Monday, November 3, 2014

The lame game

As I mentioned last week, Paddy came up lame on Tuesday the 21st. We’d had a great workout on Monday, then he spent Monday evening carting around a Western saddle for 3 hours for the video shoot. When I went to ride him Tuesday, he was definitely short on the right hind. I didn’t find any heat or swelling anywhere, no scrapes or cuts, and his feet looked fine. He wasn’t broken-legged abscess lame, just looked very uncomfortable across his hips. My first thought was that the Western saddle had tweaked something, so I gave him some bute and stuffed him in a stall overnight.

Wednesday he wasn’t any better, nor did he seem improved by Thursday. That’s about the limit for me seeing my horse in pain, so I made an appointment with the vet, sadly cancelled our rides for the dressage show, and  went through all the “what ifs” in my head. Let’s be honest – we are just now really coming back strong from the soft tissue injury earlier this year, and the thought of going through rehab again was pretty crushing.

Unfortunately we had to wait until Tuesday to see my favorite vet. In the meantime, I had a massage therapist out (something I’d been meaning to do anyway), and she found that he was very tight all over, except for the saddle area. Well, at least the saddle fits him? It was super interesting to see how he reacted to the massage – on the entire left side of his neck, he was tense and cranky. He even kicked a few times, which is something he NEVER does. The right side of his neck apparently felt better, since he took a nap while she did that. He was clearly sore over his hips and did a lot of face-rubbing as a release. There was very little yawning or licking, but the therapist said that wasn’t uncommon, he just wasn’t sure what to do with everything and the kicking and face-rubbing was his way of expressing himself. It’s funny how individual they all are!

Aaaaahhhhhmasssaaaagggggzzzz

After the massage, he apparently felt good enough to “spook” at a chicken and gallop around during his quiet turnout time (up to then he had been content to walk around and graze). By the time the vet saw him on Tuesday, he was markedly better, but still not 100%. She immediately pinpointed that he was sore on BOTH hind legs, the right moreso than the left. They did a thorough lameness exam, including flexions. He flexed very mildly positive on both hocks, and also on his right stifle. However, the vet felt that since there was no fluid or swelling on the stifle, and since he was getting better, that the stifle issue was more likely to be muscular than a joint issue. The hocks concerned her way more.

Drunk Haffie is a cheap date

So yes, I injected both hocks. I know some of you won’t agree with that decision, but I’ve been down this road with several horses and I am comfortable with it. I am also starting him on loading doses of both Legend and Adequan, in hopes that those will help his joints even more. I’ve tried (very expensive) feed-through joint options in the past, and really haven’t had much luck with them – but I’m sure everyone’s mileage varies on that. This is my vet’s recommendation for his best chance for long-term joint health, with the goal being very few actual joint injections and maximum joint support with other options.

I lurve my vet 'cause she lurves my horses.

The best news is that we had a light ride on Saturday and then a full ride on Sunday, and he was AWESOME! His stifle didn’t seem to bother him at all, so I think the vet’s assessment that it was a muscle problem (possibly caused by wearing the Western saddle) was probably accurate. We’ve got another visit from the massage therapist this Thursday, and I’ve got stretches to work on before each ride to help him stay limber. I’m also considering a BoT sheet for him to wear before rides… anybody (Lysette, I’m looking at you!) use those, and have any recommendations?

I’m totally relieved to have my horse back, and I’m glad for this little wake-up call that my Paddington needs a little more maintenance to help him be his best. I’m more than prepared to make sure he gets whatever he needs!

42 comments:

  1. I am so glad to read all this! You go girl on the joint care decisions - do what's right for him. I never believed in feed throughs either until a few weeks ago - Tucker thinks he's three years old on a loading dose of Cosequin DS. That's dog, not horse, though.

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    1. I might have to try the Cosequin on the dog. It looks like it's a different formula from what I used years ago. I did use Cosequin on Cash for 2-3 years and saw no difference. At $170/mo, it just wasn't worth it.

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  2. So glad you got things figured out.

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    1. Me too, it's such a relief to have my poneh back.

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  3. Glad the lameness has been resolved and that he's back to normal, bless his cotton socks.
    The only feed through joint supplement I've seen make a HUGE difference is Cosequin. There's a few oldies at work that have shown a marked improvement on the stuff (they're also on a green lip mussel supplement- I'm still undecided if that one actually does anything).
    As for injections, I've had good results with Pentosan (on both dogs and horses) but it's pretty hit and miss depending on the type of arthritis/joint problem.

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    1. I tried Cosequin on Cash and it had no effect at all, and that stuff is actually MORE expensive than Legend and Adequan together. I asked about Pentosan but apparently there's some issue with finding a good supplier here in the US, although I've heard good things about it. We'll start with the L&A and see how that works for him, and we'll try other things if those work better for him. I'm glad there are lots of options out there!

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    2. Glad to hear Paddy's feeling better. :D

      I get my Pentosan here at Wedgewood Pharmacy. $136 for 100 ml of 250 mg/ml - loading dose + 7 - 8 months depending on how you dose. There was a short term (high demand) problem a while back, but then, when I was using Adequan, the production facility closed down for nearly a year. Everyone was scrambling and that's when I found Pentosan.

      I've had better results comfort wise, and the price is right. (just sharing my experience - not giving advice lol)

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  4. Hifive, terrible joint-injecting owner buddy! Where'd you find Adequan? I was going to start Dixie on it this year but as it turns out I'm pregnant so I figured she didn't need super aggressive joint support if she was going on a six-month layoff - but I'd like to get some and get her started at the beginning of the year.

