The vet I called to get a second opinion on Lilly's leg was out this morning. She's actually very nice and I've worked with her before, but when I moved to a new barn some time ago they used a different practice and it was easier just to switch. She also has a lovely SPB gelding that she shows and has beat me once before in showmanship with him. :)
The first thing I did was fill her in about the saga that is Lilly's leg. I mentioned the misdiagnosis and how I was riding her injured and how her leg very recently swelled up again (showing her the picture on my phone). She wanted to take her to the arena and watch her jog. I usually longe Lilly because that's just how I am, but Dr T's assistant insisted that she longe so I could stand with the vet and watch. Lilly was such a good girl... despite the fact that it was 27 degrees and windy outside, she jogged around quite lady-like. She wasn't lame at all, and even after a flex test trotted off just fine. The swelling is also gone in her leg, so we didn't have much to work with. Which was good, of course, in the grand scheme of things!
Dr T said we really had 2 options. Either I could go ahead and start riding again and see what happens, or we could ultrasound today and see if there's anything still going on. She said the injury area felt cold and tight, and since Lilly was sound, we could take the wait and see approach and I could call her if anything went wrong after starting her back under saddle.
I am so sick and tired of the wait and see that I could scream!
So we did the ultrasound.
She asked how Lilly did during ultrasounds and if we needed to sedate her. I told her Lilly is an old pro at this unfortunately and she would be just fine. True to form, she got very sleepy about half way through and fell asleep in the assistant's arms. She's so sweet...
Dr T had been scanning for about 3 seconds and right away started pointing out problems. "See this right here... and this... and then this whole area here?" She very clearly still has some issues in her check ligament. It looks very mottled and not very fibrous. Her ultrasound picture was a thousand times better than the other vet's machine, and it was very easy for me to see the areas she was pointing out. Dr T even showed me a spot on Lilly's DDFT that was probably causing issues, and said it was a little ironic that she really does have an issue there. She showed me the difference between what the scar tissue looked like, and then what we were dealing with in regards to the mottling. A much different bedside manner that I can appreciate.
So Lilly definitely still has quite a bit of healing to do. Dr T said that if I had started riding her she would have expected a call from me within 2 weeks about Lilly being lame again. There's that much still going on. So why in the world my other vet has done numerous ultrasounds with the same response, "everything looks good", I have no idea. Is it because of the not-so-good ultrasound machine? I mean, they're looking at the same thing.
Dr T suggested shock wave therapy as the best course of treatment. She said she's had good luck with it, even on horses with giant holes in their tendons. They're back to full work and doing really well. She said Lilly's ligament needs help to heal the rest of the way because we can can safely say resting her hasn't helped, so it's time to move on to something else.
She said she probably would have suggested SWT as the best treatment plan from the start, rather than the platelet rich plasma treatment I did in November. She said it helps keeps scar tissue from forming and in Lilly's case can help reduce the amount that's there already. So it is possible that the bump on her leg will decrease in size.
So time to spend some more money on Lilly, but hopefully this time the treatment will finally get her healed up and back to a normal show pony. I'm just glad I have the answer I was looking for a plan to focus on. Since Lilly can't behave herself in the pasture, she's banished back to stall rest for the next 6-8 weeks. The SWT treatments have to be done 2 weeks apart, 3 separate times, so I need to get with the office and set up the appointments and try to work around Christmas and New Years as best as we can. Hopefully it won't have to wait until after the holidays.
Now the question becomes whether or not this is residual from the original injury, OR if this is what happened when the abscess and all that mess happened in August. Before August she was back to normal work and only since the abscess started having all these other issues. I'll never know the answer, but I'll obsess over it nonetheless.
I'm pretty upset because I feel like I've wasted a lot of time on this.
Thursday morning my other vet will be out to adjust a horse at the farm. She'll be out during the time I'll be there taking care of my two and Baby. I just know she's going to ask about Lilly... should I be honest and tell her I got a second opinion and we're doing SWT? For some reason I feel bad about going to someone else for an opinion and I'm not sure what I should say when I see her.