Friday, May 22, 2015

The view from the outside looking in

Remember a few posts back when Dr. Pollard was flexing Snoopy's feet and discovered his front feet were bothering him? 

As treatment, we've been giving Snoopy Previcox (an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever) and monthly Adequan injections for osteoarthritis. He has his days where he starts out stiff and warms out of it, then his days where he's good unless I jog him in a sudden, tight circle right. His lope still feels like an off-kilter washing machine. So I started thinking...

Perhaps it was time to take some x-rays. Not only might we see what's going on, but we would have a baseline for any future changes.

Karma was kind to me, and Dr. Pollard could only come out on the same day as Monte, our farrier. This meant Monte could pull Snoopy's shoes for the photos, then put them back on, or make changes if necessary.

My biggest fear was that we'd take the photos and not see anything. That's more frustrating than seeing something awful.

What did we see? Let me show you a diagram of how a horse's leg is supposed to look:

Snoopy's legs don't look anything like this. His cannon bones (the beige one) tilt slightly in one direction. The two pastern bones (the green and purple) are straight, then the hooves tilt in the other direction. 

As Monte said, "He gets his legs from his mom. They grow in three different directions."

The x-ray on his right leg told the story of what was wrong. Along the outside of the hoof, next to the little point (see the red arrow, but on the opposite side) there was a weird arcing structure pointing up toward the purple bone. Dr. Pollard said that was calcification, which wouldn't account for his soreness UNLESS it was combined with what he showed me on the outside of the top of the green bone - a tiny bone spur pointing toward the brown bone. 

The bone spur was miniscule, but the way his leg winds this-way-and-that, it's like having a teeny pebble in your shoe. It's not going to result in amputation, but it bugs the heck out of you.

Monte and Dr. Pollard discussed his shoeing needs and decided on aluminum bar shoes. More expensive (*sigh* Ka-Ching), but it would fortify his heels and support the sidewalls. 

We gave him a few days off, per the doctor's orders, and today I watched Niki ride him. He landed a lot easier on his front feet, and she said his lope felt better. 

I'm just happy that it's easier for him to move without discomfort. And now we know where to look when anything changes.

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