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In Loving Memory...
~ Gogo Fatale ~

6/2/01 - 10/11/11
~ Forever the Marest of Them All ~

Friday, March 26, 2010

Bad News Mares.

Good news for people who love bad news!

Wednesday afternoon was our appointment with Dr. C and Dr. G up at Tufts. Even though Gogo jogged out only mildly unsound the day after the incident, I hadn't jogged her since and wasn't sure of what we would find. I had thought maybe we'd have to try and induce the lameness again. I bathed her, clipped her, and trimmed her all up, plopped her on the treadmill, dried her off, and then tossed her on the trailer and left. When we arrived and unloaded, I was reminded of how much I completely adore my mare - as usual, she walked into the clinic like she owned the place, sniffed around at some extremely questionable looking things as if they were nothing, and stood there bright, calm, and interested, despite the chorus of screaming horses in all directions all around her. Love her.

When the vet showed up, we took her into Tufts' long aisleway, and had a tech jog her. And wow... she was a lot lamer than she has been the day after the incident. Quite a lot. Since she conveniently happened to be so lame on the day that we were there, we decided that we would start with blocks to see what we could isolate, and then go ahead and ultrasound the legs afterwards. I told them my concerns about her stifle, and when palpated we did find some mild effusion there, same as last time. (For the record, I think the injection didn't do much for her.) We also found effusion in both tendon sheaths in both hind legs, something I've been concerned about and unsure of what to really think - they fill at odd times and for odd reasons, which is why I've felt unable to wean the wraps off of her at this point despite my best efforts. We agreed to block the tendon sheath on the RH first and see what that gave us. Somewhat alarmingly, when the needle went in, a whole lot of fluid came shooting out, and left a fairly sideable puddle on the ground. The fluid was also more watery than it should have been. We blocked the area with 15ml of Carbocaine, and I took her for a little walk before we jogged. Not expecting to see much, I turned her over to the vet tech and watched her jog out for the second time with the vets at my side.

And... she was quite a lot better. And it continued to improve the more she moved.


Well, we weren't totally concerned at that point because the left hind had the original lesion in it, right? There was no structural damage to the right hind anywhere, aside from the inflammation in the tendon sheath and the jammed stifle. She was always lamer in the right hind originally, but honestly these past few jog outs prior have been great. There was nothing on ultrasound that was concerning. We clipped her up, pulled her up alongside the ultrasound machine, and looked at the RH.

There. An angry, fresh, little black hole. A brand new lesion on the other leg. My heart sank. It couldn't be.

We went back and forth for a long time about it. How could this have happened? Did she do something stupid? Was the canterwork just too much too soon? Was this a compensation issue? Did she have an adhesion that did in fact rupture but took part of the good tendon with it? We don't know. There was an area of very mild tendonitis on the left SDFT as well, despite the fact that the original injury is nearly invisible. At this point, it is impossible to say.

The official vet write-up:

"Upon presentation, Gogo Fatale was bright, alert, and in good body condition. Physical exam revealed mild right stifle effusion as well as effusion in the deep digital tendon sheaths, mild on the left hind and marked on the right hind. Lameness examination revealed a 2+ out of 5 lameness in her right hind limb at the trot. Upper and lower flexion tests resulted in mild t moderate and mild increases in lameness, respectively. The area of the skin over the right hind deep digital flexor tendon sheath was steriley prepped and 15ml of Carbocaine injected into the sheath. Upon repeat examination following local anesthetic injection, there was approximately a 75% reduction in lameness in the right hind at the trot.

Sonographic evaluation revealed a small local lesion in the superficial digital flexor tendon approximately 4cm proximal to the annular ligament of the fetlock joint, possibly resulting from a torn adhesion. The superficial and deep digital flexor tendons were noted to glide smoothly past one another. Additionally, an area of mild tendonitis was noted in the superficial digital flexor tendon just proximal to the annular ligament. As seen previously on sonographic examination, the area of previous tendonitis is improved however an area of mild tendonitis was noted in the left hind superficial digital flexor tendon distally, which is new as well.

As we discussed, due to its location, there is the possibility of the annular ligament of the fetlock putting pressure on the deep digital flexor tendon sheath and causing some discomfort. There is the possibility of surgically transecting this ligament to relieve this; we discussed this as an option for the future if needed. We agreed to treat conservatively and implement a controlled exercise program, allowing time for the tendon to heal."

We briefly discussed PRP with this particular lesion but shrugged it off pretty quickly, seeing as it is very close to the surface of the tendon. It is likely that everything would just leak back out into the tendon sheath versus stay put and do what it is intended to do. Given the location of the injury, we did discuss the possibility that the annular ligament around the back of her fetlock might be putting pressure on the tendon sheath and causing discomfort. They said maybe in the future if we needed to we could surgically transect it. I said no. I see no reason why we shouldn't be able to get the swelling down and gone with cold therapy and time.

