Box rest hell continues....

Mary Poppins

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#1
I thought that I would post a little update on Ben's lameness.

After 10 months of being lame and all the treatment that you could imagine (complete diagnostics including a bone scan, several x-rays etc. followed by ultra strong steroid injections into both stifles and then a bilateral arthroscopy), Ben is still lame. The vet came a couple of days ago and he looked worse than he has ever had before. The vet put him as 4/10th lame on the right hind.

So, he is still on strict box rest, back on bute and the vet is coming to re-medicate this right stifle in the hope that this may settle down the inflammation. The vet can feel how sore and inflamed the stifle is, and although there are risks to medicating with the 'strong stuff' again (I don't know what is in it, my head would explode if tried to think about the risks of this as well), this really is the last chance.

The vet and the surgeon are still optimistic that he will come sound and are confident that the source or the problem has been sorted by the surgery and we just need more time and a little help from the drugs to help him along and get that scar tissue to form in the right place. He has another 8 weeks on box rest and we expect to see an improvement at the end of this. If there is no improvement in 8 weeks then we have the face the fact that he is one of the 10% of horses who just don't respond to treatment. I couldn't retire him in this state and I won't watch him hobble round the field in the vague hope that he will miraculously improve. If he isn't significantly better in January then I will have no choice but to say goodbye to him.

He is more settled on box rest now, just as long as I keep to a strict routine. He likes to kick the door at feedtime, but he no longer tries to barge out when I open it, and he is generally much quieter. I get the feeling he has started to lose the will to fight for his freedom and has reluctantly accepted that his life is now spent standing still in a stable. It is so very sad. His muscles are starting to fade and I can see dips where they used to be.

So we just keep going. I try and make him happy with his two 5 minute walks per day, the 'no treat' rule has gone out of the window and he gets spoilt by everyone. He is very messy in his stable so I muck out 3 times per day. He has had physio and massage appointments and I visit him 3 times per day. It breaks my heart and I am dreading January coming. In my heart I am preparing to have to let him go. It is so sad and unfair.
 

Jessey

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#2
So not what you were hoping to hear, but still a little ray of hope in that the vet/surgeon are still optimistic, hang onto that with both hands and your teeth ;)
 
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Mary Poppins

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So not what you were hoping to hear, but still a little ray of hope in that the vet/surgeon are still optimistic, hang onto that with both hands and your teeth ;)
My vet said that surgeon "wasn't overly worried" about his lack of progress at this stage, and when I asked him if he thought that the drugs would make a significant difference, he said yes. I just find it hard to remain optimistic when he looked so dreadfully lame. The vet said that without doing another arthroscopy it is impossible to know what was going on, but he said it could be that his left stifle has significantly improved (this is where most of the damage was) and now he isn't lame on his left, the lameness on the right looks worse.

Who knows? I am trying to cling onto hope, but it is so hard, especially when it seems that Ben is starting to give up as well. I didn't like him being stressed out on box rest, but at least it meant that he had spirit and fight in him. Now he just looks depressed.
 

Mary Poppins

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The yard staff put together this lovely outdoor turnout pen for him to use. It is about 3 times the size of a stable with loads of grass and right next door to his friends. But he isn't allowed to go in it! He can't even grass walk because movement needs to be kept to an absolute minimum. The two 5 minute walks are just so he doesn't completely seize up. It is such a horrible life for him.
 

Jessey

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#5
My vet said that surgeon "wasn't overly worried" about his lack of progress at this stage, and when I asked him if he thought that the drugs would make a significant difference, he said yes. I just find it hard to remain optimistic when he looked so dreadfully lame. The vet said that without doing another arthroscopy it is impossible to know what was going on, but he said it could be that his left stifle has significantly improved (this is where most of the damage was) and now he isn't lame on his left, the lameness on the right looks worse.

Who knows? I am trying to cling onto hope, but it is so hard, especially when it seems that Ben is starting to give up as well. I didn't like him being stressed out on box rest, but at least it meant that he had spirit and fight in him. Now he just looks depressed.
Was the surgery just on the one side? I can't remember, but that would make what your vet said make perfect sense
 

Mary Poppins

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Was the surgery just on the one side? I can't remember, but that would make what your vet said make perfect sense
No, it was a double arthroscopy. The damage on the left was significantly worse than the right, but the right was also damaged and has consistently been more inflamed.
 

