To ride dressage is to dance with your horse, equal partners in the delicate and sometimes difficult work of creating harmony and beauty.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Puzzle pieces

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.

4 comments:

Theresa said...

What a puzzle indeed. Cooper got over heated once in his winter woolies when out of shape. Scared the bejeezers out of me. Fingers crossed you two find a clear diagnosis and treatment.

C-ingspots said...

Hi Michelle, just want to clarify something for you on the PPID test. Lance's ACTH levels are high, not low. Ref. range is 9 - 35. Lance is 39.7 - so only slightly higher than normal. His Leptin was only very slightly elevated as well at 10.97...ref range on this is 1 - 10. The reps for the ACTH testing study were here yesterday and I mentioned Lance and his symptoms to them. They said that since Lance is exhibiting 2 physical symptoms (lack of energy and muscle loss), that going on the medication is warranted. Sorry to hear of the respiratory issues going on a well. Right now, that seems to be the real problem to contend with. How is the air quality in Lance's stall? If you don't change out his bedding often enough and the urine odors are quite strong, that can definitely pose a problem. We always tell people to feed on the ground, even watering the hay is good, plenty of ventilation and keep the ammonia fumes in the bedding at a minimum. Hoping this will be resolved or at least improved soon. Oh, and if Lance doesn't like the chewables (most horses don't), we can order the liquid, which is easier to administer and only 1 cc/dose, so they're ensured of getting the full dose.

Alanna M. said...

Ugh! I'm sorry.

A :-) said...

Michelle - just catching up here - I'm sorry to hear that Lance is having some health issues. :-(