For a week I've waited impatiently for each new bit of diagnostic information, hoping to get some concrete explanation for Lance's muscle loss and hopefully his lack of energy. His fecal was clean; his large animal profile came back with every value smack dab in the middle of normal. Today the results of his blood test for Cushings disease came in; his ACTH level was borderline low/normal. Rick brought home Pergolide in treat form just in case that's Lance's problem, but before that....
I was anxious to ride after work today since I haven't had any saddle time yet this week. As always, we started out walking on a loose rein to warm up. After a few minutes I stopped Lance to take a photo, and realized his sides were heaving and his nostrils were flaring. I immediately called Rick to report the incident. He had me time Lance's respirations (20.5/minute – too fast); I also shot this video so Rick could see just how Lance was breathing.
This, my friends, is what "heaves" looks like. :-(
When Rick got home two and a half hours later, Lance was still heaving, albeit less dramatically. A shot of atropine seemed to help, but he was back to heaving when we checked him a couple hours later so he's definitely experiencing bronchial spasms. So now the questions are: What is inducing his asthma? Is this the cause of or related to his muscle loss? Is this the cause of or related to his low ACTH level (due to increased cortisol levels)? Of course, I also wonder how long Lance has had this problem. I can remember a few obvious breathing incidents like today's, but didn't notice the milder manifestations. His lack of stamina has long given me pause, though . . . why is hindsight so much clearer?
Competing Lance at the end of this month looks like a no-go for sure now, even as I (IMPATIENTLY) wait for my vet to do and tell me more. Next up is probably a bronchial wash, and perhaps trying clenbuterol. I've always said my horse (whichever one I have at the time) gives my husband plenty of diagnostic and treatment challenges; sigh.
On a slightly brighter note, I'm going to ride Larry tomorrow. I'll try to remember to take some photos of him to show you. Sayonara.