She started with a physical examination of Lilly's legs and hooves and after some basic questions decided she wanted to use the hoof testers. I told her there would be none of that on the front hooves, but she could go to town on the rears. She said Lilly showed discomfort when she tested the soles, but I haven't noticed her being uncomfortable on her hind feet at all. Even as I walked her over the sharp rocks to the round pen for the second part of the evaluation, she never took a short step. She also noted a bit of effusion in both hocks, but nothing serious.
We went to the round pen so L could watch Lilly move at the walk, trot, and canter. It was pretty swampy in there from all the rain we've had, so instead of free-longing her like I usually do, I grabbed the longe line. That way I could keep her out of the really wet spots by keeping her in a smaller circle. I just have to say that she was EXCELLENT and made me look really good. :)
As is typical for Lilly, she had a difficult time cantering to the right and that's one of the first things L noticed. Lilly even started off on the wrong lead behind, but otherwise, she thought Lilly looked pretty good and didn't see any signs of lameness or UFP. She doesn't think Lilly reaches up under herself well, and while I can get her to do so, she doesn't want to willingly.
Next, we took her to the driveway for some flexion tests. She tested slightly positive on her left hock, and slightly less than that on her right hock. Nothing to be too concerned about, but definitely something to make a note of.
L wanted to see me ride Lilly a bit, hoping to catch her doing the "trip" thing she does, and I had also mentioned to her about Lilly switching her lead behind at random times during our ride. She tripped a couple times, but it wasn't clear whether it was because of the footing or if it was the trip I've been complaining about. She didn't switch her lead behind at all either, but she did protest picking up the right lead a couple times when I asked her to canter to the right.
When we got back to the barn, L said she didn't think there was a need for x-rays. She said if I was curious and really wanted them, she'd do it for me because she brought the machine, but she wasn't going to recommend it. She thinks Lilly's main issue is hock pain.
Lilly has more issues on her right side than her left side, and even though she flexed more positive on her left side, hock pain would explain most of the issues, or could be used to justify them:
- Lilly tends to drag her rear hooves... it's quite evident near trimming time because they're pretty squared off. Her toes are nice and short, so she's not dragging them because they're too long, she's possibly doing it because she's having hock pain and just doesn't want to pick up her feet.
- She could be switching leads behind because it's easier for her when she's on the left lead.
- The tripping could be simply because if she's dragging her toes, she's going to trip. I've seen her trip on concrete, though, so I still think there might be something to my stifle hypothesis.
- The increased tripping at the horse show in November could be related to the fact that we had been there all day and she was being worked fairly hard. Since she was fatigued, she tripped more.
She also said she doesn't think I should canter for the next two months or so... not until I've got her muscles built up.
We also talked about adding a joint supplement to her SmartPak and there's some potential for some Adequan shots. Lilly is already on MSM but I'm thinking of adding something more potent, like Cosequin. My vet recommended Cosequin ASU, but I'd love to hear your opinions as well.
I didn't end up getting the x-rays. I'm going to research all of this a bit, and I can always have her come back out if I'm not convinced, or if I don't see any improvement after a reasonable amount of time.
After the lameness evaluation, it was time to float Lilly's teeth. She had a few little ulcers in her mouth, so I was happy when everything was done.
|She was a really good girl!|
|Lilly taking a snooze...|