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

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Careful what you wish for

I scheduled a lesson with Julie for this morning. Even though Lance is still compromised, I thought we could work in short, effective periods like last time.

It rained all day, so when we got to Julie's I tied up Lance in the arena to tack up. After removing his turnout sheet, I snapped a photo on impulse:
Changes are sometimes easier to see in 2D. His neck, shoulders, back and hindquarters have all lost significant mass, and for the first time in the five-plus years I've had him, I can see a hint of ribs.

The footing in the arena is new – and chunky. As we walked around to warm up, I worried a bit. Lance tripped and fell with me once in Kate's arena with similar wood chip footing – and Lance was stronger and more energetic then.

When Julie arrived on scene, she immediately commented on Lance's condition. She felt he had lost the weight he'd regained between our last two visits, and she wasn't comfortable with asking him to work. Given my concern about the footing, the decision to cancel the lesson was actually a relief. We chatted awhile; she had an event horse with COPD so I asked how she had managed him. I shared my nagging worry that we haven't gotten to the bottom of Lance's decline; we brainstormed a little but couldn't come up with any new possibilities.

On my way home I called Rick's secretary to ask her for the contact info of a veterinarian Rick knows who is board certified in Internal Medicine. Rick has run Lance's problems by her; I wanted to pick her brain myself. I sent her an email as soon as I got home, sharing his history, test results, treatment regimen, and continued, concerning muscle loss.

By late afternoon she responded, asking for some video clips of his at-rest breathing and an ultrasound of his lungs. I shot the videos and texted them to her; Rick is going to do the ultrasound in the morning. The suspect near the top of her list: EMPF – equine multinodular pulmonary fibrosis. We may know tomorrow; my stomach is in knots.


Terry said...

I hope you get an answer and a clear path ahead soon. Even if the news isn't good, you'll do better knowing what to do. But fingers crossed it's a better prognosis than expected.

Theresa said...

What Terry said, plus hugs.

Alanna M. said...

Yikes! An answer would be great but that's not a "good" answer. I said a prayer for you two today.

Also, I would never have guessed that you have owned Lance for 5 years. It's gone by fast!

Mokihana said...

My heart hurts for you..I'm praying for a better prognosis and healing for yur beloved boy.

C-ingspots said...

Gosh, I'm sorry Michelle. I know how much you love Lance, and I know how I'd feel if I were in your shoes...big hugs and prayers for you both. :(

Just a thought - are Rick & Kim fairly certain the muscle loss is respiratory related? Could it be something totally unrelated that is causing the muscle loss? Maybe I'll get a chance to do some sleuthing. One way or another, I hope you get to the bottom of this so you know what you're dealing with. Hang in there.