Thursday, March 05, 2009

Taking A Risk

The vet is coming next Monday.

The enormous bill that this is likely to create is the furthest thing from my mind.

When I fell in love with Zydo upon first seeing him on a webpage almost two years ago, I knew that he had soundness issues. I had my parents carefully examine him from tooth to toe before I allowed myself to go near him because they wanted to make sure that he wasn't about to drop dead the day after we brought him home. His previous owner hid nothing from us when we went to look at him and then again when I went back to ride him for the first time. I will always cherish her honesty, because often times when you buy a horse (or anything, really) people try to hide the flaws.

Zydeco has arthritis and takes pain medication for it. We've also tried a number of treatments, such as having his knees injected with sonovial fluid and other herbal remedies.

Zydo takes a painkiller commonly known as bute. It is cheap, it is easy to administer. Some of the side effects include liver or kidney damage when it is used long term. I suppose it is the human equivalent of taking acetomenophen regularly.

Even though I haven't been riding much of late, we've noticed the times that I have been on him that he is a little more sore than usual. We consulted the vet the last time he was here, told him the amount of bute he is taking, and, upon his recommendation, upped the amount.

I would like to know the full extent of the damage done to Zydo's knees by this arthritis. I'd like to know if it has eaten away the tissues and ligaments, or if it is just something that is present and not really creating a huge hazard.

The best case scenario here would be for the vet to examine the X-rays and tell me that the damage is minimal, that we can inject him with something that will support the soft tissues and that he can quit taking his painkillers altogether.

My mother has asked me several times now if I am sure that this is what I want. Do I really want to know? Her most pressing question to me was "What if the vet tells you that you can't ride him any more? What are you going to do with a horse you can't ride?"

Often times horses in this situation are sent for meat. I realize that this may create ethical questions in the minds of thousands (including my own); however, I also realize that keeping something as costly and time consuming as a horse for pet purposes is usually not feasible for most people.

That question alone makes my heart stop cold. I shudder to think of my life without Zydeco. I visit him at night after work, I tell him about my day. I scratch him behind the ears and let him lick my palm. He nuzzles into me and chews on the zipper of my jacket.

Regardless of whether I can ride him or not, Zydeco will remain here at The Ranch as a pasture mate for Tia and Summer. Thankfully, there is enough hay in the barn to support him for years to come, and I am in such a situation to keep him until the end.

This vet call is on my mind quite a bit and I won't be at rest until after the X-rays are complete and the information is all there in front of me. I'm trying not to get my hopes up, and trying not to fear the worst.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home