Come to find out...Moon was an easy fix!
Any guesses as to what these nasty little buggers are?...
Okay, okay...no sense making 2 posts about it....
I had a couple of friends watch Moon move while I was warming him up and after watching him for about 10 minutes, both of them came to the same conclusion.
Moon probably had either a troublesome 'bean' or a bladder or kidney infection.
It just took a fresh set (actually 2 sets) of eyes and people with no preconceived notion about what the problem might be.
All three of the big beans were hard, but two of them felt like rocks they were so hard. I couldn't even squish the center of them with my fingers.
The girls recommended I have a vet clean Moon out, but I've never had any problems cleaning him myself, so I just grabbed some mineral oil and a bucket of warm water and had him cleaned up in less than 10 minutes.
I'm quite amazed that Moon had accumulated so much and that two of those balls got so rock hard. I just cleaned everyone in March and I regularly clean everyone's sheaths with plain water when I am bathing them. I don't dig around for a bean every time I go groping around in there, but a couple of times a year, I make sure to clean the head. None of my geldings need to be aced for me to do it.
On Sunday, I went through the entire herd. Within an hour, 5 geldings had been cleaned. Turk had a single, soft bean...interestingly enough it was completely white. Spooks had a huge bean, about the size of the end of my pinky, but it was soft. Bugs, who is the most prone to getting a swelled up looking sheath, barely had anything. Frosty had 2 kidney bean sized, but soft beans and Jet, had nada.
To be on the safe side, I am going to try to catch a urine sample from Moon and have it tested for infections, but I am leaning toward the problem being those rock hard beans. I had not noticed Moon having difficulty urinating, nor did I notice anything strange about his stream, but they say a bean that presses against the right spot can make a horse sore in the loin and hips, imitating a kidney infection.
Kidney and bladder infections are fairly rare in horses...but when the girls mentioned a possible kidney infection, I got to thinking...
About the time that Moon popped his back out, I had started him on an additional feed called PowerGlo. The heat was zapping his energy and I hated to up his oats intake even more. PowerGlo is a high-fat, concentrated feed with vitamins, minerals,and probiotics designed specifically for barrel horses and high performance horses. It's entirely possible that it was too much of a load for his kidneys.
Did Moon hurt his back?
Yes, I do believe he did. The run he had right before he turned up lame was right before I had shoes put on him, I knew he was stabbing his hind toes and as bad luck would have it, that night the arena we ran in had shallow, hard ground. I'm confident that is when he popped his back out.
But even the chiro was stumped as to why he was still so reactive in his back the last time he saw him. He said he was not out and couldn't feel any damage to the muscle. So we figured he just needed some time off.
I couldn't keep feeding Moon that high-powered feed if he wasn't running or being ridden because in just a couple of days he started climbing the walls. So I kept his oats level where it was at and stopped feeding the PowerGlo. For the next week, Moon would be fine one day and reactive the next. This last week, he had no reaction in his loin muscle...
But he still did not seem himself....
When I knew I was going to start running him again, I started adding a bit of the PowerGlo to his feed again and worked him back up to 2lbs a day again. And Boom...As soon as I hauled him, he was sore over the loins again.
I've pulled the PowerGlo from his feed again, however won't know if it was the feed or the beans that caused the loin soreness. I'm going to give Moon this week, with no PowerGlo and see how he does. Cleaning those rock-hard beans out should help and might have been the only reason he was sore.
When I get a couple of weeks when I don't have to run him, I'll try the PowerGlo and see if he gets tender in the kidney area again. If he doesn't then it was the beans. If he does then it was the feed and I'll dump it from my program. The urine tests will tell me if there is an actual infection.
As of this morning, Moon is bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. No soreness and all hesitation in his movement is gone.
Ooohhh...And lest I forget to mention....As soon as I cleaned Moon out at the barrel race, I gave him 2 grams of Bute. Yup...There I am again...Buting my horse so I can compete on him. LOL...
Nawwww...the old, retired veterinarian (husband of one of the barrel racers) that was there told me I probably should give him a couple of grams to help calm any residual inflammation before running him. By then the horse had been massaged to within an inch of his life and wasn't reactive over the loin anymore...
It was mostly just a better safe than sorry precaution. LMAO...It ended up being unnecessary because we didn't get much of a run in after all. ;-)