PDA

View Full Version : horse shopping, continued: this is harder than I thought it would be



MelanieC
Sep. 17, 2010, 11:25 PM
It seemed so simple -- I started looking for a horse, fell in love with the second one I sat on, went on to look at several more and then went back to see the one I liked a second time to be sure. He was even cooler than the first time I rode him. Fun to ride, beautiful to look at, the right age, the right price range, STELLAR temperament and coolest personality ever. I was (am) in love with this horse.

Today was the PPE. He failed. OCD of the left stifle.

For some reason the idea of getting back out there and looking again is much harder than I thought it would be. I went from "I want a horse" to "I want THIS horse." It seems like none of them will be as cool as this guy is (he is VERY cool). On top of that I am now worried about what will become of this horse, to the extent that I have even considered taking him anyway and having the surgery done, even though I know this is a very stupid idea.

I guess now I understand why horse shopping sucks sometimes. I am much more upset about this than I thought I would be. Any advice?

Hampton Bay
Sep. 17, 2010, 11:46 PM
I was thinking about you the other day and wondering how the PPE went. I didn't know that the horse was having soundness issues though. Or was the OCD just not causing any issues for him?

Give it time. My friend who is looking for something similar, but other side of the country, has been to look at a bunch of horses and has yet to find one she really likes. She's actually driving 4 hours tomorrow to look at one that I found, whose sire and dam I know. That's how little of interest she has found closer to home.

atlatl
Sep. 17, 2010, 11:53 PM
Hang in there; it took me 2 years of looking to find Mr. Right. Be patient and don't settle.

Petstorejunkie
Sep. 17, 2010, 11:55 PM
do you loff him?
is he the pone for you?
are you willing to sacrifice some of your goals for him?
then ask for his price to reflect the PPE findings and buy him.
if he's sound outside of the PPE, and you know the issue is likely fixable, what's the issue?

(yes yes yes, too many sound horses with stellar performance to settle on one that failed a PPE, yes, I hear you. so what)

MelanieC
Sep. 18, 2010, 12:27 AM
do you loff him?
is he the pone for you?
are you willing to sacrifice some of your goals for him?
then ask for his price to reflect the PPE findings and buy him.
if he's sound outside of the PPE, and you know the issue is likely fixable, what's the issue?

Answers to questions:

Do I loff him? Yes.

Is he the pony for me? I thought so!

Goals? My goals are not ambitious. I am not looking for a Grand Prix mount. I am looking for a maybe second third level mount. But I am looking for a horse to ride dressage with and also plan to keep the horse I buy for the rest of its life. I was planning on riding 4-5 days a week. I do want to do a lot of cross training but the odds that I'll give up dressage to pick up trail riding are slim to none. If I could have more than one horse or had acreage of my own I'd be totally into taking the chance, but I can only have one and I'll be boarding.

He is totally sound outside of the PPE at 8yo. I am half inclined to take my chances, but the vet (who is of very excellent repute) was not optimistic about his potential as a dressage horse and recommended that he be a pleasure/trail horse even with surgery.

Has anyone here ever had a horse with OCD that (a) never bothered it, even without treatment or (b) was cured with treatment? I know that OCD is eminently fixable in dogs, but am reading conflicting info regarding OCD in horses.

islgrl
Sep. 18, 2010, 06:17 AM
I bought a young horse with an OCD in the RF fetlock. Had it removed before I even brought him home. He was sound before the surgery and sound after. Never an issue. DOn't know anything about stifle OCD's BUT, would err on the side of taking the vets advice if he desn't think the horse can do the work he probably can't. My vet said the OCD could come out and would cause no problems so I went ahead.

spotnnotfarm
Sep. 18, 2010, 06:32 AM
I understand how you feel but I would follow the vets advice unless you hange your goals to trail rider with a little dressage. I have a horse with stifle issues and it is a never ending battle. To much work makes him sore, to little makes him sore. Now, I adore my horse and will never sell him, but, never again will I buy a horse with stifle issues. It is a lot of work and trouble to keep them comfortable. I do not ride dressage but am training him in ranch versitility and I am not sure how competitive he will be.

The results of the PPE may be a sign that your dream horse is still out there.

siegi b.
Sep. 18, 2010, 07:35 AM
I know a horse that had OCD in both stifles, had surgery and is now competing at PSG.

There is OCD and then there is OCD. The surgery to remove OCD is done arthroscopically, which means there is very little trauma. So if the horse was sound before the surgery, chances are he will be sound afterwards.

If you have the digital x-ray then take them to a vet school/university for a second opinion. Show them to somebody who reads x-rays for a living and knows what he's looking at.

I recently vetted out a horse and there were "changes" in the hock that were immediately labeled OCD. In the vet's defense, she insisted on showing them to a doctor at a nearby teaching hospital. The result?
No problem, just a little deformity in the cartilage that will never cause any problems.

There's OCD and then there's OCD. :)

cherham
Sep. 18, 2010, 07:57 AM
I think the advice given about about getting a second opinion is an excellent one. A vet clinic or hospital with an in house radiologist that specializes in reading radiographs is absolutely your best bet. And perhaps best to take the horse to the clinic and use the most up do date equipment available (not the regular mobile units) that your usual farm vet's use. Then make your final decision.

GreyStreet
Sep. 18, 2010, 08:12 AM
I feel for you. I owned my gelding for five years - did have a PPE done and he was totally sound, but did not take baseline x-rays. In hindsight, I should have, but I don't regret not doing them. We were a team and he was an excellent and patient teacher for me - at the time I bought him, I knew absolutely nothing about dressage and he was more of an all-around horse. But he certainly taught me a lot about horsemanship and how patient and forgiving these animals are.

