Future Hubs has spent more than one evening consoling me lately when I get myself wound up about looking at the whole Big Picture of life instead of little bite-size day-by-day pieces, the likes of which are easier to swallow and deal with in general. He tells me I have a tendency (and he's right) to let myself get overwhelmed by huge, long-term things that seem too big to tackle, instead of just breaking things up into sizable and doable pieces. I had been very good up until now about just letting Gogo's rehab situation cruise along at a day-by-day speed, keeping my thoughts positive and forward-thinking. But last night, as I watched my horse and her ever-worsening lameness hobble around in the roundpen, I couldn't help but feel overwhelmed.
She was terrible last night. Ever since the potential reinjury earlier in the month, her RH has just looked terrible. I've done what I can for it while she is in turnout, but it's not enough. The last few times I've seen her, her lameness has been worsening, and last night she was hip-hiking, toe-dragging lame on the RH. I would give it a 2.5-3/5 on the lameness scale. It was bad.
She's not resting it any more than usual, and she's still resting the other hind normally and also standing four-square when the mood strikes. She is also still sound at the walk, like she has always been. She seems happy. She still struggles with pivoting around on her hind end.... she plants both hind legs and shuffles awkwardly around, which is a relatively new thing (past several months or so). Last night was also the first time I saw her struggle when I asked her to move backwards - she hopped painfully back, avoiding putting too much weigh on the RH.
Little increasingly bad signs that just keep adding up.
Looking at the entire big picture, we are now 2 whole years out from the original injury, and she is NO better. (It will be 2 years on September 12th). If anything, she is now worse off than ever because there is such a mess of scar tissue, adhesions, and other structural involvement in the area where where was simply a tendon sheath issue after the first injury. A reinjury, a second reinjury, and now a THIRD reinjury... this past time while doing nothing at all. She reinjured just being out in her field.
It is not ethical to make a mare like this go back and stand miserably in a stall for another period of who-knows-how-long for for a chronic, perpetual injury like this one. It's not fair to sacrifice her quality of life at this point. Qualify of life is about all she has right now.
It is also not ethical to consider euthanasia for a horse who is still walking around fine and happy in her field. Again, quality of life is what we're basing everything around right now. When she stops being comfortable and happy is when she will make that decision for me, if it ever comes down to that.
I can't not look at the entire picture and go hmm, she is now just as lame as she was two years ago during the original injury, only now there is chronic and proably permanent damage in the leg... which leaves her worse off than ever before. And it's only getting worse. Right now, there are no steps forward.... only steps back.
I hate to say it, but I also have to think of it in an economical way as well. I have poured so much time, money, and emotion into this injury, and not a single thing we've done has had long lasting healing effects. I could keep pouring money into fancier and more extreme treatments, but to what purpose and with what guarantee?
Stall rest, controlled exercise, and daily sedation were all things I was willing to do for her legs at the temporary expensive of her mental stability when this injury was fresh and her chances for recovery were very good. It's a different story now.
WHAT is the right thing to do? I don't know anymore.
There are lots of small options and things I could potentially change - moving her to a new facility where she can be in a smaller drylot with a stricter diet, E-Stim, Aquatread, homeopathy, castor oil wraps, essential oils, etc. - but again, are any of these things going to help? I'm willing to give them a reasonable try, or at least some of them, but at this point I'm just grasping at straws.
She's happy, and she's still getting around well enough. So long as she shows me she's willing to keep moseying, I'll keep trying. But you better believe I will do the right thing if she ever tells me that she's done trying and she's had enough.
Zac's 3 week update
18 hours ago