Back in early May, the time when horses get so excited about spring and grass and sunlight, Phoenix and Vinny were full of themselves and loving life. That is until Phoenix did something to make his right hind sore. Oddly this is something he has done the last few springs. This time however, he didn’t get better with time.
He stopped laying down in his stall, and while he wasn’t in full sleep deprivation like Stampede used to do, I would catch him falling asleep outside hard enough that his head would suddenly drop and his knees would bend a little. To make things worse, I never saw him go faster than a walk. He did get down to roll outside sometimes, but getting up he didn’t look good.
Of course, as the owner of a 32 year old horse who had been sore for over four weeks at the time, I was very concerned. I had already scheduled spring shots, so I called and added time for Phoenix to be looked at. The vet came out, we will say Vet 1 in this case, and checked him out. Vet 1 agreed he was sore all over but the most painful up high on the right hind (hip/butt) but then basically said he’s old you should double up his Equioxx and see. Mind you the horse wasn’t on Equioxx at all until this issue started. Despite bells ringing in my head, I did as suggested.
Phoenix did improve a bit on the double dose, and he started laying down in his stall a couple times but not consistently or as frequently as before. This was just not enough for me to feel comfortable thinking about heading into another winter – his quality of life was definitely a concern. I continued to check in with Vet 1, but the answers were not anything helpful in my mind. I was offered to do a full lameness exam, but when I asked what we would do after that the vet didn’t know. When asked if we would inject joints, I was told likely no. So why would I do that? Next option was to try switching him to bute, but bute can be harder on stomach so they preferred the Equioxx even at double dose. The video below is from June 12th while on a double dose of Equioxx.
After a month on the double dose, I’d had enough with Vet 1 and scheduled an appointment with Vet 2. Vet 2 (same vet who found Phoenix’s sand issue a few years ago coincidentally) came and started checking Phoenix out by feeling around his body. Vet 2 is also chiropractic certified, and soon he started making some adjustments. It quickly became obvious that whatever the vet was doing, Phoenix loved. He was licking and chewing, stretching out his head and neck, and leaning into the adjustments.
Honestly the results were amazing and I would never have believed it if I hadn’t seen it myself. Within a week Phoenix was down to a regular dose of Equioxx. He immediately went back to laying down in his stall at least 5 nights a week. I saw him trot for the first time in a couple months the next day. Vet 2 said he wished we had documented everything because of how amazing the results were. Video below is from June 22, 10 days after the video above.
Vet 2 gave me some stretches to do with Phoenix which he also loved. At his follow up appointment two weeks later the vet was impressed by how well the adjustments had held. Since then I’ve had him adjusted once more, where even less work was needed. I just plan to do chiropractic once per quarter or as needed at this point.
Last night when my old man came cantering back to the barn I felt so thankful. Keeping my best boy healthy and happy is so fulfilling to me. As always, the most important lesson I’ve learned many times is to trust your gut when it comes to your horse’s care and to see other opinions when you aren’t satisfied.