Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Update on Sam

We have improvement. On Friday and Saturday we had a fair bit of rain so the ground is nice and soft at the moment. Sunday morning I put him on the lunge but the ground was too slippery to get a good idea. I trotted him out on the road and he seemed improved. By the afternoon the ground had dried out a fair bit so I lunged him over in the reserve in the arena I have created over there. He had a lovely time kicking up his heels and trotted out nicely both directions. I trotted him on the road again and there was still a small amount of lameness to the right.

Monday night I rode him. He was full of beans but went well. I was even able to ride a 15m circle on the soft ground. Tuesday I think he must have woken up on the wrong side of the stable as he was extremely grumpy so I didn't ride. This afternoon we went for a long 40min walk where he strided out well the whole time. He was feeling very fresh, tried to break into a trot a few times but came to a walk without too much fuss. We did two 10minute sessions in the arena with a 3 minute walk break in between. He worked well, very forward but seemed sound.

Townsville Vets have already destroyed Sam's x-rays. They only need to keep them for two years they tell me. I spoke to Brad Dowling the vet who worked with Sam a lot while we were up there and our conversation went a lot like this:

Me: Hi Brad, we are having a few lameness issues with Sam and having a little difficulty in pin pointing exactly where it is.

Vet: So the Pedal Ostitis is finally showing

Me: Oh, they were throwing that around but not to sure.

Vet: I am surprised you have gotten this long out of him

Me: Any suggestions on how to treat it

Vet: Not a lot you can do, he is only going to give you a lot of heart ache being lame on and off.

Me: Thanks Brad

I spoke to Hadley my vet here and relayed what was said. She seems to think his pasterns are playing a part as well and would like to do some more tests. Because I will now have to float Sam into town to be shod (the new farrier refuses to travel out to me) they will test him then. I am to keep him in work and monitor how he goes. In about 4 weeks I will take him in and see how we go. From there we can work out a pain management plan. If the pasterns are playing a part she thinks she can help with this with some injections. I guess we will have to wait and see.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sams second vet visit and new shoes!

Sam went back to vets last Wednesday. Lame still in both front legs. They x-rayed both front hooves, pasterns and fetlocks. It showed arthritic changes, the pedal bone looks airated, motely but with out x-rays to compare it is hard to know if the bone has changed. Nothing that would have them say, yep that is why he is lame. A master farrier looked at his hooves and the x-rays and shod him. He made some pretty big changes, took him back up to a size 4, took away a lot of toe, made him wider, not so upright, basically made his hooves look a whole lot better and normal. He also has used side clips which I like. Sam was still lame both directions on a circle at the trot. The vet advised to give him more rest and we will re-evaluate Monday.

Today I put him on the lunge to see how he would travel. Pretty good to the left but slightly lame to the right though a huge improvement. We have had so much rain my, arena was like an ice skating rink so I mowed the flat area over in the reserve across the road so I could try him out over there. This afternoon on the lunge he was fine both directions. He had a wonderful time kicking up his heels and feeling exceptionally good. Even bringing him in on a smaller circle to the right at the trot he was showing no signs of lameness. I trotted him out on the road and around in circles. On the hard ground still slight lameness to the right but it had to be a pretty tight circle so I consider this a big improvement.

The vets really have no idea what it could be. I have requested x-rays that were taken in Townsville in 2007 and 2008 to see if we can compare and see if that shows anything. They are throwing around the idea of Pedal Osteitis. I am hoping not for this as there is no 'cure'.

What I am wondering is if he is mainly lame on his right fore - it is overcoming a splint, burst abscess, new shape and shoes. Also if there are arthritic changes then maybe it is time for Sam to be on some supplements.

I am going to wait for them to be able to review and compare the x-rays and then if he is still lame I will take him in again for more tests.

It was good to see him kicking up his heels today, feeling a lot better. Poor little Sam.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Vet report so far

Sam had a day out today, at the vets. I dropped him off at 8am and went back at 2.30pm for his appointment. He had a lovely stable, lucerne hay, fresh water and a neighbour to keep him company. There was even a video camera in there so when you were in at reception you could watch him! That was awesome. I hadn't been to this vet clinic before, it is part of the university here in Wagga, a teaching veterinary clinic. Relatively new so the best of everything.

I got back at 2.30pm and they were ready to see us. First Sam was weighed, he is a hefty 534kg. I thought he would be heavier..... We went through the history of what has been happening, trotted him out and he was a lot worse than he was at home, both ways on the lunge this time. They said he was lame in a straight line as well. Flexion tests, hoof tests, they still couldn't pin point it. Next step was nerve blocks. So far we are up to 3 lame legs. We ran out of time so he is going back next week to check the other leg, have x-rays and they are having a farrier come and look at him. I did ask if it could be his shoulders or more in his body but the further investigating we did it doesn't look like it.

