Thursday, July 31, 2014

Red Insists

Red is a very intelligent and social horse who likes to interact with people and other horses.  He told me today that he was feeling neglected.  In fact, he insisted - very persistently - that he was being neglected.

Usually, my afternoon routine is that I groom Pie, put him back in his stall, and then groom Red and do something with him - ride, ground work, something.  For several days now, I've been putting Red's ice boot on when I get to the barn, then grooming and saddling Pie, putting Pie back in his stall, taking Red out, grooming him, removing his ice boot and slathering on the Taumeel ointment, then putting him back in the stall, figuring he's been getting enough exercise for the the injured ankle already.

But no . . .  Red begs to disagree.  Today he practically had a tantrum.  When I had Pie in the aisle grooming, Red was nickering, and pawing - at least he didn't kick off his ice boot.  When I put Pie away after saddling him, and brought Red out to groom, Red seemed happy but restless.  When I put him back in his stall, he started nickering and pawing again.  When I took Pie out to ride, Red screamed, and screamed, and someone who was in the barn aisle said he was pawing and even banging on his stall door.

He was still at the stall door, demanding attention, when I brought Pie back from his ride.

So Red and I took a hand walk into the arena - when I put his halter on he practically stuffed his head into it.  We did a little walking around - just a little - and then we just stood together in the middle, watching the couple of other horses being ridden.  He was very clearly satisfied.  He stood there without fidgeting, relaxed and happy.  After a while, we went back to his stall and he happily dug into his hay.

Guess he needs a bit more attention, and to feel like he's doing something with me, even if it isn't much . . .

Monday, July 28, 2014

Red's Vet Visit and Pasture Photos

While I was waiting around at the barn for the vet to arrive to check Red out, I had the chance to take some pasture photos.

Here's Dawn leaving the barn after our early morning ride - we started to ride again a few days ago and we'll be riding until her second visit from the dental surgeon:




Getting down to the important business of eating grass:



Pie and Red were also out with their herd - that's Pie on the left and Red on the right:




This picture really captures how red Red is - for a horse who hasn't been in work he's looking pretty good:


And Pie, not as red but just as fine:



And a final photo of Red, Mr. Curious:


The vet finally called to say that she was on the way, so I brought Red in, groomed him and then we hand grazed until they got there.

I told her that he had fallen down behind in the barn aisle on June 15, and had scraped the front of both fetlock joints and pasterns, but wasn't unsound after - although he'd had two small wind puffs show up on the right hind in front of the suspensory ligaments, which indicated his pastern joint was complaining.  Then, on June 24, he'd come in from turnout with a ding on the front of his right hind cannon bone, with some swelling along the extensor tendon.  At that point he was not completely sound at the walk and very off at the trot, although always weight-bearing. I had treated with ice and bute, and within a few days the swelling was mostly gone.  His soundness slowly improved, but the wind puffs were still there.  Then, two days ago, the wind puff on the outside of his ankle was replaced by a more diffuse swelling - still no tenderness to palpation.  He was fairly sound at the trot and canter in the pasture until he slowed down in trot to transition to walk - then he would take some short strides.

The vet said that the swelling around and above his fetlock probably indicated that the joint was slightly unstable due to a strain of internal soft tissues supporting the ankle joint.  Although he had no sensitivity to palpation, there was a bit of heat in the joint.  If he'd had a bone chip or bruise to a weight-bearing structure, he would have likely been much more lame after the injury.  The suspensory ligament did not seem to be enlarged, although one collateral ligament was slightly larger than the other - but this was the same on his other hind leg, and was likely normal for him due to the way he moves behind - he "tight-rope walks" - bringing his hind legs toward the center line, and this can result in enlargement due to remodeling from uneven loading.

On the lunge, there was a very slight shortness of stride at the walk - in the last part of the stride he would lift the right hind slightly early.  At the trot he was much sounder than he was even a few days ago - we joked that he didn't want to go back to the vet clinic - and the short stride didn't show up until the last couple of steps as he was coming back to walk.  The vet flexed both hind pasterns - the left had no response, and he was only slightly off on the right hind after flexion, not bad at all considering that the ankle was having some issues.

We could have done x-rays at this point, but since he'd never been severely lame and was improving, we didn't do that.  Also, we could have done ultrasound to determine exactly what soft tissue structures were affected, but since it wasn't going to change her recommendation, we didn't do that either.

