Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Oh, Decisions.

So, I didn't post much of Bacon's medical journey through the year on here. Mostly because I am a bad blogger this year. But let me tell you, it hasn't been easy keeping that girl feeling happy and now we are at a bit of a cross roads. But let's start at the beginning.

Some of you might remember that she has a bipartite navicular bone in her right front foot.
Oh, hello extra bone. You asshole.
After discovering that last year and getting her navicular bursa injected, all seemed well and we were off having all kinds of fun at our first recognized events without any issue. We paired her injections with shoeing that included regular shoes with frog support pads and magic cushion as the packing. This seemed to be the magic recipe for a happy and sound horse. And a happy Alyssa.
I bring all the vets to the yard. But they really do love me.
When spring came about, it had been almost a year since Bacon had received those injections. Every once in a while, when she would hit a rough spot in the pasture, she would have an ouchie step, so I knew it was time to inject again (or do whatever the vet recommended). I also thought maybe her hocks were bothering her, since she usually had a hind leg cocked at rest at all times. She was also acting like a more "intense" version of herself. Normally overzealous in the spring, I didn't think much of it, but she just couldn't seem to settle or go to work like she could in the past. I brought her into the Equine Hospital, and they agreed with the idea of injecting her navicular bursa and hocks, as well as all of her other routine maintenance. She had ALL THE THINGS done spaced out over two different weeks.
Bacon and her feelings. 
Though her foot seemed to be back to normal, Bacon was not. I continued to worry when she wouldn't go forward in warm up for xc and even threatened to rear, and especially when she didn't want to play at all in our recognized dressage test in Spokane. I couldn't touch her at all, and even still, she would throw her head around and her back felt empty as she balked here and there. I cried when I got back to the barn, not because of our awful test, but because that wasn't my horse. Back to the vet she went.
Realizing that it's xc and oh yeah, it is the best. P.S. Why are my stirrups so long?
I had brought up to the vet that I thought maybe her SI was bothering her, or her lower back, and she agreed. Before resulting to injections, we wanted to test and see what muscle relaxers would do for her, as well as a dose of Osphos (typically given to navicular horses, but now starting to show that it can help with overall bone pain as well) and switch her from Pentosan to generic Adequan. I started to give her the muscle relaxers and noticed a pretty big difference right away. Also, with the muscle relaxers on board, the chiro could really work on her and gave her an amazing adjustmend with a giant POP and big sigh a day before we were to leave for Camelot. I was worried about how she would do down there, and being off the meds while competing. But she felt amazing and pulled out our best show of the season. Maybe it was because she escaped twice. Maybe it was the California air. I don't know.
Oh yeah, remember this bad assery?
We did another round of muscle relaxers once we got home, but with a lesser dose. But in my mind, I knew we were just masking a problem and not treating the cause. Bacon continued to see chiros, but they weren't doing the trick all the way for her. I started to also realize that because she points with her bad foot so much, she rests the diagonal hind. Causing her body to be balanced unevenly pretty much at all times. After Rebecca, I contacted a different vet, as my regular vet does not do SI injections, and I gave her my thorough history on Bacon and why I thought she needed a look at her SI. She came out and agreed with me (and was perhaps overwhelmed with my obsessive knowledge on my horse). It seemed as though her foot was starting to be a problem again as well, but this vet thought that maybe injecting the SI would give her enough relief that she would be comfortable on that front. I went along, but had a feeling we would be revisiting the fronts again shortly. Bacon's SI joints were both clearly causing her pain. Even just getting her scrubbed while she was sedated, Bacon would kick out and shift in discomfort. My heart sank knowing I had made her wait that long.
And this bad assery too? 
After two weeks, I relayed that Bacon was feeling a lot better in the hind, but that her RF was still not 100%. Up until this point, I had been able to extract money from the horse show fund for Bacon's vet bills, but fortunately I have a forgiving husband who let me pull from savings for the SI and coffin injections. Because they weren't cheap. I had really really liked the vet that did her SI injections, but at $700, I was feeling a little queezy. When she said she could come out to do coffins and I asked the price and $500 came up, I had to decline. Though she was amazing, I could not see how coffin joint injections could be that much. I contacted my regular vet, and she happily came out, agreed that they would be appropriate, and finished that up. With her doing the injections, plus a giant bottle of Bute, it was around $200. That was something I could live with, and something I could look my husband in the eye and tell him the cost of.
Not a good shot of the incredibly long needle.
Bacon had some time off, and then I tested her out. She felt great! We prepared quickly for Aspen, and you all know how that played out. Now having her home since then, I have noticed that she gets very ouchie with that damn foot if she is a wild pogo stick in the pasture and gallops in the rough footing. Those last injections were in August. I will not pump more injections into those joints at this time, and the vet agrees. Our new plan is to let Bacon live in my in-laws nice 2+ acre pasture for the winter with a new shoeing setup (or no shoes, haven't quite decided yet what will be best for her). Every time I think about it, I want to cry. I know it will be terrific for her mentally, and I hope it will be as well physically. I am hoping that the ability to constantly move forward in an open space will help her body relax and her foot recover, as they have a safe flat pasture and two friends for her to be with.
Destroying that championship course.
This has been quite the year. I have been blessed to have done with her what I have, as I know many aren't so lucky with their bipartite horses.And thanks to many of you, you funded our path this year through the vet bills and horse shows (I am working on my last paintings, HOORAY!) We are also in the middle of looking into moving, so that is a whole other chapter. My goal is to find a place slightly closer to my husband's work, with more land so that Bacon can continue to live in a nice pasture. This will be a big shift for me, to not have my number one girl at home. My whole schedule revolves around her, my dreams and my goals. I hurt almost everywhere, but I can do things for her. And if she needs a winter off, that is fine, or a year, or forever. She owes me nothing because she has given me so much.
Currently enjoying time with her roomate, Pandora. Who also smiles.
So, next year looks scary. I don't know where we will be at, or what we will be doing or where we will be living. But I do know come spring, we will re-evaluate my girl and see how she is and go from there. And I will continue to demand kisses and smiles from her until she leaves to go to the in-laws, and perhaps change up the dream.
My heart.