As if I don't have enough going on in my personal life to stress me out...
I finally made it out to the barn today. I hadn't been since Thursday, and I haven't ridden since the State Fair. Thursday was just a visit, but today I planned to ride.
I grabbed some cookies and headed out to the pasture. She was way out in the back eating grass so I had to hike out there to get her. As I was walking her up to the gate, I noticed she was limping on her left front leg a bit. So when I got her on better ground, I trotted her a little, and she was "head bob" lame. I thought maybe she had a stone in her foot or stepped on a rock or something because glancing at her I didn't see any obvious signs of an injury. So I tied her up to the post and grabbed my hoof pick. Well, as I ran my hand down her leg, I noticed it was swollen, hot, and lumpy.
She's always had the one bump, which is scar tissue from her check ligament surgery but there was much more to it today. One of the other boarders was at the barn too so I asked her to take a look. We both decided it wasn't good, so I called my usual vet, Dr Tracy. Dr Tracy was the one who looked at Lilly's bump earlier in the year, so I wanted her to be the one to look at Lilly's leg. She was on the other side of town and couldn't make it out, though, so she had Dr Elaine call me, who ended up being the vet to come out. Dr Elaine had adjusted Lilly late last year, so she was familiar with her as well.
When Dr Elaine arrived she took a look at Lilly's leg and said, "it isn't at all what I expected from what Dr Tracy told me..." It sure is hard to describe this stuff to them over the phone! So she had me take her to the arena to trot her around. Lilly was quite lame, and even more lame after the flex test. She was a 2 out of 5 on the lameness scale.
Thinking it was tendon related, Dr Elaine wanted to ultrasound her. So Lilly had to have her legs shaved and stand there for quite a long time. She was SO good... I wasn't sure how she would be about standing still for so long and having people mess with her legs, but she never flinched and never moved. She makes me so proud. It's always nice to know your horse is going to behave in situations like this. Makes it so much easier for everyone. At first, Dr Elaine didn't see anything. She said no lesions, which was good, but she said her tendons were icky. Lots of scar tissue from her surgery, so it made it difficult to see anything abnormal in there. The more she rooted around, though, she started to see something.
She thinks there's a lesion on Lilly's deep digital flexor tendon.
Wanting to make sure, though, she decided to nerve block the lower part of Lilly's leg just above the ankle. She assumed that Lilly would still be lame, and then she'd block just below her knee and then she'd trot sound. But after the block, we trotted Lilly and she was completely sound. She said sometimes those blocks travel up the leg a bit and it could be causing some numbing in her tendons and that's why she was sound. Having the blocks not show her what she expected, Dr Elaine said it could be something in Lilly's foot, but why she'd have all that swelling in her tendon then she's not sure.
So tomorrow she's coming back out to nerve block again, but lower in Lilly's leg. I think below the ankle to see if she's sound then. So for tonight Lilly is on stall rest with standing bandages.
I hope when I go out there tomorrow she is 100% sound and it turns out to be nothing at all. If she is lame, though, and still swollen, we'll do the flex test again, then do the nerve block. Dr Elaine was also going to show the ultrasound pictures to the other vets at the office and see what they think.
If it is a tendon issue, 90 days of stall rest with bandages and hand grazing only.
There's a lot of "if this, then that" scenarios, so I'm going to wait until tomorrow to see what the situation is and see what the diagnosis is.
Cross your fingers and send a prayer our way!