Lacy - The PUZZLE!
Again I am so behind on updates! There is literally just not enough time in the day -
I am finally able to sit down and do a write up on Miss Lacy -
Since coming back into training this May, Lacy has been making a slow steady progress towards better body movement and strength. I have been working her in a Rehabilitation program that has included daily stretching and strength building exercises as well as getting seen by an equine chiropractor. Even though Lacy has shown me many sings of improvement in different areas, I felt like we were getting to a point where there wasn't much more I could work her through. Like we hit a road block. Lacy's stiffness and re activeness was still there, despite rewarding the slightest try and being gentle and quiet with her. After all this slow steady time, I got the feeling that Lacy knew exactly what I was asking her to do, but she physically just 'couldn't' do it comfortably. I am sure that this is not just a "training" problem, but something that just isn't quite right with her body.
Lacy's owner agreed to have her looked at by my local vet, who was very helpful and open listening to Lacy's history and symptoms. We re-scoped her again to check for ulcers, since she had not been re-scoped since her ulcer treatment last winter. There were minimal signs of active ulcers and we agreed ulcers was not the cause of her behavior/reactivness but possibly a secondary result for her being so uncomfortable. We ended up being referred to WSU Veterinary Hospital to get a second opinion (although all together I think Lacy had been to 4 different vets before she came to me!).
WSU was great, and I must say Lacy is lucky to have her owner. Not a lot of owners would invest this kind of time and money into a case like this. But at this point, we need to know if this is due to an old injury? Can she not be ridden/worked comfortably? Or is this a hereditary disease? Could she pass this along if she were to be a broodmare? Or? We just need to get some sort of a starting point to make a plan for this horse and her future.
I should add that Lacy was already tested negative on the AQHA Genetic Testing for glycogen branching enzyme deficiency (GBED), hereditary equine regional dermal asthenia (HERDA), hyperkalemic periodic paralysis (HYPP), malignant hyperthermia (MH) and polysaccharide storage myopathy (PSSM)..
A team of vets worked with Lacy over the course of a very long one day trip there. The physical showed Lacy was uncomfortable moving her head freely up and down, so an extensive lameness evaluation, xrays of withers and neck area and blood work was done. I tell you this is the SHORT version of the day - this took a lot of time. BUT for the amount of time we were there, I do think they were able to accomplish quite a bit for us.
X-rays and lamenss exam came back clear, other than her being slightly uncomfortable on her fronts due to thin soles - proven through more radio graphs. BUT what we did FIND was in her blood work - LOW to NON EXISTENT Calcium and Magnesium levels!
Our head vet said she had just seen one other horse similar to Lacy just a couple months ago - first one in her 10 years of practice at WSU. This horse also had low CA and MAG levels and had similar symptoms of muscle twitching. He was supplemented, got his levels back up and now that gelding is acting "normal" and is competing.
So we are hopeful this will be the answer for Lacy as well. We have started her on Mag Citrate, Selenium Yeast, Vit E and added Alfalfa to her diet. In 6 weeks we will go in for a blood test to see how she is responding. In the mean time, Lacy gets some down time and turn out.
Amazing the little things these Vet schools can find sometimes. Its out of the ordinary - the blood work we had done at our local office does not test for ionized levels of CA and MAG - so their results had come back as normal. I still am not sure I understand the difference completely, but it has to do with the levels changing as the blood sits after its out of the body. The ionized levels can only be calculated with a specific blood machine and it has to be tested right after being put in the tube! Pretty interesting really ...
So in 6 weeks we shall see where we go from there! Good girl Lacy! We are not giving up!