June 6, 2004

Laminitis and tendons, take 2

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Isis Bint Sirdar

The farrier came out today and had some excellent news. Even after Isis had a mild case of laminitis, her feet are in excellent shape. The white-line growth is normal and she isn’t lame any more. As far as he was concerned, her feet were good enough to start riding again. Six weeks pasture rest and the grazing muzzle had paid off!

Except for an annoying swelling on the inside of her right foreleg. The vet was on her way out to treat another horse, so I asked her to examine Isis’ leg. It was as I’d feared: the swelling indicated a problem with her tendon. She needed to be up in a level pasture for another month and treated with bute for 10 days. In addition, hydrotherapy on the affected tendon and on the wind puffs above her fetlocks on her back legs.

This scenario is all too familiar. Last year, on April 11, Isis came down with a swelling on her front leg and a stone bruise on her other foot. Her stance and lameness were text-book laminitis, except key symptoms were missing: no strong pulse in her tendon and her feet weren’t hot. Concurrent with her laminitis episode, she had also pulled a tendon and gotten a stone bruise in the other front foot. Both things that could make her stand as if she had laminitis. She did fully recover from the laminitis, her tendon, and the damage done to her hooves. By November 2003, I could finally ride her again lightly.

April 15 of this year she had another episode of laminitis. And now her tendon is acting up again, and her back legs have wind puffs (swellings that indicate the circulation isn’t as good as it could be). Wind puffs are a blemish, and not an unsoundness. In other words, they don’t effect the horse’s soundness, but should still be treated with rest and hydrotherapy when they appear. They may not go away completely.

So if it isn’t one thing, it’s something else. We’re into the second year of not being able to ride. This is the second year that there is *finally* a local Arabian breed show, and once again. Isis won’t be able to attend. I can take my gelding, but it’s just not the same. I don’t have the rapport with him that I do with Isis. Riding him is work; riding Isis is a pleasure.

Either way, I won’t push her. The short term investment in her soundness by giving her the month or more of rest that she needs will have a long term payoff. Funny, I told myself this last year too.

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