Thursday, October 31, 2013

Tests, Tests, Tests...

My vet came out today to draw blood for Lilly's IR test. It was a LOT more expensive than I thought it was going to be, but hey, it's only money right? At least now I'll know one way or another and I can move on to other things. We also finished out her fall vaccinations by giving her the Flu/Rhino vaccine. Cross your fingers that she isn't sick tomorrow!

My vet was actually very happy with Lilly's weight. I was surprised, as she always says she's too fat. Being the procrastinator that I am, I still haven't bought a muzzle yet, so she told me I could hold off on that. (Score!) She doesn't want Lilly to drop much more weight, so I'm going to tape her and keep an eye on things in case pigs fly and Lilly starts to look underweight. We could actually see a little bit of her ribcage and her neck isn't quite as plump. Looks like a change in the environment equals a happy pony and happy pony owner!

And in keeping with the test theme (and the diarrhea theme that seems so prevalent with my critters), Miss Rylee had an unscheduled visit to the vet on Monday so they could do another fecal test on her. On Thursday last week she had soft stool, but she's a puppy so everyone told me not to worry... it's a puppy thing. It continued to get worse all weekend, though, and when we got home from watching the Steelers game on Sunday with friends, I found a poop explosion in the bedroom. That's not just a puppy thing, so I called the vet first thing Monday and they got me right in.

She tested positive for giardia, which is an intestinal infection caused by the protozoan parasite giardia. Dogs can get an infection by eating other dog's poo, or drinking from infected water sources. I can guarantee you she didn't eat other dog's poo, and we have a tiny drain behind our house, but I don't know how it would have been contaminated. It's possible she picked it up from the vet's office when I took her the first time, or she might have even brought it home from the breeder's place.

Happier, less poopy times!
She was put on meds Monday for the "just in case" scenarios, and then Wednesday when the test results came back, she was put on some more meds. All her meds will be finished on Monday, and I'll need to give her a bath, wash all her stuff, and scrub the house from top to bottom. Reinfection is very possible, so I need to try and kill as many of those little buggers as possible. She's also quarantined because she's highly contagious, so no play dates or obedience classes for us this week.

Rylee's vet said she could play with dogs after she was done with her meds, and we could retest her in 1 month, but Lilly's vet said she wouldn't let Rylee play until she had a clean fecal. Otherwise she could still infect other dogs and that's the last thing I want. I'll be calling Rylee's vet tomorrow to ask her a few more questions.

The good news is, other than the diarrhea, Rylee is her happy, exuberant self, so we still get to play and have fun. We just have to take a lot of potty breaks.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Low Key

I've been staying quite busy these days, and I don't make it out to the barn more often than once or twice a week. Normally that makes me feel terribly guilty, but I've been concentrating on socializing and spending time with my puppy, which is critical at this age, and I think Lilly is okay with it. I'm just relieved to have her at a barn that finally lets me breathe, with people I can trust. It has been the mental relief I have desperately needed, and I think Lilly is enjoying it too. She is doing fabulous and is all settled in with her new herd. Strangely, she's number 4 out of 5 on the hierarchy, but none of the mares she's with are mean just to be mean, so I'm thankful for that.

Enjoying the easy life.
Love my girl!
Her hooves continue to improve as well. She can walk up and down the stony path to her pasture without being uncomfortable, and isn't ouchy when I need to turn her around in the concrete wash pit. I think she's happy enough that I can start riding her in the arena again, with her boots at first, but it's quite sandy in there, so we might not need boots at all. We will on the trails for sure, but I'm just happy to be seeing improvement.

Speaking of my puppy, Rylee is doing super. She's so much fun and I'm so happy to have her in my life. She is quite mellow for a puppy (which is good) but she does have her moments, and sometimes she'll get a case of the zoomies, and when that happens we go outside and play with the flirt pole until her tongue is dragging the ground. It's been great for wearing her out, but also teaching her to 'wait' and 'leave it'. She has a pretty high prey drive, and the poor kitty gets no relief. Progress is being made, though!

Flirt poles are the best!
I hope everyone is enjoying the fall weather! I've seen snow in some places, but hopefully there are still some gorgeous, not sweltering, bug free days ahead!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Someone Pinch Me

My trimmer was out today for our four week appointment. Since her last visit, I have moved barns, had chiropractic work done on Lilly, stopped all supplements, and had a mineral panel done. As I mentioned in my last post, her mineral panel came back normal (all minerals in the normal range), and we found just the one small issue with Lilly and her L5 vertebra. Lots of changes, which is something I always try to avoid if possible, so that if we see improvement we'll know what to attribute it to, but it just wasn't possible this time.

