Saturday, 28 August 2010

Vet visit today - it's not better, it's worse

I must say I didn't think we would be given good news today. The last time I walked Kingsley he just started feeling uneven and rigid again towards the end of the 30 minute hack and I decided that it was best to wait till today with riding him more.

And in fact there was no good news. However, I was quite shocked to find out he actually got worse than he was back in April. He was lame in walk and trot on the hard on straight line. Very lame. Nodding lame.
We then lunged in the arena on a all weather rubber track and his trot on a circle was the worst I have ever seen him. I kept pushing him on on vet's request but to be honest it was painful to watch.
On the left rein his feet sequence in trot was poor and he had no desire to move forwards. On the right rein he couldn't trot at all. He moved in bunny hops like canter strides, half cantering half trotting, cutting the circle inwards to avoid any bending.
I decided there and then that even if there was any chance of any further treatment I was not riding him until I saw him trotting up sound without a rider.

As he was moving so much worse than last time in July, the vet decided to nerve block the foot again just to see if there wasn't anything else going on.
He was much better and much happier to move which indicated that primary pain source is in the left front with right front being less affected.
Having said that, he wasn't fully sound after nerve blocking.

We also looked at his X-rays from April and July and compared the changes. They showed further deterioration...

He has had one dose on Tildren IV (full body) in April, 2 sets of navicular bursea injections - one April/May and another in July, Navilox and is off work since August 2009. No improvement wouldn't be a problem. But he is so much worse :( I was really shocked to see him in trot today. The last time I lunged him was a couple of months ago and to see him moving so oddly and with such difficulty today was just so disheartening.

There remaining options are: another change of shoes...more tildren...more bute...and the most kind of all - PTS.

I would love to see him happy and perky again; he is not a content young horse right now. As many of you will know I would love to ride him everyday and would happily hang on to a possibility to do so but after today the saddle stays firmly on the rack :(



English Rider said...

I'm sorry for your news. It sounds as though even as a pasture ornament he would be in some discomfort. Sigh. Reality Bites!

Anonymous said...

Very sorry to hear that - is there a shoeing option that can help him be more comfortable?

Unknown said...

Thank you and yes, turning away for a year or so would only be possible if he was comfortable. Bute/Danillon doesn't seem to make much difference to he doesn't look comfortable.

Kate - thank you, yes, he will have different shoes put on asap (with wedges) to see if we can immediately ease the pain somehow but the truth is that unless it brings miraculous improvement it's not going to be a long term option.

In a way it feels selfish to prolong his suffering just to be able to ride him :(

Katie twinkles said...

Do you think he is truly unhappy? Or do you think (knowing him as intimately as you do) he still watns to exist-even if in pain-esp if that can be alleviated? I know it is expensive to keep a horse, ridden or not, but is there maybe someone who could give him a home, just as a pet?
I have just finished watching 'horse power'.....

Unknown said...

I think it's a very difficult question...if you define happiness as pain-free existence then I don't think he is happy.
If you describe it as willingness to eat, drink, graze, give you a nudge with his head - then he certainly wants to keep going as he has the appetite and can walk to the field and graze with other horses fine.

Interesting thing I noticed in the last month was that he got progressively more bullied by his young buddies and kept coming from the field with numerous "war wounds"...YO moved him into older geldings field one night but I didn't know so I turned him back into his young field and watched how rough they all played with him :( He is now with older geldings and mostly spends his time grazing on his own.

I really don't know what to think about horses in pain being kept as companions/pets. If I am totally honest I think this is more to calm down our own conscious and for our own peace of mind than it is for the good and comfort of the horse.

This said, IF his pain can be alleviated I don't see why not. The treatment of this horse cost ££££s and is likely to double this if more similar type drugs are being given to him. He rears out hacking which vet thinks is most likely pain related. He has never had much schooling and had a lot of secondary skeletomuscular problems which would need to be addressed if he is to feel comfortable under the saddle ever again.

As to being a pet...again, perhaps a cruel thought but there is so many unwanted horses already out there :( Who will want a horse that needs £££ worth of vet/med care for the foreseeable future? :( Moreover, where to find such genuine person who will definitely take care of him and makes sure he isn't in discomfort?

I wish they could talk and I wish he could be kept as a pet alongside another horse we could ride but neither is very likely.

We are trying the new shoes on him, slightly different type with wedges to lift the heels and alleviate heal pain. Who knows, maybe that will work...

yes, I watched the 'horse power' too...

English Rider said...

Do you feel that you are the final decision maker about this or is his owner or the vet the one? Are they looking to you or are you looking to them? There is much unsaid between the lines. You use the initials PHTS rather than Put Him to Sleep. You obviously don't want that to happen and feel guilty about saying the words out loud. All totally understandable. You're in a horrid position. Reality has to be considered.
Kingsley has had more care and tests than many would have had the patience or money for. You've nothing to feel guilty about, neither does his owner. From what you've described there's not much to hope for. Don't drag it out.

Unknown said...

Hi, it's true he did have more treatment than many...
The final decision is down to his owner but as it's my personal blog here I didn't want to discuss the issue for her. We do think in the same lines on this one but it's much worse for the person who actually have to make the decision.

I wouldn't feel guilty I must say. I feel guilty for not putting down my first horse with this same syndrome and riding him despite knowing he wasn't 100%. Working in this industry I have to teach on semi-sound horses way too often and it's depressing. Many a time this is the sole reason for me wanting to give up riding school teaching.

In the idea world he would recover to the point of being pain free and be happily retired.

To sum up, I am not sure there is anything between the lines but deep sadness :( Not because it came to the decision of putting him to sleep but because it's such a horrible experience for my friend and the owner who deserves much better.

Thank you for your thoughts and comments, I will keep you posted.

English Rider said...


Unknown said...

Thank you

Anonymous said...

Debi here...have been self absorbed busy and just got caught up with you. How horrid for you to have to deal with this. You would likely be more at ease if this was your own personal decision only? We are lucky in that we have the legal and moral option of permanantly and humanely releasing our dear friends from pain, allowing them to live on in our memories for ever.
About teaching on semi-sound horses. Seeing as I own my school that is not an issue, either they are 100% or they are not in the school...simple. My dilemma is are the horses happy with a steady stream of starter riders? But if there is no place to learn, how do people become riders???
How are you feeling, health wise, personally? Take care
Debi xoxo

Unknown said...

Hello Debi! Lovely to hear from you, you really need to write a blog too so I can leave a comment for you too!

Thank you and yes, it was a horrible month with ill health and a lot of worries. All going slowly back to normal now. I have just updated the blog with an update on Kingsley - after a lot of thoughts we decided to try one more time and...go barefoot. He will go to a barefoot rehab place - more details soon!!
Hope all is well with you and the horses? xxx

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