And in the end, that is what we collectively agreed on. Time. We obviously need to immediately rest her and cool out the legs, but beyond that? Honestly, I've got all the time in the world. Maybe I'll take up my roommate's boss' offer to swap out horses and let her go live outside 24/7 for a few months while I take on a horse to see if we can get her sold. Maybe I'll just spend the summer lightly trail riding. Maybe I won't get on at all. Maybe I'll decide to teach her a bunch of dog-and-pony-show trick. Yeah, I think I'll do that.

Pick a trick, readers. I'll teach her how and get back to you once she knows it. That will be fun. Just don't suggest teaching her how to rear on command.

As for the next two weeks, we are on strict rest with 10 minutes of handwalking once a day, cold-tubbing twice a day, and icing twice a day as well. She is ticked about not going outside, but she has a nice big fluffy pile of hay in front of her, and she is still sparkling clean from her bath and has a freshly pulled mane. Maybe 2010 is our year to do silly things - explore, swim, trail ride, hang out - and then next year will be THE year. This year is also looking like the time to breed. So maybe, just maybe, this time next year we will have a bouncing, rearing bundle of love on the way to all ooh and aah over. I'd love that.

I am surprisingly not too bad about all this. Clearly, I'm not happy but at the same time my life isn't over. She's healthy, gorgeous and happy. She just has some funny legs right now, that's all.

Hey. I've got some funny legs too. We'll get through this. I know we will. It just takes time, and determination, and love. And time. Did I mention time?


Heather said...

Wow, I'm so sorry! I really hope things improve with time and that you don't go too stir crazy!

As for the tricks, I had a friend whose horse said yes and no to the questions- do you want grain? and do you want to go back to the barn? Very cute! Maybe you could do something like ask her if she wants to go on the treadmill!

Heidi said...

Well having a baby would be fun, even if is sooner than you planned! Sorry to hear about the set back, though.

Teach her some dog commands, like stay, come, heel off leash. Can a horse fetch? That would be funny!

Melissa said...

Aargh! Just when the stall rest was supposed to be over. At least now you can stop stressing about this show season and whether she'll be ready for it. I know, not much of a silver lining. Hopefully the chosen Go-daddy has no history of tendon problems?

Um, tricks... Can you teach her to flip her tail on command? It could be cute to get her to show off that gorgeous tail. Or is that a behavior you really don't want to encourage?

Minus Pride said...

She can recover :) YAY!! Better than pasture puff for the rest of her life. Best of luck with it, and a baby Gogo would be adorable.

SassySki said...

Andrea, I am so glad that you ar looking at the best in this situation. Most would be totally bummed and only look at how terrible it could be. Good for you. I admire you. i think you should teach Gogo to play dead. Like in a cowboy's and indian's shoot out :)

Melissa said...

Heidi's post reminded me - maybe she'd enjoy learning some in-hand trail exercises?

GunDiva said...

I'm sorry, but thrilled with your good attitude. It would be very easy to be pessimistic.

And Heidi, horses can fetch, my mom's does. She trained her to do that so that her horse can pick things up off the trail and hand them to her without my mom having to dismount. :)

leap said...

"Maybe I'll take up my roommate's boss' offer to swap out horses and let her go live outside 24/7 for a few months while I take on a horse to see if we can get her sold."

This sounds like a good plan to consider--you stay up on your riding skills, while GoGo gets the benefit of 24/7 turnout after the initial rest period. The slow ambling around a horse does in a parture who is out all day (as opposed to one who goes out less and runs) would be good therapy, I think. Many horses come back after simply being turned out for a while.

Teach her to bow. My awesome TB (RIP) learned to bow on was a great stretch...he got to the point where he would bow whenever I had a treat, not even waiting for the command, then he would bow when he just WANTED a treat. Very funny.

KaitlinMarie said...

I'm so sorry to hear about gogo's set backs, but your attitude towards the whole situation is amazing! I dont know many people who can sit back and come up with a positive outlook, in a somewhat negative situation.

I've been contemplating on taking the show season off too, and just getting too know my new thoroughbred even better, rather than just jumping back into the show ring.

I think that you looked at the situation tremendously, rather than just bottoming out and being sad about the outcome. Like someone else said, I really admire you for how positive you are!

I truly love reading about you and gogo, and hope the best for both of you! :)

p.s- a baby gogo would be twice as fun too hear about! gogo would make such a good mommy :-)

*Sharon* said...


Golden the Pony Girl said...

I just love your attitude about this. I think it is something to be admired. I totally agree with you. You have time, just let her chill and be a horse. They are so amazingly resilient.

I have done some fun "trick training" with my pony during his infancy and now his injury. It is a great way to spend time with them and I think it is good way to mentally work them especially if they are stuck on stall rest. Bodhi will hand you a cone, kick a ball, and wave. He loves it!

Nicku said...

Sorry Andrea. You know I can empathize fully with you on this one. I was really hoping for a different outcome for you though!!! Like you said, it should all resolve with more time off and it's awesome that she's a mare and you can breed up another superstar while you're waiting for her to come back to full work. CT summers are generally too hot and buggy to really enjoy riding anyways :P Now you can do more yoga and running in your Avatar shoes :)

Savannah said...

