Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Downward Spiral

Sunday, August 12:

When I got to the barn at midday, Commander was lying down. He’s NEVER lying down at midday in his stall; he’s always up to greet me and get a handful of treats. When he did get up he looked awful, gimping stiff-legged and favoring his right front. Still, he wanted his palmful of grain (plus Previcox), and when I left his door partway open while taking down his water buckets, he tried to sneak out behind my back. He was able to walk slowly across the aisle so I could park him in the opposite stall while I cleaned his, and he did eat there, and move about some to look out the windows. I have seen him worse, but not by much.

On the vet’s recommendation I gave him 2 grams of bute in his midday mash, went home to grab lunch and my CDs of Commander’s previous radiology studies, then returned to the barn for x-rays. Alas, they confirmed my fears: he’s had more rotation in both feet. The coffin bone in the 2011 films was in alignment or nearly so with the bones above in both feet; in today’s x-rays both feet show further downward tipping, out of alignment. The vet said it could have been one episode of rotation or a gradual process, there’s no way to tell, and we are where we are regardless.

Now what? Commander still has a thin amount of sole between coffin bone and doom; the vet said he was actually looking better clinically than his films would suggest; he’s still got spirit and appetite. I’ll consult with his regular vet this coming week to see what possible shoeing changes might help; in the short term we’ll probably pull his shoes and wrap in place the hockey-puck-like dense foam pads that gave him a lot of relief in his first (with me) founder episode; keep him on stall rest and bute; and see where we go from here.

I wish it were better news.

Here, by the way, are the x-rays; first from May of last year:

Photobucket Photobucket

And the new ones:

Photobucket Photobucket

Wednesday, August 15:

Commander looked very good when I saw him Monday evening, a couple of hours after the vet had changed him from shoes to the wrap-on pads: moving well, eager to move, and looking for treats.

Alas, he wasn’t as good on Tuesday as he was the night before. Presumably the Banamine or whatever she gave him when she put him into the foam pads had worn off by 10:30ish when I got there. He wasn’t as bad as before he got his hockey pucks, but he’d regressed somewhat in comfort. Still his attitudinal self, still with a greedy appetite, still eager to look out the windows of Counterpoint’s stall when I moved him in there for mucking his swamp, but you could tell that moving was uncomfortable.

As I’d discussed with his vet, I gave him one bute at lunch (around 11:30), to see how that would carry him till evening. At 7:30 p.m. he was about the same comfortwise, appetitewise, and attitudewise. He got two grams of bute in his evening mash and I left him greedily guzzling it down.

I plan to give him two grams for lunch as well as supper today, Wednesday, and we’ll see how he does with that.

Ben, meanwhile, got to go out while I was mucking and had a good half hour at least at midday, which he spent hanging out in the run-in chatting with the white boys. Commander handled the separation without too much distress. Ben went out again at 7:30. He spent about five minutes romping in the square paddock, then came back to the gate and started screaming to come in – mosquitoes, skeeters, flying ravening MONSTERS were attacking him. He really, really hates bugs, in fact at both midday and evening he didn’t want to leave the barn to begin with. So I don’t feel quite so bad about him being shut inside. Long term, of course, it’s a problem.

I’m looking into the pads/boots combination the vet mentioned to me. Online proponents of the system say it works wonders, but then, they would, wouldn’t they? Might be just what Commander needs; might be throwing my money away for nothing. I’m cautious because so far the boot-and-pad proponents I’ve found are also barefoot trim advocates, and there are some real fruitloops in that world. My vet’s not a fruitloop, though; she’s not likely to steer me towards some woowoo fad.

Here’s one true believer, for what it’s worth:

So, we’ll see how Commander does, whether there’s anything else we can figure out to bring him back. But if he can’t become securely comfortable, I will not make him go on and on till he’s outright miserable. Better to let him out of this life while he’s still taking some joy in it, rather than wait till the spark leaves his eyes entirely.

And now, it’s time to go to the barn for the midday pillow-plumping and maw-stuffing. Let us hope it reveals an uptick in Commander’s wellbeing. Update when I return, or when I can bear to talk about it, depending.

Update, Wednesday evening:

No better. No worse. Leaving me to continue wrestling with the Decision.

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