Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Nom Nom Nom...

Hand Walking Day: 8
Walking time: 5 minutes

Here's a video I took the other day of Lilly trying to eat hay out of her new hay net. I could watch her for hours try to get hay out of there! :)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Few Pictures From Today

Here is my attempt at taking a picture of me and Lilly. I thought more of her head would show up. :)

Here is the wild pony on her walk after 57 days of stall rest. LOOK OUT!! SHE'S CRAZY!! :)

And finally, remember how I said she gets poop all over herself in the stall... Yeah, here's what I have to deal with. How does one little pony manage to get so much manure all over herself? HOW?!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Things Are Better Today

Thank goodness!

Miss Lilly was doing much better today. She was still concerned about her new boyfriend, but she was much more calm and actually seemed more interested in me today. She was being such a love bug.

I filled up her hay bag, changed her wrap, picked her feet, and then we got ready to go for our walk. The stall she's in has a wooden 2x6 across the bottom of it that the door rests against and she hits that thing every time we step out. Today was no different... she about fell flat on her face. *sigh

She and I had a really good walk today. The sun was shining, it was warm, and I could tell she was really enjoying the walk. I did some reading yesterday about horses on stall rest and different rehab programs and a lot of people were asking for helpful ideas to keep their horses from rearing and going crazy when they took them out of the stall for a walk. Not Lilly... her eyes were half shut and she was anything but hyper. I let her stand in the sun for a while and take in the sights, sounds, and smells. I scratched her withers for a while and she could easily have fallen asleep.

Next she ate some grass, then we headed back to the stall. She was quite dirty and must enjoy rolling around in the stall all night because she's always got manure all over her. So I got my curry and started brushing. She loved it and that lip was going crazy. "That's the spot!"

Then I tried to clean up her behind a little bit... it was dirty from her being in heat and from the diarrhea. That seems to have stopped for now, but I wanted to get the dry stuff off. Unfortunately, it accumulates between her cheeks and the hair gets coated. The only way to really get it off is to curry it... even with washing, because it gets matted. It isn't as bad in the summer because she has a summer coat, but when the winter hair starts coming in, the manure just sticks. So needless to say, she HATES that (I would too, and I try to be as gentle as I can). She usually picks her leg up and pretends that she is going to nail me, sending me across the stall, but she never does. Then she'll try to hide her butt against the wall. Today, however, she kicked that leg out a little bit and her immediate reaction was really funny. When she did that, I yelled "NO!" to her and smacked her on the butt. She had a look on her face that said, "I know... I'm sorry... it just sort of happened!" Her head was hanging, her ears were droopy, and she was watching me out of the corner of her eye. I wish I had the camera because it was a priceless look. So I went to her head and gave her a hug... poor pony. I decided we had done enough de-pooping for the day.

She got lots of hugs and lots of kisses today. I think if she were dog sized she would have climbed into my lap. She was content just to stand with me, her head in my arms. She seemed to enjoy my company today more than usual. When I left to walk back to my truck she whinnied... so of course I turned around and got her another cookie. You should have seen her face! I couldn't say no...

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Not a Good Day

Hand Walking Day: 5
Walking time: 5 minutes

I got to the barn early today to make sure I was home in time to watch my Steelers play. Lilly still had hay in her stall and she hadn't eaten her grain. Her new hay net (yes, it came early! woohoo!) hung against the wall, empty, even though I was hoping her breakfast hay would be put in there. She seemed restless and I tried to get her to eat her grain, but she wasn't interested. So I got her halter and took her out for her 5 minute walk. She did well. She seemed a little excited and I had to ask her to slow down and wait for me a couple times, but before long she was plodding along and enjoying the sunshine.

When I put her back in the stall, I took her halter off and turned her loose. She immediately turned around, bucked, and ran to the back of the stall. Talent, right? To manage all that in such a small space... so as it turns out, her stall neighbor can come and go in his stall and she is freaking out when she can't see him. Just as I feared... I thought she might get attached and have a fit when he leaves. On top of it all, she's in heat, so I'm sure that's not helping matters.

She kept running around, whinnying for him. I ended up tying her up while I cleaned the stall and took care of things to calm her down and keep her still.

I sent the barn owner an email today asking if that's the setup she's going to keep for him for a while. If that's the case, my vet mentioned a shot we can give Lilly that will keep her slightly sedated for about 3 weeks or so. I don't remember what it is, and she was doing so well we haven't needed anything until now.

So who knows how long she has been acting a fool in the stall... I'm pretty upset about the whole ordeal.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Leg Progress

Look how enthused she looks with all this attention!

So here are the most recent pictures of her leg. Compared to how they looked in the last pictures, I think the swelling has reduced significantly.

Outside view:

Inside view:

And just for fun, here's a video I took of Lilly when I was trying to get her to nicker at me. Pretty much every day she'll nicker when she sees me so I thought it would make a cute video. Of course you know when I take the camera with me she doesn't do it! I thought she looked cute anyway, so here she is. :)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Every year at Christmas I wish I had a cute Santa hat to put on Lilly... then I could take cute, but embarrassing, pictures of her all dressed up. I still haven't bought one of those hats yet, though. Next year? :)

Today for Christmas we got rain... lots of rain. So I didn't walk Lilly, but we did walk yesterday. I think she really enjoys it. She looks all around and takes it all in. I think she's remembering the good old days when she got to be outside.

Merry Christmas to all!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Hand Walking Day 1

Hand Walking Day: 1
Walking time: 5 minutes

Lilly is handling this whole experience really well. I know I keep saying that, but I just can't believe how she is behaving. She's comfortable in the stall, she stays calm, and after being in the stall for 51 days, I bring her out to go for a walk and she just plods along on a loose lead rope.