Our instructions are 30 days more rest - he'll stay in full turnout, since he's not tolerant of stall or paddock rest and will likely protect the leg more if he's happy and relaxed.  I'll ice the leg - he'll tolerate the ice boot for short periods.  And we'll use Traumeel ointment once a day on the ankle - my vet frequently uses natural/herbal remedies.  Then we'll recheck.  Sounds like a plan.  I turned Red back out and he moseyed off before breaking into a nice canter followed by some pretty sound trot.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Vet Coming Monday . . .

It's been a month, and Red's still off in the right hind.  He's improving, but the improvement is very slow lately.  He has a lot more trouble when he's having to sit back and use his hind end when slowing down or going downhill.  At this point, I need to know what's going on so I know what to do with him - if it's a soft tissue injury, he may need some months off, or if it's minor, riding at the walk wouldn't hurt him. If it's hock arthritis flaring up, more exercise rather than less may be beneficial.  If it's some other sort of joint injury, I need advice on how to deal with it.

Anyhow, my vet is coming on Monday to do a full lameness evaluation.  My vet is very good and affiliated with a nearby veterinary hospital.  She's good in lots of ways - listens well, has a pleasant manner with horses and people, is very thorough and careful, and is also very smart and knowledgeable.  We'll know more on Monday . . . more vet bills . . . sigh . . .

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Ground Work - a Rare Thing for Us, and a Note on Red's Soundness

I almost never do ground work of any kind.  I usually do ground work to check things out progressively with a new horse where I don't know what the horse knows or doesn't know, to teach the horse a specific skill (ground driving can be very useful for this), to help a horse who is too distracted or fresh to be able to focus and work (and to allow for some "bucks for safety"), or to briefly lunge to check soundness.  One thing I don't do is a lot of lungeing - I don't like the wear and tear on joints, and I don't need to lunge to assess my horse's mood - that's usually pretty obvious as we groom and tack up.

I usually just get on and ride.  But today, for a change, Red and Pie did some ground work with me.  It's a great way to do some work when I don't have the time or inclination to ride.

Both boys worked on "trailer loading" - as in loading into the wash stall or into their stalls, with me giving a go forward cue from the side with a dressage whip - gently tapping until they take a step, repeat.  Both boys "loaded" well, and also backed into the wash stall too.

Red and I worked on his inside turns, just at the walk.  He tried some trotting, but I kept him at walk - we're not trotting yet.  I wanted clean turns, where he turned and stayed out, not cutting in.  It was easier in one direction than the other, but he did it very nicely by the end of our session.  We did zig zags back and forth across the arena.  The trick for me is to make sure I lead with my new leading hand and turn my body so he knows to turn and keep going, and that I don't step away from him as he turns, since that tends to bring him in towards me - most of this is about how clear and precise I am with my body language, rather than about what Red is doing - he's a great feedback mechanism.  Red and I also did a bit of side passing and turn on the forehand in hand.

Pie and I worked on getting him to go forward on the lunge at the walk.  Pie makes it clear that he doesn't think there's much point to lungeing - too much unnecessary expenditure of energy - but he grudgingly cooperated.  (Pie doesn't think there's too much point to most things people do - except when the provide hay or grain.)

Yesterday I had the chance to observe Red moving in the pasture.  It was beastly hot, and I was bringing Pie in because of the heat, and Red came after us at the trot and then the canter.  He was perfectly sound, including when cantering on the left lead, which puts more stress on the right hind (the leg that's been troubling him recently).  He broke to trot, trotted sound, but then as he slowed to a more collected trot in preparation for walk, he wasn't sound on the right hind - he can't collect, which puts more stress on the joints and supporting structures.  I'm thinking joints - either the hock or the fetlock joint - but then I'm not a vet . . .  I'm not riding him at all this week, and this weekend I'll put him on the lunge again to see if he's improving . . .

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Red is Still Lame . . . :(

Red is still lame on his right hind at the trot on the lunge.  No worse, maybe a little bit better.  There's no heat, no swelling, no tenderness that I'm able to detect.  The lameness came on a day or so after he was apparently kicked with a glancing blow on the front of his cannon bone on June 24 - just a nick, although there was some swelling of the extensor tendon along the front of his leg.  The swelling resolved pretty quickly with some icing, and his soundness improved as well although he's not been 100% since.

