The vet came out for spring shots. In addition to the usual coggins and shots, Nakai also received a body examination, mouth exam, and eye exam. There’s a fecal in there somewhere as well, but I do those every year regardless. I’m just waiting for the next person over my house to ask why I have noted to “gather poop balls for Jess” written on the calendar.
I felt the need for a baseline mostly because I don’t know what to expect in old horse aging. Nakai compounds this mystery as up until now he hasn’t had any of the issues that normally plague older horses. He’s very healthy for his age (27), and the vet still can’t believe he’s cushings free.
He hasn’t had an ERU flare up for over 2 1/2 years now, and while his eyeball is continually shrinking (and looking more pointy) it’s not causing any issues. He has two ancient splints on the inside of his fronts, but otherwise his legs are clean.
Amazingly, he still has all of his teeth, although some of them are nearly worn down completely. He’s beginning to have a minor issue chewing all of his hay (my BO noticed him dropping some), so I’m now supplementing with soaked alfalfa/timothy cubes.
The most interesting discovery was that Nakai has a heart murmur! Over the course of our endurance training I thought I heard something odd when listening to his heart, but nobody had confirmed one way or another what it was. It’s never bothered him, and the vet confirmed that it’s not hindering him in any way. Sometimes murmurs show up in older horses and I have no way of knowing if this is something he’s had his entire life or is a later onset.
In summary: Nakai’s old but not broken, and despite wanting to see a little more weight gain the vet told me he looks good for his age.
While I know he’s old, I don’t think of him as “old”, and it’s a bit of a system shock each time someone says it. I automatically get defensive, the Mama-Bear in me wanting to hulk smash the person next person who flippantly comments on his roaning facial hair.
In the same breath, my gallows humor and morbid “what happens after my horse dies” questions are somehow inappropriate. I deal with sucky subjects by way of humor, but I also have to be realistic. Hopefully I won’t have to cross this bridge for years, but knowledge helps me feel more secure. I can plan. Kinda. We all know the Universe is rather whimsical.
And I’d rather a minute too early than a second too late.