We did eventually find our way to dressage and combined training. We were going very well together and finally making progress, and my goal was to compete him at beginner novice and debut at first level. We'd been having some issues prior to our last show together and at the last show, he was so resistant bending right, I was nearly in tears before my test. I spent many weeks waffling back and forth between whether this was a physical issue or a training issue - it was just something insidious that appeared to creep up and manifest itself in the form of resistance. He was not off, and I remember he kicked ass around the jumper ring that day. But after the show the resistance continued and x-rays did reveal OCD - the OCD had been there for maybe years but one thing or another (nothing the vet could pinpoint) had caused the bone fragments to begin to irritate him and become inflamed and painful.

If I hadn't known my horse so well, I would have probably continued thinking it was a training issue - but something just wasn't right. That's the main risk I feel that you'd be facing. It's a gamble - my horse and I made it a few years without any issues and suddenly were facing an iffy prognosis for his future soundness. He is now with his new owner, fat and semi retired as a trail horse.

If you have clearly defined goals and would not be happy restructuring them to accommodate the horse should problems with the OCD flare up, then I would personally keep searching. There is absolutely nothing wrong with adhering to your goals - hopefully the seller will take into account the results from this PPE and market the horse accordingly.

If, though, you have fallen in love with the horse and are willing to work with the OCD issues should they ever occur - and they might not - then go for it. Reason is a vital human quality but when we really love something, we're able to adjust our own needs/desires to accommodate it.

siegi b.
Sep. 18, 2010, 08:53 AM
The trick is to remove the "chip(s)" before they cause problems....

So yes, I'm always for x-rays but OCD doesn't necessarily scare me away.

Petstorejunkie
Sep. 18, 2010, 09:21 AM
He is totally sound outside of the PPE at 8yo. I am half inclined to take my chances, but the vet (who is of very excellent repute) was not optimistic about his potential as a dressage horse and recommended that he be a pleasure/trail horse even with surgery.
I would get clarification on his/her interpretation of "Dressage Horse" and I'd get a second opinion. If they are really good digital rads, you can probably email them to a few vets who will be happy to give an opinion for a small fee.

Perfect Pony
Sep. 18, 2010, 10:33 AM
First, I am so sorry! I have looked at 25++ horses over the last 5 months. I hate it. I am driving 2 hours each way today to look at more horses, have one on trial, and am going to see a pony for a second time tomorrow. Hate, hate, hate horse shopping.

I have A LOT of experience with stifle OCD unfortunately. After my experiences stifle OCD would not scare me in a horse that is sound with xrays that show 1) the OCD chip is on a non-weight baring surface and 2) There is no current damage to the joint. My mare had a very large chip in her stifle, on the medial trochlear ridge. She had the surgery for it when she was 7 years old and I have 100% faith that had she not also had neurological issues we would be schooling 2nd level right now. She had the surgery at UC Davis and even with her weird complications she was wonderful to ride within 8 months of her surgery, the joint looked great. Her problem was the fact that she continues to drag her foot on that leg because of the neuro problem :(

Anyway, I agree with the posters who recommend if you really love this horse have the xrays evaluated by a radiologist and a good surgeon. Do not take any "local vets" word for it when it comes to OCD. Once I dealt with OCD I met so many people that have dealt with it, more than 80% of horses go back to full work and many reach the top of the sport.

If the radiologist/surgeon feel like this is operable, will the owners reduce his price significantly enough to make it worth your while?

MelanieC
Sep. 18, 2010, 10:54 AM
I would get clarification on his/her interpretation of "Dressage Horse" and I'd get a second opinion. If they are really good digital rads, you can probably email them to a few vets who will be happy to give an opinion for a small fee.

The vet is sending the images to a surgeon for a second opinion of his own volition, so I am a little bit hopeful. But, the vet who conducted the PPE specializes in sports medicine and diagnosing/treating lameness so I am afraid his opinion may still hold. The exam was very thorough and was conducted at the hospital. The horse passed the physical exam, flexions, gait observations with flying colors, not a hint of lameness.

The vet spent a lot of time getting extra images of the stifle from multiple angles (which he did not charge me for), hoping to be able to give me better news because this is such a nice horse and he liked the horse a lot. But in the end he sadly told me in exactly as many words not to buy the horse.

My husband, surprisingly (because he is not a horse person -- at all), is actually open to the idea of taking the horse on and getting him fixed, if it is possible, if the owners will give him to us. The surgery is not as expensive as I thought, but from what I understand the recovery can be quite long.

If I knew the horse would be all right if I don't get him I would be less worried, but the owners just really want to get rid of him at this point and I doubt they'll put any resources into fixing him. And then what? There are an awful lot of "pleasure/trail" horses for sale (or free) out there right now and people aren't buying.

2tempe
Sep. 18, 2010, 01:44 PM
I sympathize with your situation. I vetted a horse last March, same gut feeling that he was the one for me. Flex test on the last of the 4 legs - moved off a little uneven. Vet felt "squishiness" - a new medical term! - in that stifle. Did xrays. Saw OCD lesion in stifle. At another vet look at it - confirmed OCD lesion.
Two things they told me - actually 3.
Its not a question of IF it will be a problem, the question is WHEN. (now its true that "when" could be 10 years from now...)
If you go through w/ this do surgery sooner rather than later.
Stifle surgery does not have as high a success rate as other areas.
In my case I opted to walk away, though could have negotiated price. Couple months later, found a beautiful mare that is probably more talented, a bit older and further along. Done deal.

lizathenag
Sep. 18, 2010, 02:06 PM
horses don't read xrays.
just saying. . .