The barn where she's boarded is at the end of a dead end road, and part of the road goes through the property. So there is a nice flat surface for me to use to walk her. No worries about her slipping and no grass distractions either. :)

I do think she was a bit lame today. Perhaps it's just because she's on the hard pavement and therefore the lameness is more noticeable, or perhaps it's from the trotting she did yesterday on the longe line for the vet. I'm not sure, but she seemed a little off on her left leg.

My poor pony...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Ultrasound Results

Today was the big day... Lilly's 30 day ultrasound! (Even though it was a little more like 40 days...)

When the vet arrived she examined Lilly's leg and we both decided it was significantly less swollen since she saw it last. Lilly has the "bump", which has been there for quite some time, so that doesn't count toward the swelling caused by the lesion. She thought it looked really good.

She asked me if Lilly was still sound and I told her I had no idea. I walk her around and let her eat grass, but she doesn't move enough for me to say whether or not she's lame, and I certainly don't trot her. So the vet suggested we take her to the arena and longe her a bit. The look on my face must have allowed her to read my mind which said, "are you crazy?" She said, "don't worry, we'll give her some acepromazine". So ace her we did, and while we waited for it to start working, the vet shaved her leg and got ready to do the ultrasound. When I took Lilly to the arena, I could tell she really wanted to be bad. She was shaking her head around, but just couldn't muster the energy to do much else... At least at the walk. When I asked her to jog she hopped around a bit but didn't get so crazy that we had to stop. The vet said she looked great tracking right, but was a little off tracking left, which makes sense since it's her left leg with the issue.

Next was the ultrasound. Getting a good picture was difficult, and we plan to do the next ultrasound in the afternoon when it is hopefully less COLD. So there is still a hole in her tendon that is obvious. It does, however, have tendon fibers running through it, so it's filling in, but it hasn't filled all the way in as I hoped it would. Compared to the last ultrasound, there is significant improvement, and the lesion is smaller, but there's still that hole. I wanted it to be all filled in, but the vet assured me Lilly is where she expected her to be, or slightly ahead of that. I thought perhaps with the plasma treatment the tendon should have completely filled by now...

So tomorrow I start hand walking her. 5 minutes a day for the first two weeks, then increased by 5 minutes each week until I'm walking her for 30 minutes a day. Then we'll ultrasound again in 2 months and assess her progress then. So at least 2 more months of stall rest.

The vet thinks we're still on about a 6 month time table to get her back to 100%.

I got some ultrasound pictures but they didn't scan worth a crap on my scanner so I tried taking photos of them, and that didn't work either. I haven't figured out plan C yet, but I'll get them on here somehow.

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Day Late

I had a great time in Michigan. It wasn't the same without being there on Christmas, but I enjoyed seeing my family and it was a lot of fun. There was snow, but not too much, which was fine with me. Trying to get back to North Carolina proved to be a challenge, though! It's usually Michigan weather I have to worry about, but not this time. How lucky I was to be trying to drive during one of the biggest snow storms to be seen in a long time! Instead of a 12 hour drive, I ended up embarking on a 23 hour adventure. One of the interstates was shut down so I had to travel about 10 hours out of my way to get around the storm, only to find out my alternate route was also shut down. I went through Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia (twice), Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and then finally North Carolina. I finally made it home yesterday morning.

It was a pretty drive, though:

I didn't get out to the barn until today. Luckily, my horse-sitter took care of Lilly for me yesterday so I could get some sleep before going to work.

Lilly is doing well... she has a new buddy in the stall behind her instead of the pony and mini donkey. I'm not sure what that's all about, but I hope she doesn't become attached. If he leaves to be ridden I don't want her freaking out. I'll have to see what his deal is. Maybe he's on stall rest too...

Tomorrow is the ultrasound! Cross your fingers!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Off To Michigan

Tomorrow morning I'm off to Michigan for an early Christmas. I have to work Christmas day, so I'll be celebrating with my family early. I'll be back on the 19th and I'd like to request extra warm weather so I can thaw out.

One of the boarders offered to take care of Lilly for me while I'm gone, which I really appreciate. It will be nice being able to spend time with my family knowing Lilly is being taken care of. I told her to be a good girl!

So have a great week everyone! When I get back we'll be that much closer to the big day!! (The ultrasound!)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Trim Time Again

6 weeks comes and goes quickly around here! It seems like the farrier was just out, but Lilly and AJ were due again today.

We did AJ first and he was a good boy. He has such a hard time holding his hind legs up in the cold weather. (It was only 36 degrees today!) My farrier is really good about it, though, and works with AJ to get his hooves trimmed as best he can. It's always the left hind he has the most trouble with. AJ does better about his leg when I shovel cookies in his mouth, though. :)

Being that is was super cold today, Lilly was feeling GOOD. I brought her out of the stall and could tell she was a ball of energy. She didn't jump around or act badly, but I could tell she was ready to rock and roll if I'd just let her go. It is really wet at the barn because of all the rain and I was worried that she was going to slip, and because she was sniffing and snorting the whole way to the barn, I was a nervous wreck. Then she DID slip! She spooked at something about half way there and she slipped in the wet grass. She looked like a rocking horse with her front legs way out front and her back legs way out back. It even took her a minute to get her feet back under herself. I hope she didn't do any damage to her tendon. :(

She was spooking at EVERYTHING. It was like she forgot about everything in the world except what she could see from her stall.

Me: "That's just Tucker... He's a dog. Remember Tucker?"
Lilly: "SNORT, SNORT!! What's a dog??"

She was a really good girl once she was safely under the lean-to. Her shoes were reset and she had her pad put back on too. Our walk back down to the stall went much better than the walk up, although she was still full of it.

