Dazzby had her vet appointment today.
He started evaluating her in the stall where I had her tied for the pre-appt grooming. He was very good at explaining what he was seeing regarding her conformation and stance. She really was standing quite a ways under herself. The fulcrum of her hind leg was completely behind the back of her hind heel. Her pasterns even seemed to be dropping a bit.
Next he palpated her back, still sore. He used the hoof testers to check for foot pain and gave her a thumbs up for having nice tight tendons on all four legs.
Unfortunately she was extremely sore in the stifle, particularly the left stifle. That is the side that was oh- so-lame at Mt. Adams. Next we took her out to a small paddock and he watched her walk- looked pretty good here.
At the jog she looked good going away and to but when viewed from the side there was clear evidence of an uneven stride. She was not tracking up as much with the left hind.
The vet took her, and had me watch so that I could see it. It was pretty obvious on a straight line. I've been watching her occasionally on a lunge line and it isn't so apparent on the circle.
She got a grade 2 score for lameness due to the difference in stride behind.
The actual formal diagnosis was degenerative joint disease, or arthritis. There are most likely multiple joints involved, as she has always had a lot of popping in the ankles, and now the stifle is doing it as well.
He did say her hocks look great.
At her age, it is questionable whether we will be able to keep her sound and comfortable enough to do much endurace wise. Unfortunately there really isn't any way to reverse the problem, just basically try to slow it down.
Due to the fact that multiple joints are affected I decided to forgo any joint injections for the time being. I am starting her on a double dose of Steadfast for a month and some bute for several days to see if we can get some of the irritation and inflammation out of the stifle. After three or four days, I will take her out and see if she feels any better under saddle.
I may decide to have at least the left stifle done if there is no improvement in a few weeks. He did say she has years of life and use left!
I am remaining optimistic.