Bad news this week for my gorgeous 17-yr-old mare Modetia. She came down with what looked like a colic and or a urinary infection just over two weeks ago. Although my vet and I were suspicious of laminitis there were no symptoms other than an odd stiffness to her gait to substantiate this. There was no pounding digital pulse, no heat in the feet and the whole of her body looked stiff - like an extreme azoturia. So treatment was conservative, antibiotics to clear up the coca-cola coloured urine and a big dose of Danilon twice a day for pain and inflammation relief. She had two sets of bloods taken over the next week which were all normal, apart from slightly raised liver levels in the first one, which had returned to normal by the second one.
We decided that daily turnout on a short grass paddock was easing off her joints so I continued with this for a few days. Unfortunately she suddenly got incredibly stiff and lame again so I called the vet and he decided to bring in another local vet who could come and X-ray her feet as the spectre of laminitis loomed again.
To my dismay these showed that her front feet are both showing signs of pedal bone rotation with the right fore being particulalrly bad with a greater degree of sinkage.
It means that the next few days are critical for her. We need to stop the pedal bones from any further movement. Both vets are also think that this is a possible case of EMs or a metabolic laminitis as the mare was semi-fit, not fat or overfed and working right up to the time of this attack.
It was recommended that I put her on a sand bed so yesterday my friend Tom got up at 7am and took his tractor to the local quarry and came back with four tons of sand. He managed to reverse straight into her pen and then Julie and I, in a work out worthy of any gym bunnies, smoothed it all out to make her a bed that is at least 6" deep of cool sand.
|The special Imprint shoes fitted|
Working with the farrierMy fantastic farrier , Dougie Crawford came this morning and fitted her with a pair of heartbar Imprint shoes. He was sent a set of her X-rays so the shoes could be expertly fitted to give her maximum relief. Dougie recommends that I leave these shoes on for upto 10 weeks, as he knows the mare's feet are incredibly slow growing and thinks that the longer we can leave them on the more chance her feet will have to start healing.
Hopefully there will be no more dramatic deterioration over this time and then she can be x-rayed again to make sure that we have stopped any further pedal bone rotation. If the pedal bones have stabilised then all well and good we keep on with treatment of box rest and she will then be fitted with metal heart bar shoes. So as long as her pain levels are controllable and there is no further dramatic pedal bone rotoation then there is hope for her.
|Modetia in her specially bedded sand box. The sand supports her feet at all times which is very important.|
More testsLast night I starved her for 12 hours so the vet could take more blood samples - these are going to Liphook Equine hospital where they will be tested for things like diabetes and other metabolic upsets. They are also going to test for Lymes Disease as she had a tick bite a while ago which left a large lump under the skin and I have read that this can be a cause of founder in horses, so we may as well cover all bases. Obviously I am hoping to find out the cause of the laminitis as otherwise it will be difficult to control long term.
Modetia is my horse of a lifetime. She is 17 now and I have had her since she was a just broken five year old. She was imported from the famous VDL stud as a youngster by the Low Mitchells from Balcormo Stud. She is by of a stallion called Highline out of a mare, Godetia. I had a horse for sale at the time who had grown too big for me and the plan was to buy a new youngster once he had sold. Then Sandra Low Mitchell called me one day and said, 'I am sitting on your horse why don't you come over and ride her'. Now when Sandra says that if you do go over - you better have your cheque book ready as she is rarely wrong about the sort of horse that will suit you as a rider.
|Modetia showing how careful she is over a fence.|
They don't come along like this everydayWhen I arrived she was riding this beautiful sparky little bay mare - about 16.1 and sharp as a tack. I took one ride on her and that was that, I couldn't resist her. She is one of these horses that makes you feel a little more alive just by sitting on them. Always sharp and spooky she was scopey with a great line in 360degree spins, she was fabulous. The Low Mitchells had imported her after a visit to the VDL stud. Modetia went onto win the inaugural Scottish Sports Horse 3-yr-old loose jumping, held at the Royal Highland Show and went on to be broken and show style and scope over a fence.
I went on to forge a great partnership with her and we jumped courses together I never in my wildest dreams thought I would jump. Then when I had my children she had two foals for me.
Once I got back to jumping again Modetia came back into work and proved to have lost none of her old enthusiasm, it is awful to see her in pain and reduced to pottering around the box like she is. So here's hoping that the vets find something concrete in those bloods that we can work with in the future.