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Feeling like a failure of a horse owner...

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  • #21
    Aspoonfulla, you have gotten a lot of good advice and support. Bottom line is there is no easy answer or "fix". What you have done so far is more than many could afford, and cost is almost always something that has to be taken into consideration. FWIW, my own experience (have had a number of horses over a lifetime with varying degrees of arthritis) is that 24/7 turnout can work wonders.


    • #22
      OP so sorry you are going through this. I gather not only did no one do an ultrasound on this horse. No one did nerve blocks.

      However if you do elect to US do not do nerve blocks immediately beforehand. The perfusion of the blocking material will mask an accurate US. A friend wasted 2 years, and a lot of money with multiple visits to a veterinary school that way. When one look and an US from a well know lameness clinic found a suspensory problem.
      Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

      Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


      • #23
        Originally posted by merrygoround View Post

        However if you do elect to US do not do nerve blocks immediately beforehand. The perfusion of the blocking material will mask an accurate US. A friend wasted 2 years, and a lot of money with multiple visits to a veterinary school that way. When one look and an US from a well know lameness clinic found a suspensory problem.
        Wow that is so frustrating for your friend! My horse was nerve blocked one day to locate the problem area, then ultra-sounded the next day


        • #24
          There has been a ton of great advice given. You did not fail your far as owners go, you are one of the good one! Hugs!


          • #25
            I would try IRAP and time. My horse responded to steroid injections for about a month then was NQR again IRAP made him sound and stay sound. It took a month to see results. The combination of IRAP, time and previcox might make him comfortable for light ridding also make sure you have an amazing farrier. My arthritis horse likes duplo shoes (polyethylene with steel inserts).


            • #26
              It took several years to diagnose and 3 months of of daily doxycyclene via neck catheter to get my horse over Lyme Disease. Fortunately she was such a sweetie that you could just walk up to her in the field and give her the stuff in her catheter. She still had to be retired because of secondary ring bone. I think the tests are better now, but it can still be tricky to diagnose.

              This is sooo hard--when something is wrong and we can't fix it and we know they trust us and are depending on us. You are a great horse mom, she is lucky to have you.


              • Original Poster

                Update! Lilo had her feet done on Saturday (shoes on fronts, barefoot hinds) on schedule for every 6 weeks. Barn owner said she has been looking better on her fronts. I hopped on bareback just to walk her around and behavior-wise, you'd think I've been riding her every day for the last few months! I was very pleased about that. She still felt off in her hind end, which at first I could feel her front end compensating for it. BO rec'd (and has in the past) getting her tested for navicular. My farrier did heel pain tests on Saturday and Lilo did not react, but she said there was a third kind of navicular that heel pain tests cannot account for. So I think the time is now to have a round of x-rays done on feet, hocks and stifles while the farm vet is out for spring vax's to be able to compare and have a baseline moving forward!

                abrant and cruisecontrol - Thank you for sharing your experiences. My mind and heart fall on the side of wanting to keep trying to diagnose. Something in me tells me to keep going - she's young, so willing and loved. Not sure if that's me refusing to accept that she may be an outlier or I'm just in denial.

                Xanthoria and Wyndolfe- Thank you for your extensive knowledge! That article was very interesting and I'm adding it to my vault. I'm hoping to have more diagnostics done soon, so I will keep you posted on what we find! I'm also dabbling into pasture turnout in my area, but the places I've found are either not well taken care of or the barn owners seem shady. I do like where she's at for now because I have an extra set of eyes on her that I can trust. Lilo's safety is my main concern!

                merrygoround - Thank you for the advice! I will definitely remember this!

                BruBoy - Thank you for the support!

                Fharoah - I will have to mention these options to my farrier next time she's out! Not sure I've ever heard of IRAP, so I'm excited to research it; thanks for the advice!

                WishesRHorses - Very, very interesting! When Lilo did her 6 month stay at a friend's "rehab," the barn owner was the one really convinced she had Lyme based on her experiences and the swelling in random legs she said she saw (I was 2 hours away and have yet to see any swelling since she came home a year ago). What were your horse's symptoms? Thank you for the kind words!


                • #28
                  Re: PSSM - you may want to just try on her a diet that is intended for horses that have it. You can get biopsies, etc. but if she has it and you try the diet, you will see results in a couple of weeks. Essentially, the premise of the diet is ultra low starch/NSC and high fat. At this point, it wouldn't cost you anything just to try the diet and see if you get any improvement on it.

                  You could also try her on 10000 IU of Vitamin E per day. It can improve neuro issues. Again, cheap enough to try and see if there is any improvement.

                  I would get your horse tested for EPM, as well - the test is not that expensive in the grand scheme of things and is a good one to rule out. I had a horse who ended up with EPM. I live in an area where it is rather uncommon, so it wasn't really an area of focus in things we looked at for him for over the years. If I could go back now, I would definitely have insisted on the test much earlier on, and if I ever have another horse with odd, shifting lameness and/or abnormal anxiety levels, it is certainly a test I'm going to do right away. I saw marginal improvement with the Vitamin E at 10000 IU per day, but he was already considered chronic EPM at the time I tried it. As he was considered chronic, and had developed relatively substantial neuro deficits, he was not a good candidate for treatment. I ended up euthanizing him. It was a very difficult decision, but ultimately he was lame and in pain and worried all the time due to sensory deficits and had no quality of life. He was only 16, so I felt he was robbed of a long life but when there is no quality of life, a long life is really only prolonging their misery.

                  If she is in pain the majority of the time, there is no shame in saying you have reached your financial limit in terms of diagnostics and treatment, and letting her go. You have done so much to try and help her. It is okay if you have to say enough is enough - financial limitations are reality for a lot of us and supporting the retirement of a young, but lame horse is a major commitment. - especially if you board. Sometimes, the kindest thing you can do is take their pain away, even if it is the most painful choice for you.

                  I wish you and your mare all the best and that you get the answers you are looking for.
                  Proud Member of the "Tidy Rabbit Tinfoil Hat Wearers" clique and the "I'm in my 30's and Hope to be a Good Rider Someday" clique