As you may remember, Riv turned up lame in February. After a month of treating what appeared to be the problem only to have something else turn up. I bit the bullet and took him to Cornell. But there was a whole month of stuff that happened before we went.
Since there was a lot that happened leading up to Cornell and it was confusing, I knew I'd be flustered when we got there and didn't want to forget things. So the day before we went to Cornell, I typed up a timeline. I used Facebook, the blog, and texts to my vet to put everything together so I knew I had it right.
This is what I ended up with:
When we got to Cornell and had him settled in a stall, the vet student came by to get a history. She started asking questions with her pen poised to take notes. I was like, oh, hang on, I've got it all right here! And pulled out the printed timeline for her. She looks at it, ready to ask me questions, and then kind of does a double-take. "Oh. Oh, this is perfect!"February
17 Monday – Longed him, thought he might look a little off
18 Tuesday – Longed, sent video to Dr. My Vet, she saw unsoundness
20 Thursday – Dr. My Vet examined, pain and swelling at top of lateral splint bone on right foreleg. Off at the trot, but very willing to move. Started standing wrapsLast day of turnout
22 Saturday – Extremely lame
23 Sunday – Extremely lame and unhappy, reluctant to move. Dr. My Vet examined. Hoof block, xrays, and ultrasound showed nothing. Only finding was continued pain and swelling at top of lateral splint bone.Start bute 1g BID, add DMSO under wrap on right foreleg.
25 Tuesday – Lameness slightly improved, picked up left front foot willingly
26 Wednesday – Attitude better, slightly more lame, reluctant to pick up left front and had trouble holding it upStop DMSO, reduce bute to 1g QD (PM)
27 Thursday – Farrier came, did not trim feet, checked right front for abscess, found nothing
7 Friday – Much more comfortable, still lame, not as bad
10 Monday – Doing okay, still lame, but bright and perky
14 Friday – Still lame, sent video of him walking to Dr. My Vet
15 Saturday – Dr. My Vet examined him, no longer painful over splint bone, seems to have problem with his shoulder. Viewed from front, right shoulder is noticably different/bigger than left shoulder. Dr. My Vet concerned there is more going on than we had thought, discussed Cornell, decided to pursue
17 Monday – Appointment made with CornellLast dose of bute
Later, when the vets are examining him, one vet is asking the other for some history, and the other vet find my timeline and hands it over. First vet is like "wow, this is great!"
Judging by the surprise it received, I imagine most people don't prepare a history or timeline in advance. Which is too bad... it's easier for everyone if you put together all the important information ahead of time when you're not stressed or worried or rushed. That way you don't forget anything and you can put the information in a clear, easy-to-read way.
I can guarantee that, had I not prepared ahead of time, the history taking would have consisted of "uhhh... um, I think it was the 18th. No, wait, maybe it was the 20th... it was a Tuesday. Hang on, let me check to see if I texted my vet... oh, no, it was Sunday the 23rd. No, no, he never got any bute at all. Crap! Wait, yes, he did get bute! I think he got it for like a week or two?" And then I would have started crying from the stress.
So if you ever take your horse to a clinic/hospital or even have a new vet out for a problem that's been going on for a while, take some time and write down dates and important information. It'll make it easier on everyone, and the less time spent trying to figure out the history, the more time can be spent figuring out what's wrong with your horse.