A Tough Month...
I decided to get insurance for Arrow. The $850 insurance policy was easier to swallow right now with being unemployed than a possible $10,000 Vet bill if something bad happened. I wasn’t exactly prepared for what was to come next but the reality is setting in and I am positive about Arrow’s future. For anyone who is reading this because they are thinking about getting a horse for the 1st time know that I did not take my advice about at least doubling whatever you estimate your expense to be. For now I will say if I needed to use my insurance I was thinking in my head all would be covered except my $450 deductible. After all, it was a $10,000 major medical policy. Yes, I estimated $450. Not the case and here is why I now know this.
Chloe talked to me about how Arrow was getting worse when training and anyone watching him would think he was just being as Ass. His behavior was not matching his personality and she felt it was a reaction to pain. She thought the pain was in the middle to lower part of the left side of his neck. As much as she didn’t want to say it, she also suspected Kissing Spine. This is where bones along the vertebrae rub together. I was told horses with this condition feel low grade pain all of the time. It can be the result of an injury to another area and can develop as the horse tries to compensate for that pain. Unfortunately the only way to rule out problems at this point was through a bone scan. Keep your calculators on!!! A bone scan costs $2000. I learned that my policy will cover up to $2000 for diagnostics. The results of the bone scan required additional X-Rays to be done. I used up my $2000 limit so the additional X-Rays will not be covered. I also needed to have a pre-exam to get the referral for the bone scan. That was $150 along with an additional $300 for his dental and sheath cleaning. It is questionable whether the $150 is covered. The rest is not for sure but it was an additional expense on top of all of this. Arrow’s teeth were pretty bad when we got him so it has taken a long time to get them back to normal. I also learned that my insurance would cover up to $2000 for treatment and that most injections were NOT covered. Arrow’s scan confirmed what Chloe had thought and found an additional problem. He has active arthritis in his neck and Kissing Spine. He also has active arthritis in his Sacroiliac joint which is very important when a horse jumps, gallops, turns and other movements. Chloe had pretty much nailed it with his diagnosis before the scan. The active arthritis and the amount of hot spots most likely are a result of an injury in the past. It could have been an injury during his racing career or a trailer accident. Chloe also mentioned that since he was in a pasture with only Cows before he was rescued, he could have gotten his head caught in the feeders. They are not designed for horses. All are a possibility but we will never know.
If I were an Eventer this would have been a devastating diagnosis and probably the moment I began thinking about looking for another horse. The future expenses for his treatment would not be worth it because Arrow will never be able to do that. His future would be dim.
Luckily, this unemployed girl has credit cards and is absolutely IN LOVE with her Horse! I don’t want anyone thinking I feel like I got a Lemon. He is a rescue, you get what you get. What are you suppose to do if life gives you lemons? Make lemonade!! That is what Arrow and I are going to do! Even with this crappy diagnosis, I strongly believe there is a light at the end of this tunnel. This light will just cost a little bit. As of right now his prognosis is that he can be a light working trail horse. For now he will be ridden at liberty which basically means he will decide what we do. If he wants to trot, I’ll let him trot but as soon as he shows any resistance we will stop. He also needs to be ridden on a loose rein so I will definitely need to work on using more leg and less rein as an aid. With treatment, cantering may be a possibility in the future. I mentioned that my insurance will cover up to $2000 in treatment. I have not seen the itemized bill yet for that visit but I know it is $3870 from my credit card statement. He had ultrasound-guided intra-articular injections of corticosteroids. Chances are that they will not be covered but fingers crossed. I’m guessing they were quite pricey. He is also on muscle relaxers for 15 days. His physical therapy will be lunging on a Pessoa System for 5 times a week for 30 days. He is pictured in the Pessoa. It will help him build up his back and use the correct muscles. While trying to compensate for the pain in his neck he has most likely caused the condition in back and sacroiliac joint. I was told it would be most ideal if his injury started in the neck then the back. His recovery would have a better chance of success. The Pessoa system should put him back in line and give some relief. He will also have chiropractic, focal shockwave therapy and pulsed electromagnetic therapy which is what he has had in the past from Debra and she will do his future treatments when they start. These are all ‘will have’ things and are not a part of the $3870 which is very close to the $4000 max on my insurance. In the end, my $450 out of pocket estimate could realistically reach $2000. If he needs treatment indefinitely to keep him comfortable it will go far past that. He will have the treatment no matter what. Arrow is not going to be a rescue that needs to be rescued!!
I do want to send a HUGE shout out to Dr. Martinelli and Dr. Walker at California Equine Orthopedic and Dr. Sandler who will be following his care in the field!! Arrow’s bone scan was done in a hospital setting. He obviously had to be hauled there so that will be on my next boarding bill. I’m guessing it will be between $75-$100 but could be more since it required 2 trips down to San Marcos, CA. Are you starting to see where I failed myself in my initial estimate??? This is why if my blog has even saved 1 person from ‘pocket book heartbreak’, it was worth it! I’m not looking for anyone to feel sorry for me and my predicament; I’m just telling it like it is!
I’m so blessed that I have Chloe as my trainer. Without her, I don’t think Arrow would have been properly diagnosed and my poor boy would have continued to be in pain. She is working with me on the Pessoa System to make sure I have it down before she turns me loose without her supervision. I thought I had the ‘hooking it up’ part down but when I tried to do it myself, I couldn’t even get past untangling it. Once I got it on him with Chloe’s help, we had a good lunging session. Right now he walks and trots in the round pen in both directions for a total of 15 minutes. Arrow is going to have the best care I can provide for him. That’s going to require me learning to do as much as I can myself. This will not only help my finances, it will also make our bond as a team even stronger!
Arrow continues to get in everyone’s business who sits on the logs next to his pasture to watch lessons. He rubs his muzzle all over their head and necks. He is starting to get a reputation around Kingsway as being a Very friendly horse. With humans that is. Horses are another matter! There he has the reputation of being a jerk. He does make it difficult for other owners to get their horses if he is with them. He is a big attention hog!
I hope everyone had a Fabulous Holiday and that 2018 is a great year for all!!