Loving Cherokee

| 9/7/2016 3:08:00 PM

Gina McKnightIn July of last year, Cherokee, my prize Curly-Quarter Horse cross gelding, developed a bony growth on his cheek. The lump seemed to come overnight. I look my horses over daily and make sure they are in great condition, so the bony growth was unexpected.

Cherokee, summer 2015

That same summer, Cherokee, who always had a semi-wooly coat — an inherent characteristic of the Curly breed — grew a coat that was so thick I had to trim him twice within six weeks. I knew something was wrong.

By August, Cherokee was experiencing breathing problems and would stay in the barn all day, over the water tank. Fans did not help. Hosing and soothing him with cool water did not help. Cutting his double mane that flowed to his chest did not help. Cherokee was miserable.

I immediately called my veterinarian, Dr. Abfall. The blood test for Cushing’s Disease came back negative, but Cherokee continued to show all the symptoms; lethargy, heavy coat, and respiratory distress. My veterinarian prescribed medication. The medicine helped a little, but Cherokee was just not himself. When the bony growth appeared, my vet said to call Dr. Jeff Reiswig, DVM, one of the top equine dentist’s in Ohio.

The first time Dr. Reiswig came to my barn, he brought his experienced assistant and a veterinarian intern from Ohio State University. The three looked Cherokee over and, after thorough probing, Dr. Reiswig diagnosed Cherokee with equine periodontal disease, another symptom of Cushing’s Disease.