I'm terrified of the day she gets turned out again! I'll be ready with the camera!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Crazy Weather

Yesterday it was about 43 degrees outside. Last night it dipped down into the low 30's, and right now it is 75 degrees outside. Tomorrow we're back to a high of 45 degrees. And people wonder why I don't blanket my horses... how are you suppose to blanket for that!? Unless someone de-blankets and re-blankets for me numerous times per day, they'd either be hot or cold. So I prefer to leave them "naked".

AJ has shelter and a wooly teddy bear coat. Lilly is in the stall, so she has shelter whether she wants it or not, but less of a coat than AJ. AJ is a Michigander, and unless it gets really cold here, I leave him unblanketed for the entire winter season. We didn't blanket him in Michigan, so why would I need to blanket him in North Carolina? I try not to interrupt nature's natural way of doing things. He is getting older, so I keep an eye on his weight, and will blanket in extreme cold weather, but it's only for a day or two.

People at the barn think I'm mean...

I enjoyed the weather today, but won't be so happy about it tomorrow. Can we postpone winter? Please?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

She's Doing Better

I took Lilly for a little walk the other day. She isn't supposed to be moving around a whole lot, but she needed some sunshine and some grass. I was hoping it would help with the swelling in her back leg and in her udder as well. The pictures in my last post are from our walk.

So as of Saturday, the swelling in her leg was gone, but she still has swelling in her udder. 50% isn't bad, right? I also noticed after our walk that her messy rear end hasn't been quite as bad. She's still messy, but I haven't felt the need to wash her again with the hose.

I don't know how a horse can have solid stool, but lift her tail every so often and spray the walls... or have it run all down her cheeks and legs until it drips from her ankles. It's gross, I know, and I'm sorry. I'm just frustrated. Seems like if it was going to be runny, it would be runny all the time.

She does drink a lot of water... I noticed today that the barn owner got her a giant muck bucket for her stall to be used as a water bucket. We had two 5 gallon buckets in there before, but assuming they were filled in the morning at feed time, they needed to be filled again when I visited around noon, and then probably again at dinner. Only to start all over again the next day. So someone is tired of filling water buckets... but it makes me wonder. She was on pasture before so I really couldn't monitor her water intake before, but now that she's stalled, I can see just how much water she is drinking. I wonder if that has anything to do with it... could she be drinking too much water?

I've had blood work done on her and everything came back normal. I have no idea...

Friday, December 4, 2009

Leg Pictures Again

Just a few pictures of Lilly's leg that I took yesterday. I think it looks pretty good. I know once horses have these tendon injuries, the leg never look normal again, so I'm wondering if we're done with swelling for the most part now. There is still some heat in the leg, but nothing like what I was feeling before.

I was going to say that I'll be glad when her hair grows back in but it'll just be shaved again for the next ultrasound. :)

Inside of her leg:

Outside of her leg:

Is it the 22nd yet? I want to see that ultrasound!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

JCHSS Results

The Johnston County Horse Show Series results are in, and Lilly and I did really well! I wish we could have made it to the last show, especially since it was a double point show, but we still accumulated enough points to win some awards.

In the halter division, which includes the halter and showmanship classes, Lilly and I tied another exhibitor for 6th place. So we'll win a ribbon of merit.

In the adult division, which for me included the english GAYP and english walk/trot equitation classes (and it also includes 2 western classes that we didn't show in), we ended up with 5th place overall. So we'll win a ribbon of merit for that division as well.

In the all-around division, we ended up in 16th place, with a total of 181 points, which doesn't win us any awards with the series, but I think we had an outstanding year! I'm so proud of us! :)

There's another surprise too, but I want to wait until after the awards banquet to share that one with you! ;) I'm SUPER excited about it, though!

I'll really miss showing her next year... :( Perhaps I can show Beau, though, and Lilly and I can come back full speed ahead for the 2011 show season.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Lilly's A Mess

I'm fighting Lilly's diarrhea again. She was having a bit of a problem with it a couple weeks ago, but it wasn't too bad. Now, though, it's BAD. I washed her yesterday and today she was covered and caked again. I can't keep walking her all the way up to the wash rack every day to clean her up. She's supposed to be standing, not walking. I had to do it today, so I hooked up the hose and made a muddy mess near the front of the stall.

I'm at a loss... I don't know what else to do. We still don't know WHY she's doing it, or what's wrong. Obviously the supplements aren't working, so I might as well quite wasting my money.

The only reason I can think of, since it all started back up once she was put on stall rest, is that her digestive system has to have something moving through it at all times. It happened on the dry lot, where there's no grazing, and now it's happened in the stall, where there's no grazing. I don't know... does that sound crazy?

So since I'm grasping at straws, and have nothing better to spend my money on, I just bought her one of these:

It's a small mesh hay net that has small openings for her to eat from. My thought is that if it takes her 5 hours to eat 2 flakes of hay instead of 45 minutes, maybe it will help her tummy. That is, of course, as long as she doesn't get frustrated and rip the thing to shreds.

I . Just . Don't . Know

(I just got an email from Millers letting me know that the hay bag is on backorder until the end of January... fantastic. I only ordered from them because it was backordered everywhere else and their site said it was in stock!) :(

And to sweeten the pot, she was stocked up today and the right side of her udder is swollen. Her poor udder has never been normal, but it's quite swollen. It isn't painful, though, so I'm not too concerned. I ran cold water on both body parts since I had the hose out, so we'll see if they look better tomorrow. I'm sure some exercise would help them both but, well, you know... she's on stall rest.

She's being the best patient ever, though. She's doing really well in the stall and is calm as can be. It's almost like she knows she has to stay in there, or maybe she likes it in there. I'm not sure, but she's being such a good girl.

