Another post involving the vet

It feels like this blog is as much about the vet as about anything else lately, so it won’t surprise you to hear that we’ve had another expensive and busy visit from the vet. I booked the appointment because as far as I could see the sarcoid had dropped off, so I stopped treatment, but wanted to check with the vet that he agreed with me it was appropriate to do so. He’d been treated with Newmarket bloodroot ointment daily for 5 days, had 5 days rest from treatment and then another 5 days of ointment. By the end of the second session of treatment there was very little left that hadn’t dropped off, leaving clean skin underneath, and by the end of another 5 day rest everything had gone.

The vet agreed that it was looking really good, and in fact he now wonders if it was a sarcoid in the first place as it responded so well. My thoughts on this were that it wasn’t any kind of healthy growth and didn’t look like other warts so I’m still going to think of it as a sarcoid and be vigilant for it returning or cropping up elsewhere. But it’s a great result and I’m delighted.

In the days while I was trying to get the appointment, D’s diarrhoea returned. First seen in force in September, the poo dreadlocks in his tail were back. Not as quite bad as they had been, but back nevertheless. So this time we’d take the probiotics please. Between September and this month there had been the occasional day of non-optimum digestion, but it never went on for more than a day or so and was never as watery as in September. This time by the time we got the vet it had been almost a week and it was quite liquid. In fact while the vet was there it was so liquid as to give him problems in getting enough solids for testing it. Just as the vet was about to give up, D managed a more cow-pat like sample. The vet ran tests on that and on blood, some of which we’re waiting for, this not being the best time of year to get test results back. Colitis has been ruled out, and small traces of red and white blood cells were found in the stool. We got the probiotic, but after 1 week on double doses of that, I can see little difference. Scoping for ulcers was mentioned as a possibility, especially as he’s always been girthy.

Trouble in the tummy was causing reluctance under saddle, so we had to trot him up to double check that it was tummy and not a recurrence of lameness. I told the vet I didn’t think it was lameness and after seeing him trot, he agreed. We got some more glucosamine to keep the legs going. I have read that tummy upsets can be the most common (albeit rare) side effect of glucosamine, but the vet does not think it likely to be the cause here. Also we rather like him being sound, so we’re hoping it isn’t!

The final thing I had to mention to the vet, and also to you, is that he’s started weaving. This is not going to do the (already dodgy) leg joints any good, so we need to get some anti-weave bars up, but it isn’t happening as quickly as I’d like. There are 2 sets of anti-weave bars at the back of the storage area of the barn but getting them out would be the work of 2 people for several hours. At the moment, with Christmas staffing and the maintenance man just having left, the yard can’t spare anyone to help me get them out. If I manage to get them out I’m not allowed to put them up myself and again we run into the issue of the maintenance man just having left. I really want weave bars up, but it just looks a bit impossible at present. The vet was not that interested in the weaving and didn’t think it was likely to be related to the physical problems. Personally I think it’s related to the diarrhoea, if only indirectly, but I can’t really say why I think that. It’s not a whole body weave, just the head and neck, although I’m sure it’s a slippery slope once a horse starts.

By the time I’d finished with the vet I felt like I’d interrogated him on every bit of my horse! And then another horse’s owners sprang upon him while he was on the yard. They’ve just realised their horse is having vision issues on one side. The vet confirmed that he has something growing on his retina on that side and he’s going to send them a specialist. Just as I felt like everything was wrong with my horse, I see that there are plenty of things to be grateful for. Following that initial diagnosis, this horse and his owner have been exercising outdoors to stop him spooking at the mirrors indoors. My heart was in my mouth for them a couple of days ago when they were schooling outdoors and a heron flew over the school at rider head-height; I expected an explosion, but maybe in this case the vision impairment helped because the horse didn’t register the enormous bird getting close to them at all!

Anyway, my point is that although we see (and spend) far too much of (on) the vet of late, we have lots to be grateful for. The legs are all managing to stay sound, and exercise is gradually being built up without issues. The digestion is a problem, but it’s not stopping him doing anything, he’s not losing condition so far, and he’s still fine in himself. The sarcoid is unexpectedly marvellously gone, and the weaving can be managed with bars, which we will get up at some point. It’s all going to be just fine, somewhen.

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