Wednesday, January 4, 2012

And Then They Handed The Sentence Down

Verdict: chronic laminitis

Our vet and the farrier came up this afternoon.  They wanted to look at Jackson's feet together, when the farrier was here to pull the shoes,  so we arranged it on our regular scheduled shoeing day.  The plan was to repeat x-rays and blood work.

In the morning, Jackson was walking with just a slight gimp so I turned him out in the paddock after grooming him and washing his tail.  He soooo loves the paddock and being able to socialize with the others.  He spent some time at the water trough -- the water must taste like champagne.  The horses prefer it so much over the water in their stalls.

He spent awhile down there at the bottom of the paddock, sniffing the ground and thinking what ever it is that horse's think while they are sniffing the ground "hmmm, remnants of Kalvin's poop I think..."

At lunch time, he trotted up to the run in shed for his hay.  Trotted!  Off, yes, but still...

Then, the experts arrived.  They pulled his shoes, poked and prodded his soles, and looked at his previous x-rays.  They glanced at me furtively.  I think they were afraid to voice what I already knew in case I fell apart.  But then Dr. Thacher remembered that I am a knowledge hound and confirmed that I had read every scholarly article on laminitis I could find.  She knew it wouldn't be a surprise. 


It was obvious.  So obvious that further testing would be throwing money away.  His previous x-rays showed the start of rotation.  The increase in the distance between the wall of his hoof and the sole, indicated a progression.  He stood with his forelegs stretched out slightly in front, the classic laminitis stance.

We left his shoes off.  If he can tolerate being barefoot, it will be better for the health of his hooves.

In an odd way, it was a relief to get confirmation of what I believed was going on.  I was commended for giving him a forever home and continuing to do what is best for him, despite the "can never be ridden again" diagnosis.  I feel less guilty about looking for another horse, too.


13 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry, Annette. But, at least now you know and Jackson will be well managed. He's lucky to have you.

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  2. poor jackson! i just hate thinking of him dealing with this for the rest of his life. but i'm glad that you had already wrestled with all of this emotionally, and just needed the confirmation to know you were doing the right thing in pursuing a new riding horse.

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  3. I am sorry to hear this Annette.

    Jackson's best chance to tolerate being barefoot is to give him a "barefoot trim" and management (diet, etc.). How about a barefoot specialist? A competent trimmer may be able to do him wonders as long as you find one that treats the whole horse and has lots of experience with laminitis cases.

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  4. I hate to hear that about Jackson, but glad you at least know. Hopefully, it will give your mind some rest. Giving him a forever home is a fitting tribute to your partnership, and is something I truly respect.

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  5. Annette,
    Confirmation. You were wise to do this for sweet Jackson, knowing what you suspected already. Love him to pieces and see how it goes. All the best to you and Brett as your hunt for a new horse begins.

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  6. I'm so sorry that your instincts were correct. It is good that your horses live at home where you can still enjoy one another and Jackson will be an outstanding paddock ornament.

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  7. Well, damn...I'm so, so sorry for you and Jackson. I hope barefoot does him a world of good. (Hugs)

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  8. I can totally relate to how very sad this is, but its great that you will keep Jackson and that you had already made up your mind to get another horse. I did go through something similar four years ago and my new horse worked out beautifully (I posted about him yesterday on the equestrian ink blogspot). I still have my retired horses (both of them) and they are barefoot and pasture sound. I sincerely wish that you have an equally happy outcome.

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  9. It is always best to know. And Jackson is so blessed to have you and to live with you.

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  10. This doesn't have to be a life sentence for him. Give a barefoot professional a try and see if that doesn't help him get more comfortable.

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  11. PS- Dave Fitton is an excellent trimmer who lives in California.

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  12. That's a tough one. So very sorry.

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  13. I'm with Val on the barefoot specialist. Have you looked at www.hoofrehab.com? If he has trouble adjusting you can use boots to make it easier. In the long run I think barefoot is best for him. Just keep in mind it can take some time to transition. Don't give up hope if he acts gimpy for a bit. Sorry about the diagnoses, but I'm glad it wasn't a complete surprise. Good luck with your horse hunt!!

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Thanks so much for commenting! I love the conversation.