Couture TB
Sep. 18, 2010, 02:12 PM
A friend and I bought a horse that he turned out to have OCD in one hock. Did the surgery , which was $1,200 and he was good to go. He was never lame on that leg, was just a little bogy. The vets said he was good to go for any sport as it was a small lesion and he had never been lame on it.

Donella
Sep. 18, 2010, 03:22 PM
There is OCD and then there is OCD. The surgery to remove OCD is done arthroscopically, which means there is very little trauma. So if the horse was sound before the surgery, chances are he will be sound afterwards.

If you have the digital x-ray then take them to a vet school/university for a second opinion. Show them to somebody who reads x-rays for a living and knows what he's looking at.

I agree totally. If the horse is 8 years old and in full work and totally sound then I would explore have the OCD removed. Clearly it hasn't hindered him so far. Especially if we are talking about a horse that you have no FEI ambitions for.

And believe me, it is really hard to find a completely, perfectly sound horse with 100 percent perfect xrays. So many people see something small and run far, far away even if the horse is totally sound in it's work. I am not sure that is always the most logical thing to do. Especially if this horse is awesome in every other way.

Good luck!

ps..you could take 10 of the worlds best vets and I would bet you will get more than one answer/opinion.

siegi b.
Sep. 18, 2010, 03:40 PM
Quote by 2tempe ... "Its not a question of IF it will be a problem, the question is WHEN. (now its true that "when" could be 10 years from now...)

The above is only true IF the OCD occurs within a joint - lots of irregularities that are now labeled OCD aren't anywhere near a joint.

MelanieC
Sep. 18, 2010, 03:50 PM
Thanks for all the advice. You guys are awesome.

Unfortunately the major OCD lesion is pretty large and on the lateral condylar ridge. The horse was being ridden regularly all summer (hacking, schooling in basic equitation type stuff) but it has been a while since he was regularly in training for anything so I don't know that I would say he was in full work.

I'm waiting on the second opinion and also to find out what the owners are planning to do with him now. I'll keep everyone posted.

Bronte
Sep. 18, 2010, 05:13 PM
There is OCD and then there is OCD. The surgery to remove OCD is done arthroscopically, which means there is very little trauma. So if the horse was sound before the surgery, chances are he will be sound afterwards.

If you have the digital x-ray then take them to a vet school/university for a second opinion. Show them to somebody who reads x-rays for a living and knows what he's looking at.

I agree totally. If the horse is 8 years old and in full work and totally sound then I would explore have the OCD removed. Clearly it hasn't hindered him so far. Especially if we are talking about a horse that you have no FEI ambitions for.

And believe me, it is really hard to find a completely, perfectly sound horse with 100 percent perfect xrays. So many people see something small and run far, far away even if the horse is totally sound in it's work. I am not sure that is always the most logical thing to do. Especially if this horse is awesome in every other way.

Good luck!

ps..you could take 10 of the worlds best vets and I would bet you will get more than one answer/opinion.

I so agree with these statements. I also have concerns about a vet that passes and fails a vet check. Their job is to explain findings. OCD not in a joint, is very straight forward. (I have such a horse, 9 yrs, in high 60's at Advanced, becoming very confirmed GP). Chip removed buy sellers, at age 4 yrs (in Germany), full Xrays and disclosure, did not bother me for a moment.
Has always been a very very sound horse, not even on supplements. If I was the seller, I would just do it ~ but then the price would not change. OCD in the Joint, different. I am sorry to say that I often think that the reason people get so frustrated looking for a horse, is because they think there is a perfect one out there ~ and some vets feed this idea...:yes:

hluing
Sep. 18, 2010, 06:26 PM
Good point. No perfect horse. Many, many buyers think there are though. The worst horse buying expereince I have had involved in depth PPE. First horse was neuro in 3 months (and in retrospectr showed symptoms in PPE vet attributed to being a WB). 2nd horse was dead in 3 months with splenic cancer. Best horse I ever bought was a 125 y/o FEI schoolmaster with no PPE. Go figure.

Bogie
Sep. 18, 2010, 06:45 PM
I've certainly been there, done that. Found a horse I loved, had it on trial for a week. Loved it more. Vet found a poorly healed coffin bone fracture and told me he couldn't recommend the horse for eventing.

I passed on the horse and I believe it stayed sound in the jumper ring.

BUT -- I've never regretted passing on that horse because I had tremendous confidence in the vet (who has an international reputation as a lameness vet). He felt there was a chance the horse wouldn't be safe because of the elevated chance of re-injury. This vet knew me and understood the demands I would put on the horse.

SO -- a lot depends on the vet and your relationship with him/her. I had the PPE done by my own vet in his clinic. It's much harder if you are dealing with an unknown horse and and unknown vet. I've heard a lot of stories of vets being either over cautious over things that never became a problem . . . and those who missed issues that became significant!

I kissed a lot of frogs before I found the horse I ultimately bought. There are no perfect horses but you have to be comfortable with the potential issues that each one brings to the table.

Horse shopping is a PIA. You just have to decide what level of risk you can live with.

Good luck!

MelanieC
Sep. 18, 2010, 08:48 PM
I so agree with these statements. I also have concerns about a vet that passes and fails a vet check. Their job is to explain findings. OCD not in a joint, is very straight forward.

