First of all, thank you so much for all your kind messages and prayers today. I did not feel alone when I stood by Batman’s side today thanks to you guys. I’m forever grateful for your support. This is not a topic I find it easy to write about.
Today we went back to the animal hospital with Batman, eight months after our first visit. I have been nervous about this day since we left last time, because we were going to measure the development. See how fast it progresses, whatever it is that is causing Batman’s problems.
We started with a general health check and a quick status, and as you know, Batman has been great this year. Against all odds, we had a great summer with no problems at all. He has been happy, only lame once and that was because of some pelvis issues, and in general, in good health. I walked with him back and forth in both walk and trot and the vet had a quick look at his movement. He seemed fine in both gaits, thankfully.
Next step was a scary thing called x-ray. They reveal the angle of the joints. Last time I was in that room, it was the worst day of my life. I could barely stand on my own legs when I understood that they had found something abnormal. Afterwards I felt like a ghost for weeks. I never got rid of that feeling. It was so painful.
This time we did the x-rays it without sedating Batman. We have never x-rayed him without drugs before, and I had something to focus on. To keep him stand completely still! Instead of drugs, we used carrots, and it worked out fine. Even when horses was moving outside the door, he stood still like a hero. The Chief of Carrots-task kept my mind off the x-rays itself, and suddenly, they were done … I got the results and they showed barely any change at all since last time. THANK GOD. This was exactly what I was hoping for.
This means that for now, he is stable, and the problem is more likely to be local, and not caused by something worse, for example DSLD/ESPA, which we are also testing for. It is likely that he has a pair of abnormal looking hind legs, and no, it is not optimal, but it could be a thousand times worse! DSLD/ESPA is a generative, systemic and deadly disease, and the most common symptom is dropped fetlocks, just like Batman’s. Therefore, we had to test for this too, but with so little progression after 8 years in training, and still no severe pain, problems with walking or positive ultrasound-results, it seems more likely to be a local problem. But you can only imagine my fear, having this in my head 24/7. ESPA is the worst diagnose ever. He is still suffering from dropped fetlocks, but it is local.
We will check him again in the spring, we can of course not be 100% sure, but this is definitely a step in the right direction. So far, it looks like we gets the best outcome possible. He will never “get well”, but he can be stable, happy and live a great life by my side. I’m relieved and happy, he is a warrior, and he is NOT done yet!