Thursday, July 26, 2012

Cuna's Big Adventure

Cuna is a super tough 17 year old horse, but he's still 17. I've been ramping up his workload for the past month, and it became obvious that while he wanted to do the work, he really needed some help. I  finagled my way into a truck and trailer for a day and made an appointment to go see the vet. Because this is how life goes at a barn, there was no one going to the vet for the past couple of months when I kept asking to get him a ride, but as soon as I make an appointment, I have a full trailer.

Funny how that works.

We made it! 
Anyways. The trailer I borrowed is a bumper pull, which is a style I haven't worked with in a couple of years. I managed to get it hooked up with some help from a friend, then had the BO check me. I'd only overlooked one tiny detail. Yay!

This was a joint injections trip, which is great. Horses that need joint injections are seasoned campaigners who have loaded in trailers roughly 1,678,876 times and are not going to make a fuss about it. We hopped in and were on the road.

Ears even somewhat pricked! 

The trip there was without incident. I pulled in a few minutes early and got Cuna off the trailer to have a look around.

He was wild.

Although I could barely hold him, I entertained myself by taking cute headshots of him until the vet came out to meet us.

Flexion time
Things went pretty quickly after that. The vet watched Cuna trot in a circle on a hard surface both directions. He then flexed his hocks and had him trot again. He commented on how good Cuna looks and asked about his workload. After checking his files, he identified a plan of action.

Chilling in radiology

I hoped to just sort of meander into the hospital area behind them and ask incessant questions and generally make myself annoying without getting kicked out. After all, good horse owners are supposed to have relationships with their vets, and I barely know the guy because I can't ever get out here. Fortunately, they actually wanted me to help with the horses since I had two with me.

Because he is a total pro, Cuna bravely lead the way into the hospital and was perfectly happy to hang out with me.

Happy... time... 
Next it was time to scrub his hocks thoroughly and give Cuna a sedative. I know they work around all different horses all the time and have to be careful, but I'd bet a small amount of money that they could have done the entire procedure with Cuna wide awake. Even so. Why deprive the old guy of a happy drug trip?

He started falling asleep immediately while the intern scrubbed away. Good thing I was there to restrain the wild beastie!

Proof I wore this goofy thing

On to xrays! It is important to know EXACTLY where to inject, particularly when $400 of my dollars are going straight into his legs. Digital rays make this whole process quick and painless.

Of course, there are all kinds of safety regulations for people. They made me (and everyone else in radiology) wear these crazy lead vests. I didn't tell them that I had roughly 150 xrays of various body parts last summer, and if there is any damage to be done, it's already happened.

Yeah, I'm pretty much a tourist

Just like that, it was injection time. I got to hand Cuna off to the helpful intern and watch them put the first needle in. Poor Cuna--when they put the needle in, fluid dripped out, which means his hocks were inflamed. :-( I knew I shouldn't have let him go full bore up the hill last night, but he really, really wanted to.

Anyways. Cuna didn't move a muscle as they injected both sides of both of his hocks. He's a model patient, really.

Where is the food in this dump?
Once he was done, I led him very slowly out the back down to the holding barn so the drugs could wear off. Cuna was ready to go in minutes, but the other horse took quite a while to come back around.

I let them hang out while I went and paid my (appallingly expensive) bill. I also got Cuna his own tub of powdered bute so we can quit mooching and some magic shampoo to hopefully clean up the gunk on his oh-so-sensitive back legs.

I then loaded them back up and hauled home. Cuna is all set for three days of stall rest and apple-flavored bute. According to our vet, he can go immediately back to full work on Monday. I'm thinking we'll maybe take an easy day or two and see how he feels, but we should be (manageably) rip-roaring around XC next Sunday!


  1. Hey now, 17 isn't that old! My boy came 17 this year, and he shows no signs of stopping! ;)

    But, there is some maintenance required for the "older" guys, and I'm sure Cuna appreciates it getting done. A word of warning: Sometimes they get a little spunky on the first ride after joint injections!

  2. I also learned the hard way (bc my vet failed to mention it) that turn out should be somewhat restricted for a few days following injections. If you remember, my lovely beast got herself hung up between a gate and a fence by her right hind foot a year and a half ago, 2 days after doing a stifle injection. It was pretty much downhill from there. :(

  3. I second Shannon's warning - you may be dealing with a different horse come Monday! Less pain = spunky/crazy. Practice those brakes!

  4. Oohh! I want to know all about the miracle shampoo. Glad the trip was uneventful.

  5. Good on you for taking such good care of Cuna :)

  6. Yeah me too.. whats the miracle shampoo?!?!

    Yay for an expensive "spa" day for the wonder man!!! :) I am sure he thanks you many time over!

  7. What is the drug they inject? How often do you need to have administered? Just wondering if it would help my boy with pedal ostitis.
    Lucky he is such a good boy!!!!He has a great mum!

  8. Hooray for a successful, uneventful visit to the vet spa. I hope he's in tip-top shape for next weekend!

  9., I just did digital xrays and no vest o' protection was handed to me!!! Cuna is magical.

  10. Good work handling all the details to take such good care of your boy.

    Hock injections worked a treat on my boy. Here's hoping you have similar, or even better success!

    My guys will not eat the bute, even the apple flavored powder. I mix it with applesauce and put it in a dose syringe and give it like a paste wormer.

  11. You are such a good horse mommy :) I bet he'll feel so good now.

  12. You're so good to him :) My nutty friend suggested Don needed his hocks injected because all horses got their hocks injected (duh, clearly, I should have known that) when I first brought him to college, and I was like "Yeah, uh huh, my lightly ridden 7yo needs his joints injected. Don't think so."

    She was a little floored by my refusal to inject him, which I thought was just funny.

  13. You would be surprised that some horses, even drugged to the eyeballs and twitched, still react when being injected. I have been there with the vet, scrubing, holding the tray of syringes and helping him. Not all of them are saints.

    Nina- it depends on the vet, the horse, the joint, the workload and a few other factors. It can be cotizone, HA (I know I would mis-spell the whole thing) or there's another one I forget the name of at the moment. Some have longer lasting effects than others.

  14. I've worn those lead vests too (worked at a vet). They are heavy lol.

    I'm glad the visit went so well. He's going to feel sooooo good after his injections kick in. :D


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