So what’s up with Miles? Well, I haven’t written much about him lately because he’s not doing much of anything. Lame pony is lame 🙁
After our last horse show, Miles had four days off. It’s more than he normally gets, but considering I was nursing a swollen, bruised ankle I wasn’t extremely motivated to do much of anything that required mobility. So when Thursday rolled around and the BFF offered to hop on Miles for me, I thanked her profusely. Poor pony was probably bored out of his skull and I still didn’t feel up to riding. So she brought him out, warmed him up and hopped over a few crossrails. They stood around for about five minutes and when she trotted off again, he was lame. Not three-legged lame, but obviously uncomfortable. The weird thing? Absolutely no heat or swelling.
So Miles got a few days of bute and stall rest, but when he didn’t improve much I finally caved and called the vet. I expected the vet to tell me that Miles just had a stone bruise or an abscess. I’m definitely the over-anxious type when it comes to my horse. No really, ask anyone — I go from ‘oh, he just isn’t quite himself’ to ‘OMG his leg is going to fall off!’ in 37 seconds flat. But I justified it by saying I didn’t mind paying $100 for the piece of mind that all Miles needed was some R&R. Unfortunately, the appointment quickly progressed away from something small to a full-blown lameness exam with nerve blocks and radiographs.
The diagnosis? Non-septic pedal osteitis in the left front. Pedal osteitis means inflammation of the coffin bone (not the joint, the bone) and there are two types: septic and non-septic. Septic means the inflammation is caused by an infection or disease, non-septic means there is no infection. Either way, the constant inflammation over time demineralizes the bone itself, leaving it weak and less dense. Pedal osteitis is also called “road founder,” and isn’t all that uncommon in carriage horses, racehorses and jumpers. At least, that’s what my uneducated brain gathered from the vet’s very thorough explanation.
While the damage to Miles’s coffin bone can’t be reversed, our top priority is halting the progression — we need to eliminate the inflammation so that no more bone density is lost. The vet recommended a shot of Osphos, as well as 30 days of Previcoxx with severely limited activity and special shoes/pads. So that’s what we’re doing. Miles got his drugs, and is stuck in his stall for 30 days — although I am allowed to handwalk, tack walk and do supervised turnout, as long as all he does is walk (no trotting, no cantering). After 30 days, we will recheck the coffin bone and see if we can return to work, or if we need another 30 days of rest.
Luckily, the vet was very optimistic about Miles’s long-term prognosis. While this will be a condition he lives with for the rest of his life, with careful management, he should be able to return to full work. He didn’t express any hesitation about Miles continuing as as adult amateur hunter, so that’s really, really good news. Right now, I’m just trying to stay positive and not be all ‘woe is me’ because it will all turn out alright. Yeah, a big fat break in the middle of show season wasn’t what I had planned, but what I care about it my horse and his health. So if he needs time off, time off is what he’ll get. Either way, I still get to see his cute every day and that’s what matters most.