I've been doing my best to come up with a Master Plan for Gogo's current stage of rehab/desperate weight loss need. I have a basic idea of what I want to do, but of course, Gogo's incredibly awkward legs have other ideas, and have decided they are just going to do whatever they want to do, rehab be damned!
Gogo is the queen of Random Mystery Leg Swellings With No Lameness. For YEARS she has been getting mystery swellings, which were mostly due to cuts and scrapes; however, they have been known to arise from anything under the sun, all the way from generalized bangings (getting cast in her stall, getting tangled in a roundpen panel, etc) to wild reactions to new batches of shavings (balloon legs on her, but nobody else!). Generally, when it comes to Gogo, if there is a cut or scrape on one of her legs, I can bank on it swelling dramatically no matter what. Not a single one of these Mystery Leg Swellings was lameness-inducing. And this time, it's no different: Gogo's right front is lumpy and fat, and in the past two days has switched from the inside of the leg to the outside. All four legs have a little fill to them too. Why? Oh, I dunno. Might be....
MYSTERY TEXAS DEATH FUNGUS.
Or something like that.
Seriously, what the heck is going on? A mystery fungus that pops up on all four legs in the middle of the hottest, driest summer Gogo has ever experienced in her life? I might understand it if I was bathing her a million times a week in the middle of a soggy Connecticut spring, but here? It popped up as a bunch of scabs on the backside of all four legs, right where you'd expect scratches to be (save for the right front, which has scabs on the front of the pastern as well). When you pick them, they come off, and bleed - a lot. They only showed up in the last week or so - coinciding pretty well with the move to the new facility. Texas is desperately dry right now, so it's not like she's standing in mud. And is it even a fungus? Her field has some bull nettle in it, as well as several other types of completely terrifying pokey plants in it (they're not cacti, but I wouldn't want to run into them either way), so it's possible she's reacting to getting poked and stabbed by plants she's never been exposed to either. But I think if that were the case, it wouldn't be localized so much... hmm.
I always tend to associate scratches with having an autoimmune issue. But in this case, it does coincide pretty spot-on with her move to the new place. I wonder what is actually going on... fungus, or scabs due to many little cuts and scrapes from nettles?
Either way, washing with Micro-Tek and Desitin aren't going to hurt anything, so we'll give that a try. As for the fat right front, I dunno... the fill doesn't go away with movement (the case in her other 3 days), isn't sore, is warm but not hot, and is not lameness-inducing. It is also partly localized as a lump on the outside of her leg.
The other VERY INTERESTING thing that is happening? Gogo is growing a COMPLETELY different foot. I mean SERIOUSLY different. Rememeber four months ago when I pulled her off Gro N' Win? I mentioned then that Gogo has always, always has a small bit of white line separation, always - for years! It never caused her a problem but it never went away. I had always chalked it up to the horrible, soggy New England climate. Gro N' Win has a soy base, and when I removed it from her diet, I mused that while I didn't think she had a soy sensitivity, it would be interesting to see what would happen.
Gogo's feet at the start of April:
With the same danged-ol' toe cracks that she has had for five years. She has noticable indentations in her coronet bands on both fronts, which is where the problem originates. They've never been a problem, and so far nothing has ever made them change or go away. They've always looked pretty much like that - you might not notice they were there unless you looked for them.
Until April happened, and the grass grew in. Suddenly, Gogo's feet were dramatically changing right before my very eyes. Her beautiful feet deteriorated with such rapidity that I didn't hardly know what to do with myself. They were different EVERY day. Aside from the underside of her foot warping, the most alarming thing that happened was that both toe cracks split open pretty wide all the way to the top of the hoof. That had NEVER happened before. It didn't cause her any problems, thankfully, but it was still startling to see. All because of the beautiful pasture she was on.
Beautiful grass pastures are my sworn mortal enemy. At this point, after seeing what the grass did to her, I think I'd rather have her in a stall/minimal turnout situation than out on unlimited pasture ever again. She was never sore or lame, but she could have been. If you eat too many sugary candy bars, you are probably going to end up as a diabetic someday. Horses are NO exception.
Thankfully, we have fast-forwarded three months, and are onto a new chapter in Gogo's feet. Gogo has been off the Gro N' Win now since the beginning of April, and her vitamins and minerals are coming from a supplement instead. The new non-soy foot Gogo is growing in is beautiful and quite a LOT tighter than the one she had before. Look where the big crack stops - RIGHT at the event line. How about that. The grass caused the cracks, but taking her off the Gro N' Win seems to have prevented them from staying. Interesting... very interesting.
Not the greatest picture, but you get the idea. Excuse the recently-bathed coronet/periople wetness. Oh yeah, and there's the fat leg too!
If you notice, that foot in comparison to the hoof picture above it has a LOT of length to it. Gogo was trimmed barely two weeks ago, but after she was pulled off the grass for good, she completely exfoliated her sole on all four feet.... AGAIN. This is the fourth or fifth time in the past few months that she has done this. It just finished its full exfoliation, and of course this now has left about half an inch of hoofwall that is standing above the sole. It's trim time - immediately!
Oh Gogo. You are my greatest teacher.
PS: she has a fan club of little girls at the new barn already... and guess what their favorite pastime is with her?
She loves all her little minions.
More soon on the rehab process and what actual, concrete plans I have in store for her - and how her first time back under saddle went!
Zac's 3 week update
18 hours ago