In defense of the vet, the "pass/fail" terminology was mine and not his. The exam was very thorough and he explained everything as he went in some detail, as I have expertise in human anatomy and at least know what the names of all the bones are, if not exactly how they are shaped and what they do in horses as opposed to people. He told me that he could not recommend that I buy the horse for the purpose I intended to use the horse for, which is dressage, although he felt that the horse would be perfectly suitable for pleasure riding after surgery.

I'm not looking for a perfect horse, especially not in my price range. I have no problem with minor issues that will probably never affect long-term function (or at least not until the horse is quite aged) and normal wear and tear. If the OCD is fixable and has a good prognosis, then I am very motivated to make this work because I do love the horse.

thatsnotme
Sep. 19, 2010, 01:06 PM
I sold a 6 yo mare back in 1990 with OCD lesions on both hocks. Obviously she big time failed the PPE, I took 3500 off the purchase price for the people that had fallen in love with her so they could have the surgery done when she eventually went lame and needed it. (She was 100% sound and had been showing and working hard, both novice eventing and A circuit jumpers). I am still in contact with the people who have her (same people). She is now 26 years old, has taken 3 kids from don't know how to ride through the A circuit childrens divisions. Done the Foxfield summer camp every year from 1990-2000. She is now retired, but still 100% sound! Never had a lame step, never had the surgery. They have had her checked and the lesions are still there, haven't changed, grown, etc over the years.
Just saying...

NoDQhere
Sep. 19, 2010, 04:16 PM
I think there are many horses (before digital x-rays) that have lived long, productive, sound lives with OCD.

2tempe
Sep. 19, 2010, 05:17 PM
If it were me, there would be a little voice questioning why this horse wasn't in a training program... but that aside, I thought you might be interested in the study done here: http://www.equineortho.colostate.edu/questions/ocd.htm

you are the only one who can decide, in the end, but just remember that if you let your heart rule, you may need to be ready to rearrange your personal goals.

NightMare
Sep. 19, 2010, 05:19 PM
Hi!

Melanie, this is Laura from Cottage Grove.

I saw a bit about this on FB. I just wanted to let you know that 3 years ago, we passed on the purchase of an extremely talented young dressage prospect because of an OCD lesion found through X-ray during her PPE. She had not been unsound on it at all.

The vet was a very renowned sports-horse vet near PDX. He did not exactly encourage us to buy her, but he was pretty confident that it would not cause a problem. The seller was willing to pay for the surgery AND keep the mare through rehab. We were scared, and didn't buy her.

That horse recovered with no problems and has turned out to be really competitive in her classes in Dressage, with a very high level and demanding trainer.

Two years ago, we found another youngster ... this one was from a breeding farm back east. I don't remember whether you saw her or not when you were around here. She had OCD as a yearling. It was discovered because of a minor swelling and then X-ray, and surgically fixed. We did massive research about her particular situation. The OCD was NOT on a weight bearing surface.

We had the PPE done and the vet (a sports- horse specialist) reported that the surgery was an absolute success. She had no other lesions. She was sound on all lameness tests (was your prospect sound?) The vet did not foresee that this would cause any problems in her future, even if she were to be trained to high levels.

She has been in steady work and has never been lame ... well, not related to that, anyway. She has pretty destructive pawing and has lacerated herself a couple of times.

Just wanted to let you know that it might not be doomed ...

patch work farm
Sep. 19, 2010, 05:41 PM
Did you ask if the OCD was interferring or in a place where it would? I can tell you that I went through a NIGHTMARE with a gelding that I bred. He "failed" a PPE so I took him to an equine hospital near me and didn't tell them a thing, just that he was for sale. They said they "thought" there might be something in there but they were not positive "but since he is for sale". Long story short, he went through surgery-they said later they found nothing and what they saw was not in a place that would have affected his movement. He ended up with 3 infections in his hock during his rehab. He was sound throughout the entire endeavor and now 4 years later he is doing fabulously well. I saw him in a clinic yesterday, you would never know what happened. So, my point is, ask, ask, ask!

MelanieC
Sep. 20, 2010, 11:55 AM
Hi Laura -- yes, I remember your youngster and being terribly jealous when I saw her. :) Good to hear that she had a good outcome with OCD. She sounds like most of the cases in the studies I've looked at so far -- symptomatic young, fixed surgically, no functional consequences. I don't know if OCD findings in an older horse who has never been symptomatic have the same outcomes as I don't think there have been many or any studies of this.

The vet told me that it is impossible to predict "when" but felt based on the rads that the horse would become lame within the next few years and that the odds that his particular case would never bother him were extremely low. He did suggest that the horse receive surgery sooner rather than later.

MelanieC
Sep. 22, 2010, 11:11 PM
I know a horse that had OCD in both stifles, had surgery and is now competing at PSG.

There is OCD and then there is OCD. The surgery to remove OCD is done arthroscopically, which means there is very little trauma. So if the horse was sound before the surgery, chances are he will be sound afterwards.

Hi Siegi -- do you know where the OCD was in the stifles of this horse?

I talked to the PPE vet, who sent the rads on to a surgeon at OSU for a second opinion. I was mistaken, the lesion is on the lateral trochlear ridge, not the lateral condyle. Quite different! The trochlear ridge is not a weight bearing surface. But, it articulates with the patella and if bony remodeling occurs to the patella and the femur that's very bad news. On the x-ray the horse's patella looked clean. The other side looked flawless.

I forgot to mention that there are some minor changes in the horse's hocks but nothing that the PPE vet did not consider normal wear and tear for a horse of that age.

