Wednesday, June 13, 2012

What goes up, *must* come down...and back up again.

I have been a blogging delinquent, mainly because things have been a touch busy and a bit blue.

It started with that questionable Anaplasmosis diagnosis last week, which of course was coupled to many literature searches, extensive emails written and read and a great deal of scrutiny in general.

In between that, I had a busy weekend away from home as little baby N was born and I was out on the farm helping out. Monday I found myself heading home in the late afternoon and dragged my 2007 Honda Accord in for its routine oil change. No biggie, though we're approaching 100,000 km mark.

"Routine" is starting to be a curse word to me.

My "Routine" Heartworm test on the dog led to a potentially debilitating and expensive disease diagnosis. So why wouldn't my "Routine" oil change not lead to a $5,100 "required maintenance" quote??

Cause it did.

Yes, I expected that $1100 for new tires. Yes, yes. And probably that wheel alignment. It was the bushings, the ball joints, the transmission fluid, the brake fluid, the power steering fluid, the timing belt, the spark plugs....all THAT stuff I was unprepared for.

: (


So I headed into the week with a bad disease verdict on the dog, a bad prognosis on the car and a dissapearing bank account. Of course, all of this *right* after I clicked "submit" on my order for the remainder of the horse trailer lights.

And was making plans to pick up those new stall mats.

There was Tuesday, crashing around me. The vet wasn't returning my calls, he didn't want to cover a retest, he was admit that we needed $500 in diagnostic services, the yearly vehicle insurance bill showed up highlighting my crappy car and that horse trailer I was paying to register but not hauling and currently not making progress towards hauling as I won't be able to cover the final repair costs nor even the extra fuel to haul it.

Tuesday also came with a farrier bill, a reminder that I needed to buy another bag of horse feed for next month, and a moment where I (gladly) thought my car would be written off by a rather large deer.

NOT how we want to go into summer.

Oh, and there was that fun talk with W I would have to have, to let her know that lessons would be temporarily suspended. And show season would end when it had just begun.

Tuesday ended on a better note. W cheered me up as only a really superb coach can, and I have to admit "coach" and "friend" are becoming close synonyms. I hesitate to say it aloud, but I'm sure the blogging world will keep it a secret... ; )

Tuesday was also an awesome night when every gal from the barn was out, and there's something special about that. Even H brough baby N and dear sweet M along, and I got to meet my new little "nephew". : )

I jumped my first oxer.


I know. I say that in passing, like it's no big deal. It is.

It started rough. I left our old grid up and turned it to two x-rails. Moon had zero impulsion and pretty much fell atop the last jump. H2 in her hunter wisdom coached us, telling us to get our eyes up and our leg on. I still fondly recall her saying "Well, he'll remember *that*" after we smashed atop the rails. : ) Something about her militant guidance, the "This is a fact. Now do it" just seems to work for us in that situation. Of course, worked too well and somehow my dear boy headed into the trot poles at a canter.

Whoops, too much impulsion!

We came around again. And made it over.

We kept stepping it up, and while it wasn't perfect (good golly, does having an audience, even if they're not watching make me nervous!!! Reminds me of my early dressage days, which funny, I don't feel nearly as nervous now. Dressage is all focus...jumping is my new freak-out!).

Eventually I turned the last vertical into a little 18" high, 18" wide oxer. And we jumped it!!!

And continued to trot around the corner instead of stopping and me cheering like a dufous.

Okay, I still cheered. And rode around with my hands held out to the sides while gloating very uncermoniously and not AT ALL modestly.

Terrible, terrible me. But I was just SOOO proud to have done that with Moon that I guess I was riding a little high. : P A girl needs to enjoy it once in a while. To hell with modesty! This pony rocks!!

After all that and a good toe trim?? I went home and the BF helped me install all the marker lights on my trailer!!! And I got the door handle on on Monday!

So Tuesday ended pretty well.


Today was our last lesson day for awhile and I was a little blue. I *did* manage to get ahold of the vet and AMAZINGLY convinced him to pay for our retest...on one condition.

He only agreed IF it came up negative. If it was positive, I'd have to pay for it. So I agreed and went home to get my dog.

When I arrived at the clinic, they wanted to take her to the back room to test her. Nuhuh. Not happening. I'm coming too. If I have to collect the blood myself (I could and I would). I watched the whole thing (did SNAP tests as a summer intern at a clinic YEARS ago), and even went so far as to time it on my cell phone.

Yes, I'm nuts like that.

I wasn't sure how it'd turn out. It really could go either way. She did have a lot of tick exposure...

So we waited. And I watched. Obsessively.

At 8 minutes, we read it. Negative.

The vet continues to stare. "See that faint blue mark?" he asks. "I think that's the weak positive we were seeing."

