Amber – Prognosis and Options

The Prognosis

I got another specialist to come see Amber on Thursday last week.
It was my final resort after nearly two years of unresolved lameness and different treatments, specialists, and lots of unnecessary stress and expenses.

I spoke about this and the build up to it here – Amber: An Update | January 2015

In any case I was hoping for a much better outcome/diagnosis than the one I got.

This is what happened.

Prologue

I arranged for a physiotherapist to come and look at Amber and to give me honest feedback about her lameness. I had been riding her a bit and after the last scare on her where she ran out the arena I was once again nervous to ride her. The last ride we had together was a short little outride in the fields and the forest with Liesl and Tannah. Liesl said that I should – at the risk of sounding like a broken record speak to her physio – (who is a horse and human physio by the way) and arrange for her to come and give Amber a once over.

So I succumbed and made an appointment for Thursday at 11h30. I arranged to work from home until after the appointment and then go to work. I ended up just working from home the whole day after arranging with Des and the project managers. This worked out better in the end as the physio was late but so were my dad and I and I also had to fetch Amber from another field outside the stable property so I was all hot and sweaty by the time I got her in the crush.

But moving on swiftly. The physio came and asked me about Amber’s entire history, what she was like when working with her on the ground or tacking her up, riding her, all her other treatments etc.

She then asked me to run her up and down so she could watch her movement. We did this in the parking lot and then in the dressage arena. I was glad I wore my running shoes.

After that she spent time massaging and feeling her back, neck, shoulders, legs and eventually asked if we could try a flextion test. So we did this on her right leg a few time; could only make her stand for a maximum 30 seconds though (my dad was timing it) and after running her out she was completely lame, cantering and not putting any weight on her right leg.

I honestly expected good news; ok maybe not good news but better news that what I ended up getting.

She said she thinks it is definitely her right hoof/lower leg. Either the foot or suspensory ligaments. Having thought the whole time that the x-rays were on her left leg (from the vet at Canterbury) I didn’t really know what to think at this point.

All I could hear in my head was money sounds. Her recommendations included taking her to another lameness expert in Kyalami – she gave me the number of someone. And then said I would need filtration done and equine spa treatment done for about 10 sessions at least. And it would take about 18 months of rest and treatment. And then I would have start again on the ground with lunging and working up her fitness and stamina. Breaking her in again basically. For the third time.

I said thank you and put her back in her paddock. I didn’t even speak to Bernie before I left. I was glad my dad was with me. We decided we would think about it and then tell Bernie once we made a decision.

After that my dad and I went for lunch and then I went home to carry on working.

We spoke about it but didn’t really make a decision. My dad told my mom later and I decided I would enjoy my weekend with my cousin at the dam before making any decisions.

Epilogue

So after a weekend at the dam of eating and drinking and talking a lot and fighting, I came back on Monday and decided to check the x-rays that the vet did on Amber. It turned out to be her right leg. For me this meant that the side bones were causing her to be lame.

This was like a light bulb moment where it meant that everything that I had done since the x-rays had come to naught. This was not something that could be fixed. She could not be ridden and she would be lame forever. I told my parents when I got home and they agreed with me; we now know why the other treatments didn’t work and that nothing could be done without incurring a vast amount of expenses but that there was no guarantee that any of it would help.

The next couple of days involved asking Lynette Blackie – the person who convinced me to buy Amber in the first place and asked for first option on her if I ever wanted to sell her – if she would be interested in breeding with Amber. She said no.

So between my mom and I we made other arrangements and although I didn’t expect things to happen so fast,  after a lot of crying and fighting with the stable owner and more crying; as of Thursday I no longer have a horse. It was tough but it is done now and that is all I am going to say.

The End.

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