The surgeon actually thought there was no rush to get the horse to surgery as he is currently sound, but thought it was worthwhile to get a scope in there and take a look. I would be of a mind to just go ahead with surgery at the same time while they're poking around in there two avoid dealing with anesthesia twice and all that. The price of the surgery is surprisingly reasonable. It costs more to fix a dog with orthopedic issues! Heck, two of my dogs have had more money's worth of dental work apiece than this surgery would cost.

I had previously been under the impression that OCD was a HUGE red flag for a dressage horse. I am still wondering at the wisdom of buying a horse that I already know could end up unsound for dressage work, but on the other hand all horses are walking time bombs to some extent and maybe it's better to go with the devil you know, especially for a special horse. Yeah, I guess I could end up paying retirement board for this horse for 20 years if he goes lame in the next few, but that could happen with a horse who vetted completely clean.

If the horse's price will reflect the PPE findings then maybe I'm feeling lucky.

Fantastic
Sep. 22, 2010, 11:51 PM
Hi MelanieC

I'm so sorry to see that you found a nice horse, but that he has serious problems. Did the horse have an injury? I am under the impression that if the lesion is on one side, and the other side is clean, then chances are there was an injury. Can someone please correct me if I'm wrong?

I had two horses in my life that had stifle problems. Both had surgery. Neither one was ever 100% right. One ended up aquiring patellar chips and some rough cartilage. The other slipped and fell in a turn out, and was .25 lame. Several general vets couldn't see the lameness that was obvious to me, but my surgeon could and discovered a chip. Other stifle also had cartilage that needed to be cleaned up. He was still .25 lame even after the surgery. About 5 years post surgery, his poor horse was not right again - started bucking when asked for upwards canter transition, and it turns out he had a bone cyst on the condyle end of the non-chipped stifle.

Anyway, I hope to never have to deal with stifle issues in any way, shape, or form again. I would never purposely purchase a horse with a known stifle injury for any amount of money, as there are simply too many sound horses out there. I also would not take one for free.

Unless you have your own farm to retire the horse on, you could potentially be subject to many, many years of supporting a horse that is not even ridable. All of that money of keeping such a horse on your pay roll could be going towards one that if actually functional. In my opinion, if you want to actually ride, why carry such a risk? Life is too short.

Cowgirl
Sep. 23, 2010, 07:30 AM
Another thing to consider is the increased cost of managing a horse with a potential issue.

I have a friend with a four year old mare that has OCD of the stifle. They are watching it for possible surgery. The vet was out on Monday and she was only grade 1 lame this time. So the recommendation was to give her an adequan series and re-xray in the Spring. She gets xrays twice a year; and should be getting adequan series four times a year (but only gets it twice a year).

Char0308
Sep. 23, 2010, 08:19 AM
Why buy known potential for problems? There are soo many horses for sale even in a low budget range. It takes time to find the right one and it can be frustrating shopping and passing on some due to PPE, but having a lame horse or long rehab on a horse is even more frustrating.

I was shopping last year and found two horses I loved who didn't vet out - one due to two different types of heart murmurs on the same horse (one being high grade) and another horse due to bone chips in 3 fetlocks. Both horses are still showing sound at lower levels but likely will be difficult to ever sell and will likely be limited in collected work and may have future soundness issues. But the third horse I found and liked vetted out great for me and I bought him.

Also I have always heard from various trainers and Vets; OCD in the Stifle is much more problematic than fetlocks or hock OCD. Stifles are just a tough area to manage issues compared to other locations.

I would say to just to try and be patient and keep shopping. I know its hard though.

WBLover
Sep. 23, 2010, 09:16 AM
When I was just recently shopping and did the pre-purchase on my horse, I had a limited budget for the PPE. I asked the vet what would be best to x-ray, and she said stifles and hocks for sure. Those are THE MOST IMPORTANT joints for a horse to be used for dressage, so in my book I wanted them CLEAN. (And luckily they were!) But the horse I bought is young and just started, so I really didn't expect there to be anything, except maybe OCD. For an older, trained horse, I would have been okay with some changes relative to it's age and use, as long as it was sound in work without a ton of maintenance.

That being said, I did buy a horse many years ago with OCD in a hock in a weight bearing surface, and he had surgery to have it removed. That hock never caused him one lick of problems. But as others have said, the stifle joint (which if you think about it is like the human knee) is much more complex and can be problematic. Like others have said, there are so many horses out there without problems, why go into it with problems right from the start?

I guess I got lucky in that the first and only horse I tried, and did a PPE on, passed (my words, not the vet)! I could imagine your frustration, especially since you really liked the horse, and invested the money in the PPE only to have to throw it away. But it is cheaper in the long run to have done the PPE and passed on the horse vs. buying it and having years of potential problems.

Bogie
Sep. 23, 2010, 09:21 AM
This.


Why buy known potential for problems? There are soo many horses for sale even in a low budget range. It takes time to find the right one and it can be frustrating shopping and passing on some due to PPE, but having a lame horse or long rehab on a horse is even more frustrating.

I was shopping last year and found two horses I loved who didn't vet out - one due to two different types of heart murmurs on the same horse (one being high grade) and another horse due to bone chips in 3 fetlocks. Both horses are still showing sound at lower levels but likely will be difficult to ever sell and will likely be limited in collected work and may have future soundness issues. But the third horse I found and liked vetted out great for me and I bought him.

Also I have always heard from various trainers and Vets; OCD in the Stifle is much more problematic than fetlocks or hock OCD. Stifles are just a tough area to manage issues compared to other locations.

