So four years ago today Gen went in for his first round of Stem Cell Treatment. This is the day that they took out the fat to spin in to stem cells. Back then it was still a very experimental thing to do. I still remember some things so clearly, like how I tried to walk away from Gen when he first got to the vet hospital and he started to cry and rear repeatedly until I came back to him. So I was looking through some of my old e-mails and I found this gem from that very fateful day. Reading this e-mail brought back so many memories for me. Obviously everything I wrote at the time did not turn out to be true, but it was all I knew at the time. Here is a look back, pre-blog, at what I was thinking the day Gen got his first round of stem cells. This is exactly how the e-mail went out, except of course I took out people’s names. I sent out 7 of these e-mail updates over a several month period and my list went from a few interested friends to over two dozen people who were worried about Gen. These e-mails were one of the reasons I started my blog. Without further ado, here is the e-mail from May 1st, 2007…
Thank you all for you kind thoughts and words. I have good and bad news to report. The good news is that all went well with the procedure today. I was freaking out this morning that I didn’t want to do it because trailering him would be to traumatic. Thank you to all the people who calmed me down from that. Once I was able to load my Goober onto the trailer with help from M, I started to calm down. My mom (who knows NOTHING about horses) knew how worried I was about all this so she came with me for the day. She was actually a big help, go figure!
Gennyral got to hospital in one piece although he only had two legs on the ground the whole time. He hates this car that I bought for him. M went first to check me in. We were able to get him into a temporary stall out back before the procedure was done. Gennyral settled down nicely when I was with him. Two times I tried to leave and both times he worked himself into a tizzy. I think he can tell that my mom is scared of him which freaks him out. He was fine though as long as I was within touching distance. My vet, Dr. P came back before to give me a pep talk and tell me what was going to happen. He stayed with Genny for part of the procedure…he got an emergency call to do some sutchers so he couldn’t stay for the whole thing.
Anyway… Genny went in at 10:30 and my mom and I hung out in the couch up front waiting. The whole shabang took about…an hour and 45 minutes. During that time I had a number of people (vets and vet techs) come up to me and tell me he was doing okay and to say how impressed they were at how ugly his leg was, words to make a mother proud :P. One of the founders of the hospital came up and said “That is one bad looking leg, we are all impressed. We have taken lots of pictures” to which I responded with “I have also…I am hoping this works and I can be one of those happy horse owners that gives a testimonial to vets stem” to which he replies “If vet stem makes his leg perfect again I will personally buy the company”. Not exactly the words of comfort I wanted to hear.
Since the hospital is a teaching hospital I had an intern come out and talk to me after the procedure was done. This is where the bad news part comes in. I asked her point blank if I was wasting my time doing this. I don’t want to spend thousands of dollars treating a horse that is only going to get better with time. To this she said, “No, it is a really good thing you are doing this. I have never seen a tendon this bad and neither had most of the people that are in there. At one point in his leg there is NO connective tissue in his tendon that we can see. It is really good that you are doing this because it would not be a matter of if he would be able to be ridden again but rather how long could he live”.
That was a scary moment. I didn’t realize how bad this injury is! Apparently, really bad. I do know that horses on the track that tear a tendon while running are put down immediately because they wont be able to walk. Apparently the “lack of connective tissue” is better because it was not a trauma situation. Right now the vet is saying best case scenario my baby will be allowed to come back to the clinic on Thursday and go home again and after that he must spend 2 weeks in his stall without even being allowed out when we muck it. Gone are the days of hand grazing. If and only if it looks better at the two week point will he be allowed out for…5 minutes…once a day.
Poor bugger is going to go crazy. It is also recommended that he goes on a constant sedative. My little bugger is so calm all the time I just hate to do that to him. I will talk to them about that again on Thursday and see if they can at least back off to only when he gets upset or something. Best case secnerio is he will be allowed to go outside by himself on limited turnout in 6 months. Now since Dr P is my new favorite vet ever he and I have been calling back and forth all day. He talked to the tendon specialist (Did I mention that whatever was wrong with her eye was able to be fixed last week? Well it was and she was back and she is a close 2nd place for favorite vet) after everything was done and since he had to leave he wanted to know the full story.
What the tendon guru says is…One time she either saw a presentation on or was talking to some guy who specialized in geriatric horse tendons. What he found in his study of aged horses was that instead of the tissue healing like it does in younger horses, when to much pressure gets placed on the tissue in older horses it actually disintegrates. She thinks that this is what is happening to Genny. It sounds logical to me because the more swollen he leg is getting the more rapidly it is declining.
I said all along that I just wanted to know what was wrong with him and now I at least have a credible hypothesis as to what it is. Dr. P is going to find the article that this geriatric tendon specialist wrote to find out more. What I am not sure of is why my 15 year old horse is acting like a 28 year old horse when it comes to healing. The result of this discovery though is going to end up costing me another grand though because now is he not only getting stem cells, but also the blood spining treatment. Gennyral is very lucky to have suck a good mom :P.
So I am sure half of you got bored reading this and just skimmed to the end. I know I have gotten bored typing it. I was at the barn all day though and have so much new information to share. So the moral of the story is that although I do not want to count my chickens before they are hatched it looks as though Mexican General’s show career was short lived. At least he went out on top right? I am optimistic though that he can at least come back as a trail horse (although with his fear of trees I am going to have to work on finding tree-free trails in the area). I am pretty rattled that my horse was so injured and was declining at such a rapid, and possibly lethal rate, but I am also optimistic that this is an injury that can be healed. I am not going to put him down dammit…he has to get better.
Sorry for the novel! I will update you all on Thursday.
I sound like such a mess in that e-mail…but is because four years ago today I WAS a total mess! Here are some pictures of Gen’s leg from four years ago to give you a better picture of why I was so worried…