Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Champ's Vet Report

I posted to the other thread but it may get buried/missed so I wanted to fill you all in:

Here are the x-rays that were just taken of Champagne Til Dawn's front feet. You don't have to be a vet to see the two problems here - the shattered mess that is his left ankle and the warped coffin bone on the right.

Basically, here's the score:

Left front - catastrophic ankle injury, old and fused. Zero range of motion in the fetlock joint. There is no way to fix this or make it better. No laminitis in LF hoof though.

Right front - laminitis, severe rotation but chronic - not a new development. He's been living this way for a long time. There are a number of ways to make this better. He does not have the coffin bone coming through the sole or anything horrific like that. My vet did not feel that it was food-related at all -- more that it had been caused by the RF having to bear all the weight while the LF healed and possibly also a reaction to steroids or something similar. (This is what happened to Barbaro. The shattered leg isn't what killed him. Laminitis in the other feet because they had to support all the weight is what killed him.)

The shoeing job was making things much, much worse as it was putting pressure on the soles and also the shoes were slippery so he would slide when he tried to walk. He displayed significant pain relief as soon as the shoes were pulled.

He is currently barefoot in deep shavings and will only be turned out in the small indoor area which is also soft - broken down layers of tanbark. He will be trimmed this weekend by our farrier, Sandy Craig, who is excellent with these horses. Eventually when he is ready, we'll be putting Natural Balance shoes on him.

He does not need to go hungry at all. He can stuff himself full of timothy and low-carb orchard grass pellets without any fear that it will hurt him - and he is doing so. I can tell he enjoyed the box stall last night - he was covered with shavings from head to toe. :-) He's on isoxuprine and bute as well as BL pellets in his grain.

Overall prognosis is "guarded but optimistic." He will never be more than a pasture pet, but we may be able to get him comfortable enough to enjoy some retirement years. Our vet remarked on what a lovely and cooperative disposition he has. He will be gelded when we have the other issues under control - probably around a month from now.

The next few weeks will tell us a lot but at this point, there's no reason to euthanize him. We have an original adopter and two more back-up home offers so I'm confident we can all communicate and figure out the best place for this guy to go after he's as "fixed" as he is going to get. He's definitely going to need pasture that is mostly level and to stay out of the mud. He won't be able to be turned out with anybody aggressive who may chase him.

I still want to know the rest of the story. This horse seems to have fallen off the face of the earth for several years. Did he blow that ankle during his race career that we know about? Or did some asshat try to drag him back to the bush tracks as an 8 or 9 year old and did it there? There's a lot of that kind of racing in the PNW and it wouldn't surprise me a bit. Just where has Champ been the last few years?