Lots of onions... and onion breath. Yuck!
When my trimmer arrived, the first thing she had me do was walk and jog Lilly up and down the barn aisle. She said she still looked a little short strided on the left front, but she thought she was moving a bit better. I filled her in on the chiropractic appointment, and we talked about things I could do to try and help Lilly's back muscles, and also to strengthen her core. We know there's an issue with the L5, but we don't know if it's causing stiffness and tightness in Lilly's front end. Since it can't hurt, we're going to pretend it is causing an issue and do some work on her to try and help as much as we can.

Once she was ready to start on Lilly's hooves, the first thing she said was, "wow". I was hoping she'd see what I saw, which was a little bit of concavity. Yes, I said CONCAVITY! I'm not sure it shows up very well in a photo, but you can see where the color is a bit lighter in front of her frog, and that's where we're seeing it. She's still very flat, but we're seeing changes.

She pointed out how the collateral grooves are getting deeper too, and she remembered from last time that the front of Lilly's frog used to just kind of run off into the rest of her hoof. It was very flat at the end, which was indicative of how thin her soles are. Now the frog is raised above her sole all the way down. Her heels have backed up a bit more, the white line has less separation, and her frog has even changed quite a bit. It's less soft, much more robust, and the central sulcus hardly has a crease at all.

Looks pretty good, yes?
To compare, here is the same hoof after our trim four weeks ago. The picture is a little dark, but you can really see the changes, especially in the collateral grooves, as well as with the white line.

Four weeks ago.
There weren't a lot of drastic changes in her hooves that might make people notice, but I notice! It's only been four weeks... FOUR weeks. The fact that we're seeing SOME changes is something that makes me want to sing and dance. Plus, on top of all those changes, we actually had hoof to trim. It's the cooler season, and most horses are starting to slow down hoof growth... but not Lilly. She's pushing out more hoof than I've seen in a long time. My trimmer said that's a great sign and could mean her hoof is healing, and she can put more energy into hoof growth rather than working so hard on healing. The new growth that's coming in looks amazing too. It's very tight, and we're even seeing some relief on her coronary band... she's not so jammed up in spots. My trimmer was very happy with what she saw today and she's quite encouraged by all the changes.

We're still fighting off the seedy toe on her right front, so we have a new plan for that. I purchased some triple antibiotic ointment, as well as some athlete's foot cream, which I will mix together and slather on up in the crater. Then I'll pack it with cotton to keep the cream in, and the icky stuff out. I'm also getting some Keratex to use a couple times per week, and I might also go back to soaking with the Oxine once a week on all hooves, just to make sure we keep the bacteria away, and to help with any white line separation.

So, is it the change in environment that's causing all these wonderful changes to occur? Maybe the teeny, tiny change in trim method? Perhaps eliminating her supplements? (Weird to think they could have been hurting her, but who knows!) I'm just so excited and so encouraged! I haven't felt this way in quite a while.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Not Deficient

I've been super busy with Rylee since she came home. She's been doing really well and I'm so in love with her! She has just the right amount of puppy energy and chill energy. She gets herself into trouble, but she listens quite well, and we've made a lot of progress since Sunday. She's really smart, and I'm having so much fun with her. We've been working on crate training quite a bit, as that seems to be the hardest thing for her right now. She lived outside until I got her, so being stuck in a cage without her people is no fun for her, and she's not shy about letting you know it.

Hubby will be so happy to see that his jammies are on the interwebz.
Because of all the crate work, Lilly has been a bit neglected lately. I'm not ready to take Rylee to the barn yet, and I don't want to be gone constantly because that's too much time for her to be in the crate. I made up for it today though! I put hubby on puppy duty and drove out to see Lilly. I bribed her with a few fresh apples and if she was still feeling left out when it was time for me to leave, she didn't show it.

There's not much new in the land of Lilly. Her mineral panel came back and all her levels were within the normal range. I had even stopped her supplements once we decided to do the mineral panel to make sure what we were seeing was what she was getting from grass, hay, and her Enrich. I was hoping something would show up that might help us out, and we could supplement her to get everything in line, but at least I can cross mineral deficiency off my list of possible culprits. We're doing the IR test at the end of the month, so I'll be curious to see what that says.

She has plumped up a bit since being moved, which is odd to me. I figured she'd get more exercise being outside with a herd of other horses, and she might drop a few pounds. Not the case.

So the search continues!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Puppy!

I know it's Tuesday and not Sunday, but who knew how much work puppies were?! I found out on Sunday when we brought home this little darling!

Her name is Rylee and she's a 13 week old German Shepherd puppy. I've been looking for one for quite a while and I fell in love with her as soon as we met.