I have no idea what's up with him, so I guess it's time to call the vet . . . again.  The problem could be anywhere in his hind leg, and he doesn't seem to be improving much.  He's completely sound at the walk under saddle - in fact his walk is big and swinging - and he motors around pretty happily out in the pasture.  It's a mystery - just hoping it isn't an expensive one, considering all the vet bills I've already had this year . . .  And he's not a horse who can tolerate much if any stall rest or penning up - and of course that's how Pie, his companion for his recovery from splint bone surgery, developed ulcers . . .

He's happy and otherwise healthy, so I'm trying not be discouraged . . .  I love riding this horse, and he's amazing to ride - the most athletically gifted and sensitive horse I've ever ridden - but it seems that we get to do very little riding.

As one of my friends at the barn says, with horses if it's not one thing it's another.  The corollary of that is that with horses, it's always something . . .

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Norman (and a Girlfriend)

I realize I haven't had much on the blog lately about the retirees - Norman, Lily and Maisie - who live in Tennessee at Paradigm Farms.  But today there was a photo on their blog I had to share - it's Norman-the-pony with one of his girlfriends.  He's a little guy - only about 12.2 hands - but he's got a big personality, and the mares in his herd seem to really love him.


It's good to see him so happy in his retirement.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Red Slowly Improves, Dawn is Eating Well, and Pie is Perfectly Pleasant

Red is still not sound at the trot on the lunge, but he's slowly improving, and considering how much cantering and even galloping he's been doing in turnout, the fact that he's improving is a sign things should continue to get better.  It's the right hind, where he bruised the front of his pastern joint and the front of his fetlock when he fell in the barn aisle, and also got a glancing kick to the front of the cannon bone - it's likely he has a minor strain and bruising of the extensor tendon.  But his walk is sound, and free and swinging, and his trot isn't bad - short striding with the right hind - not bringing it forward quite as far as the left hind - and worse when the right hind is on the outside of the circle.  This is consistent with it being the extensor tendon, since the outside hind has to travel further on the outside of the circle, and if he's not bringing it forward far enough that's exaggerated when the right hind is on the outside.  There's no heat, swelling or tenderness, although he still has hard lumps at the three impact sites, which I've been massaging.

We're just going to keep on with our program - all day turnout and walk rides.  Today he even offered up a bit of trot that wasn't too bad at all when we were doing our big walk - I brought him right back to walk since we won't be trotting under saddle until he's sound at the trot on the lunge - we'll check again in another week.  In the meantime, there's lots we can do - shortening/lengthening the walk, halt/walk/halt transitions with backing thrown in, figure work and some lateral work.

Dawn is still "resting" after her dental surgery last week - I won't ride her for about another 10 days.  But she's doing very well and eating up a storm - she's able to eat hay much better now and is really enjoying it.  She's still on antibiotics, and had her last dose of banamine today.  After the other two teeth come out in a month, she'll probably feel even better.

Pie's turnout time in the pasture has gradually been increasing, and tomorrow is the first day in three months that he and Red will go out to the pasture with the other geldings at turnout time, and will stay out all day.  Pie had more than 7 hours of pasture turnout today, and his feet are doing fine - no pulses or heat.  He and Red were very cute when I turned them out this morning - Red walked ahead and waited for Pie, who broke into a canter first but Red then led the way - they cantered off with Red in front at quite a relaxed canter - it was very cute to see Pie following along in Red's tracks. I'm starting to taper off Pie's ulcer meds - he had 3/4 tube of UlcerGard yesterday and today, and we'll back off to 1/2 tube tomorrow.  Once we're down to 1/4 tube, I'll keep him on that for a while.  He's now a Perfectly Pleasant Pie - no grumpiness for grooming and tacking and very happy and forward at trot and canter - what a change!  He's doing some of the best canter work he's ever done, relaxed, soft and balanced.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

So Far So Good . . . Report on Dawn's Dental Surgery

As I had expected, I spent many hours at the barn today.  The dental surgery team showed up on time with their trailer full of equipment - two vets and a helper.  All these people do is dental surgery, and they really knew what they were doing. Dawn was a model patient, walking right up to the stocks - she was very alert but I think trusts me not to steer her wrong.  She sedated easily and then walked (very slowly due to the sedation) into the stocks.  The head vet said the stocks gave her some stability while they were working.

Before we got started, the head vet showed me her x-rays again and said that he would first take out the 409 molar on the right side.  If he could do it using only local anesthetic, then he could also consider doing the two molars needing removing on the left side.  But if he had to do a full nerve block, he could only do one side since otherwise she might end up chewing on her tongue by mistake, which wouldn't be good.  Doing one side only also would minimize stress on her from the sedation, dental stand, and speculum holding her mouth open.

