This past week Haakon has changed so I called the vet to come and check him over.

Symptoms:  He is lying down a lot, he won’t get up for silage (Daisy had to fetch him the other day), he looks tucked up, has stopped arguing and he is not himself.

Since yesterday, Haakon is living round the house with his bestie, Iacs, and the chickens.

So the vet arrived this morning.  She said Haakon presented with no clinical symptoms but appeared stiff on his hind legs after a flexion test.

She took blood and mentioned that he had “a beautiful jugular” as well as “excellent caecal flush in each of the four quadrants” (so proud, sniff).

She also mentioned that my horse was very well behaved which cheered me hugelys.Haakon failed his original buying vetting when he arrived in Shetland 22 years ago because he “couldn’t stay on four feet”.  A plus – he has improved! (more proud, sniff).

We talked for a while about possible diagnoses and treatment.  Bone spavin is very common in the Icelandic horse breed and that is what I am thinking it could be.  The farrier, when he took off Haakon’s shoes yesterday, also mentioned this possibility based on his gait when he walked out of the shed.

So Haakon has started twice daily oral analgesia.

Iacs had a smidgen of food and then had to be held back.

This afternoon, the sun was shining and everyone was lying down.

The blood results are back now – all normal, so the way forward is two weeks of painkillers,  regulated exercise (put shoes back on as he can’t manage without) and then discuss.  If Haakon is not responding to the regular analgesia then x-rays and maybe a referral to an equine specialist.

Basically, Haakon has to live forever.  He knows this because I have told him again and again.

Although we don’t have a diagnosis of spavin, it is a horrid possibility.  An x-ray may confirm this, though.

Whatever, the pain has to be under control and Haakon has to be happy and when he stops blagging for carrots, then I will know what to do.

Meanwhile, I am trying very hard not to over-think this.

18 thoughts on “Haakon

  1. Sam

    As hard as it is to wait for results, we have to. Do what ever it takes to distract yourself. You have done everything right for this boy – don’t doubt that for an instant. We will keep healing thoughts flowing your way for your handsomest boy. Don’t over think!

  2. Joe Boyd

    Frances, my heart hurts, and I’m sure yours does too.
    My wife of 65 years gave me this poem when she entered a long-term care facility seven months ago:

    When I come to the end of the road,
    And the sun has set for me,
    I want no rites in a gloom-filled room.
    Why cry for a soul set free?

    Miss me a little, but not too long,
    And not with your head bowed low.
    Remember the love that we once shed.
    Miss me, but let me go!

  3. Janet ainsworth

    Frances …Haakon is a strong spirited chap..he has told you in his own way that he’s not himself ..and now you and the vet have a care plan in action..your lad has the best of care…the other best medicine is of course love …and you are giving him that in abundance…surprising what an effect it can have xxx

  4. Judith Garbutt

    Good that the blood tests were normal – I wondered about the possibility of Cushings disease when I read your first few comments. Bone spavins are relatively common in the dressage horse world and are generally managed with steroid injections. They of course carry the risk of triggering laminitis which you definitely don’t want! As Haakon is no longer a competition horse, he could just continue on painkillers to keep him comfortable and mobile and a friend’s horse has stayed sound for years with Cartrophen injections – might be worth asking your vet if they might be suitable for Haakon if it does turn out to e a spavin problem.. Lots of people swear by various supplements, despite there being little scientific evidence of effectiveness. The most popular ones seem to be Cortaflex and Supplaze Gold. I do hope he comes right quickly – another friend lost her horse just before Christmas – he was an unbelievable 38 years old!! (PS – hope this is not too much information – just my immediate reaction. x)

    1. Frances Post author

      Thank you. All helpful and informative. Vets up here don’t like injections. He would have to go south for them. If he needs,we will go.

  5. diane in northern wis

    Praying that it won’t be anything too serious with your sweet Haakon. Sounds like you’re getting good ideas from everybody. I’m glad you told him he has to live forever. I’m sure he’ll listen to you Frances!

  6. Louise Stopford

    Do hope that Haakon feels better very soon (and you too). It is hard not to over think when we treasure our animals and they are part of our family. One step at a time – I know that you will do everything in your power to make sure your handsome lad is well again. That poem had me in tears as well – what lovely words.

  7. Cathy

    I think they tell you when they need help, but even spavin is not the end of the world. My old boy will be 31 in April. He has good days and not so good days, but bring a vet on the yard, and he makes it quite clear he’s not going anywhere! He had a lovely silly canter with his friend last week, and is his usual cheeky self. We take each day as it comes, but he has earned his happy pampered retirement even though his medication is costing me a small fortune!

  8. Cathy

    The old boy has arthritic changes in his neck so he has 1Danilon and two scoops of Equisolone daily. At this dosage his mild ataxia is controlled and he is comfortable.
    I have one with hock spavins, and he is coping without medication, still ridden carefully and regularly, and just has a joint supplement….. Aviform Progen. Some days I could do an elementary test, other days he is a bit stiff but we just work him gently through it. He is definitely better ridden three times a week, and when he is kept warm! One hock has been surgically fused, and the other has so far not got any worse.

  9. Terri

    Lovely poem, sniff. Haakon has the best owner possible—and he wants you to be immortal too! A friend’s 22-yr-old horse recovered from a very bad case of laminitis last year (it was touch-and-go). He has fully recovered, but she’s decided never to ride him again. He can continue to live (in retirement) with her with his 2 offspring. Hoping for a quick and total recovery for Haakon!


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