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!