Lucy had her vet visit this afternoon. I had spoken with the vet a couple times this week and sent her video of Lucy looking lame, so she had a good idea of what was going on. When she arrived at the barn, she started off by doing a basic physical exam. Lucy is usually very well-behaved for vets but today she was a tail swishing, ear pinning wench. She lifted a leg at the vet more than once, I am ashamed to say.
We moved over to the indoor so the vet could watch her move on the lunge line. Lucy gave the vet a nice show, even standing up on her hind legs and waving hello toward the end. She looked sound at the trot, which I was a little annoyed about, but cross-cantered in both directions so I didn't look like a total fool. The vet flexed her and thought she looked ouchy on both hind legs, but the RH more than the LH. The problem with flexing the hind legs is that it's very hard to single out one joint - you kind of have to flex the fetlock, hock, and stifle all together so if there is a positive result, you don't really know which area it is. Lucy was quite difficult through all of this. It was very cold and windy today, she's had a week off, and she is in heat (AGAIN) so it was not a fun time for anyone.
After watching Lucy carry on, the vet asked me about any other behavioural issues. She had seen video footage of Lucy kicking out and being very bad under saddle. She asked if she ever exhibited "studdish" behaviour and I told her she will squeal and strike out at another horse if she is allowed to sniff noses with them. I decided to have the vet do a repro exam on her since she was already there and for the sedation and exam it was only going to be $90. The vet was able to easily palpate Lucy's left ovary but could not find the right ovary anywhere. She searched around, gently of course, for a few minutes before deciding not to poke and prod in there anymore to avoid the risk of damaging the horse, but was very concerned that she couldn't find the ovary or any structure involving the ovary. She said sometimes a tumour can start growing on the ovary and when it becomes large and heavy, it weights the whole structure down into the abdomen so that it can't be palpated internally like a normal ovary can. She said they aren't usually cancerous, but they do continue to grow unless removed, and they will throw all of the horses hormones out of whack. I decided to have her do a blood test to look at all of the hormone levels in her body, and the results will tell her if there's an imbalance or presence of a tumour.
Great, just great.
If there is a tumour, the only option for treatment is a spay, or half spay...meaning she could keep her healthy ovary and be able to have a foal if that was ever in the cards, but she would lose the unhealthy ovary that was causing all the issues. Or the vet could remove both ovaries. Then of course there are two ways to do the surgery: one standing up and sedated but not anesthetized via laporascopic instruments, and the other flat on her back under anesthesia, via an incision in her abdomen (similar to a colic surgery and with similar recovery time). For the abdominal surgery we'd be looking at about $7,000. A friend had her mare spayed laporascopically and said it cost about $1,000.
So basically, I paid $650 today to not only get no answers (won't get the labs back until the middle of next week), but actually get more questions and as a result I feel twice as worried as I did before. The vet was excellent and spent ages with me, and answered all of my questions.
Oh wait, I did get one answer: there is nothing wrong with her SI joint or her back as far as this vet is concerned. Once Lucy was lightly sedated enough to not kick the vet, she palpated her entire spine/SI/hips, and I mean she really leaned into the horse and poked all the spots that could possibly be sore, and there was no reaction at all. She assured me that even under light sedation, if she was hurting Lucy, Lucy would flinch at the very least, and there was absolutely NO reaction at all. So that's good to know.