Friday, September 17, 2010

Poor Lizzie

I'm telling you, the more things we check on Lizzie, the more problems we discover.  At this point, I'm wondering if there is ANYTHING she doesn't have wrong with her!!

First, her feet.  Her vet, Ann Chapman, came back today to re-x-ray her feet and as usual, she was a perfect angel -- stood perfectly still on those silly blocks. 

They were x-rayed to begin with back in late March or early April when we thought she had laminitis from too abrupt spring pasture turn-out.  Today, despite the fact that she has been kept off pasture entirely until very recently (when the heat finally made the grass anything but lush), her feet have nonetheless deteriorated.  Not a lot, but the x-rays DO show some change.  The coffin bones have not rotated, but the upper bone (I forget what it's called) has moved down a bit (called "sinking," I think she said). 

She's going to make me a CD with the x-rays on it as well as the one with the ultra-sounds, so I'll send copies of both of them out to Dr. Mero to help with the DSLD/ESPA diagnosis.

Then, she has all sorts of skin problems.  She has bites, she has rubbed places on her coat because she itches, and her coat is dry and dull despite special feed and supplements.   Those bare places on her back legs are no doubt from her backing up to the pipe fence and resting her butt on there. 
Ann thinks some of those problems might be caused by allergies, though, so on Tuesday she's coming back out to recheck her ear and draw blood to send to California for an "equine comprehensive allergen panel." 

According to Bio-Medicals Services (here's their pdf brochure):
"This complete panel is region specific, and contains an average of 99 allergens. Panel includes weed, tree, grass and mold allergens; 9 feed ingredients and 11 insects. Culicoides included. [those are gnats and no-see-ums.]   99 allergens. 
Horses can develop allergies, just like humans. Allergies in the horse have been related to weed, grass and tree pollens; along with dust mites, foods and molds contained in damp hay or straw.
Equine allergies can manifest with respiratory or dermatological symptoms, caused by exposure to allergens through direct contact, food ingestion or inhalation of airborne pollens. Allergic disease can severely impair the performance of competition horses and causes great discomfort and disability in leisure horses and ponies."
The panel is costly, but if she IS allergic to something, and we can do something about it to make the poor girl stop itching, it will have been well worth it.

It's also Ann's opinion that some of her problems are probably caused by Cushings.  Lizzie IS "middle-aged" (20 or so years old), she's very docile, has long hair that's dry and dull, she drinks a LOT and urinates even more -- all Cushings signs.  Unfortunately, it's not the right time of year for a confirmation blood test -- that will have to be done once winter gets here -- so we're just going to go ahead and start her on Pergolide.  If she doesn't have Cushings, it won't hurt her.  If she does, we should see improvement in her behavior, her coat, and some of her symptoms.

AND -- while she was here Ann said she wanted to x-ray Lizzie's neck as well (at no charge -- thank you, ma'm!).  She said she was "curious" about the way she carries her head.  Well, sure enough -- the cartilage between the vertebrae in at least two areas of her neck is virtually nonexistent.  I thought she wouldn't collect due to problems with her feet and legs, and that may be true, but the poor girl probably CAN'T break at the poll due to that deterioration in her neck.  Ann says a chiropractor may help.  When I told Torri about that, she said there is also something called "aqua-puncture" where they insert needles like they do with accupuncture, but they inject tiny amounts of saline or other things so each puncture's effect is stronger.  I'd like to know more about that.  She also told me that there's an excellent equine chiropractor who lives in Colorado who graduated from LSU and who comes back to Louisiana once a month.  He worked on some of Torri's horses and did an amazing job.  Once we get through all these diagnostic procedures, if it looks like he could help Lizzie I'll get hold of him.

My poor girl.  If I had that many things wrong with me I can tell you there is no WAY I would be as sweet and cooperative as she is, that's for d----d SURE!   I just really really hope we'll be able to make her feel better SOMEHOW.

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