Saturday, August 11, 2012

Not-so-good news on Commander

Well, so much for getting my hopes up.

Commander looked good for maybe five days after his shoeing. Then he began to look ever so slightly not quite as good. Nothing dramatic, just a creeping stiffness of movement in front over the next few days.

Yesterday he was definitely stiffer and not all that eager to go out for the usual overnight turnout, though he was happy enough to spend his usual ten minutes or so on the grazed-to-nubbins paddock before being closed into the dry lot. Still chipper, though, and with his usual greedy appetite.

Today at midday he was worse – straight-legged moving in front when he had to turn, didn’t want to step outside the barn onto the graveled drive, with an occasional stumble on his right front. Still standing square, not in classic founder position, still no heat I could find in either foot, no bounding pulse, still bright-eyed and looking for food, but not wanting to move more than he had to.

I added a gram of bute to his midday dose of Previcox, bedded his stall thickly, and left, fingers crossed. Came back for evening chores, with no intention to put the boys out overnight even if Commander looked much improved; better to give those feet a few days and nights’ rest from standing on the hard outdoor surfaces, stomping at flies and mosquitoes on hardpacked dirt or matted concrete.

He looked worse when I arrived. Still no heat or elevated pulse, still standing square, not sweating or shaking, as I’ve seen him in the worst episodes of laminitis, but when I opened his stall door he didn’t even turn to come to me at first, just kept staring out his window – and this is a horse who, when he’s feeling great, will plow impatiently over you to get out of his stall for turnout.

I called and talked to the vet on duty, discussed what’s been going on and what I was seeing, and on her advice gave him another gram of bute. He tore into the beet-pulp mash laced with it, so his appetite is still keen; I’ll take that as a good sign. If he’s not looking a lot better tomorrow we’ll probably do x-rays to see what’s going on in there. In any case, he (and buddy Ben, poor boy) will be spending the next few days on strict stall rest.

I wish I had better news to report. It’s true, Commander has looked this bad before and bounced back, but this rollercoaster is heartbreaking. Still, as long as he’s bright-eyed and enjoying life, I’ll keep trying to keep him comfortable and happy.

Oh, and while he was parked over in Cholla’s vacant stall this evening, waiting for me to muck, re-hay, and re-water-bucket his own, he took the opportunity to scratch his butt on Cholla’s corner feed tub, a maneuver he loves to engage in whenever he gets the chance. If that’s high up on his priorities even now, that’s got to be a good sign, surely?

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