Her ultrasound has been scheduled for the 22nd. Probably 30 days after that, if her tendon looks good, we'll start the hand walking. I am praying for a pretty tendon!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Sunny Snooze

I snapped this picture of AJ as he slept in the sunshine today. I can't believe I actually got close enough to take a picture. I thought for sure he'd get up and ruin it. Even after I took the picture he stayed laying down. I guess he wasn't done sleeping yet. :)

Lilly is still doing well in the stall. I can't believe how well she's handling the confinement. I can even leave her stall door open to take the muck bucket in and out and she doesn't bum rush the door to get out. She just stands there looking outside and sniffs for cookies every now and then. It's almost like she knows...

Her leg looks about the same. Not too swollen, but still quite puffy. I can't seem to get a good picture without it being blurry or being washed out by her white legs.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Thanksgiving! Hopefully you are able to spend it with friends, family, and loved ones.

Too often we let days and weeks pass us by without stopping to think about what we are thankful for. Today I have stopped to count my blessings, and even while my life is full of craziness, I am very thankful for what I have:

  • Even though I am working today, I am thankful for my job. So many people are searching for jobs, and I am very lucky to have mine.
  • I have two happy horses, and even though Lilly has had a rough couple weeks, I just know she is going to get better.
  • I am thankful for my family and friends, and for all they do for me.
  • I am thankful for all the points Lilly and I acquired this year, and all the fun we had during the show season. Luck was on our side!
  • I am thankful for my health, and the health of my family and friends.
  • I am thankful that I have a warm, dry place to hang my hat, and that my kitty waits there for me every day.
  • I am Thankful to God, and for all He has blessed me with.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pretty Picture

I ordered some pictures of Lilly from one of the JCHSS shows and I got them in the mail the other day. I just LOVE this one and wanted to share. :)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

JCHSS Trophies

Here they are! Here are the trophies Lilly won for me at the last JCHSS show. Aren't they festive?

I went to the show grounds today to get the trophies and hang out for a while before dragging myself to work. You see a lot more when you don't have a horse there with you! I watched Dressage Suitability classes and all the riding classes, and of course the showmanship. *sigh* Oh the showmanship. Lilly and I will be back in there one day... one day soon, hopefully.

Just look at this face! Doesn't it scream "I wanna do showmanship!" ?

One of my very good friends also came to the show today to observe. She has 2 really nice show horses, one that she herself shows and one that is green broke but has lots of halter experience. She has very kindly offered me the use of her halter horse turned western pleasure horse (soon to be showmanship horse!) for next year's show season. I was originally hoping that Lilly and I would be able to make it to some of the shows, but I just don't think she's going to be ready for quite some time, and I don't want to push her. At all. So I think I might take her up on her very generous offer and take Beau to some of the shows next year. I am truly blessed to have such wonderful and thoughtful people in my life!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Standing Wrap Test

This morning I went to the barn to take Lilly's leg wrap off and allow her leg to "cool" during the day. Her leg, however, was substantially less warm today compared to yesterday and past days. So when I went out before work to check the temperature and wrap her back up, the leg pretty much felt the same as it had this morning.

I called and spoke with my vet and she is glad that the leg is cooler today. Her main concern is with Lilly's soundness, so unless she starts favoring that leg again, I'll just keep monitoring the temperature. She said there should be some heat in the leg because of the inflammation and that's just what it's going to do for the next month or two.

Ultrasound Pictures

Here are the scanned images of Lilly's tendon. I think the first picture shows the lesion the best. I'm still trying to understand all the different views, so if anyone is great at reading ultrasounds, feel free to chime in! :)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Heat and Swelling

I called my vet this morning to ask her about the heat in Lilly's leg. I left her a voicemail and waited for her to call me back.

Meanwhile, I changed Lilly's wrap and her leg pretty much looked the same as yesterday. I think there was a bit less heat in her leg. She's still being a good girl in her stall but she was a bit cranky today. She was snapping her tail and wondering what the hell was taking me so long to get her dang hay!! Once her highness had hay in front of her face, though, she cheered right up. :)

My vet called me back a few hours later and seemed concerned about the heat in Lilly's leg, but she thinks as long as Lilly isn't lame, she's ok. She said the heat could be an infection from the injections, but she said if that was the case there should be more swelling and not less.

She noted that there will be some heat because of the type of injury it is, and because of the treatment she has had so far, but it could be a cause for concern if it continues or gets worse, and she said I should monitor the temperature very closely.

We both think that some of the heat is from the bandage, but I feel there is really too much heat in her leg to be caused from being wrapped. Especially since it's in her hoof as well, which isn't wrapped.

So tomorrow morning I'll go to the barn and take Lilly's bandage off then go home for a few hours and swing back by the barn on my way to work to check the temperature of her leg. That way we can see how much, if any, the leg cools off without the bandage.

I also contacted the vet's office to see if they could get me a copy of Lilly's ultrasound pictures. I'm not sure what I was thinking when she did the scan... I should have asked for a copy then, but my brain was spinning and I didn't even think about it. So they're going to try and scan the pictures tomorrow and email them to me. Once I have them, I'll post them on here so you can see what the lesions look like.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Is It My Imagination?

Or does her leg look much less swollen today? When I unwrapped her bandage I said, "wow!!" But sometimes I wonder if I'm just imagining things... or praying too hard!

Here is her leg yesterday...

And here is her leg today...

Is it all in my head? Sometimes it's hard to get good pictures of her leg since it's white, but I think it looks better today! It looks like more of a localized swelling instead of a whole leg swelling...

Something else I might call the vet about is the amount of heat in Lilly's leg. I've been picking out her feet every day and when I pick the bad leg, it is HOT. Like the whole leg... from her knee all the way down into her hoof. Her good leg is cold... very cold. Now I know her leg is wrapped and it'll keep it warmer, but should her hoof be warm too? I'm paranoid about anything else going wrong. The heat isn't new, and her leg has always been warm since the incident, but it seemed extra warm today.