I asked the vet what she was thinking before I left, she didn't want to speculate but it is looking like it might be the shoeing job. My farrier is not the greatest farrier I have ever had, but is always on time, will travel out to me (most think I live out in the sticks) rings me when he is going away to see if Sam will last or if he needs to do him a little earlier and he is a gentleman. Good farriers in this area are hard to come by and the goods ones are not taking on any more clients. The farrier who will be examining Sam next week is one that I have been trying to get into since we moved here. I am hoping that this might be my in. It would mean floating him into the uni for him to be done but if it means that I would get a great shoeing job then I am willing to do that.

Maybe it won't be the shoes, maybe his arthritis and the degenerative changes are starting to play up. I guess we just wait and see.

Sam was their best client today, easiest to examine, to do things with and the most polite. I was very happy to hear that! So Sam gets to stay out tonight as the vet thinks he might get some swelling from all the injections so he is out in his paddock grazing.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Sam still lame

Well I won't be meeting Pirate, his mum sold him on the weekend. Never mind if it was meant to be it would be.

I tried to ride Sam this afternoon but he is still lame. Straight line - sound. Circle left - sound. Circle right still very lame. I have given him a little over a week so I will take him to the vets on Friday. We might get him x-rayed and see what they think. He is happy within himself and certainly wanted to get out and about today on our ride. I might take him for a walk tomorrow afternoon.

I hope you are all surviving the ice cold!

Friday, February 4, 2011


I have decided to go and look at a horse that I have found for sale. Why, because unfortunately I fell in love with a photo. His name is Pirate and he is a 6 year old Thoroughbred gelding. He was broken in by the students of Marcus Oldham - this is a 'horse college', where you can study all different areas for horses so you can manage a stud farm, racing stables etc. I like the idea of him being broken in at this college as he would have gotten used to noise, hustle and bustle, being handled by a variety of people. Things I don't like about this idea is that he may have picked up a few bad habits - we will wait and see. He was trialed but never raced - too slow. The lady who currently owns him is a vet nurse and was on a call out with the vet to look at a horse (not Pirate). She saw him in a stable looking very sad and asked about him, she was told that they are trying to get rid of him. He was on a truck the following day to her place. She was training him to Hunt, so had taken him out on numerous occasions with other horses and dogs to get him used to sights and sounds, horses playing up etc. She said he was no problem at all. She has done clinics and a lot of flat work with him. I will meet him in 9 days.

Did I mention that he is 18 hands high! This last photo is when she bought him, she tells me he is in much better condition now.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

And Sam has his own bathroom!

We now have a wash bay! The concrete was poured this morning so I still can't use it until the weekend but - I AM SO EXCITED!

So now Sam has his own shower/bathroom. We still need to bring the water over to it. A trench digger is in order but we are certainly on our way!

I did use it on the weekend once all the rails were up and it is a great size. I am able to turn Sam around in it if necessary. We can enter from the paddock and exit straight out towards the tack shed. At the moment we have chain up as a gate from the paddock to the wash bay but this is proving to be harder to use than I thought so we will make a double gate up for that area.

Once it is dry and I can take the plastic off I will take a final photo for you!

This is Thomo - our neighbour (the one dressed in black) and my OH last Wednesday using a two man post hole digger to dig a few more holes for the posts. The little pup behind Thomo is Rosie, a Red Cattle Dog that he got for Christmas. She loves his dad and will try and help him whenever she has the chance!
The view from the sacrifice paddock. This is where we will put a double gate.
Looking from the front into the sacrifice paddock. (That's Wilbur the cat checking it out with me and good ol' Sam in the background)

Looking from the tack shed. The opening there is where I will lead them out when I am riding. I will put chain across that bit because I think a gate will get in the way. We will make a pebble path from the concrete to meet up with the gravel driveway and I will make a little garden bed on the side. I was thinking of planting comfrey, aloe vera and things that have a medicinal value to the horses.

Sam is lame again. I jumped on him Friday night to see how the lameness was - Straight lines he is fine, to the left he is fine round to the right he was very lame. It was dark when I jumped on so I couldn't really see or feel anything. Saturday morning I found another splint, this time on his near side fore. I have turned him out again and will check him again this weekend. I am a little concerned that he has two splints in as many weeks. A neighbour is finding her Alpaca's are low in calcium and zinc at the moment so I am looking into a supplement I can give him. Though I have increased his lucerne intake which I thought would give him more calcium.

Bandages - I am thinking of bandaging Sam's legs when I ride. To give more support as our ground is rock hard now in this heat. I am comfortable with bandaging but what do people prefer to use - polar fleece or Polyester? Buy a bandage with padding already attached or use own padding? What type of padding?

I have also started to consider using paddock boots on him. I have a set of pure sheepskin paddock boots but I am afraid of the heat. We have just had two days of 40 degree heat or 104 Fahrenheit!!!! I don't really want to bandage for the paddock. What do people think? Or don't wrap him in cotton wool, let him be a horse and this is all just part of horse ownership!


(But I do like to spoil him occasionally. :)