Monday, June 10, 2013

Magic's Prognosis

I've been trying to post this update for well over a week now! I sit down to type some out, get a few sentences written, and then something interrupts or my day gets going and this is put on the back burner! Ack! So, back to May 30th, Thursday afternoon, the day before I was scheduled to take Magic to get her x-rays...

I decided I should practice trailer loading her as last time we loaded, she did fairly well, but it had been a few years. With plenty of room to ride on my property and a vet, farrier, and trainer that come to me, there isn't much occasion to go anywhere. So, while Ava was taking her lesson, I pulled Magic out of the barn, opened up the trailer, and quickly discovered a wasp nest in the ceiling! Glad I checked before I was about to leave the next morning! I got rid of the nest and then proceeded to load Magic. And that's where it started to fall apart.

I was shocked to learn that apparently, Magic and Tommy have swapped brains at some point since our last trailer loading adventure. Magic did NOT want to get in that trailer! She would paw at the entrance, look inside, crane her neck as far forward as possible to sniff the grain in the feeder ahead, but did not want to get in. I did get in her a few times in the 20-30 minutes we were out there but all four legs were shaking like leaves on a Fall day. I didn't push it too much with her since all the in and out, trying, lifting to load, was most likely aggravating her injury. Normally, I would use techniques like making it her idea to load by working her whenever she was outside the trailer (circles, side passing around the trailer, etc.) and letting her rest whenever she would go inside the trailer. But again, all that work would only aggravate that injury. This is why it is best to practice trailer loading THROUGHOUT the year, my fellow horse lovers! While I didn't wait until 10 minutes before I was supposed to leave, waiting until the night before when she has an injury wasn't the best idea either!

I decided to keep the session short since she did get in for me a few times. We ended on a good note, then I put her back in her stall for the evening, not sure if she would load for me in the morning!

Bright and early the next morning, I took the girls to school and found these ominous guys waiting for me on my roof as I drove up the driveway...

These buzzards were just taking a load off, I'm sure, but I didn't like them staring me down as I drove up to the barn and started to get things ready to go! I spent a good hour getting things ready, turning other horses out, mucking stalls, etc. I called ahead to the imaging center to make sure they had an extra stall available; I decided I would take Aeriel along for comfort, support and encouragement for Magic to get in the trailer!

It was time to get ready! Aeriel jumped right in and loaded like a pro, standing still and waiting. Magic loaded easily enough (yay!) but turned around and wanted to come out right away. And quickly. And in a right-brained, sort of panicking sort of way. I let her do this for quite awhile - in, then turn around and come out right away, because at least she was getting in for me without hesitating! I sort of laughed to myself that my focus and worry had so quickly turned from getting answers about Magic's injury to just getting Magic in the trailer and would she load again when it was time to come home? The main anxiety inducing element of the trip was not what would the x-rays reveal, but would Magic load? Would she freak out in the trailer? Rear? Kick? Injure herself more? Would she load again? Would we be stuck at the imaging center overnight!?

Because I was now taking two horses, and not knowing what this place was like, I called my wonderful neighbor who luckily, was available to watch Audrey for me while I took the horses to the appointment! While Magic was getting in, I still hadn't been able to close the divider but I felt optimistic I would be successful getting her in. So I put her back in her stall, ran down to the house, finished getting ready, printed out directions to the facility, got Audrey situated in the house with my neighbor, then went up to the barn one last time. I prayed Magic would just load easily for me if I was supposed to go. We had about 5 minutes and if she didn't load within that time, I was going to cancel the appointment.

Lo and behold...she loaded! First time out of her stall, straight into the trailer and for the first time, she didn't even turn around and look behind her, but put her head out the window and nuzzled with Aeriel whose head was also out the window next to her! Hallelujiah!! I slowly closed the divider, tied up her lead rope, closed the trailer doors and waited a bit to see what Magic would do. She was whinnying and pawing a bit but no kicking or bucking. This behavior is what she exhibits at feeding time or when a buddy leaves the barn so I felt better knowing this was her "normal anxious" behavior. Without more hesitation, I was off! I wanted to snap a picture of them in the trailer but I just wanted to get GOING! So I did.

