The vet came out yesterday for Boca. We went over all the issues he has been having.
She pulled bloodwork to test for Lyme Disease, but agreed that the most likely culprit is gastric ulcers.
The tricky part of the equation is that he looks fantastic -
I received the ultimate compliment when the vet said Boca looks better every time she sees him, so I must be doing something right.
He is not ill, does not have any loss of appetite, no colic-like episodes.
In fact, the only indicator is his under saddle behavior, and his change in personality.
Because the symptoms are mild-ish, we decided the best course of action would be to scope him (i.e. perform an endoscopy).
Not everyone chooses to go this route. Many people decide to treat for ulcers without a confirmed diagnosis, and if their horse improves, assume their educated guess was correct. This is a more cost effective way of addressing the issue, especially if your horse is not insured, which Boca is not.
This brings up an interesting side note. I have never looked into insurance for Boca. I assumed, cheap horse don't need no insurance. But this situation may be changing my mind.
Not only is the process of paying out of pocket for an endoscopy expensive, but the actual treatment itself (Gastroguard/Ulcerguard) is astronomically expensive. All told, I am probably looking at $1,500 - $2,000 bill, should this in fact turn out to be Boca's issue.
I'm not going to lie, this week has been tough. I mentioned in an earlier post about some family issues I have been having. The long and short of it is that my dad, who has struggled with alcoholism, has been drinking again. This is a heartbreaking blow to my family. All I can say is that, if you have ever dealt with alcoholism and addiction with a family member or loved one, it is a special kind of hell.
Also, I have had some spectacularly shitty rides on Boca this week. It is no fun riding a horse that is miserable, and I don't want him to associate being ridden with pain or frustration. My plan is to cut back on all riding (maybe just a walk on the trails) until after the endoscopy results.
Lastly, my husband was not exactly "whatever you need for Boca, hon" about this upcoming vet bill, which really bummed me out. It is hard for a non-horse person to wrap their head around the amount we spend on horses. He is supportive, to a point. After which, it just comes across to him as insanity.
I have dwelt this week in anger, frustration and depression, but I am moving on. Boca will be ok, my marriage will be ok. What happens with my dad is out of my hands.
Boca's endoscopy is scheduled for Wed, April 22nd.