Last week I had the vet out for Naia's annual visit. There was one other horse being looked at at my barn at the same time so we were able to split the mileage fee which was nice. Though the vet was early and finished with horse #1 in record time so I didn't even have a chance to groom the mud off of Naia before it was her turn.
First up was a dental. This was Naia's third dental since I got her. In the first two my vet had noted a bit of a wave and some cavities (or whatever the technical term is for the horse equivalent) so she wanted to keep a close eye on things. The two issues are interconnected because the wave causes uneven pressure on the teeth which then can contribute to the cavities. In some horses this can progress to be a bigger issue, and in some cases it will self-correct as the horse grows. Luckily Naia seems to be in the latter group and this time around her teeth were in better shape. All Naia needed this time around was a really basic float so that is good! She also now officially has all her adult teeth.
Next I got some baseline x-rays done of Naia's lower front legs. This hadn't originally been part of the plan for the day but horse #1 at the barn had xrays done and since the equipment was out anyways I asked my vet to add in a couple shots. I have zero concerns with Naia or how she is going but she is 5 years old and has essentially just ramped up into full work so I figured it was a good time to get baseline rads since she never had a pre-purchase vet check. With previous horses I have seen issues where something is seen on an xray when trying to diagnose a problem and it's sometimes tough to know whether that something is new or if it has been like that for years. This way my vet and I get to have these on file to compare to in the future if needed. The RF looked really nice but we noticed that the LF had a slightly broken back alignment of the bones so I will be showing these to my farrier at Naia's next trim so we can adjust accordingly. It doesn't require any drastic action but good information to have. I follow a farrier group on facebook that highly recommends annual xrays of a horse's feet to ensure that the horse's trims and/or shoes are achieving good palmer angles, boney alignment and sole depth. It's definitely an extra cost but especially when it comes to feet, prevention is a lot better than trying to correct an issue so I'm thinking I might do these baseline x-rays periodically.
|I cropped them and flipped one image to allow for easier side-by-side comparison|
As part of the discussion about the xrays, we chatted a little bit about Naia's current age (will be 6 in August) and age when she started work (first ridden just before she turned 5). In this area there is quite a few reiners and cutters who prep for the big futurity money in the horse's 3 year old year. Compared to that, my vet loves the slow progression Naia has had and we are both hopeful that it will help her to stay sound and happy for a long career. That is one element that I really love about dressage, the work starts easy and there is no incentive to rush up the levels before the horse is physically mature enough for the harder movements. I hate to criticize any discipline but I really wish that competition organizers would restructure things so that the big pressure and prizes aren't focused on such young horses.
|DP View - note that stuff at bottom is because I didn't have time to clean her feet |
first so there were still sand and pebbles in there
The final step was to get Naia's first Coggins test done. There is one show at the end of July that I am probably not going to, but that requires Coggins so I figured I should get it done just in case, not to mention that it is nice for peace of mind regardless. There have been some outbreaks in Alberta in the last couple years though luckily not in my area. I got those results today and they are thankfully negative. In the spirit of baseline information the vet is also running a baseline chemistry panel on the blood she took so that we have something to compare to if we need to draw blood in the future when Naia is not healthy (knock on wood that we will never need those baseline comparisons!).
Naia definitely ended up being a cheap drunk for the drugs she got at the beginning for her dental. She was very sleepy very quickly, and trying to lead her even a few steps afterwards to get positioned for x-rays or Coggins photos was pretty hilarious. I definitely should have taken pictures during her dental and drunkest stage but I didn't so here are a couple from post-vet.
|She was sleepy for a while so I gave her a good grooming while she woke up|
|Shiny girl back in her paddock afterwards|