Since there's a defined hole in the tendon, have you thought about doing stem cell? I had great success doing it with my horse's torn sacroiliac ligament, and several friends have used it successfully for tendon injuries.

Heidi said...

GunDiva, that is very cool that your mom used fetch as a useful trick!

Andrea, just remembered that I wanted to say that you should definitely ride that other horse and ride as many as you can while Gogo is off. My horse has been rehabbing a front suspensory injury since September. During his time off I have ridden almost all the horses in my barn. Since I was only showing at BN level, it was amazing to get to ride horses who are going Prelim and everything in between! I have definitely gotten stronger and learned more about my own riding habits this way. So don't forget about furthering your riding experience while Gogo may further her mommy experience!

Raven said...

Phew, yes it's bad but it can get better! And I'm glad you can see that.

I agree about riding another horse. I'm hoping to take up a 6 month lease on another horse while my boy rehabs. Though unlike your Gogo I'm not sure he's ever going to be 100%.

You are very lucky to have a horse who is so acepting of vet procedures. Part of what is stymying our progress is the inability to get a proper diagnosis due to Fox's extreme dislike of vets and most especialy neddles.

So good luck with the rehab. Fox and I send you hugs.

me said...

Boy, you guys have had such a roller coaster ride! It would be great to see a Mini-Gogo... and I think tricks are a great idea... I had a friend who taught her horse lots of things, my favourite was to smile on command! She also taught her to shake, to nod yes or shake her head no, stuff like that. She loved doing it because it was a great bonding experience.

Best of luck to both of you in the healing process!

Lacey said...

I've been lurking on here for awhile and just want to send my good thoughts to Gogo's leg!

I am very pro the 24/7 turn out idea! I think that might just do the trick, after her initial rehab period of course.

And get on another horse!!! If you have the opportunity, do it. It'll keep you in shape and make time pass faster.

movo said...

goodness, you and gogo arent having the best of luck. I know how that can be. I like youre attitude though! A baby would be adorable! I bred my mini 2 years ago and her baby is my gorgeous little pony who follows me everywhere. As for the tricks, teach her to bow! I taught my first eventer how to. Maybe teach her to say yes too, its not too hard with clicker training.
good luck with everything!

STB Eventer said...

Oh, Andrea! :( I am sorry to hear this news. But at least you know what is going on and have lots of TIME to allow her to heal. :) Hugs to you and Gogo!

Cathryn said...

Hey Andrea, I don't post much but I am sorry to hear about your problems with Gogo. Lameness problems are very, very difficult to come back from and I am sending SO many good vibes your way. I hope and pray you and Gogo both come out of this stronger competitors - even if it takes a year. I'm thinking of you both and I cannot say how much I admire you for looking on the bright side of things. You are truly an inspiration.

Kate said...

Crappy news, but you and Gogo have great attitudes about the whole thing. I really wish the best for both of you: a speedy recovery for her and not too many more bumps in the road for you.

eventer79 said...

Oh no, major bummer! But you certainly have the best possible outlook on it all and I agree that time time and time has a great chance of getting her up and running. Sounds like you have a lot of options to fill the time although I know nothing is the same as doing it on your own equine partner. I think you should teach her to rear on command. Oh wait...just kidding! I always wanted to teach Solo to pick up an item off the ground with his teeth, turn his head and hand it to me in the saddle -- THAT would be a seriously useful skill.

Ambivalent Academic said...

Crap! I'm so sorry to hear about more setbacks, but so glad to hear your patient and positive outlooks.

In the meatime, tricks are really fun!

My horse will wag his head up and down to verbal cue: "Hey Bugs! Do you love me?"

I once got him to accept a ribbon from the ring steward at the outgate of a local show. He carried in his mouth all the way out of the arena. Weirdly, I could never get him to repeat it. Ribbons must taste bad.

My sister used to have a horse that would give her a kiss - she'd point to her cheek and he'd give it a nuzzle. Super cute.

MalteseLizzieMcGee said...

I found this review on a book about teaching your horse tricks-it looked good so I thought I'd send you the link

MalteseLizzieMcGee said...

Hang on, I don't think I copied the link properly

Frankie said...

So sorry to hear this problem's recurred again. I only discovered your blog this evening and have been reading for the last couple of hours.. you two have certainly been through some problems, but you'll get through this one just as you have the others. I'm a marathoner and have a lot of experience with frustrating recurrent injuries so found myself nodding as your exasperation came through in your words, it can be so disheartening. At least my injuries were only me, and not a beloved pet and workmate.

Will be keeping fingers crossed for you both that Gogo's problems resolve and the cause is found for certain. She sounds a gem of a horse and you two obviously have a wonderful rapport that will carry you both through the down days. xxx

Frankie said...

Oh, and for a trick, can you make her 'speak' on command? I don't have a horse [yet!] but have taught my dog to do this when I do that 'blah blah blah' hand thing, flat fingers against thumb like a mouth, and say 'speak'. A horse doing that would be awesome!

The fetching idea would be great too.. if she wasn't lame! >_<