"Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of solitaire. It is a grand passion. It seizes a person whole and once it has done so, he/she will have to accept that his life will be radically changed." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Maybe I'm making them crazy.

Apparently 2011 is the year of undiagnosed neurological diseases for my horses.  In the middle of November, Sarah noticed that Fred's nose and neck were twitching simultaneously.  Two days later, Fred was not himself during a jump school.  A week later he had an abscess and the twitching was very intense.  A week after that Dr. Kent came to look at Fred.  She did a full exam of his body and x-rays of his withers.  Dr. Kent couldn't find anything abnormal.  

The twitch is only between Fred's left shoulder to his nose.  We can't determine one trigger point.  It waxes and wanes without any clear influence.  It is involuntary and hasn't changed his normal routine at all.  Fred seems fine to ride on the flat however jumping is not comfortable for him.  I've only been on him once in the last few weeks.  The video is from the day he came in with the abscess and was very uncomfortable.  Stress does seem to play a role in the intensity.  An interesting fact is that the facial nerves are not directly connected to the neck and chest so it is odd that the twitch is simultaneous.  Also, after observing him, you'll notice that the twitch builds.  If his chest is twitching, everything else is.  

After massages and body work and time off, I took the vets' recommendation and we made an appointment with the neuro specialist at New Bolton.  Dr. Johnson was great.  Fred had a gait exam, blood work, endoscopy for his pharynx and larynx, and a spinal tap.  Yep, two horses and two spinal taps in one year.  We're awaiting results, which should be in early next week.  The outcome could be either Lymes or seizures.  I don't like either option, but both are treatable and we should be able to return to work this year.  I must also say that I was very impressed with how well Fred handled the commotion.  He was a trooper yesterday!

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