An early morning call provided the information Lauren and I had been waiting for in regards to Mickey’s recent laryngoscope. First, his test results on the Pythium fungus came back borderline which along with his symptoms are suggestive enough to go ahead and treat him. We will go get the shot on Saturday, do shots again on day seven, day 21 and another scope on day 45. Dr. Hildreth is hoping he is one of the horses that responds well to this therapy. I quizzed her about what his prognosis is and how long he would be out of training. Like anything else, it will be a little bit of a wait and see game. Certainly for the first 7-14 days he will be able to do some long walks around the property and maybe some slow trotting. After that we will see how his respiratory recovery is once we ask for any increased work.
His ability to do any work beyond a trot will be a factor of how well his airways can cope with need to work harder. Right now when we ask him to work harder, his airways cannot cope and the coughing starts. Apparently, this is seen frequently in young race horses when asked to increase the distance they are running. They cannot take the added strain of working harder to keep up the increased need to breathe harder (or I could be explaining this totally wrong).
Hopefully, he will do well with the medicine, we will have a period of time off and then we can get him back in training. That would be wonderful. Worse case, the swelling and inflammation of airway continues and he will not be a horse that can race around a course to do jumpers. That would be horrible-but he has served us well, if it is time for retirement- we will cope.
Additionally we had run an allergy panel to see if allergies might be an issue. Mickey was tested for 82 specific allergens in six categories including Grasses, Weeds, Trees, Molds, Foods and Other. As a child with serious allergies many of these are very familiar to me. I was allergic to oak trees in Illinois-quite a problem but thought I would overcome it when I moved to Colorado (few oak trees) but found out I was horribly allergic to sage brush. I learned allergies tend to beget allergies. And so it is with Mickey. Of the 82 tested, he was borderline or positive to 29 of them-over 35%. Wow! Many are linked to the seasons, like ragweed, goldenrod and many molds which are always worse during the wet, damp times of the year. But a couple of these are really out there-Mickey is positive for Walnuts (he would be that kid at daycare that would force all the others to not have nuts in their birthday cupcakes), he is allergic to Linden trees (not sure I know what that is) and cockleburs. Puppy Girl finds cockleburs every time we go for a walk.
He has some sensitivity to corn (I am trying to find out if it is an ingredient in his feed), alfalfa (which has been substantiated by placing alfalfa in front of him and watching him cough) and bahia grass (often in hay).
Lauren and I will be challenged to remove as many of these from his direct contact as possible (I thought with my allergy issues, I might one day have to deal with this with my child but never with my horse). Whatever we can do will help Mickey breathe easier and get him back to being a top athlete. Can I eradicate all the dandelions from Mickey’s airspace? Not a chance. But I can keep my pastures mowed, my weeds sprayed and his bedding dust-free. I am guessing that alfalfa may be off the menu at my barn. Feather, Kid and Leo will object to that as will Mickey. That will be like taking chocolate from a kid. Mickey loves his alfalfa.
We will start treatment. I suspect I will be nominated to become Mickey’s walker. There is only one problem with this plan so far. As the days have passed that Mickey has not been worked, he has gotten more and more spunky. While I may able to get him only to walk, controlling him in the pasture will fall to Mickey and how he feels. The treatment itself may take away some of the edge that Mickey is feeling-we understand it may have some side-effects. Hopefully, we can support what Mickey needs and he supports it as well.
I hope (a big word today) that I am writing you in a couple of months to tell you we think we can make a run at Zone 7 finals. Zone 7 finals are scheduled for the first part of November. Finals in Zone 7 are for qualified riders from six states and our hopes (that word again) were to make top ten this year.
I hope that Lauren and Mickey are headed through the entry gate for a clear round when finals come. But we will have some other hurdles to leap before we can get there this year.