Thursday, September 6, 2012

Pie Enjoys His Chiro (with a Note on Lyme) and Red Struts His Stuff

I've noticed over the past week or so that Pie has been extremely crabby - when I approached him in his stall he would pin his ears at me, glare and even threaten to bite.  But he seemed to really enjoy being groomed, and would even lean into it at certain points.  He was also crabby about being saddled and girthed up and was not enthusiatic about working at any gait above the walk, and also short-strided.  Time for a chiro appointment.

Our wonderful chiropractor/vet Dr. Marold came today, and Pie had a long and very thorough session. He's only one month out from the end of his EPM treatment, and I also fell off him when he spooked about a month ago, hanging on one stirrup and the reins for a while, which probably twisted him up.  He really needed to have chiro - Dr. Marold worked on him for over an hour and a half from top to bottom and stem to stern, and Pie really appreciated it - he did lots of enormous yawns, tongue lolls, head and neck shake outs and leaning into the pressure.  There were many things out of adjustment.  He had big cramps in his neck and his sternum and hindquarters were very sore - no wonder the poor guy was crabby.  He looked much happier by the time she was done, and tonight when I went in his stall to check on him he wasn't crabby at all.

Dawn and Pie both had final blood draws for EPM titers - they've both finished their 100 days of treatment (10 days of paste and 90 days of feed top dressing), and the data are useful for the clinical trial they're enrolled in.  I also had a blood draw from Pie for Lyme disease, just to rule that out.  Pie has been "visually spooky" since I've had him, despite his generally calm temperament.  One of the symptoms of Lyme - there are many others, some causing lameness - is neurological processing oddities, including unusual nervousness or spookiness.  It's also becoming clear that co-infection with EPM and Lyme is not only possible but may be more common that suspected - apparently the cellular pathways involved are very similar and if a horse's immune system is vulnerable to EPM it may also be vulnerable to Lyme.  Here's a link to a Cornell article about the new Lyme test and what it can show about the stage of infection.  And we sure have a lot of deer, and a lot of ticks.  So maybe it's Lyme and maybe it's just that Pie's a young horse - we'll have an answer to that soon.

Red continues to do very well.  We had excellent rides both yesterday and today - he's completely sound at the trot and is also now going around corners well.  It's so much fun to ride him again - I described it to someone today as riding a river - he just flows, and there's so much power and grace.  He does get tired quickly, though, so I have to be careful not to overdo things.

When I went to bring Pie in from the pasture, Red, as usual, came in with us, coming off the pasture to do so.  He walked right next to Pie - they were bumping bodies - and just behind me.  I asked Red not to nip or herd Pie, and not to crowd me, and he didn't.  While Pie was having his chiro treatment - in the indoor arena - Red stood at the gate where he could see Pie and occasionally whinnied to him and sometimes banged on the gate with a front hoof.  Red wandered off after a bit, but then came back - he stood there for most of the hour and a half Pie was being treated.

Red's been a bit more "studly" lately - it's clear his depo provera shot has worn off.  I do have him on chaste tree berry, which helps a bit.  He's very good for me and has pretty much stopped his stud behaviors when I handle and ride him.  He's also good in the arena - he still notices everything and is alert to, and easily distracted by, whatever is happening - this is apparently a stud characteristic - but comes right back to me and works well.  I was proud of him yesterday - a lady who wasn't paying attention to where she was going actually bounced her horse off his butt and Red did nothing - no kicking or anything else when he might well have.  He's still doing a lot of herding of the other geldings in his pasture, and is clearly now in charge - he comes in first at bring-in time and makes sure Pie does as well.  I like his personality now - he's full of fire, and brio and brimming with life, but very well behaved under saddle and just a delight to be around.  We'll see how he does - we can always do another depo provera shot if necessary but right now that isn't necessary.


  1. Shyloh has had her first experience with the chiro, 3 visits so far, and what a difference he makes!
    A few horses in our barn were tested for Lyme, they had some symptoms that were not explained by anything else, but they were put on Doxy as a precaution while waiting for the results and they improved. Even though the titers came back negative. The ticks were horrible this year! I found a bunch on me (not attached, whew!) and one attached on Shy!

    I hope the test comes back negative, but you figure out the cause of Pie's spookiness!

  2. Hope Pie doesn't have Lyme's but if he does it's treatable. All of our horses have had it and been treated. They occasionally get reinfected and are treated again. This year was horrible for ticks. My daughter was reinfected again and is just coming off the Doxy. I despise ticks, they've really caused us a lot of problems over the years. We've done a lot of research on it and will continue to do so. I'll check out your article on it. If you need any more info I've done a post on what we've learned. Good luck.

  3. Glad the Chaste Berry seems to be helping. Sounds like the boys are settled well. Hope Pie does not prove to have Lymes disease ,poor guy

  4. I hope Pie is not positive for Lyme's and that he is feeling better soon.

    I liked your description of riding Red being like riding a river.

  5. Kate - Thanks for the link to Cornell. Any new info on Lyme Disease is very much appreciated. The ticks are so tiny that trying to find them on horse,dog or human is really a challenge. And most vets and doctors don't seem to be aware of the long term effects the disease has. I hope that Pie will be free of it but often the test comes back negative when it's clearly Lyme. It's great news that he's feeling friendly again.

    1. Victoria - apparently the new test is much more accurate than the old one, so false negatives are much less of an issue.


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