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Marsha Cassada

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I went with my sister yesterday to take her trail horse to an equine hospital. He suddenly went lame last week and she feared navicular. The vet had him trot in the lot and the limp was minimal. He flexed the leg, and then the limp was significant, with bobbing head. He blocked the hoof, and the limp was still there, so he knew it was not navicular. Xray revealed he had a bone spur at the knee joint.

Surgery did not seem a good option, and she did not want to ride him with bute masking his pain. And she isn't in a financial position to keep a horse for sentimental reasons. So she left him at the clinic. I think one thing that influenced her decision is she had a bone spur very recently. The surgery to remove it left nerve damage in her foot. She was picturing the horse in the kind of pain she felt. The horse was 18.

The vet was pretty fresh out of school and training and a mine of wonderful information. He showed me out to find the digital pulse, and explained everything in detail. The bone spur in the Xray was obvious. He explained, too, about the navicular as being "a window to the soul" of the foot. Now vet's are calling it Palmar's Syndrome.

I was a little upset at first that my sister did not want to try the bute thing, but after I thought it over and heard more about her own bone spur experience, I was better with it. Of course, I did not argue with her at the clinic; such a difficult decision does not need an arguer; my role was support. Her experience, I suppose, with cowboys and performance riders who drive their horses with drugs disgusts her.

The vet said Barbaro's legs were full of metal from fracture repairs.

Never an easy decision; I've done it myself. Just wanted to share information about the bone spur and what I learned about the navicular.

And btw, the vet tech said she would like to get a miniature horse and what did I know about Pygmy horses. !!!!! I told her they were dwarves and had lots of health problems and any breeder who purposely bred for them was unscrupulous. She admitted the pictures she had seen of them looked dwarf-like. We have a lot more education to do about miniature horses. They are certainly not being taken seriously in many circles.
 

little lady

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I actually admire your sisters decision. She could have taken the horse home and doped him up and sold him to some unsuspecting person(that is what happens more often than not). What she did was for the better of the horse since she had a clear understanding of his condition and financially was not in a place to give him a pet home. Just my 2 cents and sure for the way I feel there are others that fell differently. Your sister needed to do what was best for her situation and a tough situation that was.
 

Marsha Cassada

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I actually admire your sisters decision. She could have taken the horse home and doped him up and sold him to some unsuspecting person(that is what happens more often than not). What she did was for the better of the horse since she had a clear understanding of his condition and financially was not in a place to give him a pet home. Just my 2 cents and sure for the way I feel there are others that fell differently. Your sister needed to do what was best for her situation and a tough situation that was.
She owned him until he was an 8 year old, then had to let him go when she was widowed. A year ago she was contacted by his owner who asked if she wanted to buy him back, as they were getting ready to take him to the sale. She said when she went to pick him up she is sure he recognized her. Having animals can be a heartbreak.
 

lucky seven

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I admire your sister very much. When my riding mare was diagnosed with Laminitis a friend told me to put her down. I was prepared to do that but my hubby wanted to give her every chance. Three months later, she had one good leg and her rotation was worse. Needless to say I apologized to my best friend for putting her through that pain trying to save her. Your sister did the right thing, after 3 years I still wish I had gone with my gut and had done the right thing.
 

amysue

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I am sorry to hear about your sister's horse. Making those decisions is always so difficult. I agree with you 100% that the public is so very misinformed about small equine. People ask me all the time "oh you breed those dwarf horses right? I hear they inbreed them to keep them small". It drives me nuts. I do not breed dwarfs and I do not condone inbreeding. When people see my herd they are surprised to see a very small version of a "real" horse. I too wish people took the breed seriously.
 

Tab

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Had to make a similar decision with Rusty. He was a camp horse for about 6 years, so he was more theirs (camps) than mine now, but they were gracious to call me to discuss his future. His teeth were in such bad shape that he had lost a great deal of body condition in the fall. I thank the Lord that we collectively decided that it was his time because he would have frozen or starved to death. What the outside world would view as cruel is often the most loving thing we do. Love does mean letting go sometimes, even when we want to hold on.
 
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anoki

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I am so sorry for your sister....owning horses (heck, animals in general) sure can be heartbreaking.

I did want to comment on both Navicular and Laminitis....I own a warmblood who was diagnosed with Navicular about 10 years ago I think. He has been managed, WITHOUT DRUGS, for that entire time, and is absolutely sound to this day. He has successfully competed up to Third Level dressage, and if I had a coach close enough, and an indoor arena to ride him in through the snowy winter months, he would be competing at Prix St. Georges right now.

My other horse ended up with Laminitis following an accident in his stall. A horse in a stall beside him freaked out and flipped a water bucket over the wall into his stall...my guy ended up with severely bruised heels trying to get away from the flying bucket. Anyway, there was enough inflammation in both front feet, moreso on one than the other, to cause rotation of the coffin bone and separation from the hoof wall. The first 6 months were scary.....but again, with much and careful management over the past 4 years, he is sound and rideable! I will probably never ride him at the level that I was, but he is happy and *touch wood* healthy!! He is not on meds, he is barefoot, and I am very, VERY careful with his diet.

I know every case is different, but I wanted others to know that just because they have been diagnosed with either, does not necessarily mean a death sentence.

~kathryn
 

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