Mickey has had a long bout with a chronic cough. Literally, for years he has coughed in the early morning or when it is wet and damp. This summer has been damp and I am sure allergies are reigning high.
Dr. Criner examined him previously and felt the issue was in his upper respiratory system not in his lungs. As Mickey has gotten worse, coughing as I say, from his toes (hooves) and shaking Lauren in the saddle, it was necessary to follow-up and schedule him for a laryngoscope.
Mickey arrived onsite this morning and first was ridden by Lauren so the vets, Drs. Criner and Hildreth, could see how his respiratory system worked with increased cardio-vascular strain. It did not go well. Mick coughed a lot and frequently. The second part was to do the scope which was inserted into nose and down his airway. The vets explained a lot of technical stuff that I really didn’t understand but the essence of was, they felt pretty sure he had a non-contagious fungal infection called Pythium. They did blood samples to confirm their diagnosis and while we were spending money, also did one for allergies.
Now, the bad news. It will take a week or longer to get the results, if Pythium is confirmed it will take about 45 days for the treatment to work and Mickey must not be exercised, nothing but walking during that time. This will put us at the heart of the fall show season when we normally would be ramping up and fine tuning for Zone finals.
Even if we get Mick back to training by mid-September it is unlikely that he will be at the top of his game to compete in October and November. Dr. Criner has some strategies for keeping his muscles working in the downtime but I do notthink it will be our best approach to the fall season where we spend a lot of money to get the chance of placing in Zone Finals. I want Lauren going in the ring on a superbly conditioned horse, not one fresh from the pasture. Finals fence height is a push under normal circumstances for Mickey. To take him there less than fit, would be wrong and potentially even dangerous.
So, maybe once again it will time to re-focus on Feather. It will give us an opportunity to spend some time with her and get her in the show ring for the first time. When you have a horse like Mickey it is easy to put off the money and training needed to start another. Perhaps this will be push we need to for Lauren to dust off her hunter clothes and get back into the hunter ring with Feather.
I know this could have been much worse and am glad it is a temporary thing, a curable thing and non-contagious thing. Feather is not ready for the big shows yet, but certainly could use the experiences of doing some schooling shows this fall.