Friday, October 05, 2007

Lutine's Bobo Jambes

Bobo Jambes are 'sore legs' in French. Lutine started with a little 50p size patch of what I thought was 'mud fever' - a common type of dermatitis associated with wet or muddy conditions - by the end of winter on her white front foreleg and a couple of little crusty bits on her white hind leg. It seemed to be responding well to home treatment of antiseptic washes and Sudocrem. Then, a bit bizarrely, as soon as the warm weather arrived and the ground dried up, her hind leg blew up suddenly, to the point where serum was oozing through the skin. At the time the vet was duly called and she was given antibiotics, anti inflammatories and a diuretic. That took the worst of the problem down but it didn't go away. A couple of weeks later I called the vet back and this time was given topical antibiotic and steroid lotion. I must have used that for 5 or 6 weeks and again, the problem diminished but never really went away.

During the summer, there were a few weeks where I didn't do much to it and the condition stayed fairly quiet. Then I tried another popular remedy that didn't require water and antiseptic washing to lift off the scabs, thinking the washing had been the problem. Immediately that the scabs came off, the legs started swelling again and revealed angry, red skin underneath. I covered this with zinc oxide cream and it seemed that keeping the sun off the sore bits helped. But I resolved to call the vet back at this was clearly an ongoing thing now and not mud fever.

There's a condition called pastern leukocytoclastic vasculitis (PLV), which is a form of autoimmune disease and it also has the same symptoms as mud fever, is exacerbated by sunlight, associated with the pink skinned areas on horses and also reacts badly to other treatment. I figured this was a possibility but wanted the vet to have a look anyway. The traditional treatment for this condition is oral steroids, which basically suppress the immune system and stop the scabs appearing but steroids are powerful drugs that can cause other problems in horses, not least laminitis. I was keen to avoid steroids if possible. I'd rather Lutine have scabby legs than laminitis.

Anyway, the vet came and spent quite a while checking Lutine's acupoints on the two affected legs. Then we had a discussion. He said even if we took samples and biopsies to look for bacteria and fungus etc, we'd probably find something but they wouldn't be the cause of the problem. I mentioned the PLV and he said 'for sure, this is part of the whole picture of autoimmune issues with this horse. Yes, we could give it a grand diagnosis and called it an autoimmune this and a photosensitivity that but at the end of the day, conventional medicine can't cure it. It can only deal with the symptoms on these long standing chronic issues'.
Then he pointed out some other stuff that I'd seen but not noticed, if you catch my drift. The scabs run in lines along the meridians in Lutine's legs and the vet confirmed that the associated acupuncture points were also reactive (front leg on left, hind on right).

Now the weird thing with this vet is that he's really shy about coming forwards about the acupuncture. I thought I'd better just ask him outright if he thought a course of acupuncture would be helpful and he said he thought so and then started waffling about 'but it will need several sessions, but we'll see how it evolves in deciding how many sessions and how close together they should be' And finally, I was able to pin him down to coming back on Wednesday next week to start a course of acupuncture for Lutine.
I do think that all these outward signs are just manifestations of this core systemic, chronic ill health she's had. Fingers crossed that the acupuncture helps.


Blogger Muriel said...

Poor Lutine. I am sorry for her legs. Linda just did a lymphangitis. It was not the first time, after three days, she was over it.

Steroids are not very good for laminitis, better leave them alone.
One of school horses ended with a laminitis grade one, because he had been extensively treated with steroid for another problem.

Is your vet from Toulouse? is he accupuncturiste, then?
Maybe he does not want to come, because he thinks it is a "waste of time". Have you asked him, what he would do if Lutine was his horse?
You may get a better idea of what he REALLy thinks !
P.S. French Blogger is a pain in the *rse, I have to type a "word verification".
Paranoid French ...

9:22 PM  
Blogger Lulu's friend said...

Hi Muriel,

He's my local vet from just down the road but he's really 'shy' about the alternative therapies he does. I mean, there's no mention of them in the clinic when you go in there and he's also a 'man of few words'. He does believe in the acupuncture though and thought it would be the only thing that might possibly help and he doesn't seem the type to write Lutine off simply because she may never be fully fit again.

But the question about what he would do if it was his horse is a very good one! I just don't want him to turn round and say 'ah I would have put her down ages ago' because that would really cheese me off! (Actually, I think if he really thought she was that bad, he would just tell me straight).

Glad to hear that Linda is doing OK after her bobo jambes too.

3:31 PM  

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