The first round of injections provided Chance with some relief, in his ability to move around and the swelling went down a bit, but that only lasted about a week. At about day 8, Chance was swollen again and 3 legged lame. Thankfully, a family friend of the farms owner called me. She explained that the farrier was out shoeing one of the horses and saw Chance’s leg, and when he arrived to shoe her horses, he expressed his concern. I immediately contacted Vet4 an he was out the following day.
Vet4 injected the masses again as a temporary fix, until we could make some decisions. The ultrasound showed that the masses were the exact same as they were in the first ultrasound- they hadn’t increased or decreased in size.
Later that evening, Vet4 and I had a lengthy conversation about where to go from here.
We discussed the options again, at length. We could do an MRI to gain more insight into what is happening with that leg, go in with an Arthroscope and clean it out, or look into Stem Cell Therapy.
Well, I wasn’t comfortable putting Chance under anesthesia…he was too old and too frail. Plus, he could break a leg or a hip going down. So, that ruled out the MRI (unless I could find a standing one) and the surgery. The Stem Cells would run about $3000.00, plus he would need to goto the hospital to have the procedure done.
I took the night to think it over, and stayed up until sunrise reading as much as I could on leg issues, the different options vet4 and I had discussed, and other potential causes.
That next morning, I received a call that Chance was worse. Vet4 was out of town due to an emergency, so I called Vet3. She got out to the farm immediately.
Vet3 gave Chance Surpass topical to put on the leg, Banamine, Ulcer Guard, and continued with the Prevacox to keep him comfortable.
I asked her what she thought about the options- she felt, as I did, the surgery wasn’t a good idea and that an MRI should only be done without sedation.
I called Vet4 and we spoke about the current situation. What else is going on? He suggested changing the course and trying different diagnostics. He explained that TSMs (Tendon Sheath Masses) can cause swelling and pain, but they are usually relieved by the injections. The ultrasounds showed that his suspensory tendon and ligaments looked good. Could this be an infection? Soft tissue damage? A bone issue?
I asked him if he felt moving forward with more tests was a bad thing…was I being cruel keeping Chance alive like this? Something that had been weighing on me from the start. And what Vet4 said, empowered me to continue down the path I initially felt in my gut to be the right decision. He said, “I am not the kind of person to ever give up on someone or something.” I asked if we were able to manage his pain adequately and make sure he was comfortable and he said, yes. He advised me to “make a decision based on the horse” and “not to listen to the opinions of everyone else”.
The next day, I cleared my schedule, and headed to the farm.