Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Bury my heart at wounded knee

Whenever I've posted a picture of Hank sleeping, you may have noticed that his right leg is always stretched out. It's not because he needs a pillow - it is because he has osteoarthritis in that knee. It pains me to see Hank in any discomfort, so I've been working with our vet to find the right combination of joint supplements and pain medicine to help him.

A daily dose of Advanced Cetyl M seemed to help initially when the arthritis was first diagnosed, but in the last year, I've noticed that Hank lies down to sleep much less frequently than he used to. In fact, I've watched him lapse into a deep sleep on his feet and practically do a face plant. Laying down and getting back up must hurt him enough that he'd rather stand.

About four months ago, I started Hank on an every-other-day dose of Previcox, which offers the pain relief of bute without the side effects, and it's making a difference. Our vet suggested I might also want to try injectable Glucosamine instead of a feed-through supplement, so that's where we are now.

Once a week, I pretend I'm a vet tech and draw up a 10 ml dose of this stuff to inject into Hank's neck. Now, three weeks into the treatment, I can report that I have pricked myself four times and dropped one syringe in the dirt. But when it comes time to stick the needle in Hank, I manage to do the deed. He couldn't be more cooperative and forgiving of my clumsiness.

The vet says it will take at least 10 weeks before we can expect to see any results. I'm certainly not looking forward to weekly injections ad infinitum, but I'll cowgirl up and do it if it means more sweet dreams for Hank.


  1. I snorted with laughter reading that you pricked yourself 4 times. Oh woman! I know... lol. Hey, at least you get it done, that's what I always say. So long as the job gets done, lol.
    Good stuff!

  2. It looks like it's working already if that last picture is any indication. I sure hope so.

    He is one handsome fella!

  3. I hate to hear of Hank's problems, but kudo's to you for helping him out. Been there/done that with injections, which aren't fun, but isn't it funny how an animal knows and co-operates fully and also gives you that special 'look' afterwards ... kind of like their way of saying 'thanks'.

  4. Oh the responsibilities of horse ownership...so worth the trouble and expense.

  5. Linda, I would love to hear more about the Previcox, as we are thinking about trying this for Salina.

    Right now I'm focusing on getting her diet balanced and have switched her to a mix that provides everything she needs w/o the hay/pasture counted in b/c she's had a tougher time maintaining weight this year. Once we have her on this for a couple of months, I want to evaluate the need for Previcox.

    She gets Adequan for 4-7 weeks 3-4x/year and that has helped but my understanding is that it helps maintain the joint function that is there, but can't do much to repair function already lost.

    We use Bute right before trims and as needed if she's having a stiff day or two. The leg warmers have helped with cold nights.

    We've also used Surpass but I didn't notice a huge difference. I've heard such good things about Previcox - hope your protocol does really well for Hank!

  6. Mikey, I'm so glad to learn it's not just me!

    Billie, the best thing about Previcox is that it's a chewable tablet - no fuss, no muss - and it's not outrageously expensive. While it's formulated for horses as a paste, my vet prescribes the canine version. Hank gets half of a 227 mg tablet every other day, so a 60 count bottle which costs $117 lasts four months. My vet tried to explain why a horse would get a smaller dose than a large dog but it made no sense to me and I forgot what he said. Oh - and if Hank is having a particularly rough day, I can give him a whole tablet.

  7. Awww, poor Hank! Thank goodness for modern medicine. I hope the new medicine works for him.

  8. That's the rub here - because the Previcox is technically being used "off label" for horses, many vets won't prescribe it and instead prescribe the Equioxx paste. Which I understand is terribly yucky and the dog version/chewable tablet is so much easier to give, esp. on an ongoing basis.

    A friend of mine is trying to educate our equine vet and hopefully he'll be willing to prescribe the Previcox (her horse needs it now, whereas for Salina I think it's more something we're considering).

    It's absolutely criminal (imo) that the equine paste costs so much more than the canine tablets. Why can't they just formulate a horse dosage in a chewable tablet and assign a similarly reasonable fee?

    My understanding is that long-term effects of usage are not known, and so using it in horses for more than 14 days is not recommended, but at some point, with arthritic joints in older horses, quality of life is the more important factor.

    I hope we can sort out the logistics of giving it a try in the coming year. I'm eager to see how Hank does with it and am so glad you're able to get it for him in a form that's not breaking the bank.

  9. You are a good mom. Our animals are so good at hiding their discomfort, we have to really be observant of their behaviour to recognize when something's 'off'. They're pros at suffering in silence...except maybe Wynnona...I can't imagine her doing anything silently, actually...

    I commend you for your efforts to help provide some relief for Hank.

  10. Ahh, I hate to see my guys hurting, I have one that we use Adequan as well & seems to have made a difference. We did the initial series & then just as needed & also use Bute before trims as needed. Hope you find the best solution for you & Hank.
    BTW, my husband gives the shots, glad I don't have to, but good for you.

  11. I think you'll find that Hank will feel much better with the injectable over the oral stuff. More goes directly where it's needed without having to travel through the entire digestive tract. You'll become an expert in no time. Definitely worth it in the end if he feels better.
    I LOVE that picture of him laying flat-out like a long tailed lizard in the sun...sweet dreams Hank!!!

  12. Awwwww...Hank is so lucky that he has an owner who truly cares about him. :)

    And pricking yourself more than you have pricked your horse??? Happens to the best of us...lol!!!!

  13. Seeing Hank dozing in the sand must be your great reward and worth a few pricks with the needle.
    Sweet dreams to you both for giving each other such a good life.

  14. Hope the new treatment brings him some relief.

  15. Aw, poor Hank. That previcox is good stuff though. It made a huge difference on my lame horse. But it was to costly for me. Mine is on nimble supreme and I have really seen a change. I hope Hank feels better real soon.

    BTW, I accidentally tried to give myself a west nile virus vaccine last year when I did shots. Whoops!!

  16. Awwww poor Hank! It's terrible to see your animals in such discomfort, arthritis is such a horrible thing because there is so little we can really do about it!

    Well at least you should be right with arthritis now! And the dirt! ;D

  17. I feel for poor Hank. My old mare Carina hadn't layed down for over 5 years; she had it really bad in her hips and legs. Arthritis is an awful thing.

    Hope your meds get good results.

  18. I've been giving my arthritic mare previcox for a few months, and it helps. I also give her smartpak joint supplements and (what has made a big difference in her mobility) Lubrisyn, which is gel HA.