Look at this lovely picture of my precious AJ... Here he is promptly after eating his cookie. :)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Barn Pictures

Yesterday I took off Lilly's bandage. She's back to standing wraps and quilts now, and I bought her some pretty new green ones. Everyone at the barn keeps offering theirs, and I appreciate it, but I feel bad using stuff that belongs to someone else. What happens if Lilly decides to rip it off?

She nickered when I went down to the stall to visit her. :) Was she happy to see me, or hungry? Hmmm...

Here's her leg after I took her bandage off. I think it looks a bit more swollen than before the injections, but my vet said some swelling was ok.

It was also very foggy yesterday. There was dew everywhere and it was just beautiful! The leaves are changing color and it made for some beautiful pictures.

I'm surprised this web lasted throughout all the wind and rain we've been having.

Poor AJ's pasture buddy was being ridden and he wasn't happy about it at all! I got some really funny pictures of him whinnying for Archie. :)

I love both of these pictures below that I got of him. I want to make one of them an 8x10 photo to put on my wall with Lilly's 8x10, but I can't decide! I like the first one because of his expression, and I think the fog looks neat, but I like the second one because the sun is shining on him and you can see the beautiful trees in the background. He look a little more sleepy in the second one, and there's all that fencing stuff by his face... One of the pictures I took would have been The PERFECT picture, but I cut off the bottom of his lip. :( DARN IT!!

Which one do you like best?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Platelet Rich Plasma

Today was the big day... platelet rich plasma day!

Dr Elaine came out bright and early this morning and we got down to business. First thing she did was re-shave the leg, then she gave Lilly a little tranquilizer. As they went about their business, Lilly didn't seem very sleepy. So before doing the actual plasma injections, we gave her another dose. It seemed to send her over the edge. I thought a couple times she might fall right over, but thankfully she stayed standing. Her leg did buckle a time or two and I had to keep my hand on her knee so her leg would stay still. This picture is Lilly after dose number two... she was totally out of it! Look at those saggy lips!

Here's a picture of her scrubbed leg. Dr Elaine used tape to mark the area where the lesion was so she would know where to put the nerve block.

Here's sleepy again with her neck shaved and sterilized to get the 2oz of blood that would be needed to start the plasma process.

Here's the contraption that was used to get the platelet rich plasma. I didn't get to see the process involved here since I was holding Lilly, but the blood originally went in the top part and was filtered through. The red blood cells end up in the bottom and the plasma stays in the middle part. Then they attached two syringes, one to the bottom of the plasma section, and one to the top. The bottom syringe pushed the plasma into the syringe on top.

Next Dr Elaine used the ultrasound to find the lesion and placed two needles into Lilly's tendon. I hate needles and I hate blood... luckily I did not pass out during this procedure as I have been known to do from time to time. Especially since I had to hold Lilly's knee so she would be perfectly still and it was all right there in my face. Is it getting hot in here to anyone else? ...

Then she put half of the plasma in the top needle and half in the bottom and voila! Hopefully it does its job and Lilly's tendon is healing as I type this!

Lilly will wear this sterile bandage for 48 hours and then I'll go back to regular standing wraps and quilted pads.

We gave Lilly some banamine to help with any pain she might have from all the pokes, but she shouldn't be lame at all. She should also not have any additional swelling and no side effects to the treatment. Dr Elaine said we'll ultrasound in 30 days to see how the healing is progressing, but she is guessing that the forced walking won't start up until the 60 day mark or later. She doesn't think Lilly will be ready after only 30 days.

Total damage was $950. My hand didn't want to write the amount on the check or sign it... I'm not sure if it was the cold weather or what. :)

I just pray that when we look at this lesion in 30 days that we see some improvement. Then I will feel much better about spending all that money. Hopefully Lilly continues to be a good patient and remains calm in the stall so she can heal up.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Vet Update

Dr Elaine came out this morning to evaluate Lilly's progress.

She thinks the swelling has gone down quite a bit and is more localized. There was less heat, and she thinks the wedge pad looks really good. We're probably going to leave her wedged from here on out. Probably not 4 degrees, but at least 2. It should help her with healing and keep more stress off that tendon after it heals.

We took her out to the arena and jogged her a little bit, and she trotted about 99% sound!!! It was really great to see that!! She had trouble when we jogged her in a circle to the left so she was landing on that left leg, but in a straight line, she looked really good! The vet was very impressed that after only 7 days of stall rest Lilly was almost completely sound and her prognosis for making a full recovery has increased.

As backwards as it sounds, we are hoping that it doesn't backfire on us that Lilly is feeling better already. Hopefully she stays calm and doesn't start acting a fool in the stall.

We talked some more about Lilly's treatment and I have decided to go ahead and get the plasma treatment done for her. Dr Elaine said it should help her heal faster and stronger, so I don't mind spending the money if it's going to help Lilly get back to 100%. I don't want to wish I had done it when we're 3 months down the road and not seeing the progress we hoped we would. It's only money, right? It should come to a total of about $935.

Then in 30 days she'll be ultrasounded again to see how things are healing, and if the tendon is all filled in, I'll start walking her for 5 minutes a day, increasing the time by 5 minutes per week. So eventually I'll be walking her for an hour a day. Looks like I'll be getting a lot of exercise too!

On a side note, the vet's assistant was the one jogging Lilly around so I could watch and see how she traveled. Once we were done trotting her, we stood around and talked about treatments for quite some time. The whole time we were talking, Lilly was LOVING all over the assistant. It was disgusting! :) She was licking her, putting her head on the lady's shoulder, and then started on Dr Elaine! I think she was sucking up to try and get parole from the stall. It was really funny!

Such a sweet girl!

