After our ride last Sunday I called my vet out on Tuesday to check Cartman over and see what is going on.
He listened to C breathe, took temperature and re-checked him after a brief trot on the lunge line. He said nothing appeared abnormal. We were discussing the potential ride (and long trailer ride) over in Seneca Or. that I had planned on attending. He said he wished it was another week off, but C seemed healthy enough.
I was really waffling, in particular due to the 7 hour trailer trip. As we were talking Todd came out and gave C a couple of little BerryGood treats. He immediately started to cough. Uh oh.
At this point, the vet said he was concerned that C might have allergies. He suggested putting him on Ventipulmin. I explained that in the AERC rules pretty much all pharmaceuticals are prohibited substances. It seems this is not common knowledge and most of my vets and the horse professionals I know are surprised by how strict the endurance drug policy is.
We decided that I would call down to Columbia Equine and see if Dr Hansen could get Cartman in for a more thorough examination, and possible a scope.
So, Wednesday I called right when they opened and they had an appointment available at 3pm. I skipped eating (but did run and grab a coffee:) so that I could get as much done as possible before racing off to Portland at 1pm. Not a good idea to skip eating, but it is possible if I'm following a primal diet.
We made it to the vet clinic about 10 minutes late due to the dreadful traffic in Portland and the neverending construction areas on the freeway.
As I jumped out of the truck something looked amiss on the trailer. A blown trailer tire.
It was still on the rim but flat as a pancake. I hadn't felt anything as I drove but it looked like someone had shot a big hole in the sidewall of the tire.
The vets were ready for Cartman so I put the tire problem out of my mind and headed into the clinic with him.
Dr checked him over, took his temp (100.5 I think), listened to my description of the coughing, and listened to him breathe with the stethoscope. They performed something called the "slap" test where they listened to his breathing while popping him in the throat with the palm of his hand.
"Well, unfortunately..." Not the words you want to hear your vet start out with. "He doesn't appear to have any thing infectious, which leaves us with this being some type of allergic response... Although he's a little young for it....." I don't remember the rest of the details of what he said at this point. Dr Hansen was discussing it with another vet as well as with me and they were both asking me questions.
The other vet suggested putting him up in the barn (yikes!) in order to get him away from the pasture as they seem to think that the allergy is to something outside. Dr H said we would start with putting him on Clenbutarol and Dex. in an attempt to stop the coughing episodes. He said we would try this without stalling C, because he thought I might have a handful to ride if he were to be cooped up.
He said it might be "possible" to get him comfortable enough to attend a ride on Saturday- but he wouldn't really recommend it, and I again explained the strict AERC Drug rules, again these vets also were shocked. We did go to the website and sure enough both of the best allergy treatments are on the prohibited substance list. Surprise, surprise.
I was starting to feel a little sick to my stomach at this point. Although they assured me that if it is this summer pasture allergy thing that they do have a lot of luck using meds to keep a horse able to work, etc. And that it might be possible to keep him on a low dose of the meds once this is under control and then withdraw the meds prior to taking him to endurance rides.
Whenever I get in a real emotionally stressful situation I tend to "check out" a bit. It beats crying like a girl and all. So, C got some IV shots, I got the drugs, picked up the instructions and paid the bill. The plan is to try the three weeks of meds and then see if the coughing returns after he is off them. There are allergy tests available for horses but they aren't always very definitive for this type of allergy.
After almost an hour of fighting the jack ( a crappy scissor style thing), the lug nuts, and the spare I finally got that trailer tire off, just as the guy from Les Schwab pulled in. I let him put the spare on and replace the lug nuts. Finally I headed home just in time to get stuck in that wretched Portland traffic for an hour. We made it home about 8pm.
The next day Cartman's blood work came back completely normal.
Yesterday was day three on the meds, we did about 2 1/2 hours on the trail and he was still doing some intermittent coughing when exerting himself. Also, I've noticed that he's wanting to go a little bit high headed and resistant (perhaps this is due to the breathing problem and not a training issue as it started about the same time as the coughing).
So, now I'm just sulking.