From Endurance to Dressage
Slightly gross picture below.
Just like the repeat hock injections from yesterday, Izzy found a second something that needed to be retreated. In March of 2016, Dr. Tolley diagnosed Izzy with a sarcoid. You can read about that here. Two days before our Friday appointment, I discovered that the top layer of skin over what we had hoped was scar tissue from the sarcoid we treated a year ago was torn off.
Instead of smooth black skin like he's had for more than a year. there was a red, sticky spot on his sheath. And above that, the small sarcoid that had been pretty unobtrusive, was suddenly enlarged and much more noticeable. I hoped it all had to do with the excessive heat we were experiencing.
Last year, we treated the sarcoid with Xxterra Herbal Paste which is made from Bloodroot. The Xxterra stimulates the body's immune system which then attacks the sarcoid, hopefully eliminating it. It obviously didn't work last year.
Dr. Tolley felt that it was time for a more aggressive approach. This time he used cryotherapy. If I thought injecting hocks was interesting, cryotherapy gets all the prizes for cool science.
There are many gases that can be used for cryotherapy, but Dr. Tolley prefers nitrous oxide because it's cheap and unlike oxygen, it's not flammable. Here's the science part. When gas expands, the decrease in pressure causes the molecules to slow down. This makes the gas very, very cold.
The nitrous oxide flows through a hose into a very thin needle that is about 8 inches long. This causes the gas to compress. It then flows through an expansion chamber which allows the nitrous oxide to expand quickly which lowers the temperature. This is called the Venturi effect. All of that is happening inside the wand that Dr. Tolley is holding.
The tip of the wand has a flat disc that gets cold, very cold. Cold enough to freeze whatever it touches. Dr. Tolley simply pressed it against the sarcoid until he could see the edges of the sarcoid changing texture and size. When he pulled the wand away, the sarcoid felt like a cold nickel. It was thin and flat. Dr. Tolley repeated the freezing process three times.
By the time he was finished, Izzy had a flat hole in his sheath that Dr. Tolley covered with Swat. Over the weekend, the site was a bit swollen, but the skin looked black and smoothish. Izzy galloped around, no worse for wear. I covered it with Swat and hoped that the procedure worked. To treat the bigger one, we're going to have to knock Izzy out. We decided to wait until spring to do that.
On Monday, I rode him lightly, gave him a thorough bath, cleaned his sheath for good measure, and was happy to see that he was perky and happy.
I guess things are back to normal.
9/6/2017 05:06:19 pm
I had a thing on my stomach that the doctor froze off, but it came back. The second time he did it, it left a small scar, but it's gone. I hope this works for Izzy. :0)
9/6/2017 05:08:16 pm
I've read that sarcoids can be tricky to treat. I don't know if this will work or not, but my vet seemed optimistic. I'll write a follow up once it looks "healed." Either way, if you friend hasn't tried it, she should at least ask about it.
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About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
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