Today was the big vet/acupuncture visit for Bre and Romeo. To recap for those just tuning in Bre is my 14 yo quarter horse with a variety of difficult to pinpoint soundness issues. She has been solid for years now as long as I don't do consistent arena work. A little over a month ago I noticed she was really off but the angle on her right front was wacky and I just assumed having the farrier out would fix it. As he was working on her I noticed how sore she looked behind when he was working on her front legs.
Romeo is Bre's boyfriend where she lives. He is a 6yo breed stock paint who has been rock solid on the soundness front. Unlike Bre, Romeo walks carefully places and takes care of himself when he gets the inevitable bumps and bruises of pasture horses. He has had a wonderful young lady leasing him and doing 4-H. Unfortunately, she was riding with an older teen who was teaching her some bad habits. She was learning how to slow him down to WP jog/lope by pulling from the front end and was keeping him in a tiny little stride without taking time to let him stretch and extend. When I got on him after show season I was disappointed with how stiff and choppy his stride was. I could tell he was uncomfortable in his back and hind. We decided to get his back worked on and I took over lessons for his girl. She is doing wonderful with him and riding him correctly actually seems more natural to her than all the crazy business. About a week ago his left hind started swelling and we finally found a day when we could both be there for a vet appt.
The vet arrived today. I was thrilled that my equine vet has been trained for acupuncture. It always seemed like a disconnect to get body work from someone other than my vet. As part of the first visit she did a full once over on each horse. Romeo was first and she started by palpating the swollen tendon, his back, hips, etc. Then she had her assistant walk him to and from us on the pavement, then trotting. She was great about pointing out how his hips were moving unevenly so Erin could really understand what was going on with her horse. From there her assistant lunged him and we could see how short he was striding in the back. He was clearly more stiff on the right then the left. She felt that there was something going on in the hock. When she flexed his hocks he was clearly more off on the right. She thinks he is young for it to be arthritis but perhaps the mix of a sore back, incorrect work, and an acute injury to his hock all added up to a sore boy. She suggested a shot of Adequan to help him heal, in addition to the acupuncture. He clearly had sore areas in his hips and back. After the treatment his muscles were more relaxed just standing. He naturally stood square like our old Romeo. And he was moving way better even on pavement.
Sunday was the last time I took Bre above a walk and she looked terrible. It wasn't the usual slight stiffness in her right shoulder when she has had time off. She was stiff and out of whack everywhere in the back end. It was difficult to pinpoint because she just seemed so uncomfortable. I got really serious about her massages and started back up on the Cosequin. This was a new vet to Bre and she zeroed right in on her problem areas. She found a tight spot in her right shoulder and her hips were very uneven. These are the problems every other chiro/acupuncturist find so Bre is predictable if nothing else. When we lunged her I was actually shocked that she was also 90% better than Sunday just with massage. The vet was even surprised that she looked as good as she did considering how asymmetrical her pelvis was. By the end of her session Bre was trotting out 100% sound on pavement. It was kind of amazing to see her be that much better after once session.
Injectable Joint Medications
In the process of giving Bre's long medical history I brought up the fact that she is on Cosequin. The vet suggested using Adequan or Legend instead. I have great things about these medications but had always thoughs these options were cost prohibitive on my budget. The vet pointed out that it just seems more expensive because you put the money out all at once for a one time treatment. She said that the treatment lasts two months so the cost difference is fairly small. Because the medication is going right into the horse nothing is lost in the feed bin or through the digestive process. These were really good points. I am usually pretty logical but it really helped to have her break down the costs/benefits for me. I have been doing some riding lessons so I feel like I can justify the cost so soon after purchasing the Cosequin. The vet said I could see response as early as tomorrow. She was already looking back to normal today so it will be interested to see if she is moving even bouncier tomorrow.
If anyone out there is feeding oral joint supplements I would suggest looking into Legend or Adequan. If you can handle doing them yourself it really cuts down the cost. Adequan is a little cheaper at about $47 a dose and Legend is $99 a dose (if you can split a large vial with someone the cost goes down to $77). If you are using Adequan for maint you will need to do several doses to get it loaded in their system you wont need to that with Legend. I will probably only need the legend every two months. The adequan would be every 6-8 weeks. Legend is a little hard to go because it is into a vein. Adequan is into a muscle and super easy to administer.
I am excited about trying the Legend. The more I think about the idea the more I like it. It will be nice to know all the medication is getting into her and to get an immediate result. Bagging up the Cosequin to put on her feed is crazy making. I will have to do more research but this is a well respected clinic in the sport horse world so I trust them. Maybe Bre and I will make it to a show next year :)