Friday, February 26, 2016

Why Surgery

Spoiler Alert: The surgery is already done. I shipped Boca up to Tufts Large Animal Hospital a week ago. I checked him in on Thursday 2/18 and surgery was performed Friday morning 2/19. Dr. Garcia called me at noon to tell me the surgery had gone beautifully and that Boca was a ROCKSTAR (his words, not mine).

Originally, the plan had been to snip the interspinous ligaments (if you want the technical term, it is a "surgical transection, or desmotomy, of the interspinous ligaments) and shave down the overriding dorsal spinal processes. However, once Dr. Garcia performed the desmotomy, the dorsal spinal processes opened up "beautifully" (again, his words not mine) and it was decided that shaving down the bone was not necessary.

7 Days Post-Surgery
I left Boca at Tufts for 2 nights and picked him up on Sunday. I could have taken him home on Saturday, but I opted for an additional 24 hours of medical supervision. For an extra $90, I decided having to make an emergency vet call on the weekend was something I wanted to avoid.

So, why surgery? When it was presented to me as an option, I didn't even hestiate. I had no reservations whatsoever.

While some horses can be comfortably managed with a combination of correct exercise, injections and medication, Boca is not one of them. In my initial consult with Dr, Garcia, it was very reassuring to hear that he was impressed with the measures Dr. C and I had taken in managing Boca to this point. Dr. Garcia said that if we had not done everything that we had, he would have recommended we try it before opting to have the surgery. That was nice to hear, as it made me feel like I hadn't wasted a year of our lives.

Without surgery, Boca is not capable of having even a low-level career without discomfort. There aren't a lot of options out there for an 11 year old horse that is limited to W/T.

Here is a video of Boca, post-injections, with a pro-ride. Out of 4 different pro-riders, this is the most successful out of the 4. Believe it or not, the others were a lot worse.


In an area of the country where land is at a premium, retiring and supporting an 11 year old horse is not a realistic option for me.

When presented with an option of a minimally invasive surgery, done standing without general anesthesia, one with a 95% success rate that is performed by one of the most experienced surgeons in the country, one that cost only $1,800 and that gives an 11 year old horse the option to have a pain-free, useful low-level career with a loving owner...
well, I'll take it.

15 comments:

  1. I'm so glad it went well! Given everything that you've been through with him and the prognosis from here and the type of procedure, I'd say this was a no-brainer. You should be really proud of yourself for seeing this through to the end and getting to the bottom of what was going on with him. Yay for Boca!

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  2. I think you made the right decision, and obviously you do too. Wishing him a speedy recovery!

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  3. I'm so happy you are blogging again! I'm loving catching up :D Sounds like you made a great choice for Boca. I'm excited to see how he goes post-surgery.

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  4. Yay! So glad everything went well :D

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  5. Major props to you for being diligent, creative, and intuitive with this stuff. You walked through all the obvious answers, did your homework, and made great decisions. Boca is so lucky to have you. :-)

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  6. I so agree and I'm glad the surgery went well. I can't wait to see how happy Boca is as he returns to work.

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  7. Yay! Very glad the surgery went well and that he's recovering. :)

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  8. i'm so glad to hear he came through so well and that the doctor was so pleased both with his prospects for recovery, but also the care you have been taking of the horse up to this point. you must be so relieved!!!

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  9. Great news!! I hope you get your wonderful riding horse back now!

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  10. YES!! This is all so so so good to hear. That $1800 sounds like a bargain to me.

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  11. Dang good price on the surgery. That's almost what my dogs ACL tear cost. Cheers to a quick recovery!

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  12. No doubt the right decision for Boca. Sending healing vibes and looking forward to seeing his improvement after his recovery. <3

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  13. Great news! Glad to hear that the surgery went so well. Looking forward to hearing how well his recovery and return to work goes.

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  14. I am so glad you are blogging again and so glad to read that Boca is doing great! It will be so exciting to move forward knowing he is now comfortable and will be able to work again! Wishing him a speedy recovery :-)

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  15. Just getting caught up. I'm so happy you finally got a definitive diagnoses (seems so elusive with horses sometimes) and were able to get him the surgery!! I'm glad he's doing well and I'm so happy he will be able to have a pain free life now. :D Do the vets know what causes kissing spines? Was he injured previously?

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