Now for all you non-horse peeps (cause I was asked), that is not a blindfold. It's a fly mask. Eli can see through it. It's to protect his eyes from debris, like the hay that's right there in his face, from flying in his eye. Eye injuries in horses suck. So better safe than sorry.
We had a 10 am appointment so we left my barn at 7 am. This was an early start. We stopped about halfway at a rest area. All was good. We hit the road and not too long after that we hear "bang! bang! bang!" about 5-7 times. Eli never moves much as we are traveling. When we stop he might move around and adjust himself. But on the interstate? Nope. My hubby was driving and could see his nose poking out the window so we knew he was still standing (my fear is a horse going down in the trailer). We keep driving and we hear more . . . not as much but it sounds like a stomp or kick here and there. We stop at the next exit. Eli seems fine. I get in the trailer and look to see if there's something in there bugging him (a horse fly or wasp, etc) I see nothing. So we continue. He keeps randomly making the noise but we have no choice but to continue. We arrive and he's fine. But I'm shaken up by that.
Our appointment is with Dr Keegan. He invented the lameness locator. This is a computer system with three sensors that are hooked to the horse (top of head, top of pelvis and right front foot). you trot the horse down a concrete hallway and the computer determines where the horse is lame. It was really interesting and since I do software development I was intrigued by the math and algorithms that are going on in the program. To make a long story short the locator indicated a right front lameness. The vet thought he saw a left front. We blocked the left front and tested again. No change. We blocked the right front and tested again. No change. Then we proceeded with neck xrays as I was originally thought this was a neck issue. The problem is that neck issues are rare in horses and don't respond well to treatment. The xrays showed some arthritis and we did a block/steroid combo on 2 joints and did them on both sides of the neck. We inject C6/C7 first. This was done guided by ultrasound. We tested with the lameness locator again - no change. We then injected C5/C6 and tested with the lameness locator. We got a change on the straight line. The locator indicated that Eli was no longer lame! However, we had also been testing on the lunge. That was showing left front lameness going left and right front lameness going right. We did decide though that maybe this was Eli's way of going or a different lameness and we were going to stop at this point and see how the neck responds.
I just want to say that Eli allowed the vet to inject four joints without any sedation. My boy stood like a rock. He didn't move a muscle. It was amazing. Everyone said (many times) how good he was. They said they wish they had patients like him every day. The vet didn't want to have to sedate him cause sedative can mask lameness. But I think everyone though he'd need some sedative. The intern vet said she had seen neck injections only once before and that horse had to have the "shit sedated out him". Eli is amazing. I got all teary eyed watching him be so good. I get teary eyed every time I think about this. I love him so much and he's just so amazing - the best horse a girl could ever ask for.
These pics were taken the next day at home. Eli had to be shaved and cleaned (really *really* well) in order to have the ultrasound guided injections. I joked that I'd kind of like to take my clippers and turn those into hashtags! Ha ha. #horse
It was 7:30 at night. I was exhausted from standing most of the day, waiting and having a small level of stress all day. Neither my husband nor I really wanted to drive home. It's dark at this time and thinking about how Eli got restless on the drive there, I didn't want to risk having a problem in the dark. So we opted to stay. I helped get Eli settled in his stall and we left at 8 pm to find a hotel.
We got to the clinic at 7am the next morning to hit the road. I really wanted to get to work as I didn't plan on taking 2 days off for this. Plus I knew we might have to go back. So I wanted to save that PTO. The ride home was normal and Eli didn't doing any banging around. :)
I was allowed to ride Eli after 48 hours. I rode him Saturday morning and again Sunday morning. I'm so sad to say that there is no change in his head movement that he does under saddle at a walk. So now we can to the bute protocol: 2 grams twice a day for 2 days, followed by 1 gram twice a day for so many days. . . tapering to 1 gram once a day. I will try this to see if it helps. The next veterinary step would be a bone scan. At this point I feel like if that's the last step then I might as well go for it. Why go this far only to turn around at the last step?