Thursday, March 19, 2015

Mikey Jogging, AcuLife Patches, OCD Pellets

So while I was off working at my real job last week and riding Shae over the weekend, Mikey was hanging out in his stall. After the injection he needed complete stall rest for 3 days, so no hand walking Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

I walked Mikey Sunday after riding Shae and being ground crew for the weekly jump clinic. I walked for 10 min or so, and then asked my trainer to watch him jog. He was given a Grade 3 lameness at OSU, but it was barely visible, just the right hock not flexing as much as the left. He's always been weak in that hock, so I wanted her to watch him trot because she knows what his "normal" is (even if it's a lameness on that scale).

I jogged him away from her, then took him across a diagonal so she could see from the side. I had given him his head so he'd be "free" and he jogs well without shenanigans... usually. No problems on the away, but on the diagonal I asked for more, she clucked, and he tossed his head, flung his legs around, and moved out while arching his neck like a fancy boy. Everyone laughed, but she said he looks super and very close to his normal, and didn't see a reason I couldn't take him down centerline by August.

On a side note, we talked Saturday about me taking Cody to a USDF show to finish my bronze after Rolex. She had said before I could take him, but in all seriousness, even if I had a fancy newer trailer, I'd be terrified to haul a horse as valuable as him (I'm sure we're looking at 6 figures after Rolex), when I didn't own said horse. So I asked if she could spare a weekend to play in the sandbox, and maybe bring one or two of her young horses that need to get out so it wouldn't be a total loss for her. I believe one she got in the fall last year competed in hand at Devon, so he's already got a USDF number and everything. She said absolutely, we'll go to one of the bigger shows that runs 4-6 rings. She completely understood that I didn't want to pressure Mikey to be ready, or take another year to finish my bronze, because in reality, Mikey might never be ready. He may never recover enough to help me finish my bronze, and Cody will no longer be available to me at that point.

We had a (free) clinic Sunday with a woman who uses Aculife patches on horses to help relieve pain and tension, and aid in healing injuries and reducing swelling. The patches can be used as an alternative to acupuncture. They do not deliver any kind of medicine to the horse in any way, so are safe to use at horse shows, and have no withdrawal period, so they fully comply with all FEI and USEF drug rules. You put a max of 6 pairs of patches on the horse, sometimes 7 pairs depending on where they are. They go on acupressure points. They have a max effectiveness at around 12 hours, but you can ride with them on and leave them on for up to 3 days (which is when they usually fall off on their own). When they fall off, there's no wait period, you can pop new ones on again for another 3 days. They can be used on points that will help relieve pain, or several points for calmness. We jokingly asked if there's points on humans for losing weight, she said yupp! There are points for helping cut down on cravings. We were like, oh!

She also takes thermal images that she can send away for another team to look 7 layers deep at injuries or pain points. She can see hoof abscesses right as they're starting so you don't waste any time getting the farrier out or simply soaking the foot while you wait for the farrier. She expressly said, "Do not call me in lieu of a vet or farrier! I can help while you wait, but make sure you call them!" I trust someone who says that for sure. No asking for blind following.

If I was smart, I would have taken a picture of what the patches looked like! But a google search produced this sad, non-photographic image of the patches:

Pretend this image is real life. It's a tan and white material on the sticky side of  a clear sticky circle, approximately and inch to inch and a half in diameter.
The patches come in positive and negatives. I forget which is which, but one is white, one is tan. The tans go on the left side of the horse, the white goes on the right. Maybe white it positive? I think that's right. I get all messed up because I use red and black in the accounting world for negatives and positives, which screws me up in the electrical world because it's swapped. Anyway, straight from her pamphlet:
"AcuLife non-transdermal patch system utilizes new technology to gently stimulate acupressure points to literally prevent, and remove muscle spasms, tensions, and strains throughout the whole body."
I don't normally subscribe to stuff like that, but I've spent so much money on Mikey trying to get him back to pre-injury wellness that I'm willing to listen to just about anything that could make him heal just a little bit better, as long as it won't hurt him and the worst I'll do is throw some money away.

I watched Cody be treated as the demo horse. He is a cocky, look at me kind of horse who is not known for being very touchy-feely, especially with people he just met. She felt him all over and put some patches on him, just the right side to start. Before she put the matching patch on the left side, he was already licking and chewing, and dropped his head. After she had all of the patches on, he nuzzled the bejesus out of her, stopping just short of licking her face. Not in his character at all!

The next couple horses had similar results: yawning, licking and chewing, relaxing, heads dropping.

The horse that had the most issues and the best reaction was a little chestnut QH mare who came to her owner several years ago with a rearing problem and in need of an attitude adjustment. She was just unpleasant to be around, and hates you touching near her face. Her owner recently started her on gut support for possible ulcers, which has helped her attitude immensely. The horse came into the arena all tense and barely standing still (not uncommon for the horse, and she rarely relaxes anyway). The woman went over the horse and found 7 points just in the front half of the horse, with many more in the back of the horse. She put 7 sets of patches on the horse because of the sheer number of problem spots. Within five minutes, the mare was licking and chewing, nuzzling and gladly accepting face rubs.

