Besides the normal spring shots and Coggins draw that my horses had last month, today I had my vet back out for a chiropractic evaluation on Snappy. At age seventeen this year and with twelve years of racing under her belt, it is only a matter of time before she shows some arthritic changes. Late last fall, I noticed she was hesitant to canter at times and I didn't feel it was training related. Of course, it was time to start our winter hibernation anyway and after our last six weeks of "work" up until December only really being low impact trail rides, I figured I may as well give her time to rest over the winter and reevaluate this spring.
She has been EXCELLENT under saddle this spring, a far cry from the flighty bundle of nerves last year at this time. She is walking, trotting, and halting without a fuss, calm transitions, and correct lateral work at the walk. All the basic buttons are finally there without any temper tantrums. The snow is gone (thank you, random 80* days!) but the fields and my "ring" aka paddock are still mucky. The 1000' gravel driveway is what we've got. So what if we don't do a 20 m. trot circle until our first show LOL! ;-)
But I can also tell that she is stiff. She is not lame and she is willing to do everything I ask of her, but it is clear she is stiff in her hind end. I figured it was going to be her sacroiliac area and her hocks.
Do I win a prize!? No, I just get to pay another vet bill, silly! ;-)
Lots of issues in her sacral apex and sacrotuberous ligament specifically, and a bit in her atlas and left rib area. But the biggest issue is the stiffness in her hocks. Not terrible and the vet assured me that most of what we are seeing in the chiro exam probably stems from the hocks.
So after working on her body, he recommended we start Polyglycan, 5cc IV. He did the first shot today, and I will do one in a week, and then another in a week out from there. That gets us to May 3, where we will then do one shot once a month until October 3, which makes for eight total shots and four vials. Whew! This is totally doable (I did Adequan IM with Dreamy for years) but I admit I am a little nervous about the IV part. I know how, my vet gave me a refresher, and I totally videotaped him on my phone so I can rewatch his instructions anytime I need to. But anything to do with sticking needles close to the carotid artery is scary.
Me: So, exactly what happens if I put this stuff into her carotid artery by mistake? Like what exactly will she do?
Vet: Oh, she'll just have a seizure and flip over. Just run like hell.
Me: (laughing) Well, good to know!
And we laughed and I thanked him for his honesty. He is a good teacher, a superb vet, and I love that he is always honest and straightforward with me while maintaining kindness and humor. Clearly, we are not being insensitive or deliberately callous about this, but I like to ask all the questions and he always answers me. Obviously, I am not going to plunge 5cc directly into my horse in one shot (which if I hit the carotid, would make her seize and flip over), but it is good to know that when I do 1cc and pull back the plunger to check for blood, if she shivers and definitely has a weird moment, I know that I need to reposition the needle. I'd rather know the entire truth about something than not ask the tough, squeamish questions. He put in 3cc and I took over to finish the remaining 2cc, so I had a chance to do it with him there.
So, Snappy has today off and we will see what we've got in the next few days as the Polyglycan starts to work. I suspect I will see some difference. I am going to set up a follow up chiro appointment for a month out as well, because if we are going to progress this year, the mare has got to be feeling her best!