It is with a very heavy heart that I write this.
Yesterday afternoon, MC and I went out to visit Cash and Saga. I was concerned about Saga's fetlock, as the BO had texted me earlier to say that Saga was looking a little off.
Sadly, his fetlock is quite inflamed and hot, and he is limping badly. Cash came right up to us in the pasture, but Saga came slowly... one step at a time. He would literally take a step, stop, look, take another step, stop... it was heartbreaking to watch. He was bright-eyed and cheerful and ate all the carrots and alfalfa treats we brought, but he's lost weight and he's favoring the leg as much as he ever has.
I spoke to my vet this morning, and showed her the pictures of Saga's fetlock and also videos of him walking yesterday. We reviewed his radiographs and ultrasounds, and there are not a lot of options for Saga at this time. He has degenerative arthritis in that fetlock joint, along with bone cysts that are constantly irritating the joint. Our last resort of keeping him comfortable were the steroidal injections, which should have lasted about 6 months. He was injected on December 1, so it's only been 45 days - and the joint is clearly quite inflamed and causing him a great deal of pain.
I had hoped that Saga and Cash would be able to enjoy a long retirement together at the beautiful retirement facility, but it seems that is not to be. At this point I need to do the responsible thing as Saga's owner and take away his pain. I am truly grateful that he was able to have some time - even though it's been short - galloping through wide open spaces and being a horse.
I have also discussed with my vet what is safest for Cash right now. He and Saga are extremely attached and Cash is going to be distraught without him. She suggested that I bring Cash to my place for a week or so, so that he won't be alone but will be around a familiar setting. Once he's had a little time to adjust, I need to find him somewhere that he can be out with a small herd of very docile horses, where he can be fed separately. Perhaps this will be back at the place he's at now, with a new herd of horses, or perhaps that's at another place. Maybe it's home with us, I don't know. I want to do what's best for him, but I also need some time to decide. I'm a little overwhelmed by all of this right now and frankly it's hard to stay focused.
Anyway, tomorrow morning I will be picking both of them up - Cash to bring home and Saga to take to the vet. I don't want to say goodbye, but I know it's the right thing for him. It's an easy decision to make - there truly is no choice here - but it's a hard decision to follow through on.