I read a lot of blogs- I like to lurk around and follow what others in the horse/stamping worlds are doing...very often I will see some sort of reference to "the best husband in the world." Well, I certainly have THE best honey around! Last night as the snow really began to fly and it became obvious that we were in for a lot more than they had anticipated Bill called his morning clients to reschedule... he knew it was going to be a chore to get the driveway cleared and my friend who had offered to go to Beau's appointment with me had something come up- with no clients he could go with me to the Clinic. It took from the time he got up today right up until the time we pulled out of the driveway to get a passable, plowed-out route. He plowed and shoveled and trimmed downed trees and limbs, he shoveled the roof of the trailer clear and never once made it back into the house! As hard as we were working, I was pretty hopeless for quite a while there...I wasn't sure we were going to be able to get the trailer out or get Beau from the barn to the trailer or make it clear up the drive or over to the Clinic. But, with Bill toiling all morning, we made the 11am appointment right on time- I am so thankful he was here to help me; otherwise there was no way I could have gotten there today! Since it was a snow day we gave the kids the option and they all chose to go with Auntie. They were excited to spend some time with her- and I was happy to be able to focus just on the pony boy and not have to worry about the children running around.
Beau was very good about hoofing it through the snow and as always loaded/hauled like a champ! He called a few times when we first arrived- but settled into his holding stall just fine. After we had given his history and he had a basic evaluation they walked and trotted him on the pavement and then lunged him both directions. Dr. Davis noted little lameness to the Left and slight (1-1.5) to the right. As I said- this was slight, but it WAS there! In order to eliminate/diagnose heel pain we opted to do a nerve block on the RF. He wasn't too sure he liked being poked in his feet- he didn't want to keep the foot on the ground and after the block he really didn't want the other vet testing for pain! They ended up having to do a bit more med in the inside of the heel and used a twitch to try to keep him occupied and his feet on the ground. He certainly didn't like that and it made me sad to watch him try to figure it all out. He is such a good boy, and he was very unhappy when his little lip got pinched. But he did settle and they got the meds where they needed them to be and we were off for another jog. On the lunge this time the right was much better (indicating that it was pain in the heel causing the problem) but now there was lameness evident on the LF (also 1-1.5) so... bilateral heel pain = navicular. With that question answered we were off to x-ray.
They did 4 views of each of his front feet. As suspected, there was change in the navicular region on both limbs...mild to moderate with a cyctic change on the right front navicular bone noted. So- diagnosis: "bilateral forelimb navicular syndrome, right worse than left." The good news?! Being that the lameness is mild (1-1.5 out of 10) corrective shoeing is the first therapy to consider. They gave Bill a long list of shoeing recommendations and we should see results with that alone (a wedge with eggbars and equi-pack under a full pad) I'm happy- we were on the right track all along. Going just off of gut, Bill had him in the wedge this fall. However we were not sure it was helping so didn't keep him in it because we didn't want to cause more damage if it was the knee. Now we know for sure that it was heel pain, and we can go back to treating it with shoes/wedge/pads which was Bills original plan way back in the fall!
If we can not get to a happy place with shoeing alone, there are other therapies to consider. One that will target the cyst directly (its a pricey med they import from France) and gives great relief when it works- but doesn't work for all horses also injections into the coffin joint and the navicular bursa itself. But, as Dr. Davis recommends, we ought to see if we can manage it mechanically first. I am glad to know that with proper management this really should not affect Beau too greatly. Navicular is something we can work with...and since we are beginning to treat him now, we will have these other options for later down the road if/when corrective shoes no longer help him move pain free.
I am glad to know the root cause of Beau's discomfort, and was happy to have the professional opinion of whats going on and what we should do. We have a great baseline to go on now- and can monitor his progress/decline from here. I have my fingers and toes crossed for soundness with shoeing...and I'm happy I don't have to pay for these suckers- its going to be heavy hardware every 6 weeks! Beau's gonna owe Daddy big time! And me- I owe him too!