I actually got some good pictures of Lilly's leg today. It was overcast so Lilly's leg wasn't bright white for each picture I took.

So the plasma treatment is scheduled for 9:30 on Friday morning. I'm hoping it all goes well!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Teeth Day

Lilly got her teeth floated today. Here's how she felt about it...

The vet that did her teeth took a look at her leg. She said she thinks Lilly will probably come back at 100%, but we need to take it really slow. I'm definitely ok with taking it slow. I've decided I'm not showing her at all next year and will give her all the time she needs to recover. We'll pick back up with the showing later when I have my horse back.

Tomorrow Dr Elaine comes out to evaluate Lilly's progress. I'm quite anxious to see how she thinks Lilly looks.

Leg Log

Here are some pictures I took of Lilly yesterday. By the time this is all said and done, there will be more pictures of Lilly's leg than you can stand. I'm hoping by taking daily pictures I'll be able to keep track of the progress.

Here she is taking a snooze...

And here are a few more leg pictures.

I hope she doesn't get too fat being stalled up all day!!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

So Far, So Good

Lilly is doing surprisingly well in the stall. When I go to the barn to clean her stall and let her eat some grass, she's not pushy at all to try and get out of the stall. I figured by now she would be quite anxious to be out of the stall. And perhaps she is, but she's being a really good girl.

She even seems extra affectionate, licking me and following me around the stall as I clean, even when there's hay in the corner for her to snack on. I bought her a small salt block the other day thinking perhaps she just needed salt and was using me for that purpose. She's still licking, though...

The size and shape of the stall is nice because Lilly seems to only use the bathroom in the back corner. It makes it really easy to clean and the stall stays nice and dry. It's completely manure free up by her food and water.

I have decided to take her off the hoof supplement, but I think I have about 60 days of SmartPaks with the hoof supplement in them still. 30 days that's here now, and 30 days that haven't shipped yet but were too far along to cancel. I'm looking at tendon supplements now to see if there are any that might help.

Monday she's supposed to get her teeth floated. I assume she'll still have that done. She'll be sedated so I don't think we have to worry too much about her fighting and hurting her leg. I was quite nervous about that when my farrier was working on her feet yesterday... Tuesday is her 1 week evaluation. I'm hoping things have improved. Her leg looked the same today, and there's a lot of heat in there. Dr Elaine said she didn't think cold hosing it would help this far past the injury, but I'm going to ask about it anyway.

I also decided not to wrap her right leg. Picky people will have a fit, I'm sure, but I don't see the need for it. The wrap isn't for support, it's merely to keep the swelling down. My vet said she didn't think the other wrap was necessary, so I'm only doing the injured leg.

Hopefully everyone else is able to enjoy this lovely fall weather we're having!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Stiletto Heels for Lilly

Ok, maybe not stilettos, but today Lilly got her wedge pad and some new shoes. My farrier decided not to put a pad on her right front, and we took her rear shoes off.

Does her tendon look any less swollen today?

Yeah, I didn't think so... :(

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Second Opinion?

Dr Elaine called bright and early this morning regarding the different treatment options she had discussed with me. She said she spoke to one of the other vets and they think the best option is the platelet rich plasma option. She said both the stem cell therapy and the plasma seem to work well with a lot of success, but the PRP is more cost effective. She said they usually only use the shock wave therapy if they can't find a lesion in the tendon, and since they know where it is, they recommend the plasma.

Cost is $800.

The process is described as follows from

"The collection and preparation of platelet rich plasma is simple, non-invasive and takes only about 30 minutes. Firstly, 60mls of venous blood is collected from the horses' jugular vein. The blood is transferred to a holding device, which is then placed into a portable centrifuge and spun for 3 minutes. This process separates the serum from the red blood cells. The serum is removed from this sample, placed into the centrifuge and spun for a further 15 minutes. This process leaves the platelets concentrated at the bottom of the sample. Excess serum is then removed and the platelets are re-suspended and ready for injection into the injured tendon. The injured horse is mildly sedated and a nerve block is administered to anaesthetise the injured area. The platelet rich plasma is then injected back into the injured tendon under ultrasound guidance."

From what I have read, horses treated with PRP have had great success with recovery. It doesn't seem to shorten the time of recovery, but horses have a greater chance of recovering fully with assisance from the PRP.

I have no problem spending $800 on Lilly. I want her to make a full recovery and will do whatever it takes to get her there. However, I don't want to throw away $800 either.

My farrier comes out tomorrow. He was already scheduled for routine trims/shoes, but he'll be putting wedge pads on Lilly's fronts, and I'm going to have him pull her rear shoes. She shouldn't need those anymore since she's not in work.

Tuesday Dr Elaine is coming back out to assess Lilly's progress. She said if she's making progress we might opt out of the PRP treatment. If she hasn't made any progress, then she thinks we should proceed with the PRP.

I trust my vet, and I trust my farrier, but could it hurt to get a second opinion? I feel like I am "cheating on them" if I go out and get the opinion of another vet. The opinion of another vet will cost me X number of dollars since I assume they'll want to do their own tests.

I think I might call the other veterinary office in my area depending on what happens Tuesday, and see about having one of their vets come out to take a look at Lilly's tendon.

Lilly's Prison

This morning I set out to get some shavings to put in Lilly's stall. TSC had them on sale, so I went there first. Of course they were all sold out... so I had to drive all the way back across town to the home and garden store to pay too much money.

Here's Lilly in her stall.

It's a really nice stall. It's plenty big, and although I was concerned that she has too much room in there for "stall rest", the vet thinks it'll be perfect as long as Lilly is a good patient. It's nice and airy, and she can see quite a bit. She's got donkey friends to keep her company, along with a little pony that can come see her in the adjoining stall.