I would say to just to try and be patient and keep shopping. I know its hard though.

HFSH
Sep. 23, 2010, 09:43 AM
We have to change the idea here in North America that OCD is a death sentence for a riding horse. It is not. More often than not, once identified and removed, the horse goes on to have a completely normal life. You know the adage, "sh*t happens?" Guess what, OCD happens. It's not ideal, it's not wanted, but if it's caught and dealt with, it shouldn't be a big :eek: :eek: :eek:. A lot of horses in europe are routinely xray'd at a young age, OCD identified and removed, and they are subsequently broke out and sold. NBD.

reitgern
Sep. 23, 2010, 10:22 AM
I agree with a lot of the previous comments. In the past I purchased a horse that was diagnosed with an OCD fragment in his hock. The vet thought this was very common in his breed and age. So, I ended up buying the horse for the purchase price minus the cost of surgery. He never missed a beat! However, if your vet is worried about it I would listen. They know much more about the significance of any particular OCD lesion. It could be that not all OCD lesions are created equal.

Perfect Pony
Sep. 23, 2010, 10:36 AM
I was told that The trochlear ridge is the best place for a chip to be. Any chance you can post pictures of your xrays? Is there just one lesion?

It's a risk to be sure, and in your case it well might be the best decision to pass. I just know after my experience, and hearing from and seeing dozens of horses competing successfully either with OCD or post-surgery, it is no longer the scariest thing in the world to me.

If I were presented with a horse that was TRULY sound with a lesion that could be safely removed in a location that was low risk, I would take the chance.

My mare was not sound before surgery or after, but in hindsight it was not because of the OCD!

BUT...if this could cause you serious financial issues down the road, it might not be a good risk for you.

Trevelyan96
Sep. 23, 2010, 11:59 AM
I think you should seriously consider this horse if the seller will adjust the price to reflect the surgery. There are a lot of young sound horses competing today, that will develop issues next year. They're all a crapshoot.

In the end, the most important consideration is that this horse will be your partner. He's a really nice horse that you're already in love with. You're not looking to go GP, so buy him, do the surgery, take him as far as he can go. If he develops issues 7-8 or even 2-3 years down the road, he'll still be a very nice horse with skills that a less competive person would be happy to buy or lease as a schoolmaster.

horsepoor
Sep. 23, 2010, 12:27 PM
Given what I know about this situation, which isn't everything as I haven't sat on the horse and fallen in love, but I would be very reluctant to buy and then do surgery. Is there any way to have the seller take that risk? Do the surgery, and get a clean bill of health prior to you taking it on?

Surgery for anything has risks -- I've had 4 done (tie-back, colic, 2 stifle OCD) and waiting for it to be completed, horse standing on his/her own -- it was terrifying. I've been lucky and the only surgery-caused issue I've had was that first tie-back horse damaged some nerves when they turned her and her face was paralyzed for a time.

Then the last time we had the post-op exam of one of the stifle horses, this gave me pause: watching him lunge with my lameness guru and his two partner vets for the first time after an uneventful surgery, they were all so happy and practically high-fiving one another that he looked sound. I was like "but he was sound before surgery" and they told me, yes, but sometimes after surgery, they aren't. Lovely...I would have rather had that conversation before I sent the horse to surgery.

And that horse? He's the one that within a year of the surgery, was sore again, and no one has figured out exactly why.

Petstorejunkie
Sep. 23, 2010, 02:44 PM
I just want pictures when you bring him home. :D

2tempe
Sep. 23, 2010, 03:01 PM
"The price of the surgery is surprisingly reasonable. It costs more to fix a dog with orthopedic issues! Heck, two of my dogs have had more money's worth of dental work apiece than this surgery would cost."

By OSU, I'm presuming it is Ohio State: Back when living in OH, I had two horses that went down there. One for sinus surgery and the other for a cardiac evaluation/multi day attempt to convert to normal rhythm.(3-4 days ICU) Both times I was surprised at how reasonable their fees are. Also I had very high quality veterinary care and staff who were very good to my horses.

esdressage
Sep. 23, 2010, 03:14 PM
Can you send the x-rays to another vet for a second opinion? If the second has the same prognosis as the first, I would keep looking, as hard as it is to let this horse go (there are still a couple of very special horses who I looked at 10+ years ago who I wonder about to this day).

Unless you have the finances to keep this guy for snuggles and trail rides and buy a second for dressage down the road IF he ends up with soundness issues as the vet predicts, then I wouldn't think it's worth taking on a horse (as wonderful as he may be) who two vets give a poor prognosis for long-term soundness.

Bogie
Sep. 23, 2010, 03:55 PM
Is there any way to have the seller take that risk? Do the surgery, and get a clean bill of health prior to you taking it on?



I looked at a horse once that had a "fixable" issue. My vet at the time said sure, let the current owner fix her and they you can buy her :lol:.

Sandra6500
Sep. 23, 2010, 04:15 PM
I would pass as well. We are not talking about something slightly questionable... We are talking about an OCD lesion with a poor prognosis. As others have said "there is OCD and there is OCD". I would not worry about a horse that had surgery done young, but would worry about an 8 year old. Your vets have seen the x-rays are are not feeling optimistic, so I would run with that.

Having questionably sound horses always sucks. Having something you can pull out of its stall with a reasonable expectation of soundness is worth a lot.