She's been keeping me busy, that's for sure! In fact, I need to go take her outside, so I'll have to write more later. :)

Friday, October 4, 2013

We Have A Winner

Lilly's size three Old Mac's came yesterday just in time for me to head into work, so today I took them over to the barn, hoping that they would fit her perfectly. I don't know about perfectly, but I think they'll work just fine. I strapped her in without the gaiters, with the gaiters, and then finally with the Happy Hoof pads. Judging by her body language, I think she likes them. I jogged her up and down the barn aisle, turned her in little circles, and walked her around a bit outside. She didn't show any signs of being uncomfortable so I think they're going to be great for turnout, assuming they hold up. Hopefully they'll be temporary as we someday soon get her back to being comfy bare again.

Fancy kicks.
Over the next week or so, I'll work with the barn manager and get her used to the boots. I don't want to turn her out in them for 12 hours without first seeing if they'll hold up or rub anywhere. I don't think I'll use the gaiters either, unless the boots start rubbing, so she'll just be in the boots and pads. I'm a little worried about moisture because of the boot style, but once the horses are switched over to day turnout I'll worry less about that. In the meantime, I got some foot powder to sprinkle in them to help keep things dry.

Enjoying the sunshine.
My princess had a few more cuts and scrapes today. Not sure if someone is picking on her or if she's trying to move up the ranks. She has a big scrape on her chest, some marks on her legs, and a cut on her stifle. Grrr!

In other news, I have big news! You'll have to wait until Sunday to find out what it is, though. :)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Oh Boy! Something New To Learn About!

My vet came out fairly early this morning, so when I got to the barn, Lilly was still outside hanging around the gate with all her mare friends. I decided that was reason #520 as to why I prefer individual turnout... trying to take the horse currently on the bottom of the totem pole to the front of the line, past the dominant mares = not fun. I hissed and hollered, swung my lead rope, stomped my feet, pissed off the number one (named Fancy), and prayed she didn't double barrel me, but eventually they all moved out of the way. Then it was a scramble to get Lilly out of the pasture, close the gate, and make sure no one else snuck out or came charging while we were half way through. (Group turnout is good for her... Group turnout is good for her...)

We were on the schedule this morning so my vet could take blood from Lilly for her mineral panel. I'm hoping when we get it back it'll show us something really important and helpful but we'll have to wait at least a week to find out. We couldn't do the IR test because they have to be off grass and have no grain for 12 hours prior to the blood draw. Plus, it has to go right to the office, so we scheduled that test for the end of the month. Lilly was good for her blood work, considering they needed to take a lot of blood. She shook her head a couple times, and some blood flew all over the floor, but other than that, things went well.

My vet also kept saying things like, "Lilly, you're so fat" and "look how huge your tummy is". I guess getting her off the super green grass hasn't helped her figure any. I've been procrastinating and haven't bought a muzzle yet... I thought I'd wait until after we find out the results of the mineral panel.

After we were done with the needles, my vet started her chiropractic exam. She said her pelvis was out on the left side, she cracked a few vertebrae, and did some work on her neck, but said she was in pretty good shape otherwise. Lilly did a lot of licking and chewing, and by the end she was yawning. All good signs! She also showed me some stretches to do with her because she thought she was a little tight in the shoulders.

There was one thing that concerned her, though. Without doing an x-ray (which neither of us thought was necessary to do today), she couldn't say for sure what was going on, but there is something not quite right with one of the vertebrae in her lumbar region. She thinks it's L5. When she palpates it, you can feel it catching on something. She had me do it so I could feel it too, and it's strange. She said she's never felt anything quite like it in that region and asked if Lilly has been back sore or if I have noticed anything unusual. Considering I haven't ridden in decades, I can't say if she is, but I haven't noticed anything. Lilly isn't one to be stoic, so if she is uncomfortable, it isn't enough to let me know something is wrong.

L5 circled in red.
So after hearing a lot of big words that meant nothing to me, I started researching things like kissing spine, lumbar vertebra, and cervical vertebrae. Normally, I have her adjusted and the vet says "blah blah blah, but everything is ok now, I need to see her again in two weeks" and I pay the bill. Not this time. It appears as though Lilly now wants me to learn about spines. I've learned about ligament and tendon lesions, digestion issues and ulcers, nutrition, and hooves... so what's left? Ah yes, bones!

My vet isn't concerned yet, so I'm not concerned either, but it'll be something else to keep an eye on and monitor once I start riding again. We might decide we need to do x-rays in the future, as it could be having a larger impact on things than we think.

(Just for my records, we also vaccinated her for EEE/WEE)