Dealing with ringbone is not a single treatment but rather a whole management scheme that is lifelong for the horse.
October 7, 2010. The veterinarian comes out for a re-check and treatment plan. Bailey was treated prior to me owning her with Bute (phenylbutazone) and she seemed to respond to that drug as I bought her assuming she was sound. Since it wasn’t till she didn’t have bute in her system that she became lame with me as her owner I was prescribed 1 gram of bute to give before a ride and after the ride. I was also prescribed surpass cream to apply directly to the joint. Bailey is currently a barefoot horse, and it is recommended to trim her short and roll the toe. (It never was short enough through this whole process according to what the vet wanted)
I moved Bailey that day to another barn with more trail riding opportunities since the barn I was at was considered a hunter jumper barn and required lessons which Bailey would not be able to participate in.
Horses with ringbone do best with consistent low-level exercise. Horses that stand excessively all day long tend to get more inflammation in the joints and therefore more lame. Constant walking around all day on pasture helps stimulate circulation and decrease inflammation within the joint, therefore decreasing lameness.
October 7- December 7, 2010. Bailey is ride-able at a walk with prescribed bute. We participate in “Trail Trial rides” which are organized trail rides that includes obstacles and situations horse and rider might encounter on a trail ride. The ride is planned using the natural obstacles that already exist on a particular trail such as walking over logs, opening a gate, or maneuvering through a creek. It is fun and new for both of us to do together.
The barn she is at is under construction and her pasture time is greatly decreased while work in that area is being completed. She is standing in her stall too long making her lame and anxious. Her behavior is changing from being stalled for long periods. It is reported she breaks through a fence while being led to pasture. That same day she bucks violently when I first mount her in the riding ring. I am concerned for her health and well being. This has to change.
December 7, 2010. Bailey is relocated to a private barn where I am hoping for more cooperation in my goal to manage her ringbone. It is a snowy day when we transport her. This is the start of the winter from hell. It didn’t stop snowing from that day till spring 2011! The barn was consistent in pasture time even through winter, and that was just what Bailey needed.
So far so good…
EMERGENCY CALL- non ringbone related
This is off the path of high ringbone, but the major event added to my determination to do everything I could for Bailey who is such a fighter.
February 26, 2011. It’s happening again, that 8 am morning phone call every horse owner fears. The caller says “Your horse is down and another is gone”. What does that mean! I immediately head to the barn to find my precious Bailey on the verge of death, and another horse is dead. I had just left her the previous night and she was fine.
Now in a series of unfortunate events that seem to keep following us, my vet has decided to sell her practice but not tell any patients yet, so when I make an emergency phone call she tells me she is moving that day! The barn owner and I are desperately making phone calls to every vet in the area for emergency service. In the mean time a handful of people are trying to walk Bailey who is stiff as a board in movement and has gums the color of a gray whale. It was not looking good at all and time was against us. We administer upon recommendation of an on-call vet from Cornell to give her Banamine. That seems to bring some relief until a vet out of Ithaca, New York reaches us at 1pm in the afternoon.
No one at the barn knows what has happened to Bailey. The mares were being put outside and within 5 minutes one horse staggered a few steps and died. Bailey was laying down in a snowbank, and the barn owners got her up.
The vet after performing a colic exam, immediately started saline fluids, lactated ringers. Blood was drawn to be sent to the lab and the vet suspected severe tying up. We have heaters brought in to warm her up as it 10 degrees out. Bailey is blanketed for more warmth. The fluid process takes about four hours. I spend the very cold night with Bailey. She is responding to treatment.
We get the toxicology report back and it confirms tying up with severely deficient blood selenium recorded at 4.21 ug. (range is 17.0 – 25.0 ug/dl.) and creatine kinase 3239 (range 142-548). Selenium injections would be immediately started to get her levels in the correct range.
I discover no selenium is in the feed being supplied to her at the barn she is boarded at. They are not using a commercial feed, rather a bulk feed distributor where the owner selects what is added or not added to the feed.
The common addition of selenium to commercial grain mixes has decreased the percentage of selenium-induced tying-up drastically.
Selenium (Se) is a trace mineral, an essential nutrient that is an anti-oxidant. It protects the body from oxidative stress. New York State soil is scarce of selenium, therefore if you horse is on pasture it must get it from another source.
I start adding to her new special feed which does already include selenium an additional scoop of selenium and vitamin E powder to boost her levels per the veterinarian.
Since no autopsy was done on the horse that died, we do not know what happened that triggered Bailey to severely ty up. It is speculated from the toxology lab that a traumatic episode happened to Bailey that could have been her witnessing the death of the mare. We will never know. There were no marks on Bailey to indicate a collision with the other horse, which was first suspected.
March 3, 2011. Vet out for selenium injection
March 11, 2011. Vet out for selenium injection
March 18, 2011. Vet out for selenium injection
Bailey has lost a lot of muscle from tying up, and a rehabilitation program is prescribed. On top of that, her high ringbone is progressing and she is limping most of the time.
This was a turning point in my mission with Bailey’s general care. I would be supplying special food that had the adequate vitamins, minerals and extra selenium needed for a horse in Central New York. I would be administering her bute tablet according to the schedule devised by my managing veterinarian. This was important for me to handle as barn help had their own opinions on what amount of bute Bailey should receive rather than what plan was developed by the treating veterinarian.