EqTrainer
Sep. 23, 2010, 05:03 PM
Good point. No perfect horse. Many, many buyers think there are though. The worst horse buying expereince I have had involved in depth PPE. First horse was neuro in 3 months (and in retrospectr showed symptoms in PPE vet attributed to being a WB). 2nd horse was dead in 3 months with splenic cancer. Best horse I ever bought was a 125 y/o FEI schoolmaster with no PPE. Go figure.

125 years old?!!!! Do you have pics.!!! :lol:

MelanieC
Sep. 23, 2010, 07:55 PM
Hi all,

Did I mention that you all are awesome?

OSU is Oregon State. The horse is currently practically down the road from OSU right now, but his owners aren't going to want to spend any more money on him. With the market being what it is they already owe a ton of consignment board on him. If they decide to cut their losses and the horse's future is in jeopardy I would have a really hard time just walking away, especially since in a way his predicament is my fault since I'm the one who had to go and ask for a stifle x-ray. And also because he's really cool and deserves a chance.

I am not worried about the costs of treatment (now that I know they are very reasonable) as other resources such as time and space. I don't have a farm and will be boarding, and I definitely don't have the time to split between two horses if it turns out I can't ride this one. I really only want to have one horse. I would still enjoy this horse if I couldn't ride him because he really is like a giant dog (I think he would be very easy to handle and keep occupied during rehab for that reason) but I DO really want to be able to ride the horse I buy. I am not a Pepperoni follower. :)

I can't figure out how I'd post the x-rays. They are on a CD with a program to display them and the image files are not in the normal image formats.

Pony Fixer
Sep. 23, 2010, 08:01 PM
Has anyone here ever had a horse with OCD that (a) never bothered it, even without treatment or (b) was cured with treatment? I know that OCD is eminently fixable in dogs, but am reading conflicting info regarding OCD in horses.

I have not read the whole thread (yet). I bought a horse that was 13, showing 3rd level with OCD in both hocks and both stifles. He had never been lame. I purchased him, rode him one season and was very successful at 3rd. Then I took all the chips out and rehabbed him the 3 months over the winter. He came back sound and I showed him 4th level.

IMHO, I would not buy a young horse, or a horse with no history of hard work that had an OCD. But in a horse that has been working at the level or amount that I anticipated with no past issues is less risky. Still a risk, but a small one. Of course, I paid much less than the going rate for a horse of his quality, even when you factor in the $3K I spent on surgery.

alto
Sep. 24, 2010, 05:09 AM
his owners aren't going to want to spend any more money on him.
This is not your cross to bear so do NOT pick it up - the choices others make in life are their own.


With the market being what it is they already owe a ton of consignment board on him. If
As above - this was a choice the owners made, they could've marketed their own horse & sold him from their own farm.
I am curious though what the history is on this horse? also do the owners have documentation to substantiate their words, eg, vet reports during the time they owned him, show records, trainer references for the horse etc


If they decide to cut their losses and the horse's future is in jeopardy
Then they shouldn't mind reducing the purchase price by the cost of the surgery - after all, the surgery is likely the least of his care costs over the next months while he heals from the surgery, then more months while he's brought back into fitness - there is also the inherent risk of any surgery (much more so with horses than cats/dogs etc), the possibilty that he may be lame post-surgery, the possibilty of complications such that he is off a year rather than a few months ...
I'd get written estimates from the surgeon, the after-care vet (after all there will be vet checks & Xrays to assess recovery), boarding barn (what if you are unable to wrap, change bandages as scheduled or hand walk daily - what will it cost to have the barn staff do these things), fitness rehab (will you be able to do this on your own or will you need a trainer), farrier (will he need special shoes or more frequent trims during his rehab?), massage therapy/chiro during rehab, joint supplements (cost out Recovery etc & injections) & anything else I may've missed
After you do all this, sit down with DH & talk.

Then take this list with you to the current owners & make your offer less the surgery cost! because it really is a generous offer.


his predicament is my fault since I'm the one who had to go and ask for a stifle x-ray
I'd hazard that most serious buyers would've done a PPE & Xrays on this horse - it's unreasonable for a seller to expect to move a horse without a PPE being done: if an owner doesn't want to be surprised, all they need do is have a thorough vet exam & Xrays PRIOR to placing the horse in an expensive consignment barn
BUT I suspect the horse had been out of work for a while prior & not very saleable & the owner lacked time or ability to get the horse going well, hence the decision to market with a consignment barn.


He is totally sound outside of the PPE at 8yo. I am half inclined to take my chances, but the vet (who is of very excellent repute) was not optimistic about his potential as a dressage horse and recommended that he be a pleasure/trail horse even with surgery.

Consider why you hired this vet -if it was for his professional experienced objective opinion, then do not assume that he is unlikely to be correct in his assessment! Yes it would be lovely if he were wrong BUT instead assume his judgement is sound - will you be happy/fulfilled/satisfied changing your goals for this horse? is your current barn suitable for trail-riding? (if not, find a place before making your decision on this horse).

OR would you be able to "rescue" this horse, do the surgery & follow-up care & then find him a wonderful home that has no other aspirations than pleasure use & trails.


The vet is sending the images to a surgeon for a second opinion of his own volition, so I am a little bit hopeful. But, the vet who conducted the PPE specializes in sports medicine and diagnosing/treating lameness so I am afraid his opinion may still hold. The exam was very thorough and was conducted at the hospital. The horse passed the physical exam, flexions, gait observations with flying colors, not a hint of lameness.

The vet spent a lot of time getting extra images of the stifle from multiple angles (which he did not charge me for), hoping to be able to give me better news because this is such a nice horse and he liked the horse a lot. But in the end he sadly told me in exactly as many words not to buy the horse.


