UGH. Interesting is not so much the word I would use for problems in the neck. But I know what she was getting at. This was not the first time she'd mentioned this. And I trust her a lot. She clearly knows what she is doing and has felt a TON of baby horses learning to bend. I had actually willfully ignored this the first time she mentioned this feeling. After Leila, the last thing I wanted to hear was neuro/neck problems. And then he seemed to get better and work through it, so I assumed it had just been "I raced 47 times and now I have to bend my neck instead of stretching it straight out in front of me?" with some muscle pain/soreness that we had eventually worked through. But this was time two of bringing this up, so I bit. Plus it was incredibly convenient to have him assessed while he was at her place. AND I was with my BFF who is an equine vet, so I could run things by her in real time.
Tuesday's report was better - he felt more like himself. Made me feel a bit better to hear that. Thursday she kept in touch the whole visit. Found mild arthritic changes at C6-C7 on the right side (using US, more sensitive than rads according to that vet), pretty normal neuro exam. Felt like he would really benefit from chiro adjustment. Could consider injecting that spot if chiro wasn't doing enough after a few adjustments. BFF agreed with that assessment even looking at the ultrasound images at the same time. <3 technology.
So. The world did not end. I got this looked into. It is ONE spot in his neck instead of MANY. And he may not even need injections. And BFF says that even if it does need injected, it may only need injected once while he builds up the muscle and new way of carrying himself. It wouldn't be destined to be a q6months injections. With Leila it was very much an abnormal neuro exam with 4 different facet joints that could be injected every 6 months...
Friday I was DYING for a report on how he felt. But FL got hammered by disgusting wind and rain ALL DAY. Saturday was much of the same and JT was off to coach at a horse show. I got back to town late Saturday night, but didn't plan on seeing him until Monday morning. Sunday morning she got on him and I got the report of "I'm excited for you to feel him! He's a whole new horse!" with notes on how he can actually respond to half-halts in his right lead canter now.
Sunday afternoon my husband got unexpectedly tied up with family things and so I snuck out for a quick 15 minute ride. He felt slinky at the walk even, with a freedom to his shoulders/neck that I hadn't felt before. He slipped behind a couple of times at the walk and trot, but my theory on that is stifle weakness that comes and goes as we increase the work demands, he gets fit for it and stops slipping, then we increase the amount of sit again. His right lead canter felt FANTASTIC. We quit after just a bit of canter both directions and went for a quick walk hack before settling him in his turnout for the night all cozy in his blanket.
The plan for him:
- 10,000 IU Liquid Vitamin E per day for 2 weeks before decreasing to 5,000 IU per day
- Increase grain to DOUBLE what he is getting now. The vet's feeling was that if they are lean when they are trying to lay down and build new muscle it becomes a more fibrous less properly organized muscle mass. I'm not sure I follow the science behind that (and didn't get to talk to her in person), but she's a well-respected sports medicine vet here, so I'll follow her experience.
- Chiro once a month
I'm excited to see what the next month brings us! I'm headed down to lesson on him this morning and then bringing him back home. While I was out of town I had briefly thought about moving him to JT's permanently, but the 45 minute drive there yesterday was enough to remind me how lucky I am to have GY's 1.8 miles away from me. And I adore them. So we'll stick to the once a week trailer rides down to JT's place.