The girls were on Spring Break all week but I had to work 3 of the 5 days. I took Wed. off to go zooing with Angela, her boys, Ivy, and Alaina. We were checking out the “upgrades” to the zoo exhibits. I understand the modification of the polar bear habitat to the grizzly bear space but I felt like the other modifications were not real improvements. Other than the addition of a very cool seahorse tank, it seemed that exhibits were reduced in each building – especially, the Arctic (first building). The earthquake simulator was replaced with a storm force gale simulator (for an additional fee), the prehistoric horse diorama as well as trash man and space were all replaced with a little paint on the floor. Very disappointing. Even so, we had a lovely day with the Merrits. And, we did see the new Spotted African Dogs. And the Zebras.
On Thursday, we loaded Pico and Splash in the trailer and headed to Prior Vet to have Pico evaluated with the Lameness Locator (http://equinosis.com/). According to the website, “The system provides an analysis that indicates whether the horse is lame, an amplitude of the severity of the lameness, the limb or limbs involved, and the part of the motion cycle at which peak pain is occurring (impact, mid-stance, or push off).” The LL is a computerized system that uses motion detectors on the poll, top of the croup, and on the right pastern to identify the limb affected by lameness. At least 10 strides of steady trot on a firm surface is needed for each review. The procedure is otherwise similar to traditional lameness evaluations, starting at the distal part of the leg and blocking subsequent areas/joints until the exact location is pinpointed. Then, x-ray or ultra sound to identify the specific problem. Pico was the patient and Splash was along to help Pico handle the stress. It was a cold day with threatening sleet/rain but we missed any real precipitation.
The baseline trot showed primary lameness on the front left limb. The first block in the coffin area showed increased lameness on the front left but the next block showed the same lameness as the baseline. Pico has a swelling above the pastern that didn’t show any improvement with injection. So, we moved on up to the next bony enlargement just below the knee. Blocking around the area resulted in “soundness” of the left front limb leaving only slight indication of lameness on the right rear (likely compensatory from the front issue). X-ray of the enlarged area showed the likely problem: break and calcification of the 4th metacarpal (lateral splint bone). Poor Pico, without the LL, we were fooled by the apparent improvements resulting from blocks of the coffin, pastern, etc. Our initial treatment is injections around the enlargement to see if that will be enough to keep Pico sound for riding. Surgery to remove the damaged area of the splint might be needed. Yikes.
Even though it was spring break, the weather was freezing and threatening over the weekend – we even had a little snow on Sunday morning.
No party lesson on Saturday and no trail ride on Sunday (my original plan). Mallory and I did lunch and I spent a cozy afternoon visiting with Paula W at the Walkerosa – talking horses, dressage, western dressage, more horses, dogs, cats, horses, and broken femurs. Hopefully Paula will make a speedy recovery and get back in the saddle asap.