When do you expect to hear back from the surgeon?
Have you asked the vet, What If you do get this horse fit & pursue dressage & horse comes up lame, will this likely be correctable with some medical intervention & a return to lower levels of use OR is there a probable risk of permanent damage.


The horse was being ridden regularly all summer (hacking, schooling in basic equitation type stuff) but it has been a while since he was regularly in training for anything so I don't know that I would say he was in full work.

This sounds to me as if the horse is sound when used exactly as the vet recommended ie pleasure/trail horse
There are probably alot more of this type of home so I'm not sure why you feel so strongly that this horse will end up in a bad situation if you do not purchase him.
You might ask the vet to provide a written statement to this effect that you can pass onto the owners so prospective buyers can feel confident that the Xrays findings were really just relevant to your own aspirations as a rider.

My advice: if you really can't imagine living without this horse (nevermind the what if's regarding his future without you - he's managed for 8yrs, he'll manage another 8 :) ), then buy him at a price that reflects his ability as a pleasure/trail horse, have fun doing exactly that with him for the next several months, then decide if you want to do the surgery now or wait for signs of discomfort/lameness: if you decide to wait, then use some of your initial budget/training money for dressage lessons on a nice horse & eventually find a situation where you pursue dressage on someone else's horse (maybe you'll end up half-leasing your nice trail horse or even trading half-time with the owner of a nice dressage horse).

Bogie
Sep. 24, 2010, 07:21 AM
The horse is currently practically down the road from OSU right now, but his owners aren't going to want to spend any more money on him. With the market being what it is they already owe a ton of consignment board on him. If they decide to cut their losses and the horse's future is in jeopardy I would have a really hard time just walking away, especially since in a way his predicament is my fault since I'm the one who had to go and ask for a stifle x-ray. And also because he's really cool and deserves a chance.

Not your problem.

I know that it's sad to find a horse that you like and turn up an issue in the PPE. However, that's why you did it. Maybe with this information the owners will be able to direct the horse to a more suitable home with a job that he can do.

There are a lot of really cool horses out there. Many are already going through auctions. If I had a big farm and lots of space, I know I'd fill it up with rescues. However, since I can afford one horse, I chose one that had the best chance of doing what I want to do.


I am not worried about the costs of treatment (now that I know they are very reasonable) as other resources such as time and space. I don't have a farm and will be boarding, and I definitely don't have the time to split between two horses if it turns out I can't ride this one. I really only want to have one horse. I would still enjoy this horse if I couldn't ride him because he really is like a giant dog (I think he would be very easy to handle and keep occupied during rehab for that reason) but I DO really want to be able to ride the horse I buy. I am not a Pepperoni follower. :)

Every time you purchase a horse you run the risk of acquiring a future lawn ornament. However, in this case you have a better than average probability the horse will not be suitable. If you think the horse is cool, maybe someone else with their own farm will come to the same conclusion and buy him for potential resale.

Remember: a lame or injured horse costs MORE to keep than a sound one.

It's your choice and only you know what you are willing to chance. For all of the "success" stories here, there are lots of people who bought a horse with a potential issue and ended up with a big pet.

I got a "free" horse with a stifle issue from a big racing barn in NJ. He was also sound when I got him and his x-rays were clean. I spoke extensively to the owner's vet and did a complete work up at my vet (who was one of the best lameness vets around). They were optimistic that with time and proper work he would get stronger and stay sound (no OCD). He was NEVER able to sustain more than light work. I ended up giving him away to a home that came with oodles of references who wanted a handsome horse to trail ride and hope that he worked out. I discovered that I was not going to be happy with a coming 5 year old that would never be able to do more than hack lightly. It was a very hard decision to make because by that time I had really bonded with him and I had taken him on as MY responsibility. You don't own this horse yet.

Good luck!

PS - It's very easy to get emotionally swept up in the horse buying process. that's why I don't go to the track any more. The last time i went even my husband (who doesn't particularly like horses) wanted to take one home just because the horse looked like he deserved a better chance.

Pasha
Sep. 24, 2010, 09:57 AM
I completely agree with Bogie. I'm sure that everyone who has shopped for a horse knows the situation you are in after a failed PPE. The emotional component is hard to ignore because our horses are our partners and our friends. It sounds like this guy has great potential to be a friend, it just depends how much you need him to be a partner in your personal goals. Think about it for a while before making a snap decision based on emotion. :)

Perfect Pony
Sep. 24, 2010, 10:50 AM
I just want to say, horse buying is a horrible, emotional roller coaster!

I have had FOUR horses on trial, and I cried when I sent 3 of them back. One I did not cry about because she sent my husband to the ER ;) I sent all of them back because of physical issues. I was very sad about one, because I knew she was not going back to the best situation, but the owner was crazy and she was not a cheap horse (and not 100% sound, but would be returning to full work with someone that would be riding her legs off). I am still sad about the horses I sent back, and I am still very sad about some of the horses I have passed on :(

Shopping is especially hard because many of us really love horses, but we cannot save them all. This horse may be worth it, or maybe not, but I just wanted to let you know that what you are going through is normal. There is no right or wrong answer here, just what is right for you. Good luck.

Give and Take
Sep. 24, 2010, 10:08 PM
Are there earlier x-rays to compare? I have a 4' jumper that was given the OK by the same vet because his odd navicular xrays hadn't changed over 4yrs. I've jumped him for 5 yrs with no lameness.

Also, I sent you a PM...