken hip? Or tears in the deep muscles running along the back?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    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...
                    The big man -- my lost prince

                    The little brother, now my main man

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      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 !!!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        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.
                        When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          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.
                          On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            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.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              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

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                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.
                                You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something… S. Jobs

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  <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
                                  Aca-Believe it!!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    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 ), 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! 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!
                                    "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

                                    "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      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 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??
                                      On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        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!
                                        When blood is the beverage of choice, the sharpest fangs feed first.

                                        Comment

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