Friday, February 15, 2019

The worst question. When?

It has been a roller coaster ride and this is a really crappy post. It matches my current mood and feelings; scattered, inattentive, and distressed. App has been going downhill since late December, becoming more and more uncomfortable. Every time it gets colder, he has a harder time. He stands with his hooves touching in his front, as he tries to stand on one leg, in addition to often standing with his legs camped far under himself to try to keep weight off of his front legs. I went from wanting to move my horses asap, to now not being sure if I even could move him if I wanted to.

The good thing is that this doesn't happen every day. Or most days. His uncomfortable days are still less than his comfortable days. But it is hard. What do you do when your horse can't get comfortable one day, no matter what drugs you give him, but the next day is happy, chipper, and content to cause trouble where ever he can?

But you have treats right?
I had the vet out to ask this very question. M said that I am doing everything I can and that there isn't more $$ I can throw at him. He is on Buteless Pellets, MSM, Polyglycan, Pentosan, and Equioxx. He can't have bute and Equioxx, only one or the other, so we would have to rotate but she doesn't like bute long term. Neither do I. The only thing she added is 10g (20 pills!!) of Tylenol on his really bad days, but he can only have it 3-4 days a week. She said he actually looks like one of the best 26 year olds she has seen, and it really is too bad he has arthritis because otherwise she would expect him to be around a long time. She saw him on a good day, but said as long as the good days out number bad days, let's try to get him through until spring. She agrees that it wouldn't be humane to put him through another winter. The hope is when the ground thaws and the cold isn't biting, he will be more comfortable and then I will be looking at putting him down in the fall. If he doesn't become comfortable in the spring, I'll put him down much sooner.

Two weeks ago we almost couldn't trim his feet because he couldn't hold his hooves up longer than 45-60 seconds. Eventually we got them "done" by having him in the indoor arena, the softest footing available, but even then was difficult and it wasn't a great job. That was even after waiting an hour after the Tylenol was given. Last Saturday it got super cold again and he was so uncomfortable, he couldn't stand on any foot and be comfortable, constantly shifting front to back, left to right.

He is still happy though
The flip side to that is 2 hours after the farrier left, he made a 100% turn around and was trit-trotting himself around to run away with something he stole from the barn manager. And on Monday, 2 days after he was so uncomfortable, he was demanding that he get attention. Which included shoving himself between me and Mia when I was trying to groom her and then insisted she did NOT deserve the apple I had brought her and that he deserved both apples. He got a quarter of her apple.

So that's the question. The worst question. When? When do I make the call to let him go? He is happy, alert, and content the majority of the time. But his bad days are getting worse. How do you make sure you aren't holding on because you've had them 25 years and you are doing the best for them?

Except for this huge abscess that blew. OUCH!
I had a discussion at the barn in which I advised the owner that if the barn manager continued to allow the freedom and "extras" she is providing App, I will stay. I am willing to make the ordeal to move him, but at this point I am also willing to spend the extra $ to keep him somewhere that he has literal free run of the place. He currently free roams, can go into a stall if he wants and they also put him in the indoor arena at night so he has a very dry, soft place to lay down. I am getting better care for him now than I have since I've been at this barn. The issue is the barn owner is against most of this, and the barn manager has been doing it anyway. The barn owner agreed to let the barn manager keep doing things in order for me to stay, so we will see how it goes.

Fingers crossed it warms up soon and App can at least be pasture sound most of the time again. I don't want to let him go but I know I don't have a choice and it is killing me.