Monday, May 10, 2010

The Neck Bone's connected to the.... Neck Bone

Friday was our big Vet Adventure to Rainland Farm for P's x-rays.   The Boy agreed to drive us, and we borrowed a trailer from a friend so we were all set.  Since the vet tech told me that depending on sedation it would be 2-3 hours, I threw all my dirty, dirty tack into the trailer anticipating plenty of time to scrub and tidy while we were there.  It kinda felt like when I would pack text books with me on vacation - part of me "knows" I won't actually get any work done. but just the effort of lugging crap around makes me feel better about not accomplishing something.

Anyway.  P was bathed, clipped and totally primped for her trip by the time The Boy showed up at 10 to hitch up the trailer. 

Side note: Some of the biggest fights of my adolescent life include the enormous stress of trailering with my father.  He's a great driver, and totally dragged me everyone I needed to go, but the process of attempt to hitch the trailer, and more so the exceptionally difficult parking the trailer in its shed (only 3" wider than the trailer itself) led to some less than ideal outbursts from my teenaged self.  Add to that the fact that I never seemed to have a horse that willingly entered a trailer and it was a recipe for disaster.  Tears, frustration, arguments (with horse and father) all have resulted in an elevated stress level when I start prepping for a haul. 
You can imagine my delight then, when the Boy hitched up by himself (no bizarre hand signals necessary), and on the first try no less, then proceeded to back the trailer into the arena and manuver around jumps that were set up.  I offered to break them down and clear a straight path, but apparently he didn't need it.  Even in reverse.

The positive vibe kept rocking and rolling when P (decked out in her traveling finery) sniffed the trailer once then just strolled in and started munching on hay.  No freakouts, no half-in/half-out panic. no stomping.  Just one small discussion about moving her butt over far enough to get the divider latched. 

Though I managed to direct the Boy down two wrong turns (small private drives, whoops), I reamined impressed with his (relaxed) ability to impressively turn around withough damaging the truck, trailer, horse or anyone's lawn.

When we did finally unload, I shoved P into a stall and waited for more instructions.  I was expecting some discussion, but mostly it was "ok, thanks, you can go pick up lunch for yourself now, see you later!"

uhhhhh, k, bye?

At least it was warm and sunny. So we snacked away in the sunshine and watched Dr. Fleck's daughter work all of her cute perky jumpers over big, pretty jumps.  Obviously, I didn't touch a single piece of my dirty tack.  oh well.

After exactly 2-3 hours, P popped out of imaging and was working off the tranquilizer in her little hospital stall.  I reviews the xrays with Dr Fleck, and realized just how murky and fuzzy this process is going to be.  Fleck thinks there's an abnormality between the C3 and C4 vertabrea, though the x-rays are hard to interpret so we are sending the images to Dr Grant (Global Wobbler expert) for his consult. 

Fleck gave me a CD with the x-rays, but I cannot get them to load, so they aren't posted yet.  But I'm working on it.  Her big chubby neck bones are sorta strange to look at. 

I let P doze until her drugs wore off, then it was back into the trailer for the trip home.  Time for more "wait and see" but at least we are making progress.  The only definitive answer that we got was that her blood work is totally clean.  Not even that weird "false" positive for EPM.  I guess its nice to rule out any viral options, but part of me wonders if that would have been a simpler diagnosis.

I left Fleck's feeling really good and like we were at least making progress.  I'm feeling informed and comfortable with the next steps (myelogram and surgery) if they are necessary.  A lot of my comfort was stemming from the fact that a) I don't mind rehabbing horses and b) I have $$ stashed away for these situations and am comfortable spending it. 

But driving home (in traffic) I had a huge ah-ha moment.  What if surgery is risky. What if Dr Grant says she's not a good candidate. What do I do if there's nothing that can be done? what do I do if Dr Grant advises against further treatment and against her being a riding horse?

I realized that I am totally mentally prepared to spend time and money on Pia to get her better and fully functional, but I also realized that I have not in any way prepared for any other outcome.  I haven't thought about what risk level I'm willing to put her through or what happens if we get to a "no good option" scenario.  Obviously if for some reason surgery has a high risk factor or isn't likely to improve her situation at all, I wouldn't pursue it... but what then? You don't breed something with spinal issues. Her condition may worsen, but in theory she's not in pain yet.  What do you do with a 6 year old happy horse that can't do anything?

And how (pray tell) did I get this far along without thinking about those options, since they seem somewhat likely.

Lots to think about.....

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