Horse health care: can a cockroach backed horse be fixed?
Oh yes, it is truly the time of joy, of giving thanks and giving gifts. This year I got to choose my own Christmas present: a baby Hughie from a horse named Moose.
To make a long story short, Moose (now called Fezzywig) is a 16.2-handed Holsteiner warm-blooded horse, a 3-year-old gelding, who developed a cockroach on his back. I asked about it earlier in the year, when it was up for sale rather than up for adoption, and I let it slide.
Then he was available for adoption, his former owner couldn’t help him with his roach back, and I had to take him. I think I can help him, I recovered and everything.
Case Study: Moose (aka Fezzywig), the Horse with a Cockroach Back
So Fezzywig is a gentle giant with a giant hump on his lower back. The hump on his back is quite significant, although it does not seem to interfere with his gait, solidity, or movements. Other than that, it appears that he has no other health problems or vices.
Based on my conversation with his former owner, I believe he developed this cockroach as a result of jumping out of a six foot high round pen. He probably suffered some injury after that jump, and I think his cockroach back developed as a result of that injury and subsequent internal adhesions.
Fezzywig’s bump, or prickly back, is not at all tender, even when you feel the area with firm pressure. However, it is tender on its flanks and abdomen. His last rib is very close to his pelvis on both sides of his body, and I think this is caused by the cockroach on his back. In addition, his abdomen is very distended and tense, which leads me to think that when he jumped out of the corral, perhaps he tore some muscles and ligaments in his belly, causing his internal organs to “fall out”. This, in turn, puts pressure on your abdomen, causing it to sag down and bring your pelvis closer to your last rib. Therefore, it brushed again.
Fezzywig Horse Health Care Treatment Plan
In terms of caring for the horse’s health, my goal with Fezzywigis to release its internal adhesions, lift its belly, and move its pelvis back, thus relieving the cockroach on its back. I also intend to free his withers, which is lower than his rear and a little bandaged. To that end, I do network chiropractic sessions for him once a week and Bowen sessions (also called Equine Touch) two or three times a week. I am lucky to have learned these techniques as I could not pay a vet to work with him so often!
Fezzywig responds very quickly and well to bodywork, although it is sensitive and often gets out of my hands. When he walks away from me, he says, “Enough is enough. I need to process this change.” Lick, chew, and yawn frequently during these sessions, which are signs that your body is processing the changes.
In terms of diet, Fezzywig is getting my regulation “horse goo” made from mangosteen juice, blue-green algae, probiotics, and enzymes. You also get additional enzymes to help flush out the toxins generated by the released adhesions, and a special herbal supplement to help you get back into this “healing” parasympathetic nervous system. So far, you are not very interested in the sticky substance, but you are willing enough to eat it.
The vet’s report
I reached out to Dr. Madalyn Ward, a renowned holistic horse veterinarian and osteopath, and she feels Fezzywig can get back to being healthy, although she may never completely lose that “cockroach” look. That is fine by me. There are tons of roach horses that lead a useful working life, and I think Fezzywig can definitely be helped in that direction.
I have not yet assessed Fezzywig’s horse personality type on the Horse Harmony Test website, but I plan to do so as soon as I get to know him a little better. This will help me better assess how to restore his health, what to feed him, and how best to manage his care. You may want to visit the Horse Harmony Test website, along with Dr. Ward’s other horse health care websites, which are Holistic Horsekeeping and Horse Harmony.