"And, when you want something, the entire Universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." -The Alchemist, by Paulo Coehlo

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Vet Visit #2: Radiographs

Ok, so since we still haven't received the call, here comes the next update.

Like I said, Lily's hooves are fine. But we decided to radiograph the left hind fetlock too, and discovered 2 things that we're not sure yet if they are badness. All we know is that they are things that should not be there.

Here are the rads:
Left hind hoof, no dye. Look at all that sole! She only had 1/8" of sole between her coffin bone and  the outside world back in October!

Left hind. Everything looks good, except for the slight lateral imbalance, which matched in the right hind as well. The coffin bone is slightly tilted to the outside (left, when looking at this image). You can see there is also a flare on that same part of the hoof. My farrier said she can correct this on Lily's next trim. 

Left hind on the "naviculator". The coffin bone is clear, with normal vascularization. This shot was frightening a year ago-you couldn't clearly discern the tip of the coffin bone, which indicated demineralization. There is a small speck on the inside heel-you can see the dot on the left side of the hoof- but no one was too concerned. Dr. R was able to see it on the lateral shot, and it is very close to the surface.

Left hind with contrast dye injected into the puncture wound hole. It's not deep at all! Yay!

As an afterthought, it was decided to radiograph the fetlock, just to rule out  that there  weren't multiple causes for the swelling. And here we started finding stuff. *sigh* There is this bump that Dr. R pointed out and I have circled in red so you guys can see. She thinks it might be a bone bruise or cyst, which could be an indicator of OCD (osteochondritis dissecans), which is probably the one thing I never would have expected to find on my small 15hh mare, and it is less common for it to show up so low on the leg-usually it plagues stifles and hocks. The first link is about the disease in general, as it also affects people and large breed dogs, but here is some general info on it in horses. I don't think Lily's situation is considered bad, since this is so small, and OCD can present as HUGE joint swellings, and it can be an incidental finding where nothing else comes of it-it doesn't lame the horse, and it doesn't worsen over time. However, in many cases it does require surgery. I'm still wondering if the fluid in Lily's suspensory branches and the enlargement of her annular ligament are not soft tissue after all, but a result of what might be an issue in the bone.

This is the other thing we found, also on the same fetlock.  The vet was having a hard time getting a good lateral, so there are like 6 shots of this same view. That fleck shows up in every single view.

The good news: the hoof is fine.

The bad news: it looks like there is yet a 3rd, and possibly a 4th, thing going on with this leg. Dr. R forwarded the rads to THE lameness specialist at our big equine hospital in this area to see what they think. OCD is considered a genetic defect, so if that is what the vets think that bump is, we are in trouble-I don't think insurance will cover that. If they think that's no big deal, there is still that fleck in the lateral view. Maybe a bone chip? That I would assume would be covered by insurance. If any of this is surgical, I will be calling my equine insurance provider to see what is covered and what is not. I don't think any of this would require emergency surgery, and even if it is the worst case scenario of OCD, stall rest is recommended for minor cases of it, so I'd still have time to save up money for the surgery.

In the meantime, I'm back to losing sleep. We're hoping to hear back from the lameness specialist between today and tomorrow.

Lily wearing her ice boot after our first hand walk of the day.

Lily doesn't handle stall rest very well. If she is left in her own stall while the other horses are turned out, she will twirl and pace ALL DAY LONG. In which direction? To the left! So we were temporarily shuffling her to the stalls by the indoor so she could hang out with Murmer and Katie, who are both on stall rest as well. However, of the 3 mares, only Murmer belongs in that part of the barn, which meant the stalls Lily and Katie were occupying had to be cleaned again before their horses came in at night. We tried leaving Lily in her stall and bringing Jez to the stall across from her, but then both mares paced! So we tried leaving Katie in her stall, and putting Lily in the unoccupied stall next to her. Voila! This worked! So Lily is temporarily living in a smaller stall, but at least she's calm, and so is Katie. 
That's Lily on the left, and Katie on the right. 


  1. I just want to say this, OCD is not the end of the world! We had a pony since he was 2, when we went to sell him at 5 or 6 OCD came up on the radiographs. It was extensive that they thought he had them since he was a baby, he had always been sound the OCD never bothered him.

    1. It's good to hear another anecdote where the horse is unaffected by it! I found a bunch of veterinary articles that said when it's diagnosed later in life (as in after a year of age), it tends to not be as bad, especially if it's never bothered the horse before. Thank you!

  2. Don't lose sleep - it's going to be okay! Most things are fixable and OCD is one of them. I hope you get answers soon and they ease your mind a bit.