After much consideration and an honest evaluation of my finances, I decided to forgo the MRI. I would have really liked to know for sure which injury Speedy has, but only the more expensive MRI would have told me that for sure. Dr. Judy was very understanding of the fact that I have a limited budget so he detailed a treatment plan based on the information he had.
If it's an abscess (he hoped he was wrong about a CL injury), it will more than likely blow out at some future point. I am hopeful, but I recognize that diagnosis is seeming less likely.
A bone bruise would be the best diagnosis, but since it would heal more quickly than an injury to the collateral ligament, I am going to follow the more conservative protocol for the CL injury. A bone bruise would remodel within about two months, making the area even stronger than before. The only treatment is hand walking with no under saddle work for two months.
A CL injury is often caused by a twisting motion. Horses can suffer this injury simply by playing vigorously in their stalls or during turnout. It is distinctly possible that Speedy damaged his CL in his paddock. He has a small track carved out where he paces and then whirls in the corners. It's a large space and he uses every inch of it for play. For now, we've closed his paddock down to about 10 x 16 feet. As with the abscess, I am hopeful that it is a bone bruise, but I will treat him as though it truly is the CL.
So what's the treatment? Here is Dr. Judy's conservative discharge Instructions:
- Keep Speedy confined to a stall sized area for 90 days.
- 1 tablespoon of Aspirin for 30 days. (As a blood thinner, it allows more blood to circulate to the area which should increase healing.)
- Keep Speedy shod as is as the shoe will provide support to the collateral ligament.
- Follow an exercise recommendation: 45 days of hand walking; 45 days of walking under saddle; 30 days of walking with some 1 minute trot intervals; if he remains sound, increase trot work to 5 sets of two minute intervals for 15 days; 30 days of walk/trot with 20-30 seconds of canter intervals. If he remains sound, we can then begin regular work at 180 days.
Continued tomorrow ...