Friday, March 23, 2012

Medical Update

One of my favorite pics of the girls, summer 2005.
Maddie and I headed into Valley Vet Clinic yesterday to get her teeth done (reason for the original appointment) and check to see if there were any physical reasons for her ongoing, sporadic and unpredictable behaviors.
When Dr. Mark Hayden palpated Maddie's back, she showed nearly zero response.  None.  Compared to Sunday and several other recent days when she visibly shrunk away from my touch.  (I think Dr. Mark is beginning to believe I'm imagining it all...)
 He checked her ability to flex her head and neck, and found nothing of significance, though she was just a bit hesitant lifting her neck straight up.
She was slightly "off" on her left front, on a tight circle, but there was no swelling, and it did not worsen with flexion, so he attributed it to a two-year-old injury in that foot.
Maddie's eyes were clear of any cataracts or uvietus, and her blink response was normal.
 She was a bit overdue for her teeth and had some points that were starting to irritate her cheeks.  (I wish now I had had him do Maddie's teeth earlier, but I didn't want to do it right before the clinic, when I was trying to get her legged up.)  Hopefully her mouth will be considerably more comfortable now.
One unusual thing that we noted was extreme tension in her jaw--Dr. Mark was barely able to open her mouth wide enough with the speculum--we're going to keep an eye on that.  With the hesitation to lift her head up, I think I'll get a chiropractor out to check her out (though last year when we were having similar problems, he didn't find anything significant--maybe I am imagining all this.)
Considering that these problems seem to crop up every spring, I'm starting to wonder about "female problems."  Dr. Mark and I discussed ovarian/hormone possibilities, but with only one very old gelding on the place (who was her weaning time companion, so not a "boy" in her eyes) my mares rarely show obvious heat cycles.  I may try her on some mare/calming supplements, before considering anything as drastic as Regumate or an uterine marble.
All-in-all, it was both a positive and a frustrating visit:  there were no big problems and we decided on a couple of little issues to address; but on the other hand, we couldn't pinpoint any particular physical reason for Maddie to be acting the way she did.  Is this all a behavioral problem?  Have I created holes in Maddie's training that are coming back to bite me now?

Maddie will need a couple of days for her jaw to feel a little better, following the work done yesterday.  I'll look into getting a chiro out here soon, to check her neck, jaw and poll.  And I went ahead and ordered SmartPaks' "Smart Mare" herbal supplement--it should be here next week.  Maddie will need a week or so, I think, for that to effect her system.  The first local ACTHA ride is at the end of April, so I'm thinking Miss Maddie will have a little time off while I get Kate going.
It will NOT be all summer, though, like last year. Although I'm sure I will have some butterflies the first time I step up onto her, I am currently (sitting comfortably in my computer chair) not feeling quite the trepidation just thinking about it, as I did last year.
Maybe because I didn't actually hit the ground this time.  Maybe because I'm determined to work through this.
Madrigal, yearling glamor shot
I'm not ready to give up on my Maddie yet.


  1. Well, good. I guess? We didn't actually WANT her to be in pain, but if she WERE in pain it might explain her naughtiness. Now...well, dang!

  2. Always a difficult situation - finding nothing wrong is a relief yet not a relief. We don't want our animal companions to be in pain, but it would sure be nice to know why they act the way they do.
    Here's hoping the supplements work and/or you figure out what is bugging Ms. Maddie.

  3. What a sweet photo of the beautiful fillies.

  4. It is almost like getting your questions answered with more questions. Great nothing obvious was found but . . . ?? Here's hoping that the dental work and/or the supplement is just the ticket.

  5. Maddie is beautiful, and I am so glad you are not giving up on her. I do look forward to the report on the chiropractic visit. Good luck!

  6. I, too, am happy you are not giving up on Maddie. At least, you have followed every possible avenue to explain her behaviour. Looking forward to continued updates and hoping for the best possible outcome. Absolutely love the pictures of her!