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View Full Version : Joint injections & ankle chips from racing?



chism
Oct. 12, 2007, 05:02 PM
I have a 7 year old OTTB that I adopted through CANTER about two years ago. I did not vet him. He's a wonderful horse, and other than the usual TB dings & scrapes, and a slightly weak stifle, he's been pretty sound. In the last 6 months or so he's developed a bunch of white hairs in small dime size patches on one of his ankles, as well as a little bump on the front of his ankle. There's no heat, swelling or lameness. I'm wondering if the white patches are related to injections, similar to injuries (saddle rubs come to mind) where the hair grows back in white. I haven't had the vet look at it yet, but I also wonder what an ankle chip presents like. Any thoughts?

miss_critic
Oct. 12, 2007, 05:29 PM
My horse gets joint injections and there are definately no marks.

Swelling and lameness are signs of a problem.

Laurierace
Oct. 12, 2007, 05:41 PM
Definitely nothing to do with bone chips or injections.

Texarkana
Oct. 12, 2007, 09:02 PM
I agree that I've never seen white hairs grow back from injections. Nor would a bump develop post-injections.

It's possible it could be scarring from some sort of firing. Believe it or not, people still fire injuries.

How do ankle chips present? The horse comes up lame, lol. :lol: Ok, that's not always completely true. But the front of an ankle is a pretty bizarre location for a chip to calcify. Usually they are within the joint.

My first guess for the bump is that he might have had a slightly green osselet when you got him that has ossified over time.

Acertainsmile
Oct. 12, 2007, 09:05 PM
Just wondering what was there for two years before the white hair?

Simkie
Oct. 12, 2007, 11:15 PM
I've sent two OTTBs to surgery for ankle chips, and have not seen what you describe as a result of surgery, chips or injections. I HAVE seen white hairs pop up due to wrapping incorrectly (mare left in wet standing wrap after FREAK rainstorm popped a few white spots on the leg. Don't even get me started about the BO who left her in the wet wrap :rolleyes:)

chism
Oct. 12, 2007, 11:29 PM
The two things may be completely unrelated. The bump is within the last 2 weeks, the spots the last few months or so. The leg was completely chestnut previously. It is an enigma.

Thanks for your replies.

DMK
Oct. 15, 2007, 09:14 PM
I'd also say white hairs on the front of ankles may be a bad bandage job, or bandages left on too long. I've also seen those sort of marking on narcoleptic horses - they buckle and land on their ankles then wake up before they fall - leaves some nasty rubs. And while there are true narcoleptics, most are related to a lack of true REM sleep. A horse only gets REM sleep when he lays down. They don't need much REM sleep, but f they don't lay down, they don't get any. I can see where a long yearling bought in from the fields into a high pressure training situation might not be comfortable laying down right off the bat.

But I'd put my money on a bad bandage job.

Acertainsmile
Oct. 15, 2007, 10:04 PM
I was stabled in a barn with a terrible pigeon problem... one of my fillies and my pony ended up with white spots on them... during the afternoon they got pooped on... and it bleached their coats... however, they both are normal now, after two yrs of shedding out. Who knew?

chism
Jan. 24, 2008, 06:03 PM
Had the vet xray his ankle today, he's having an issue on his RH that concerns me (luckily it's no big deal), so I figured while I had the vet out, I'd have him xray the front. He's has not been lame at all, but was lame (1 1/2 out of 5) after flexions. The vet called it both a chip & an osselet, it's not free floating, it appears to be attached to the bone at the bottom but it looks like a spur on the front of the joint. He said that as long as he's sound, he would leave it alone. So..now I'm off to research ankle chips. Feel free to share your stories. TIA

SEPowell
Jan. 27, 2008, 11:48 AM
I've seen many ottb's with the white patches and active sores about the size of a dime that are the result of joint injections. I imagine that those active sores heal as the dime sized white patches you're describing. Luckily for you your guy is still sound, many that I've seen in this condition have little or no flexion left in their ankles and are very lame. I know that joint injections, if carefully used, can have a positive impact on a horse, but I've seen so much abuse resulting from joint injections that I've reached the point I wish racing would not allow horses who need this to run.