Mikey was not on her list of horses for the day, but I asked her if she could look at him because of the severity of his injury. The horses that got full body thermal imaging had to have their blankets off for over an hour before being looked at, so Mikey couldn't get the thermals of his body, just the leg. She still went over the fleshier parts of his body, identifying places we could work on later after he returns to work. There was one point by the poll (she asked if he likes to fake his connection or lock his jaw- yes and yes), one point by the whithers, one by the loin, then a couple in the hindquarters. One of those was the horsey hamstring essentially, and was very very sensitive. All of those lead to his trouble with truly sitting for our collection work. I didn't want his body patched because I would have no way of knowing if it helped and he was just standing in a stall anyway, so she put two white patches and one tan patch on his  bad hind leg, slightly above the most swollen/scarred part of the hock. The white patches went on the inside and outside of the joint, and the tan went right on the front.

Yet again, I failed to take a picture. Doh. I'm not very good at this.

Now Mikey didn't have the same reaction to the patches the way the other horses did, simply because they got a full body patch job and he got a hock patch job. But my trainer reported to me on Monday that the hock was the smallest it's been since the injury. I think I might contact the woman and ask if I can buy a box of patches from her to patch Mikey's hock myself over the next few weeks. I don't mean to short change her, but it's a $50 farm call if I'm the only one (she waives the farm call for 5 or more horses) and $20 for her to do the patches. I can't afford that all the time, and I wouldn't patch his body myself, just his hock.

She did take thermals of the hock for me, and she was surprised at how good they looked based on what we had told her was wrong. Normal horses have soft yellow bodies with soft red legs. Injuries come up as bright yellow or worse, bright red/pink. She took 4 pictures of his leg, each at the quarter view.

In the second and last pictures you can really compare the two hind legs, the damaged one and the normal one. She expected there to be more bright yellow and some bright red. I didn't have her send them away for analyzing- I know what's wrong underneath.

If other people are willing to have her out again, I'll have him full body patched at that point to see if it helps him out as we get back to work. It certainly can't hurt him.

Speaking of doing things that may or may not help the horse, but won't hurt him, I finally clicked the link to OCD Pellets from their sponsored rehab posts on Eventing Nation. This OCD stands for: Optimal Cartilage Development Pellets. Sounds right up Mikey's alley.

I read what they claim, ingredients, and then endless testimonials. And I mean ENDLESS. Mostly racehorses, most with spurs, cysts, OCD lesions, fractures, everything leg bone related under the sun. It increased bone densities, made fractures heal and almost disappear from x-rays, in general made a lot of those type of problems disappear or almost disappear, and eased the pain of osteoarthritis. All (of course) said OCD products helped immensely. None had the chip and fracture bed problem Mikey has however. To have so many raving reviews, and a good one for an 18 yr old Thoroughbred performance horse who had osteoarthritis problems, I couldn't not look into it. Especially due to the sheer number of ultra positive reviews (and more positive reviews from other websites). The product has to have SOMETHING going for it.

I stole these handy dandy factoid images from Eventing Nation, who had them courtesy of OCD Doc's Products Inc. I hope they don't mind me posting them and free advertising.

I have a feeling this product is NOT USEF legal for shows, but it doesn't matter because Mikey isn't showing anytime soon.

We had pulled Mikey off oral supplements simply because as he gets older, his digestion isn't what it used to be, and his body could end up cannibalizing the supplement for food instead of allowing it to be absorbed where it's really needed. We opted for hock injections since that was his main pain point, and they helped immensely, and for all of last year, he felt really super. Now that we've poked and prodded his right hock, it's a waiting game. I decided if there was anything I could do to help him out, I would do it because I want my partner back, and I'm so far into this monetarily that spending a couple hundred on supplements that might help, even just a little bit, is worth it to me. He's barely lame. All he needs is a little bit.

Basically, they're doing a free 4lb  pail with any first time customer order. A 4lb pail has 64 scoops in it, if you're feeding at a maintenance level. Mikey would be eating at the maximum level, so of course it's only good for 32 days. They said to feed the free pail first and if you don't see any results, send them the paid for pail back for a full refund. Good enough incentive for me!

I did email Dr. Beebe, the doctor behind the science, who replied very promptly. I gave him a brief overview of what happened to Mikey and what we've done so far, and asked two questions: Is the product effective in older horses that might have weaker digestion and how long should I give the product to show a result? I figured I'd need more than the free pail to see a result, and I was right. I got a several paragraph answer, but to sum it up: He said it works well in older horses (as I expected he would say), and I may or may not see a result in 30 days due to Mikey's age and the nature of the injury. He said to allow 4-6 weeks to see any benefits. He encouraged me to follow up with Mikey's progress.

I was good with ordering it as long as he didn't say anything bad about using it with older horses (significantly less effective etc). So off I was to look at prices (ok so it's not the first time I looked at them):

Get a look at those prices!
I decided to buy a 4 lb pail with my free 4 lb pail. I'll check on him close to when both pails should be finished up, 64 days/approx 9 weeks, and see what he looks like. I'll probably buy another two 4 lb pails at that point so he has a solid 4 months on maximum dose. It certainly won't hurt him.

I ordered his OCD pellets yesterday, along with more Chia seeds (I'm not sure they're doing any good, but I'm not going to change his supplements now while he's recovering from his injury), and I ordered a new jack for my trailer. Expensive morning.

Mikey was a good investment. I can barely afford to buy HIS drugs.

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