I had planned on including a completely different blog post piece this week, but this is the one that happened to come up the past few days. Bear with me while I get things in order.
Despite the brief respite we had with a burst of thunderstorms, appearing and disappearing in a fast fury, the summer has turned unfathomably hotter. The days drag out into decades, particularly in the afternoons when even a lick of shade is difficult to find and the air is still and stifling. Each hoof step sends up a puff of dust as the horses stomp their feet to drive away pesky flies in the blazing summer afternoons. Chubby Willow and her inability to properly sweat and some of the more sensitive horses don’t bear up well under the heat.
It’s been four months since Ryon’s diagnosis with ringbone in April, and every hitchy twitchy step since has sent my nerves tingling. Last week, Ryon had been off balance and shifting weight off of his right hand side. Dr. Anderson, our vet, paid the barn a monthly visit on Friday and after petting on his velvet nose and paying him All the Compliments, he did a bit of diagnostic work on him. After a full examination and countless x-rays, it has turned out to be (surprise, surprise) the same issue from before. Our friend Ryon is put together the way a child would draw a horse: big head, short neck, big body, and teeny tiny feet. Unfortunately, those teeny tiny feet take all the weight of his massive body. The official term for his condition is fetlock osteoarthritis, which is a degenerative joint disease. This is an incurable condition, although one that can be managed. There are a few options that we have available to lessen the progression of deterioration and his general discomfort.
So, exactly around the time when he was expecting dinner on Friday evening, Ryon received the ugly surprise of hyaluronic acid injections in his front and back right and was wrapped up with more of those despised neon green vet bandages. Don’t worry ladies and gents, he’s currently doing really well and not in any pain. The vet has cleared him for regular activity, but my trainer and I are taking it a bit easy on him for now. All of us are continuing to assess his daily progress and what it means for his long-term health. This comes as a blow to us because we’ve all seen how he’s come to truly enjoy jumping, the higher the jumps the better. Ryon gets impatient waiting for his “turn” to go over the jump course, and it’s depressing to think his most favourite activity may not be in his best interests.
For the time being, I’m working on minimizing any of his discomfort and exploring viable options for treating what he has. My vet and trainer have both recommended a beta test technology out of Europe that’s proven quite effective there. Whatever the path is for him, it will be in his best interests and I’ll keep you all posted, as always.