Trewsers

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#9
I was thinking of you this morning whilst mucking out and hoping for an update. Like jessey says, hang on to your hope there, it doesn't sound all bad. I wish I has read something along the lines of him being allowed more freedom, but that's not to be right now. Did you ask about a calmer or don't you think it is needed now? (With him being less bargy etc). Lots and lots of vibes. There is somuch in your update I can relate to, but nothing I can really say, so for now just sending you our best xxxx
 
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Mary Poppins

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#11
I was thinking of you this morning whilst mucking out and hoping for an update. Like jessey says, hang on to your hope there, it doesn't sound all bad. I wish I has read something along the lines of him being allowed more freedom, but that's not to be right now. Did you ask about a calmer or don't you think it is needed now? (With him being less bargy etc). Lots and lots of vibes. There is somuch in your update I can relate to, but nothing I can really say, so for now just sending you our best xxxx
That is so kind of you to think of me. No, I'm not going to put him on a calmer. He is much more settled, he doesn't need one. Thanks for your good wishes. x
 
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Mary Poppins

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#12
It must be very difficult and frustrating for you both. I don't really "get" boxrest, ie understand the importance of it but only because I have never had to do to a horse.
Ben is on box rest because he had damaged cartilage removed from the base of his femur bone. Scar tissue needs to form to replace the cartilage otherwise he would have bone rubbing on bone. This is why he needs to stay as still as possible so the scar tissue can form and not tear.
 
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domane

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#13
Oh blimey! Those goal posts have been moved a long way! Dark times for you, MP, in BOTH senses of the word. But it's got to be done so that you can look back - whatever the outcome- and say that you followed your vet's advice to the letter. I'm so pleased that Ben has settled, try not to think of it as Ben being depressed, but that he's got used to the routine. A lot of horses across the country will now be living in for the winter, either because of yard rules or owner choices, so consider the fact that you're not so alone in a lot of aspects of your regime now.

On the plus side you won't have to cope with mud, or wet and minging rugs!! Small positives. Keep on keeping on xxxx
 
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Mary Poppins

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Oh blimey! Those goal posts have been moved a long way! Dark times for you, MP, in BOTH senses of the word. But it's got to be done so that you can look back - whatever the outcome- and say that you followed your vet's advice to the letter. I'm so pleased that Ben has settled, try not to think of it as Ben being depressed, but that he's got used to the routine. A lot of horses across the country will now be living in for the winter, either because of yard rules or owner choices, so consider the fact that you're not so alone in a lot of aspects of your regime now.

On the plus side you won't have to cope with mud, or wet and minging rugs!! Small positives. Keep on keeping on xxxx
It is true that I don't have to deal with mud, or catch him in the dark.

I really have followed my vets advice to the letter, I just really hope that he turns a corner. It has been a very long road to recovery and I pray it has a happy ending. I just need to be realistic at the same time and prepare myself of the end of life scenario if it comes to that.
 

Flipo's Mum

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#15
Can I just maybe suggest that you try to put the possibilities of January in a little box and lock them away and just value the time you have with him right now, without the overwhelming sadness of what might be.
My thoughts are that you can’t control what’s in the future, more than what you’re already doing. What good will ‘preparing yourself’ do, other than add to the pain right now, when you still have him.
Why spend time preparing for something awful happening, that just adds torture to that already harrowing time when/if it comes.
Yes it will hurt, I dread it. But take yourself away from that and savour the time you have with your lad. I really have everything crossed for you both having been in the same place.
 

Mary Poppins

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Can I just maybe suggest that you try to put the possibilities of January in a little box and lock them away and just value the time you have with him right now, without the overwhelming sadness of what might be.
My thoughts are that you can’t control what’s in the future, more than what you’re already doing. What good will ‘preparing yourself’ do, other than add to the pain right now, when you still have him.
Why spend time preparing for something awful happening, that just adds torture to that already harrowing time when/if it comes.
Yes it will hurt, I dread it. But take yourself away from that and savour the time you have with your lad. I really have everything crossed for you both having been in the same place.
Good advice as always. I feel a little better now and am starting to find that hope again. I just feel so sad for him, it is no quality of life confined to a stable for 16 weeks. We do still have good times and he loves being groomed. Our bond has become stronger and I enjoy looking after him. I am upbeat most of the time, but was just so disappointed when he was lame again.
 

Jane&Ziggy

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#18
I am so sorry to hear this MP. I too was thinking about you and wondering what the outcome of the vet's visit was. If I feel disappointed, I can hardly imagine how you feel.

On the bright side, if Ben is more accepting of the situation perhaps it will be less painful for you. And if the left leg was worse and is now better, there must be a good chance that the right one will also improve. We'll all send every healing vibe we can muster.
 
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Flipo's Mum

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#19
I found it initially unnerving that flipo became so resigned to his boxrest boredom, when he seemed to lose the fighting bolshiness it saddened me but after that initial concern about it, it did make things easier to see that he wasn’t so ansty and upset.
I liken it to an adjustment of expectation in humans. If we expect to get out everyday, then we’d be depressed when it doesn’t happen. Once we don’t expect it anymore, it actually becomes less upsetting when it doesn’t happen. I’m sure Ben isn’t having conscious thought like this, but somewhere inside he’s realised it won’t happen and is adjusting. As will you. You got this, you will get through it. And so will Ben.
 
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