Monday, May 13, 2013

Gus and the Very Bad, Terrible, No Good Birthday Weekend

Poor Gus.  He did not have the Sweet Sixteen Party he was planning for.  Instead he had three days of poking prodding and feeling crummy. 

But let's back up.  The weekend started off with Promise (capital P).  M2 had thoughtfully gotten Gussie a nice box of birthday goodies (complete with a Vet Wrap bow) to usher him into the next year of Gus-filled-life. 
vet wrap!
Birthday Loot

Sadly this was as good as it got for the poor old man.

Friday my favorite vet came out to do Prairie's teeth (good god that girl grows fangs quickly..) and give Gus his birthday bodywork.  But Gus had some inflammation on his pesky Right Front (the site of the old DDFT injury) and when I jogged him out the vet made a frowny face that said "what the hell happened in the last 6 weeks."

Gus was obviously more lame on his right front (though his hind end seemed to be moving better, small win?) and we had no great reason for it.  The only change in his routine has been slightly less work since S has been busy with shows and has consequently missed a few of her regular lessons.  Gus doesn't seem to mind though, he just sunbathes in his paddock and proceeds to get as filthy as possible all the time.

The only other environmental change is a "heat wave" (by Seattle standards) that sent temps rocketing into the 70's (and even the low 80's) for about 10 days.  (we are wimps).

We chatted randomly for a bit, talked about how some horses just get puffy when the weather warms up and then got to business with the Thermal Imaging Camera.  I love that thing.  I know it's not a magic wand but it is just so interesting to see what clues it can give you about things. 

Things that seem great, Gus' medial/lateral balance on all 4 hooves.  Gus' hocks, Gus's back and Gus's big cute beak. 

The interesting finding was that the puffy right front was colder than the (less) puffy left front.  Vet lady dialed up the sensitivity and we looked closer at the Right Front and were able to see the scar tissue that has formed around the Annular Ligament.  It appears as though the Annular Ligament functions essentially as a tourniquet on Gus's Right Front (instead of a supportive structure) and totally chokes off blood flow to that lower limb. 
See Annular Ligament Here
Ultimately we decided that we will end up treating it with some shockwave to try and break up some of the scar tissue and regain some mobility, but since it was late and we didn't want to sedate the old man, we just applied some cold laser for the edema and Gus was very (very) pleased about that.  This horse loves any massage/acupuncture/treatment on that fetlock.  He stops mugging for treats and just snoozes whenever you do anything with it.

The laser got rid of the swelling very quickly and going forward he will work up to wearing his BoT stable wraps at night between now and the shockwave treatment.  Vet is also having me order some really cool trans-dermal patches for some meds in the meantime but I'll write more on those later. 

We re-jogged the man and he seemed to be moving better so hopefully reducing the swelling helped his comfort level.

Gus finished up the day with a flu shot (up the nose) and we called it a night. 

Saturday I hobbled myself out to the barn to check on Gus and see how his RF looked "the morning after."  The answer was pretty good.  One of his Adult Lessoners had just brought him in from pasture and both legs looked nice and tight (by Gus standards). 

What didn't look normal by Gus standars was his demeanor.  Usually Gus is fairly.... active in the cross ties. He isn't naughty, but he shifts around a lot and tends to use his head as a battering ram in an attempt to knock any loose treats out of your pockets/brain/body.  But Saturday Gus was just standing quietly and his head was calm and not at all being used as a battering ram. 

Red Flag. 

We took his temp and he was a toasty 103.7 which immediately explained the lethargy.  I shoved 2g of bute down his gullet, gave him a nice cold hosing and put him in his stall.  Approximately 90 minutes later his temp was normal and he was fussy and hunting for treats.  Poor guy.

He got his BoT wraps put back on for the afternoon and all was well except for this:

Yup.  Hind hoof, last of the acrylic filler busting off his heel and threatening to totally remove itself which would leave a 1/2" gap between hoof and shoe.  No Bueno.  I hopped on the phone with my farrier and he promised to be out Sunday afternoon for the repair and a reset. 

It is always something with this horse.

Sunday I got a text from S saying Gus' temp was still normal (yay!) but his right hind was all puffed up. 

Seriously horse!?

I zoomed out, wrapped all four legs, and waited for the farrier to fix at least one of our problems.  Gus was definitely back to his charming, mischievous self which made the shoeing process less than ideal. 

Also less than ideal is that Gus has crushed what heel we built up with the acrylics right back down to nothing.  His feet are horrid.  Even on a 4 week trim cycle (this was 3.5 weeks) he doesn't grow real hoof, but still distorts forward a ton.  There's nothing to "back off" to help his heels get under neath him, but his toe just runs out and those poor hind feet continue to break back.  It's a tricky situation and I'm hoping that as his diet and care has changed, hopefully he'll start growing more/better hoof, but in the mean time we're dealing with crumbly, crappy neglected crap that won't do anything remotely helpful. 

Eventually we opted to fit Gus with some pads.  I hate pads.  I feel like they don't encourage new healthy hoof structure but Gus' feet are so bad he needs some heel support now.  So he's rocking two degree pads with a one degree wedge shoe for a total of 3 degrees of lift.  He walked off much happier and hopefully that will help his overall healthy-Gus-factor.

The farrier finished up around 5, which left just enough time for a super fun shingles-sponge-bath before a fabulous Mommy's Day dinner with M2. 


What a weekend.  Hopefully Gus got it all out of his (very cute) system. 

ps - S has been riding Prair and she is being perfect.


  1. Oh Gus you are so high maintenance!

  2. Sometimes I think they just invent injuries to make sure we don't have too much spare change (or sanity) lying around. Glad to hear he's feeling better!

  3. Gus, good thing you are so loveable and amazing :)

  4. good grief, in a sea of mares I think it's hilarious that the gelding is the most high maintenance!! good thing he's adorable, and sweet, and loving...ok he's totally worth it.

  5. I swear by this stuff for crappy feet and overall health. It is awesome, I have used it on many horses all different breeds, backgrounds etc.

  6. Aww, poor guy. I'm glad he's got such attentive care. I hope he gets all his issues sorted out!

  7. Wow what a sucky weekend for Gus! I'm glad he's doing better. :)


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