Thursday, September 23, 2010

Shockwave? BLAST!

Yesterday's visit from the vet could not have gone better, unless, of course, we hadn't needed it at all :)

However, given the fact that we did need it, the prognosis is basically as good of news as I could have hoped for.

I had barely gotten the shavings out of P's tail and her coat polished up (a little) before the vet got there.  He performed some mild palpitations, of both front legs and got a way stronger reaction to the tendon lump on her left front than I was able to get... I guess that means his palpitations weren't so mild...

He said it looked like it could be a bandage bow, since the initial swelling was so much lower, and she  had her in stable wraps since last Thursday.  But really, a Bandage Bow!???  I mean, I'm no vet tech, but I've never given a horse a bandage bow in my life, and I always aced bandaging in Pony Club.  In fact, I even taught a little seminar on stable bandages, hock wraps joint support.  There is no flipping way I gave my horse a bandage bow.  I must have had a horrified look on my face, because he immediately backed away from that possibility and asked what I had been wrapping with/how I put them on. 

I offered to show him one of my wraps - and at that point he removed "bandage bow" from the list of likely possibilities. (thank GOD).

As he got his ultrasound machine set up we discussed possibilities, and much like my original thoughts it seemed likely that either:

A) Pia strained a tendon during a ride, in which case we're looking at some serious rest/rehab depending on the extent of the strain, and I need to reevaluate our training regimen


B) She did something idiotic in turnout and smacked it hard enough to bother the tendon.

Option A is scary to me.  Mostly because the other Wobbler in the barn has had constant struggles with tendon and ligament injuries due to his slight blaance issues.  My vet likened it to when you go to step on a stair, miss it and feel that panicked tightening in your body.. even a slight misstep can throw your back out, strain muscles, etc..  Ever since I talked to Other Wobbler's Mom, I've been worried that even though Pia feels steady and balanced, she's more prone to setting herself up for a soft tissue injury..

Option B is what I was rooting for.  Option B means that even with a slightly more extensive injury or bruise, at least P didn't do it while we were working, and it doesn't have immediate implications for limiting our training once she gets back under saddle.

So I crossed my fingers, and tried to keep P's sedated head from landing on the floor.

I had myself situated that so that I could watch the ultrasound screen as my vet was working. Though for me, without any guidance I find it nearly impossible to understand what I'm looking at.  Finally Mister Vet started explaining to me what was on the screen.  At first we were looking at a cross section of her leg.  First big fuzzy band is skin, lots more lines, then finally the bone.  Right, right, makes sense.

Here's what I know about ultrasounds and tendons: black is bad. 

Black is the color of lesions.  The color of holes.  The color of buckle-down-and-get-ready-for-rehab-your-horse-isn't-going-anywhere-for-a-year. 

And black is what I saw.  A chunk of it, two lines behind the "skin" and well in front of the bone, right were her SDFT and DDFT should be.  (stomach flip).

Fortunately for me, I have no idea what I'm talking about, and the gaping black void I was focused on was actually liquid and crap stuck in the "para-tendon" space.  Or rather, around the tendon and not in the tendon.  This, apparently was great news.  It means the lump on her leg is essentially a response to a concussive impact, and the tendon itself had the slightest of bruises on the very very outside.  It means that the swelling is from stuck fluid and not from an inflamed tendon.  It means we're working with Option B!!!!

Never, have I ever been so happy with my horse for "just" being an idiot in turnout. 


2 additional weeks of stall rest with lots of walking and continued icing and shockwave treatments. 

Extra good news is that my vet said I can do the directional shockwave therapy myself. for 15 min a day, every day.  What fun!

There's no limit on how much she's allowed to walk, just no trotting.  I got the go-ahead to walk her under tack, but given her joy for jigging under saddle, I'm not sure I'm going to try that yet. At least, not without a little ace or something to take the edge off.

So... today I get to use my lunch break to go pick up the machine, and this afternoon I get to shockwave her, walk her, then ice her and put her away.  I couldn't be happier.  I really couldn't.  Also, we're trying to wean off the wraps... so we'll see how she looks this afternoon after a full night and day without them.

In other random news - Thank god P has been confined to her stall and run, because there was a bad bale of hay that got fed from the Paddock Feed Shelter and all of P's neighbors got some seriously gross explosive diarrhea. I mean, WOW.  P's big, black boyfriend that is stalled next to her was literally bombing a 10 foot radius.  Super, super icky.   P's lack of participation in that particular event was just one more than I was thankful for yesterday.  :)


  1. That's really good news! Sounds like the plan should lead to good results in short order!

  2. Wow, you must be so relieved! I know just what you mean about watching the ultrasound screen, it's so easy to freak yourself out. It sounds like it's just a bad bruise though, which is great news. Not sure if this would help or not, but a horse in my barn who is on stall rest due to a tendon injury just got a B12 injection in an acupuncture point just behind his poll. It's supposed to keep them calm. Too early to tell if it's working or not yet though... But just a thought for your girl while she rests and recouperates!

  3. The relief is insane... I was mentally prepared for so much worse! Marissa - I've heard about the B12 shots, but never experienced it.. I know that there's a lot of B in Pia's "calming" supplement, but it's impossible for me to really get a sense of how much that is (or isn't) changing her behavior... Let me know what happens with the guy in your barn!

  4. Story.. WOW what timing! yeah.. it's a weird process. We did our first session yesteday and the swelling went down considerably within an hour.. I'm tempted to stick the thing on my bad knee!


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