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    1. I know, we're so mean to our horses. Oh well. Adequan I got from Valley Vet - they seem to have the best price. The big vial is about $370. You need a scrip from your vet, though.

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    2. Yup, the lameness vet said they'd send in a scrip whereever. It's just that it was out of stock most places when I last checked (April?). Maybe it'll be my Christmas present to her, lol!

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  5. You know where I stand on joint injections, I will gladly inject my horse if it makes them more comfortable. Glad Paddy is feeling better!

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    1. Yeah, I can either retire my 10 year old Haffie from all but light trail riding, not inject him and force him to work in pain, or inject and provide addition joint support in the form of oral, IM, or IV joint supplements. Hmm...

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  6. I'm having good luck with Smartpak's Smart Flex II pellets. Ashke has issues with his right hock and hamstring, plus he has a surgically repaired left patella. I switched, briefly, to a vet recommended Vet Flex, but have gone back to the Smartpak. He is pretty comfortable on it.

    I'm glad Paddy is feeling better and hope the injections help. I'm a fan of the horse not being in pain while being asked to work. Whatever it takes, I'm for.

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    1. I'm glad the Smartpak stuff works for Ashke! It's possible it would help Paddy too - it seems like every horse is different. Legend and Adequan just seem to be the most tested and best bet. If I were doing a feed-through, it would be either Cosequin for SmartFlex IV, both of which are actually more expensive than L&A together (after the loading dose). Joint support is $$$$ no matter how you do it!

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    2. I am also a huge believer in BOT. I use it myself for my back, and have a saddle pad plus I just ordered a fleece cooler for Ashke. They are awesome and work very well to help with injured muscles or just sore stuff.

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  7. I'm a believer in massages and injections. I don't see how you couldn't be after trying them! Glad to hear the golden boy is on his way back to total comfort!

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    1. The massage definitely seemed to help, and I've had good luck with injections in the past. I do understand why it's a hot topic, though.

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  8. Glad Paddy is feeling better!

    I use a BOT blanket on my arthritic sheltie and it helps immensely. We actually call it his sleeping jacket because when you put it on him it's lights out for the night! It's the one piece of clothing he will actually wear!

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    1. Paddy may need a BoT blankie for Christmas... ;)

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  9. Glad to hear Paddy is feeling better!

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  10. I'll need a full review if you go the BoT sheet route. Glad Paddybear is feeling better!

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    1. I will definitely do one if we go that route.

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  11. Recovery X is also excellent. Glad he is feeling better. I used the BOT back warmer for years with great results.

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    1. Good to know about the BoT stuff! Definitely looking into it.

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  12. Poor Paddy, glad he has an owner that can give him exactly what he needs!

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    1. Haha if you ask him, he "needs" more treats!

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  13. sounds like you found a long-term strategy that works for you and your horse, with a vet you trust (that pic is too cute btw). that's pretty much ideal, right? glad Paddy is feeling better :)

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    1. Yep, fingers crossed that we can maintain him happily long-term. And yes, my vet is awesome :)

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  14. good to hear that he recovering! and: remember, I am doing the stretches, too, after paying good money for massages to the physio as well ;) but they definitely help!

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    1. Haha, yes, if only we also got the massages! Wouldn't that be nice!

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  15. Yay!! I'm a big fan of joint injections -- seeing as I get them too & OMG are they necessary for my arthritic back. Thanks to Erica, Solo just had his hocks done for the first time in about a year this fall. I swear it took ten years off. He looks & feels fabulous! I regularly injected every six months (after feeling him out for what he needed) when we were competing.

    I used to be one of those OMG INJECTIONS ARE BAD people. Until I was educated about them.

    Just a note about Legends - it only stays in the horse's system for about 24-48 hours, so it's more of a band-aid, while Adequan works over time. You probably know that, but just in case you need to save some money... :)

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    1. It seems like the "uptake" (whatever that means) is best for both drugs at about 48 hours. What that means over time seems to be anyone's guess, and the drug companies sure aren't saying! We'll see what works and what doesn't, and for how long... after all, it's only money, right? :D

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    2. Spoken like a true horse owner! LOL, I think our motto is, "if it doesn't work, just throw more money at it!" Actually possessing said money does not seem to be relevant... Adequan actually takes about six weeks to implement physiologically significant change and continues working long-term as long as the horse is on it. It's fantastic stuff, I love it, Solo also stayed on that during his competition career. When I worked out the per month cost, it was the same as the feed-throughs, but I KNEW the stuff was going where it needed to go and it had TEH SCIENCEZ to back it up. Love, love, love (want to inject self, sigh)!

      You've probably already figured this out too, but it's much cheaper to buy the big 10-dose vial than the 7-pack. When I was using it, it was cheapest through SmartPak. Allivet is a great source too -- both nicely just keep the call-in Rx on file so I can just click to spend more money, woot!

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  16. Glad he's feeling better. Retiring at ten would not be fun (unless retirement = 100% foodtime for Haffies).

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  17. I'm pro joint injections! They are the only thing that helped my arthritic old man get through his fetlock joints fusing. Hope Paddy stays happy and limber! I wonder why he got so very sore? Weird!

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  18. Phew! It's so scary after a ST injury to have them come up not quite right. Glad it's joints instead! Rico was injected quite a bit in the last couple of years and it made a huge difference. I also did legend injections right before both of his Grand Prix's. I'm a big fan of joint injections- it allows the horse to continue doing what they like to do comfortably.

    The only joint feed through supplement that I have had work is Hylasport. It's pricey though, so legend/adequan may be better bang for your buck. Here it is though: https://www.smartpakequine.com/hylasport-1814pb

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  19. What a great vet for loving on him! So happy to hear he's feeling better.

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