We ended up only doing the one tooth removal today, which was fine by me.  It took both vets, with their assistant, almost 45 minutes to get the tooth out.  The tooth was partially broken off above the gum line and was wedged tightly between two other teeth, so presented some challenges.  They were able to remove it in one piece after a lot of preliminary work, which was the goal - extraction would have been much more difficult if it had broken.  The head vet has pioneered some new dental extraction procedures, which allow the removal of molars from inside the mouth rather than having to go in surgically from the side.

This tooth was the one giving Dawn the most trouble - it was tilted to one side, both putting it above the surrounding teeth and poking her in the cheek.  It also had a failed root and significant periodontal disease, which probably hurt and put the adjoining teeth at risk - all of which has now been removed.

After she was moved to her recovery stall, even though she was pretty out of it, every time I passed the stall she called to me - I think she was telling me all about it.  A couple of hours later, I was able to move her to her own stall, and later in the afternoon she was able to eat her hay and dinner - she was pretty darn hungry by then.  She's on banamine for a few days, and antibiotics for a while, and she'll have two weeks off from riding.

In about a month, they'll come back to recheck to be sure all is well, and do the other two extractions at that time.

Just glad that's over with . . .

Monday, July 7, 2014

Weird Stuff and Worries

I rode Dawn this morning before it got too hot, and she was great, including at the canter.  But this afternoon, when I led her into the aisle, and turned her, something was weird.  She walked fine in a straight line, but when I turned her in a tight circle, she really didn't want to weight her left hind.  No heat, no swelling, no tenderness and the foot looks fine.  While she was standing there, she rested her right hind, so she doesn't mind standing on it.  Just weird.

Then, when I was picking Red's stall, he was going through all sorts of contortions to scratch his side and hip with his teeth, and then was scratching his neck and jaw with one hind leg.  Very itchy.  I scratched him for a bit - he really appreciated that - but then I noticed he had a bunch of large soft swellings on the right side of his neck.  I'm guessing a reaction to stings or bites - there are a lot of mosquitos and the flies are also very bad, or he could have been stung by a wasp or bee.  I gave him a 1,000-lb. dose of banamine and slathered on some arnica gel.  I asked the barn owner/manager to text me how he's doing at night check tonight and heard back that he seemed OK.

And tomorrow is Dawn's dental surgery - I've got lots of worries about that, but thankfully Dawn is blissfully ignorant.  Keeping fingers crossed that all goes well and the offending broken teeth are safely removed.  I expect I'll be spending a lot of hours at the barn tomorrow - the two dental surgery vets are due around 9 a.m. and they're expecting to take between two and three hours to remove the teeth.  Dawn then has to recover from sedation.  Don't know that I'll be up to taking pictures - I may leave them to it once she's sedated.

And then there are the trail riding worries.  I'd never chance riding Dawn on the trail, I'm not at all sure about Red (or sure about me with Red, which isn't the same thing at all), and Pie . . .  I got Pie for trail riding, and we did pretty well initially, although there were some big spooks and spins.  And then I came off in 2011 and banged myself up pretty badly.  And Pie still can spook and spin.  I don't know if it's his eyesight or a lack of confidence (his or mine or both), but I don't know that I'll be able to get out on the trail any time soon.  There are some quiet trail riders at our barn, but they mostly keep to themselves and I haven't been issued any invitations to join them - even if I wanted to which I don't know if I do.  Not sure I've got the confidence any more, and don't really have the support structure of other friendly trail riders to get me over the hump.  Maybe I'm just getting too old, who knows?  And it may be that I really don't enjoy trail riding that much - I never missed it when I was at a show barn, and I do really enjoy working on things in the arena.  Maybe I'm just trying to trail ride because I think I should?  This is all too complicated to figure out, particularly right now  . . .


Saturday, July 5, 2014

Red is Still Off and Pie is Much Better

I put Red on the lunge again briefly Friday.  Yep, he's still lame in the right hind at the trot, although much improved from last week.  But he's now very sound at the walk and all the various swellings have gone done almost completely, and there's no heat or sensitivity.  He's in turnout, and I'm riding him at the walk, and we'll continue to do that as long as he's improving.  As best I can tell, he may have bruised his extensor tendon - the one that runs down the front of the cannon bone - in two places, one between his hock and pastern where it looks liked he nicked himself somehow (glancing kick?), and also where he whacked the front of his pastern joint when he fell in the barn aisle.  The fall in the aisle didn't produce any immediate lameness, although there was some slight puffiness to either side and above the pastern joint, probably indicating a slight strain of the deep digital flexor tendon.  But the nick midway between pastern and hock produced a pretty sizable bulge on the front of his cannon bone and a short stride even at the walk.  These types of injuries, even if not severe, can take a long time to heal completely, but for now we're enjoying our walk rides.  Some of his free/extended walk is the best it's ever been - good exercise for healing tendons and/or ligaments.

