I’ve been waiting to write an update on Oh So until after what turned out to be a nightmare dealing with strangles was over.
His gutteral pouch pain got better after we switched him to SMZs, and he was seemingly on the mend after a month off. Then he started swelling in his throatlatch area and abscessed out of his lymph nodes, which the vet thought might happen.
She took a sample of some of the pus before it was ready to burst during his follow up appointment in February, and we thought all was fine from Thursday through the weekend. Then the following Tuesday, after the abscess had burst, she called to say he tested positive for strangles. WTF?!
The only explanation she could come up with was that the bacteria was hiding in the lymph nodes, and we had taken a sample from the gutteral pouches because they were swollen and had mucus.
He had already been back out with his buddies, so they were now considered exposed. We isolated him for a week while we waited for the test results to come back to determine whether he had the contagious strain or the vaccine strain. It came back inconclusive, which the vet had never seen happen before! We sent another sample off, which took another week, and it also came back inconclusive, so after talking with my barn manager, we decided to put him back out since there was no way of knowing whether he was contagious.
He’s been getting back into work ever since and feeling good, but it’s so frustrating not knowing. If we knew, we could possibly have appealed to the vaccine maker to help pay for some of it, but since we have no proof it was the vaccine strain, I’m between a rock and a hard place.
I did one PCR of the three you’re supposed to do to detemine if he’s still a carrier, and he was negative. I’m not paying $245 per test to do the second and third considering I’m $3,000 in at this point.
This has really set me back financially this year, and has derailed our competition season by a month or more. We’re hoping to get out and do a gallop when I get back from The Fork next week, and will end up doing our first event in May.
The good news after all of this is that he passed his yearly soundness exam with flying colors yesterday. He flexed very well, and the vet didn’t think he needed his SI or back done, which I was expecting. We decided to treat the neck since we found some “moderate to severe” arthtritis there. He still needs about 50 pounds, but it’s been hard to control the quality and amount of hay he gets in the boarding situation I have, so we’ll be working on adding more weight this month.
Unfortunately, just a few weeks after we lost Toppers, we put my mom’s horse Lad down. He’d foundered again, which has happened several times over his 14 years with us, despite changing everything we could in his management. He was 18, and my mom decided not to put him through rehabbing again since he appeared to have foundered on all four feet.
Rocky was then left alone, and being such a social guy we needed to act fast. Thankfully a Facebook friend who I’ve also met in real life, Elizabeth Meehan, is graciously loning us her mini Tag to keep Rocky company until my parents move. They seem to get along, so it makes us all feel better.
It’s been a very rough winter for my family, and I’m hoping with the change of seasons we’ll have a change of fortune.