Before I get into my case study notes, I wanted to say that I'm very excited to have my first ever very own horse transport! I've been wanting to get a truck and trailer for a long time now because it gets tiresome having to rely on my friends to haul my horses around (I'm sure it's tiresome for them too!). But it's just not been in our budget to buy both those things. Yesterday my husband and I went out to look at a horse van and although I - in my impulsive way - wanted to buy it even before the test drive - my husband shockingly also liked it! There are many upsides to a horse van for me instead of a truck and trailer. For one thing it will be a smoother ride for my horses and the learning curve to driving one is much much smaller. I did a test drive yesterday with the seller and my husband and other than almost going in a ditch on one sharp turn off Vashon Highway, I handled her well and felt very comfortable driving her after I got the hang of it. She's a stick shift so I'm the only one in the family who knows how to drive a stick so I'll be the only one driving, but I'm ok with that. Her name is Rosie and the seller (who is going above and beyond) is doing some pre-sale repairs and a full maintenance check before she turns her over to me. So, I will be tootling around the island with her in a couple weeks!
Now, on to Jasper Junior (or JJ as is his nickname). I went out for his first massage last Tuesday and unfortunately, a lot of things have been happening the last week that I had to deal with immediately so I didn't have time right away to make my first blog post. First of all, JJ is just about the sweetest guy out there, and so are his friends who were practically right up on top of me the first part of his massage, apparently, wanting to get some of that great back rub action. We ended up having to lock them out of JJ's pen so that I could focus completely on him and not bump into other mules (literally) ever time I turned around!
This session was mostly a get-to-know-you session for both him and I. He'd never had any bodywork before so it was a chance to introduce him to what that entails and that it is a nice thing, not a thing one needs to be afraid of or on guard against. It was also a chance for me to palpate all around and see if I could feel what is going on with him. It really made me wish that I had a device to look under the skin and see exactly what is going on under there. Like just lifting the skin and seeing everything exactly as it is. But then that would be too easy and where would be the fun in investigation, right? (or at least that's what I'm going to keep telling myself :)
The big thing I noticed that I will investigate further is that he has a very hard lump about two inches in diameter just below his Ischial Tuberosity. His owner, Dick, said he believes it is scar tissue and I think that is probably an accurate assessment although I couldn't say for sure without veterinarian diagnostics. Upon initial palpation, the lump felt like bone, and I wondered if it could be his Greater Trochanter, but it doesn't seem like it is in quite the right place to be, and it did start to "melt" a little bit under my hand, which leads me to believe is it some sort of soft/connective tissue.
Here's a photo as best I could get of that spot on his hip. It is on the right side where he has so much muscle atrophy. I'm not sure how well you can see it but it is right below the Ischial Tuberosity which is fairly well visible because of the muscle atrophy.
What's interesting is that for range of motion (ROM) on the right leg, JJ walked very stiffly and looks like he is having a lot of trouble bending at the stifle and hock on both legs, But passive ROM on the right leg showed that it was completely within normal limits. My education has told me that if passive ROM is within normal limits and active ROM (when he is moving it himself) is not within normal limits, there is a good chance the problem is soft tissue. Which is good news because that is something I can address over time.
For treatment on Tuesday I mostly just did strokes to increase circulation and in the area where he had the most atrophy I used a light tapotement (tapping) to help increase circulation and stimulate the muscles. I also worked a little bit on his supraspinous ligament around T14 through T-16 and got an enormous release from him with lots of yawning and stretching and farting. And I worked out a Stress Point in his Longissimus Dorsi at approximately T18. JJ was pretty relaxed and happy after the first session and followed me to the gate after it was over (along with all his friends after I opened up the pen again!)