Last Thursday AJ and I returned to Auburn University Large Animal Clinic for a one month check up for Vince. The big boy was more than ready for a field trip, having been on stall rest since his PRP injection procedure. A large high strung gelding in a 12 x 12 space for an extended period of time is not a nice experience, but Vince has endured though he might not think so.
Our appointment this time was at 9am, so at the crack of dawn, we pulled out of BSRA and onto I-75 south and early rush hour traffic. Unlike our first trip there were no major slowdowns and we actually arrived in Auburn thirty minutes early. They showed Vince to an outpatient stall while the doctors finished their morning procedures. Right at nine, the entire cadre showed up to watch Vincent trot up and down.
His two doctors, whose names I cannot spell but will acknowledge in full when this recovery is complete, watched the big boy take three steps and pronounced him still lame. Meanwhile, I am jumping up and down with happiness because there was no deep drop to the left shoulder as he trotted nor did he trip over his own feet. Dr. W looked at me like I had lost my mind and said, "But he is still lame." I replied, "But he is better!"
So we retired to the ultrasound room to see the exact measure of recovery. The news is good. The ligament in the right leg is no longer inflamed and the left leg has no more tear but it is still swollen. For the first half of the ultrasound, Vince didn't even need any sedative. It wasn't until she had to start reaching through his legs to reach the right side that his ears began to twitch and the restlessness set in. Out came the dreaded needle and soon the light weight drunk had his big white blaze buried in my chest.
Since we had pulled Vince's shoes after the first trip to Auburn, Dr. A. decided she wanted the Auburn farrier to trim his feet, especially the rear to start shortening the toe and hopefully rotating the heels to relieve pressure on the suspensory ligaments. He was a good boy for their farrier (much to the surprise of our BSRA farrier who considers Vince's feet an all day project after his previous shoeing.) The sedative soon wore off and before a hour and a half and passed we were back on the way to Atlanta.
So Vince is on his way, but still has one more month of stall rest with confined turnout alone. They also have prescribed a mild sedative so that when he is outside the coming and going of other horses doesn't work him into a frenzy. Of course, as much of a light weight as he is with drugs, we will have to play with the dosage to see what works best. Hopefully this will also work on his cribbing habit. It would be nice to see him doing anything rather than sucking on his stall door or window frame. We return in 10 weeks now, a long time but Dr. A. will be spending the month of May in Kentucky working. Rather than break in a new resident who hasn't been included in the process I will wait for Dr. A. Also, we will probably be taking Katie when we return, to have a broken tooth removed which is below the gum line and is causing her to toss her head.
When we first thought Vince had EMP, one of the comments I read the most was that you would learn more about the personality and stamina of your horse throughout the recovery process. I would venture to say any long term injury can teach you how to connect with your equine partner. While I complain about his goofiness, my gelding is handling this injury with a patience not many geldings exhibit. He knows we are making him feel better, so his tolerance for many things had grown. I know him so much better.
He likes to have his head rubbed and to be brushed. He likes to roll in sand rather than dirt or grass, I guess a nod to his Florida roots. He likes sunshine and thinks the biggest crime in the universe is an empty Nibble Net. He misses Sneaky, his buddy, and is uncertain of his place in the pasture when he returns. He knows the sound of my car along with my voice and woe be unto me if I don't come see him first before any other horse.
While we still have a long road ahead of us, at least we are going together. Dr. A. feels certain that when all is said and done, Vince will be jumping again and that was the purpose of the trips, to make an injured member of our family healthy again. There is no distinction in my mind between my two legged and my four legged children. When they are in pain, I want to make it better. In a perfect world, everyone would be the same way.