Here's a picture of the inside of her leg. You can see how the tendon looks like a sausage. It's all puffed up and swollen. You can click on it to get a better, bigger picture.

I think this is the best picture to show just how bad her leg looks.

Here she is after some hand grazing, all wrapped up and ready to go back into her cell... I mean stall.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

DDFT Lesion

Well, I wish I had better news, but the nerve block went as expected this morning. Lilly has a lesion on her deep digital flexor tendon.

When the vet came out this morning I took Lilly to the arena and jogged her up and down the rail. She was still very lame at the trot and noticeably off at the walk. So we took her back to the barn and Dr Elaine did a hoof test just to make sure it wasn't an absess, and Lilly tested fine. So next she started numbing around Lilly's ankle. Lilly wasn't as good today. She was quite tired of being poked and prodded, so we had to twitch her. Poor Lilly has never been twitched before, so she was quite surprised when that rope cinched down on her nose. She stood still so Dr Elaine could numb her up, though. After about 15 minutes, I took her out to trot again and she was still lame.

So 90 days of stall rest. Her prognosis is good, though, and Dr Elaine thinks she'll be back to normal flat work in about 6 months. Good thing I don't have a desire to jump, because that would definitely be out of the question now. I'm just hopeful that she does make a full recovery and I'll be able to get back to showing her. The thought of her being forever unsound breaks my heart.

My farrier comes out on Friday morning and the vet has requested that he put a 4 degree wedge pad on her left front to prop her up and take the pressure off her tendon to hopefully help it heal. She also wants a slight wedge on her right front just so she's not quite so uneven. She thinks perhaps after Lilly's tendon heals she'll have to stay wedged a bit to keep the pressure off that tendon. Especially since wedging tends to crush the heels a bit anyway, and Lilly is running low in the heel department to start with.

Luckily, Lilly is a level headed girl, and I hope she stays sane during her 90 days of confinement. She is also not so lame that the vet felt the need to put her on any medication. So while things are bad, they could be worse, and I'm thankful for that. Hopefully she heals in no time flat.


So, next year's show season is pretty much cancelled. I'm quite depressed. We were making so much progress.

Some alternative therapy has been suggested. These are times when I wish I had my horses insured:
Shock wave therapy: $300 per session for 3 sessions
Platelet rich plasma: $1,000
Stem cell therapy: $2,000

Because Lilly has a "pacman bite" lesion, Dr Elaine is unsure if injecting the plasma or stem cells would be helpful since there's no way to keep the injected material in the lesion. Honestly, I don't think I want to drop $2k on something that might not work. She was going to check with the other vets and see what they think, so I'll make my decision as soon as I have the right information.

I'll take some pictures tomorrow. I wish I had done that today, but with so much going on, that was the least of my worries. Her leg is quite swollen, and hopefully the standing wraps will help. I would like to see how it progresses, so pictures will help.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Keep Your Fingers Crossed...

As if I don't have enough going on in my personal life to stress me out...

I finally made it out to the barn today. I hadn't been since Thursday, and I haven't ridden since the State Fair. Thursday was just a visit, but today I planned to ride.

I grabbed some cookies and headed out to the pasture. She was way out in the back eating grass so I had to hike out there to get her. As I was walking her up to the gate, I noticed she was limping on her left front leg a bit. So when I got her on better ground, I trotted her a little, and she was "head bob" lame. I thought maybe she had a stone in her foot or stepped on a rock or something because glancing at her I didn't see any obvious signs of an injury. So I tied her up to the post and grabbed my hoof pick. Well, as I ran my hand down her leg, I noticed it was swollen, hot, and lumpy.

She's always had the one bump, which is scar tissue from her check ligament surgery but there was much more to it today. One of the other boarders was at the barn too so I asked her to take a look. We both decided it wasn't good, so I called my usual vet, Dr Tracy. Dr Tracy was the one who looked at Lilly's bump earlier in the year, so I wanted her to be the one to look at Lilly's leg. She was on the other side of town and couldn't make it out, though, so she had Dr Elaine call me, who ended up being the vet to come out. Dr Elaine had adjusted Lilly late last year, so she was familiar with her as well.

When Dr Elaine arrived she took a look at Lilly's leg and said, "it isn't at all what I expected from what Dr Tracy told me..." It sure is hard to describe this stuff to them over the phone! So she had me take her to the arena to trot her around. Lilly was quite lame, and even more lame after the flex test. She was a 2 out of 5 on the lameness scale.

Thinking it was tendon related, Dr Elaine wanted to ultrasound her. So Lilly had to have her legs shaved and stand there for quite a long time. She was SO good... I wasn't sure how she would be about standing still for so long and having people mess with her legs, but she never flinched and never moved. She makes me so proud. It's always nice to know your horse is going to behave in situations like this. Makes it so much easier for everyone. At first, Dr Elaine didn't see anything. She said no lesions, which was good, but she said her tendons were icky. Lots of scar tissue from her surgery, so it made it difficult to see anything abnormal in there. The more she rooted around, though, she started to see something.

She thinks there's a lesion on Lilly's deep digital flexor tendon.

Wanting to make sure, though, she decided to nerve block the lower part of Lilly's leg just above the ankle. She assumed that Lilly would still be lame, and then she'd block just below her knee and then she'd trot sound. But after the block, we trotted Lilly and she was completely sound. She said sometimes those blocks travel up the leg a bit and it could be causing some numbing in her tendons and that's why she was sound. Having the blocks not show her what she expected, Dr Elaine said it could be something in Lilly's foot, but why she'd have all that swelling in her tendon then she's not sure.

So tomorrow she's coming back out to nerve block again, but lower in Lilly's leg. I think below the ankle to see if she's sound then. So for tonight Lilly is on stall rest with standing bandages.

