Sunday, July 25, 2010

Trimmer visit July 24, 2010

Well we certainly got tested during this four-week cycle.

We consistently hovered about I or II on the Obel Scale and the on Monday, July 12, Buttercup went dead lame. Like so lame that she just wanted to sprawl out and not move.

I called up Team Bud members (sounds so corny, but it makes me happy) and we pinpointed a suspected laminitic episode. Was she getting grass from underneath the fence? A weed? It didn't matter. Get her away from it, put her on just twice soaked beet pulp and hay, and ice her once a day to bring down her digital pulse and reduce inflammation in the hooves.

(Bud getting iced)

She went back into another dry lot Thursday to not even registering on the Obel Scale. Fantastic. But as the weekend drew on, her lameness resurfaced. My barn owner and I combed over everything possible. In this search, we discovered that her grain and supplement did not provide any salt or any magnesium. Salt is necessary to all living beings, and magnesium aides the metabolism (something with which Buttercup needs all the help she can get).

So we started her on a heavy load of electrolytes. By Wednesday, July 21, she was sound again. But we all know what Buttercup does when she is sound: tears around the pasture. She went super lame again Friday morning but worked out of it.

When Scott saw her Saturday, she was almost a II on the Obel Scale. However, it appears to be related to her antics and not a new laminitic bout since her digital pulse was not elevated.

OK, pics of the trim! Her hooves are looking fantastic!


I'm surprised how much connected growth we got on that crack this time around in the face of our laminitic bout. But I think that's just testament to quick action of Team Bud and icing.

Compare the above crack picture to this one taken in May:

OK, on the front right, which is looking more and more normal:

And then to give you an idea of growing down more connective tissue and getting rid of the self-fulfilling flares on her hooves, here is June's pic:

Not too, too bad. But then compare to this July's pic:

(Note to self: take pics at the same angles always ... )

Notice how the hoof capsules keep the same basic shape all the way down? Pretty good indication we're growing out that flaring without creating more flares! It also means that our laminitic episode two weeks ago didn't create too much damage.

Also, Scott said her nutrition line is evident that things are going well over the last six weeks. It is straighter and tighter than her other nutrition rings. You can kind of make it out in these pics, but not sure if you can see it all that well. But he said it was definitely a sign we're in the right direction as far as her nutrition goes.

It's been a really frustrating and difficult four weeks. As with everything with horses, dealing with chronic laminitis has no clear cut prognosis or treatment. It's all a guessing game, which makes matters worse when you're in the midst of an episode. It's horrible and frustrating ... and, did I mention frustrating?

That's why I didn't post between trims. I should have. But it's all too overwhelming. How am I supposed to gather my thoughts to write on this blog when I don't even know how to get my horse out of pain? And especially when all we can do is "experiment" to see what works?

That reminds me: Scott said something pretty funny yesterday. With all the awfulness that has befallen Buttercup's hooves, she's gotten very leery of farriers/trimmers handling her feet (she used to be great for the farrier). At one point, she pulls her hoof away from him and he makes her move her feel around, and then goes to pick up her hoof.

"You're ungrateful, you know that? Most owners would have sent you to the glue factory by now. But here you are getting a manicure and pedicure. You're lucky."

I don't know if I'm going beyond what most horse owners would do for their horses. But I owe it to her to do everything within my monetary means to get her well again — or at least comfortable again.

She's not a high dollar horse. That's evident in the pictures on this blog, and with her chronic laminitis she'll never be worth anything in the future no matter how sound I get her. Maybe she won the lottery when I agreed to buy her. But maybe she didn't.

I'm not sure where I'm going with all of this, but I don't feel like I'm doing her any favors. I'm just doing what's right. And I hope other horse owners would do the same thing.

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