Monday, March 14, 2011

This is Lame!

Yeah. He's lame.

So last week, I went out to torture inconvenience ride the Big Grey Horse. I got to the barn, and it was noted by a couple people that Altivo had been running around like a nut in his paddock, since a new horse got put into the enclosure next to his, and there was playing and running and general merrymaking going on across the fence. My horse decided to join in, and all that witnessed this were in awe that such a big lazy lug could run and play like the teeny arabian that was performing Olympic style backflips and perfect 10 landings. Ok, so I'm exaggerating, but you know what I mean.

I listened to these tales, and wished I could've seen him, but then soon forgot about it when I started pulling a dozen cats worth of hair off my beast. I took him into the arena to poke about on him, and poof!! A limp, just for a step or two. Not prolonged at all.  I hopped on him, thinking it was nothing, and he refused to go forward. Altivo, as lazy as he is, has NEVER once refused to go forward. In fact, he's been doing so well these past couple months, and had yet to refuse anything I have asked of him.
Yet here he was, flatly refusing to walk. I got off, and started to lunge him, wondering if that one limp had anything to do with it. At the trot- limping like crazy!!

I assumed his merriment from that day had perhaps bruised his hoof....I put him away and returned two days later, to a limp all the time pony who didn't want to bear weight on his hoof. No signs of abscessing, no signs of obvious trauma, no signs of anything, except a very sad horse who didn't want to walk.

For those of you who may be concerned, have no fear- he was still eating and his appetite was normal. (Remember, if he's still eating, he's not in danger- this is Altivo we're talking about here.)

So, the vet came out, did a bunch of diagnostic observation, and didn't find anything wrong with the hoof. He couldn't feel any bone injuries or obvious muscle issues. He then did a nerve block, which is where they numb certain parts of the leg, starting at the ground level and work their way up, to see at which point the pain or limping stops. This then tells the vet what part of the leg is having problems, and allows them to figure out which tendon or ligament is hurt.
I know nothing about this subject, so my friend, Google, came to my aid.
I found a really helpful article from UC Davis about Suspensory Ligament issues...if you're interested, here it is:
Suspensory Ligament Brochure

And here's a picture from The showing the ligament in question:

So the vet prescribed what is called "Bute" or Phenylbutazone, which an anti-inflammatory medication for horses, twice a day for a week, and then once a day for a week.

And stall rest. 30 days. I broke the news to him with an orange. He didn't listen to me, he was too busy chewing, but he'll figure it out soon enough. The vet said after 3 weeks or so he can start to be hand walked, so I'm going to get him a couple stall toys, like the JollyBall or something to try to keep him occupied. He's going to go crazy. Or break the barn down. Or both.

This is going to be interesting.....