I hope when I go out there tomorrow she is 100% sound and it turns out to be nothing at all. If she is lame, though, and still swollen, we'll do the flex test again, then do the nerve block. Dr Elaine was also going to show the ultrasound pictures to the other vets at the office and see what they think.

If it is a tendon issue, 90 days of stall rest with bandages and hand grazing only.

There's a lot of "if this, then that" scenarios, so I'm going to wait until tomorrow to see what the situation is and see what the diagnosis is.

Cross your fingers and send a prayer our way!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

2009 Goals

Showing at the State Fair was the last goal on my list of things to do for 2009 with Lilly. We did it! We accomplished all of our goals!

And not only did we accomplish them, we blew them out of the water. :) I wanted to get Lilly ready to show in a canter class by the end of the year, and we've been doing canter classes for a few months now. Doing equitation patterns wasn't even on the list, but we've been doing those too, and winning! (Minus the State Fair, of course... lol) I'm so proud of her and how far we've come this year, and I'm really glad we were able to accomplish our goals. She has just been wonderful this year.

One show left for this year... and I'm 1 point from getting a PAC Certificate of Recognition in showmanship. It would be really awesome to end the year with that certificate, but I'm trying not to get too excited, just in case.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

NC State Fair

Today's weather was awful. It was about 50 degrees and rainy. It was raining when I first got to the fairgrounds, and then it stopped for a short time, only to sprinkle for the rest of the day we were there, and then pour on the way home. Cold and wet... yuck. Luckily, I was done with all my classes by 1pm, so we didn't have to hang out in the rain too much. I did have to put Lilly in the trailer for a while, though, to keep her from getting soaked. I was really hoping for better weather. The rain really ruined the day.

Lilly was the only horse there with a fuzzy fall coat. And she was as clean as she gets with all that fuzz, a bath the night before, and a night in a dusty outside stall.

The classes were all pretty small and they went by very quickly.

I didn't sign up for any halter classes, so my first class was novice amateur showmanship. My amateur showmanship class was directly after the novice class, so I went out of the ring and then right back in. I thought both classes would have the same pattern, but they didn't. So I had to memorize two patterns in my brain. Luckily, they were similar.

Here is the novice amateur pattern:

Start at cone A, walk to cone B, at B pick up a trot and trot a circle as noted, then trot to cone C. At cone C, stop and perform a 360 degree turn, then set up for inspection. When dismissed, perform a 90 degree pivot and walk to lineup.

I thought Lilly did a really good job. I tried to be very smiley and chipper with lots of snap and pop. There were 7 horses in the class and we got 3rd under one judge and 4th under the other.

Here was the amateur pattern:

Start at cone A, walk to cone B, at B pick up a trot and trot a circle as noted, then trot to cone C. At cone C, stop and perform a 180 degree turn and set up for inspection. When dismissed, perform a 270 degree pivot and walk to lineup.

This one was a little tricky because I had to set her up with the judge at her rear end and then move around her accordingly. In this class she started trotting before the cone and before I asked her to. But out of 10 horses, both judges placed us 4th.

So not too bad for showmanship.

Next I had my four riding classes. They came up very quickly and I had to rush a little bit getting ready. Plus it was raining, so tacking up was a challenge.

My dad was so helpful when we were trying to get ready!

Lilly was like a little firecracker. When I got on and took her to the makeup arena to work, she was ready to go! I didn't have much time to get her warmed up, but she started working better by the time our first class was called.

My first two riding classes were huntseat pleasure classes. One was novice amateur and the other was amateur. There were 6 horses in the novice class, and 8 horses in the amateur class.

In the novice class, she was spooking at the people in the stands, and was having a difficult time concentrating on me. We got going ok, though, and they made us canter for a really long time and I think that helped get rid of some of that energy. When we were asked for our first canter, she picked up the wrong lead. I thought she might have trouble with those today because if she isn't paying attention she just does whatever. One judge saw us and one didn't. The one who did not see us goof placed us 3rd, and the one who did placed us 6th.

The next pleasure class was just bad... she got both leads but was TRUCKING around the arena like a racehorse. I couldn't get her collected at the canter at all and we were definitely going way too fast. She just had a lot of energy. I blame it on the weather. We got honorable mention from both judges, which ended up being 7th out of the 8 horses.

The huntseat equitation classes were my last two classes. The pattern was the same for both the novice and amateur classes:

Walk to cone A, at A pick up a sitting trot to B. At B, pick up the canter, right lead, around the cone to cone C. At cone C, rising trot on the left diagonal, around cone B to cone D. At cone D, perform a 180 degree turn on the forehand, back 5 steps, then canter on the right lead to lineup.

Two words for this pattern... oh boy.

Here we are waiting for our turn to shine!

I actually think we could have done an ok job if she wasn't super hyper, but she was, and our patterns weren't pretty. The good thing was, we had two chances to get it right! Too bad it didn't happen in either class! In the novice class, we did ok until we had to canter on the right lead. It took her forever to pick it up and we went way around the cone. And when it was time to stop and perform our 180 degree turn on the forehand, she wouldn't stop. She was chomping on the bit constantly. Out of 5 horses, we got a 4th and a 5th.

The amateur class didn't go much better. She picked up her canter faster at cone B, but didn't want to stop and it took us 3 tries to get the canter depart after the back. It just wasn't good. Out of 5 horses, we got two 4th places.

So, considering everything, we could have done worse, but we certainly could have done better. Honestly, it wasn't at all what I hoped it would be.

It was fun having my parents there, though. I was hoping Lilly would do better to show them all of our hard work, but it didn't work out that way. My mom took some video but it will take me a little while to get it going. It's on a tape, so I have to get it on the computer using my old school VCR and digital converter box.

If my calculations are correct, we should get back about $80 in premiums. I paid $154 for all my classes and registration fees, so that's not too bad.