Saturday, February 8, 2014

An update on my old man Appy

This winter has been hard on my poor old man App but I think things have finally turned a corner.  It started when he refused to keep his summer weight on.  Why? I have no idea, each winter he loses weight and gets skinny even though his feed is increased, his hay is increased, his teeth are done and he is UTD on his deworming.  It isn't like he is losing weight so that he looks horrible, in fact he is probably declared fat enough to be in "fit shape" to a lot of people but when I run my hands over his barrel I can feel ribs.  Not "when I first got Mia" feeling ribs, where I can feel the outline of each rib, but I can feel their outline without pushing.  Not what I want for a coming 21 year old horse in a winter in Michigan.  In September I started by increasing his grain from a quarter scoop of Equine Senior to 3/4 a scoop and, despite still having grass, I start hanging hay nets.  Down, down the weight goes regardless and by Oct/Nov for the past 4 years I have to break out an extra supplement or two to get his weight up.  This year was no different and I was successful in getting his weight back up with a half scoop of Max-E-Glo twice a day for 2 months, he is in good weight now.

Another issue he has with winter is that he is not a warm animal, just like me!  Even being outside 24x7 this fall/winter, he hasn't grown any more of a coat than he has his entire life living in boarding barns and whenever it gets below 15 degrees he shivers.  It is just how it is!  He has a 50x100 indoor arena to use as a run in shed to block the wind and he still shivers when it is cold out.  As a result I keep him blanketed anytime the temp goes below 15 however, quite surprisingly, even with the arctic blasts this year I haven't had to double blanket him.  Maybe being outside 24x7 is doing something right for him lol?

The last issue he has had is a new one and started last fall, him being sore.  He had an issue with a huge abscess that finally came out at his coronet band.  Once that went away there was intermittent lameness which 2 vets diagnosed as his hocks.  He received a shot of Polyglycan which seemed to fix him up really well but it is 2x the price of the Pentosan I have been using.  Dr A recommended that I double the amount of Pentosan and see if it worked instead.  Well, it hasn't.  Despite getting a Pentosan shot every 2 weeks, plus a scoop of Devi's Claw, plus a top feed joint supplement, my poor App is so lame that he looks very TWH-ish-on-a-bad-day in his trotting.  Very shuffle-y, not really trotting, looking almost gaited as he doesn't allow any suspension in the trot.

I finally gave Dr A a call and ordered a couple of bottles Polyglycan and he had them shipped to me and they were there the next morning.  Holy cow was that fast!  The biggest drawback to this new supplement is that it is an IV injection, not IM.  Now, odd thing about me, I am super needle phobic but I have no problem giving shots to others.  At least IM, I am really uncomfortable about giving an IV shot.  I have done it before through my life, several times in fact as required when being hired help at boarding barns and things go south.  When someone needs an IV shot of banamine and you are the only one there until the vet comes in over an hour and the barn owner is not home and the owner is freaking out, you gotta put your big girl panties on and stick a needle in a vein.  That said, doing it on my own had me queasy but I gotta help my poor App.  So I re-read how-to's on the internet all afternoon.  Read 6 different how-to's and watched 4 videos.  Read several different forums and got up my nerve, it is just a needle and it isn't pointed at me!

I finally went out at dinner feeding and put the App in the cross ties.  Of course he walked with his ears back and was one grumpy man though as soon as I put him in the cross ties he started looking for treats.  I helped him out in that department and slathered him down with alcohol.  I angled the needle parallel to his neck, really high and close to his head to avoid any artery and jabbed, nothing.  I gave him a treat and told him sorry and tried again, this time jackpot!  Blood freely dripped from the needle hub and didn't spurt, a sign I was in.  I gave the shot, checking halfway to make sure I was still in the vein, and he was completely content.  A quick muss of the skin and hair to seal it off and more treats to apologize for the invasion of privacy and all was done.  Success!

A mere 12 hours later, there is a noticeable difference in my App, I saw him trotting again.  Really trotting in the pasture!  When I brought him him for feeding, he walked with his ears up and around, not back and grumpy.  Yay!  Unfortunately this means I will likely need to have his hocks injected in the spring but as a 20+ year old competition horse who has never had it done, I don't think that is too bad.  I am very glad the App is feeling better and I have enough to give him a shot once a month until Dr A comes out for spring shots.  I am excited to see how long he feels this good!

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