The vet's assistant called me in the morning and set up an appointment for mid-afternoon to come take a look at Gabbrielle. She called again in mid-afternoon to say they would be an hour and 15 minutes late. I forewarned her that I have no light inside my barn, so hopefully they can get here before dark. I do have a couple of floodlights that point at the barn, but it's not enough light to do a veterinary exam. Plus tonight is my wedding anniversary and I really didn't want to spend it working on a horse's hoof. I'm sure my husband would appreciate me paying more attention to him than a horse.
The vet said that my poultice was "spot on", that I did it exactly how she would do it. That was a relief to hear, because some vets can be very critical of what other vets have taught me. She was very comfortable around horses, herding Lostine and Bombay into stalls where they couldn't insist on assisting her. That left us with the aisle and the paddock where I could walk Gabbrielle around for the lameness exam.
Unfortunately, the hoof testers didn't trigger any definite reaction out of Gabbrielle. She only pinned her ears back and reared her head a tiny bit when the vet squeezed her heel. She did say that a little more blood was being pumped to that hoof, but the walking exam showed that she had tenderness in other hooves besides just the one she was totally lame on. She had her 4th barefoot trim on Friday, so it's odd that she would suddenly be tender after this trim when she was not tender after previous trims. Lostine was very tender after her first couple of barefoot trims, but Gabbrielle didn't seem to have too much of a problem with them. Perhaps the farrier did something slightly different this time.
The vet said that just because Gabbrielle didn't react much to the hoof testers doesn't mean she doesn't have an abscess. She said she could do a nerve block test, but a lot of times it doesn't help in determining if it is an abscess. If that doesn't help, she could then take x-rays, and sometimes abscesses show up on x-rays and sometimes they don't. So, what she was telling me was that she could do further testing, but none of it was guaranteed to come up with a definite diagnosis. She said that she didn't see any evidence that it would be anything other than an abscess. It definitely isn't laminitis.
So, it made sense to me to just keep applying poultices, and then if she isn't better in a few days, I can have the vet back to do the nerve block and x-rays. The vet said that Gabbrielle has bad feet. She described everything just the way the farrier does. She walks on the inside of her hooves, has flares and is close to having clubbed feet. She also said that Gabbrielle is slightly overweight, so now I get to put her on a diet. She's such a petite horse and has always been so skinny, but her neck is starting to get cresty and she's got a gutter running down her back. I'm sure if she weighs less, her feet will hurt less as well.
The vet told me to add in an Epsom salt soak before applying the poultice, and she gave me some Bute to administer for the pain. But she charged me $170 and left without re-applying a poultice. Now I was in a quandary. I only had a few minutes before sunset, so if I went to the drugstore to pick up a box of Epsom salts, there wouldn't be enough light left by the time I got back to soak her hoof and apply a poultice. I decided to skip the soak and just apply another poultice for the night, and pick up the salts in the morning. I have Epsom paste and DSM, but not the salts.
I was disappointed, because before the vet came I was thinking that it would be worth it just to have a professional apply a really good poultice for me, because I still feel like crud. But I guess the doctor was happy enough with the first poultice I put on that she didn't think I needed help. Oh well. At the very least, I got a second opinion and some Bute that should last a while.