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Archive for August 28th, 2008

Yesterday was a big day for us. Becca received her first round of vaccinations. I’ve been dreading it but also knew it needed to be done. She has been covered by her mother’s immunities so far, but at her age now, 3.5 months, that will be wearing off. So, Dr. Cichra came out to give her shots and also to test Cassidy for apparent lameness in her back end. Becca was given: encephalitis, tetanus, influenza, rhino, strangles and west nile virus. She will get a booster in 4 – 6 weeks and then her rabies (which I will do alone) after she’s 6 months old. She’s had no adverse reactions, no lethargy or even swelling. She’s a tough cookie. Becca made friends with Dr. Cichra right away but after that first needle went in she decided she wasn’t going to be friends anymore! She gave us a bit of a fight for the remaining 2 needles. We got it, done, though and she is fine.

Cassidy has alway seemed weak in her back end. She has a popping or clicking noise in her back legs when she walks. We wanted her to have the baby and see if that improved anything. It’s still there. I’ve been making her move a little more than she is used to and it’s still there. Dr. Cichra did a lameness exam on her and was only able to conclude a few things. Part of doing the exam is watching the horse trot out and manipulating the back legs. Neither is that easy to do with Cass. It was our hottest part of the day, too, but we got some answers.

This is from the doctor’s notes: At the walk – drags both hind toes, intermittent popping sound coming from back area, especially when circled. At the trot – drags both hind toes (right is slightly worse than left) & right hock lameness grade 2-3. Very reluctant to allow hind legs to be picked up, especially on the right. Would not allow flexion exam, kicks out and stomps down. Left hock flexion of upper joints, no change in lameness. Passive exam – no swelling or heat, no effusion in stifles or sensitivity to palpation of stifles or hips. Palpation of stifles at the walk – no locking patella. Tail pull test – weak to both sides. When tightly circled, crosses feet normally.

What does all that mean? She may have some arthritis in her hocks. I need to work more diligently on getting her to pick up her back legs so we can do a more thorough exam. I have to keep making her move with lunging to see if her movement improves with exercise. We may do some xrays in the near future. Since I’m not riding her, yet, there is no danger to her getting hurt. Even if we do find arthritis in her hocks, with the little bit of riding I want to do (both of us prefer a slow pace!) she should be ok. There are supplements and therapies that can continue to be done to make sure she is pain free. Acupuncture will obviously always be part of her life. Dr. Cichra also got a good look at her teeth to give me an accurate age on her. There’s been some debate with contradictory paperwork as to her date of birth. She feels she is closer to 7 than 9.

If we decide to do the xrays, they can bring the digital machine to the barn or I can take her to the hospital. The equine hospital is only about 10 miles up the road and I would use that as a training session. Cassidy hasn’t been near the trailer since we brought her and that sure is something Becca needs to learn. We will be doing some homework with that and see how it goes. Dr. Cichra also took a fecal sample from Cass to test for parasites. I’m opting to test rather than just worm her every 2 months. I don’t want to give her any kind of drugs unless they are really necessary.

We also talked about weaning Big Baby B. She feels anytime I am ready will be fine. Cassidy is ready. She moved away from her a few times while we were in the pasture. Becca is already trained to eat out of her bucket like a big horse and she eats the hay right along with her mother, so it’s all up to me. She is a bit concerned because Cass has lost weight but it’s not crucial loss, yet. I’m going to order the weaning halter I found online and give that a try first. If it doesn’t work then I can opt to send her to our trainer’s place after she gets her booster shots. We’ll see!

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