Pie had his fifth ulcer treatment today, and is doing great.  He's happy and comfortable, and we're riding again.  Today we did some really nice trot work - his movement is free and flowing - he's not worried about being uncomfortable - and his willingness is back.  Poor fellow - he makes me think of all the miserable horses there are out there with ulcers who get blamed for poor performance and bad attitudes when all they're trying to do is tell someone that they hurt.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

My Horses Need New Names

I've decided my horses need new names.  There's Ms. Broken Teeth, Mr. Splint Bone Fracture and I'll See If I Can Get Kicked Again, and Mr. Ulcers . . .  Now, don't get me wrong, they're each and every one great horses.

Mr. Ulcers (aka Pie) tries to give the impression that he's a macho ranch horse type - tough and sturdy.  But he's really a marshmallow - crusty on the outside and soft on the inside.  He's grass sensitive, and heat sensitive, has had Lyme and two different strains of EPM, and now he's topped it off with the ulcers.  The good news, though, is that after starting treatment with the ulcer meds, he's once again the sweet horse I got as a 4 year old back in late 2010.

Mr. Splint Bone Fracture (aka Red) is a specialist in getting injured - preferably by biting other horses in his herd on the butt and getting kicked.  He's done it at least three times so far, with lameness episodes to follow.  His splint bone fracture and resulting surgery was the most outstanding example so far.  He's on a herbal calming/anti-studiness blend - chaste tree berry, chamomile, passion flower and valerian - and so far he seems a bit less interested in herding everyone around.  He's had a week off from riding due to his latest escapade - he got kicked (just a little nick) in the right hind cannon bone and was quite lame.  We've done a couple of walk rides and tomorrow I'll put him on the lunge to see how he is doing.

Ms. Broken Teeth (aka Dawn) is as sweet a mare as you'll ever find, but she's got some pretty sharp edges - if she's feeling crabby she'll bite you in a minute (and snuggle afterwards), she won't tolerate any other horses near her when she's ridden or I'm in her stall - she attacks the walls - and handling her hind feet, or riding her, when she's in heat is an exercise in extreme carefulness.  I have no idea how she managed to break a large number of teeth, but I expect it wasn't an accident - she was either doing something to get them injured or, who knows, she was chewing gravel and spitting it out - she's been known to eat wasps that had died due to being sprayed by wasp spray - my husband was going around spraying wasps that had taken up residence inside metal gates and Dawn followed him around and ate them up as they fell to the ground - go figure.

I'm hoping after Dawn's dental surgery (to remove three and possibly four broken molars) that we can give the vet bills a rest for a while.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Pie is Much Improved

Well, I think we have our answer as to whether Pie has ulcers.  After one dose of UlcerGard (whole tube, same as GastroGard) yesterday, he is already much improved today.  He's eating better, drinking more, and the quantity and quality of his manure (do only horse people care about the quality of poop?) is better, and he's just a lot more comfortable.  Ears up, interested in things, not miserable.  No pawing in the stall this afternoon, although slightly mopey.  But not crabby or sore when groomed and on a walk-around.  After another dose this afternoon, he was avidly eating his hay and disappointed that he didn't get his small grain meal.

Pie was out with the herd for 45 minutes today, and will be out for one hour tomorrow.  He's still somewhat stressed that Red is turned out earlier - at 7 a.m. - so for now I'll keep Pie on one full tube of UlcerGard.  After about a week, Pie will be turned out at the same time as Red, and the stress will go away, and we can ramp down the UlcerGard amounts.  At Melissa's recommendation - from Paradigm Farms in Tennessee where my two retired mares and Norman-the-pony live - Pie will also start on Succeed to help his hind gut health.

I'm delighted that we seem to finally be figuring things out.  UlcerGard and Succeed aren't cheap (in fact they're very expensive), but if they do the trick for Pie I'll be delighted and I expect he will be as well.