I allowed plenty of time to get to my destination (total drive time was about an hour) as we were going through major construction on the 114 (local peeps will know what a nightmare that is near the airport right now) and I was planning on going about 60 mph the entire way. The drive was uneventful and despite the distance, the directions were simple and direct. Thankfully, my goose neck trailer is super easy to drive and manuever. You barely feel like you're pulling anything!

We arrived about 20 min before our appointment and I was able to park quickly and easily. With a tech to help me, we unloaded the horses and put them in their stalls to unwind and get acclimated a bit before they took Magic away.

Here are Magic and Aeriel in their stalls. I thought it was kind of cute because while they knew Magic's name and had her stall labeled appropriately, I never told them Aeriel's name so this was how they labeled her stall:

They were late getting Magic in (but there was a lot going on - seemed they were having a specialist in equine ultrasound visiting so they were conducting a seminar with about 20-30 people there. They were also conducting classes on dental floating too. We got there right around lunch - a catered lunch of beef brisket, ribs, etc. YUMMY! They were kind enough to offer me some but my stomach was too wound up. I passed ;-)

So, anyhooo (I know this is turning into a novel...) they took Magic across the facility to the main exam room. Here she is standing in the "stocks". She looks drugged but she's not - just licking and chewing (a great sign of relaxing) after braving that roll up door in the background and loading into the confined space of the stocks. You'll also notice how she's standing with her back right leg sort of rotated to the outside. This has been her normal stance of late - but is not "normal" ;-)

They took vitals, a short history, and then the vet came in. They took her back out, trotted her around, did a few flexion tests (she was only showing up as grade 2 lameness). We discussed the areas of concern when there is a kick in the top of the hip, where they would shoot for xrays, then they sedated her and took her back for xrays! Normally they allow the owner in the room when they shoot, but because they needed lots of "juice" to shoot that deep into her tissue, I had to wait in the waiting room. I was praying they would be able to get a good shot because if not, they would have to do a bone scan or competely knock her out so they could lay her down on the xray plates!

After 20 minutes or so, the vet came back in and ushered me to his office to go over the xrays as they were able to get some good shots!! The news was good and bad. Bad news was that yes, she fractured the point of her hip. Here is what her hip should look like:


See how the outer edge is nice and smooth? Flat as it curves down?

This is how Magic's bone looks:

It's jagged, broken, rough. And yes, that little white triangle near the top? It's a bone chip. What we were afraid of.


So what is the good news? The good news is that the joint below this point, in between her hip and her hock (can't remember the technical name of the joint) looked fine. That joint can sometimes be a more critical junction and injury. The other good news is that stall rest is the treatment. No expensive procedures or treatments. Just rest. For 3-4 months. Sigh. I've been through a lengthy stall rest with Belle before. Twice. Good thing here is, Magic doesn't have to be attached to a zip line in a halter the whole time. She can move about her stall and connected run at will. The vet thought it was a great sign that she was moving so well at this point and that she had a great chance of full recovery. The only other little problem might be those bone chips. There is a chance they will need to be surgically removed. I'm hoping we don't get to that point!


Now that the xrays were over, we gave Magic some time to wake up from her sedation, then we loaded Aeriel back in, and thankfullly, feeling a little drunk still, Magic didn't put up much of a fight loading back in the trailer. And we were back on the road to home!


The ride home was also uneventful and both horses were glad to return to the barn! I felt like I had run a marathon when I got back. I was so happy things went smoothly and it was a big accomplishment for me to do this on my own considering a few months ago I had never even hauled my trailer before! But I knew it was time to put on my big girl panties and do this, despite my nerves. I do have ELEVEN horses at this point and I should know how to trailer on my own!! I do want to make it to some schooling shows this summer so this was good practice. I'll get a chance to repeat this adventure too since they want to repeat xrays in six to eight weeks ;-)


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