Laurierace
Jan. 27, 2008, 12:46 PM
I've seen many ottb's with the white patches and active sores about the size of a dime that are the result of joint injections. I imagine that those active sores heal as the dime sized white patches you're describing. Luckily for you your guy is still sound, many that I've seen in this condition have little or no flexion left in their ankles and are very lame. I know that joint injections, if carefully used, can have a positive impact on a horse, but I've seen so much abuse resulting from joint injections that I've reached the point I wish racing would not allow horses who need this to run.

I need you to explain that one to me. How is sticking a very tiny needle into a joint going to leave a white patch or a sore the size of a dime? I don't tap (inject) very often but when I have there has never been even a needle mark visible, let alone a wound. I had one horse come in from another barn whose routine is to tap every joint for every race. This horse had been in that barn for 3 years so Lord only knows how many times he was tapped. He didn't have a single sore or white patch on him.
If I had to guess, what you are seeing is the results of where the horse hit himself during a race or training. That can leave white hairs and sores that are difficult to heal because they reopen them frequently.
I think that upper level show horses are the most injected animals on the planet, by this logic they should all look like appaloosas with white spots everywhere.

Calamber
Jan. 27, 2008, 01:12 PM
Tapping a joint is certainly different from injections (tapping releases fluid from the joint), you may also inject a joint with a variety of "products". I am horrified of,and have seen the end results in surgery from the tapping, and from injecting with steroids. Needless to say, bone on bone with no joint fluid left to speak of and serious arthritic deterioration. I would not, however, assume that the injections caused the white spots but it is certainly possible for these sites to become infected if they are done under less than sanitary conditions. This is not a usual occurrence and certainly not every horse that is either injected or tapped will have the telltale white spots unfortunately.

chism
Jan. 27, 2008, 06:01 PM
I have no "dog" in the current discussion about injections and sores. I understand that these sorts of things happen all the time, racing is a business, people's livelihoods depend on their horse's ability to perform. Just for clarification though...these multiple white hair spots grew in about 9 months after I bought the horse, there were no sores, and there have been no injections of any sort while he's been with me.
What I think probably happened is that there had been some sort of injection(s) and/or tapping while he was at the track, it appeared to resolve the issue, then while he was here he did something to exacerbate it & that's when the lump appeared.

SEPowell
Jan. 27, 2008, 07:15 PM
If I had to guess, what you are seeing is the results of where the horse hit himself during a race or training.

No, I'm referring to injecting the joint. Some horses are injected in the same spot repeatedly, creating a tiny round sore. I see sores like this at New Holland often, unfortunately. And as Calamber said, the end result is bone on bone and crippled horses. I think the reason you've never seen this is because you don't inject or tap yours often and I seriously doubt you hit the same spot again and again when you do.

I'm not sure these sores cause white spots and it doesn't sound like this is what happened to the OP's horse.

vineyridge
Jan. 27, 2008, 08:21 PM
An injection of some sort of venom, perhaps? That stuff is nasty.

Cone snail or cobra--either would be possible at a track.

Laurierace
Jan. 27, 2008, 08:45 PM
No, I'm referring to injecting the joint. Some horses are injected in the same spot repeatedly, creating a tiny round sore. I see sores like this at New Holland often, unfortunately. And as Calamber said, the end result is bone on bone and crippled horses. I think the reason you've never seen this is because you don't inject or tap yours often and I seriously doubt you hit the same spot again and again when you do.

I'm not sure these sores cause white spots and it doesn't sound like this is what happened to the OP's horse.

Well I have been rescuing from New Holland and elsewhere as long as I have been training and that is a new one on me. I have seen some nasty stuff, I have seen horses who had no cartilidge left because they were not managed properly and were bone on bone, but none with sores or white spots in areas that are normally tapped. I just don't see how that could happen, even if you tapped virtually every day I dont think you would get sores the size of a dime.

Calamber
Jan. 27, 2008, 08:50 PM
It does not need to be solely steroid to cause the problems. In the racing industry, the use of steroids in joint injections is still par for the course, not many people want to spend the money for Legends or Adequan.

Acertainsmile
Jan. 27, 2008, 09:25 PM
I just have to ask again...

Just wondering what was there for two years before the white hair?

chism
Jan. 28, 2008, 08:00 AM
I just have to ask again...

Just wondering what was there for two years before the white hair?

Sorry if I missed that question the first time. ;)

Nothing...no lameness, no bump, no white hair, just a regular chestnut ankle & pastern. I've had the horse for 2 years and I would say the white spots started appearing sometime around a year after he'd been off the track.