My poor vet. I’m that crazy person who texts to ask some weird off the wall question, or send a picture of something unidentifiable. This time I sent him a text saying that Henry sometimes looked NQR behind, but only very slightly, and only sometimes, and it was really weird. Could he come figure it out? I’m sure he looked something like this when he read it:
But he’s the best, so he came. He watched Henry trot, watched me ride him, and saw some unevenness in the LH. He flexed off on that hock so we figured that was probably it, injected them, and away we went. My vet texted me a couple weeks later and asked how Henry was, and I said that while it was better, he still felt ever so slightly funky to me. The best description I could give him was that he felt “stabby” behind in the canter (but only sometimes), and I noticed that when we got to a short distance he would swap leads in the back just as he pushed off the ground (but only sometimes) . That’s literally all the help I could give him. I’m sorry, world of veterinary medicine.
So he came out again and we tried the stifle first… both of us thinking that it looked typical of a stifle issue. Alas – nothing. He ended up having to leave that day before we could go further so we set another appointment. The next course of action was to start at the bottom and block our way up the entire leg. No one needs money around the holidays anyway, right?
Luckily it didn’t take long – as soon as we blocked the fetlock Henry trotted off totally even. I never in a million years would have guessed fetlock, but okay. We took radiographs from every angle (getting what are no doubt the BEST quality x-rays I’ve ever seen, much less from a mobile machine) and got to see all kinds of cool things going on back there. In fact, the vet warned me in advance that these radiographs are SO good that it’s easy to over diagnose, so not to freak out.
Luckily there was nothing major or scary – the big fear was that we’d find a chip – but there are a few little things that he thinks are adding up to create the discomfort. Henry has a little bit of remodeling on the cannon bone, it looks like concussion type of stuff from whacking himself over and over and over his entire life. Because clumsy. He also at some point had a (now healed) very very teeny tiny hairline fracture in the inside sesamoid, probably due to a relatively minor soft tissue injury just above it. Plus there’s definitely reduced joint space in the fetlock itself. There was something about a slight rounding of something somewhere too that I have totally forgotten now.
Sounds scary but basically it’s not anything out of the ordinary for an OTTB that is now an eventer. The vet thinks the unevenness we’re seeing is due to chronic inflammation and general achiness from the wear and tear, which is being exacerbated greatly at the moment by feet with too long of a toe and too low of a heel (hasn’t that been a common theme amongst bloggers lately?). Nothing acute, nothing that affects riding or his job, but some general maintenance. We are going to inject the fetlock on Friday and make some shoeing changes to get the extra strain off of the sesamoid area.
I think I’ll follow that up with a chiro appointment to make sure he’s not totally out of whack from compensating, and then hopefully we’ll be done and Henry will be totally back to normal again. I’m sure the vet would be really happy to stop getting the “I dunno, something just feels weird” texts from me…