I had my first ride on Red since last Friday (when he was pretty unsound on his right hind after a ding to the front of his cannon bone).  He seemed pretty happy about it and we did some walk work.  We also observed a lesson where the horse was being lunged - Red is extremely worried about lunge whips and thinks if one is raised or cracked that he's going to be chased with it.  He was able to observe without too much worry - the whip wasn't raised high or cracked, just trailed behind the horse and sometimes gently waved - his eyes got big a couple of times but he stayed standing with me on a loose rein.  I was very proud of him and told him so.

On a sad note, a 33 year old QH is being put to sleep tomorrow.  He's been doing very well medically, and his owner is very conscientious with his care, but he's been getting increasingly feeble and has had several episodes of getting down and not being able to rise lately.  This morning I watched him go out to the pasture - he was walking very slowly and tentatively and seemed unsure of his balance.  She's made the hard decision to not wait - he's not going to improve and getting stuck down is very stressful for him.  It's great that he's got such a careful and considerate owner, who's done everything possible to keep him comfortable and healthy, but is stepping up to make sure he doesn't have to suffer.  Sad, but it comes to all of us - people and horses alike - the important thing is having someone who cares and is able to be responsible when that's needed.


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Pie (Probably) Has Ulcers

My opportunities continue to learn about all things medical concerning equines.

For the past several days, Pie has been very much NQR.  At bring-in time, he mopes in the back of his stall, when he isn't pawing his shavings into big piles, or tossing his head, or stretching.  At bring-in time, the horses have their dinners waiting in their feed bins - piece of evidence one.  Within about 30 minutes, Pie feels better and starts eating his hay - piece of evidence two.  But he's remained very grumpy and uncomfortable being touched, and is getting increasingly girthy - piece of evidence three.

Here's what's changed in the past week or so - Pie, due to his grass sensitivity, has to stay in the pen while Red goes out to the pasture earlier.  Pie joins him later.  But, although Pie stays settled, there is some calling and some anxiety on his part that Red has disappeared - piece of evidence four.

Two days ago, Pie started drinking a bit less than normal, and his manure was less profuse than normal and a bit drier than normal - piece of evidence five.  Yesterday things were a bit better after I gave him some electrolytes and probiotics - more manure and not as dry.

Tonight Pie completely refused his dinner and hay - this is a first in the years I've owned him - piece of evidence six.  Pie is normally a food hound, so this was very atypical behavior.  Coupled with the continued pawing and discomfort, a call to the vet was warranted.

Ulcers.  We haven't scoped him, but that's what I strongly suspected and the vet who came out on the emergency call confirmed.  Discomfort in the time around grain feeding is a very common ulcer symptom, as is generalized discomfort and grouchiness.  And ulcers can cause horses to progress to generalized colic because it's uncomfortable to eat and drink. Just think of all the horses that are blamed for bad behavior and acting up just because they hurt . . .

Pie got a tube of UlcerGard tonight (this is the same as GastroGard, just sold OTC for ulcer prevention in a lower dose - use 4 doses (one tube) and it's the same as one tube of GastroGard.  Another tube tomorrow - no grain at all for several days - then 1/2 tube for two days, and then 1/4 tube for 30 days.  He can continue with his grass turnout - he's up to 30 minutes and will move to 45 minutes tomorrow and within about 10 days I hope he'll be out full day. If he improves, we know for sure.  If he improves, then the lower dose doesn't keep him comfortable, we may have to do the full 30-day treatment with the full tubes (megabucks, but oh well, that's horses).  If it doesn't work, then back to the drawing board.

But based on how quickly he perked up after his tube of meds - his ears were up and he was happily eating his hay - I think we've got it figured out.  For Pie to be friendly in his stall is something that hasn't happened in a long time and it was delightful to see.  As usual, I'm a bit slow on the uptake . . .

And oddly enough, this is the same colicy behavior he exhibited in the fall of 2011 before he was diagnosed with and treated for EPM (and subsequently Lyme).  I wonder if the paste that was used for EPM treatment at that time by Pathogenes (the formulation has since changed) had an element that could have soothed ulcers, since Pie's colic symptoms vanished the moment he started his 10-day paste treatment for EPM . . .

And oddly enough, I would have predicted that Red, with his high-strung temperament, would have been more of a candidate for ulcers - what with stall rest, long pen confinement, etc.  But Red's an "emoter" - he expresses his feelings openly - there's never any doubt about how he feels.  Pie is more stoic, more reserved, and perhaps that means that he internalizes stress more than Red - who knows? The mystery of horses . . .