I pick up the test. I hold it up really close to my face. Tilt it to the light. Squint a little. There's a tiny very, very, very pale blue mark on the upper left side of the center dot. The anaplasmosis dot.

Now, not to sound cocky, but a BLUE DOT appears if it's positive. Not a tiny pale, pale blue speck. That's no positive. And surprise, the BF had spoken with our Provincial Parasitologist on the very thing, and he too said a positive is a clear positive. There's no "weak" signals in these tests.

My opinion on the blue speck?

The very upper left side of the SNAP test is the Control Positive. It's made to always bind and light as a blue spot when the test is performed correctly. Then there's the middle dot for anaplasmosis, and 3 dots below that along the bottom of the screen for Heartworm, Trichenella or something and something else.

So, as time passes, the little "binding proteins" or whatever they are drift down the test strip, since the whole thing works in a wicking action (it wicks the blood down across the screeen and in contact with these little "test spots"). So what we're seeing, is the positive control bleeding into the anaplasmosis spot after 8 minutes and binding with the proteins there. NOT anaplasmosis antigen binding. THIS is why only a blue speck appeared at the 8 minute mark, and it was the side closest to the positive control. It's ALSO why if you wait long enough, the whole center dot would become faintly blue. BLEEDING of the positive control.

But I'm no scientist.

The vet looked at me when I said "It's negative". He stared some more at the test and we wound up with a second bet...

CBC/Chem profile.

Elevated white blood cell count would mean she's fighting an infection. So he did a "complimentary" one (which would be at my cost if it failed). This is where they check the "quality" of the blood for lack of a layman's term. So white blood cell counts, red blood cell counts, electrolyte balances, etc.

It was nice of him, but I very sincerely believe he was hoping that *any* increase in WBC (white blood cell count) could be used to support his "weak positive" theory on the SNAP test. The CBC/Chems from my recollection are not particularly expensive to perform. The REAL expense for those is the very expensive, very technical, very fancy machine that does all the processing. And its maintance. THAT is what you're paying for.

Guess what?

It was 0.7 under the normal range. So essentially, normal. And since it'd been a week since her last +ve test, it should be elevating, not so low.

The vet conceeded that I could call it negative, and sent me away with a copy of her Chem profile printout and no charges.

It was a good betting day.


After that it was a "routine" dental cleaning and check-up. I was worried. Everything "routine" wasn't working out, but was today the turning point??

Surprise, cavity-free! And even better?? They had already ordered me a fresh set of invisalign retainers! Mmmm...nothing like clean teeth and clean retainers! (p.s. HIGHLY recommend invisalign for any adults thinking of getting braces).

Anything else work out?? There was that $8 Honda shop manual I bought that turned out to be a genuine service manual that the maintance guys use at Honda. With GREAT descriptions. By 3 pm I had potentially saved $150 on simple maintance products! I bought my own cabin air filters (1 screw to replace), engine filter, transmission fluid...

: )

Then it was off to the barn for my lesson.

Got there in time to groom and tack. Moon rode like a dream. He's REALLY starting to learn to round and work over his back. I was THRILLED. His head is coming down. He's maintaining contact. He's moving SOOO much better. His trot work and walk-trot upward and downward transitions are phenomenal. I'm loving it!!! He's sooo smooth. So refined!

At one point, W had us start half-pass (okay, pretend to half-pass)!!!! : O Say what?! And trot extension! WHAT?! And haunches-fore!! WWHHHHAAAATTT?! And then she said "You need these things to school piaffe". WWWHHHHAAA *boom*  (that was my head exploding by-the-way).

And we even practiced canter.

It sucked. But we did it! ; )

I'm LOVING my boy. He drives me crazy, but he's sooo awesome. Oxers and Half-Pass in two days! I AM the world's luckiest girl.  : )


  1. Thankfully, "Coach" and "friend" is not nearly as dangerous as "boss" and "friend." Take my word for it.

  2. Yay on the dog, yay on the teeth cleaning, yay on the lessons. I have a Honda too, albeit younger than yours. Changing your own air filters is simple and saves you so much money. I hope that manual comes in handy! I try to get things fixed/replaced on my schedule, i.e. before its due so they don't all come do at once!

  3. I love the spin on this post! Negatives to Positives :) My hubby has saved us thousands over the past few years by doing a lot of repairs on our vehicles - if he does not know how to replace or repair something, he looks it up on the internet. Many times he has found instructional videos that take you thru it step by step. Sure beats those repair quotes!!

  4. I'm glad a few things have worked out in your favor... especially no cavities at the dentist! I just had a crown put in today and life is not so good. Hopefully you'll be able to pick up lessons again soon. It sounds like you and Moon are making tons of progress!