View Full Version : Stife injection - now what?

Oct. 1, 2011, 02:52 PM
I have a 9 yo OTTB (no clue on history) that has always been sortof "off" on his right hind leg - it won't reach as far as his left in his trot.
Vet came out yesterday and did full chiropractic assessment/treatment. He was sore/in pain from poll to pelvis. Vet hoped straightening back out would fix the hind le issue and it didn't so we opted for injecting the right stifle with HA.

I know the injection is not going to fix the problem forever but since I've got my horse back in alingment (probably for the first time I've had him which has been 2 years), I want to strengthen the stifles. He's green, out of shape, and with very little muscle. Back in work for the past 2 months with mostly walking and tiny bit of trotting. Any advice? stay away from circles? trotting over caveletti?

Oct. 1, 2011, 05:10 PM
Hills! March them, starting with slight inclines and as he builds strength go steeper and add trot work and patterns and transitions. Also, just go ahead and eliminate high starch feeds from his diet and add fat. When I was first researching pssm w my tb I ran across a statistic that 26% of tbs are suspected to have pssm.

Oct. 1, 2011, 05:54 PM
Sounds similar problem that I had with my TB. Bought him from a girl who was sneaky and just wanted him sold so she left out a great deal of information about him... He injured himself in the field a couple of years ago and put himself in his stall for the next month. That healed, he was completely sound. Took him to a farm with an indoor for a couple of months so I could continue to work him slowly back into work. So nothing bad yet right?

... Well one warm day right around easter the Barn Manager turned all the horses out, well, that is except mine... He is a stall walker to begin with but has been extremely good at this barn and has only done it around feeding time but loves loves lovesss to be outside. He obviously hates to be alone and he was so mad that he spent his time in his stall, not walking, but kicking the back of his stall.... 0_0. when i got there, the BM told me that my 'damn horse has been kicking the back of his stall all day"....

Well gee great, right? I looked in and he was kicking so hard that he took away wood in the back and there were hundreds of dents in the back! He has absoultely no hay and there was no one in his field so he should have been out. As soon as we could, we left that barn. The next time I went to go get on him was where he has been recovering since the accident... I started trotting him around only to find a dead lame horse.

We took him to MD to a reputable equine hospital and got him a lameless exam only to find out the categorized him as "CRIPPLED"... aparently he has a huge bone spur in his stifle, mineral deposit, a divit in his tibia bone, and swelling/arthritis galore... great!!! :( on top of that he probably tore his meniscus. We knew that he had some signs of slight arthritis but it was never ever that bad and he never was lame in his back end, only stiff but worked out of it.

We injected his stifle with all the goods and the vet said that it should last about 6 month min. and we were planning on bringing him there on a routine to keep him feeling well and rideable... well unfortunately it only lasted 1 month and my ex. 3ft hunter will now officially become my babysitter for my new weanling.

The point I am trying to make is to make sure you get it checked out and maybe even have a second opinion taken as well. I did all the chiropractic work when i first purchased him, with the exact same results of your horse and I wish I just sucked it up and got the lameness exam done wayyyyy long ago. I dont know if his accident and trama made him like this or if it was a combination of both accident and the issue in the stall or if he was like that when i purchased him...and Its left me with questions upon questions on what to do.

I wish you the best of luck and I hope your guy gets better. I wish i could go back to when the problems started happneing like where you are at now and change everything so take my (long) but helpful story and apply it to you!

ToN Farm
Oct. 1, 2011, 05:56 PM
How did you diagnose that it was a stifle problem and not a hock (or other) problem? Did you block?

Do you have xrays on hocks and stifles? If not, why not?

HA and Corticosteroid injections are for arthritic conditions. If your horse just has weak/slipping/catching stifles, that kind of injection would not be helpful imo.

To be honest, I am somewhat skeptical of vets that specialize in chiropractic being the best choice for a lameness workup.

Oct. 1, 2011, 06:59 PM
Hock x-ray can be taken fairly easily. Stifle x-ray needs the horse to be sedated and put on a tilt table, or so I have been told. Maybe the poster is not close to a facility that can do the stifle.

Sandy M
Oct. 2, 2011, 08:19 AM
FWIW - and I don't want to be discouraging for each case can be different- my oldler horse's hocks finally fused! Yay! no more injections! Six months later - diagnosis of arthritic stifles. Had the stifles injected twice. Effects lasted six months the first time. 4 months the second. After that, he was retired to trail horse only. I had bought a youngster that was still unstarted. I tried to find a sponsor for old guy, someone who justed wanted to do walking trai lrides. Wasn't able to find anyone,so retired him to non-riding status. Perhaps with a younger horse (my guy was 20),effects of injections may last longer.....

Dutch Lovin' Dressage Rider
Oct. 2, 2011, 11:59 AM
Stifle x-ray needs the horse to be sedated and put on a tilt table, or so I have been told.

I can assure you that NONE of the horses that I have sold or purchased were put under general anesthesia on a table to get their stifle xrays done. ;-)

Stifle xrays are easy to do and are done standing. I personally once spent a day playing radiology assistant with a lameness vet friend. Very educational experience. Digital xrays in barn like clinic setting. For stifle xrays plates are held while xrays shot from different angles. On one horse we were able to get all the views without problem to diagnose a very tiny ocd lesion. So no. No reason to put horse on the table to diagnose stifle lameness problems.

I would also like to know how chiro vet determined stifle lameness. Never blocks or what?

Personally I would never jump to injecting stifles and assuming horse needs strengthening without proper diagnosis from a qualified lameness veterinarian. Best to find out whats really wrong and seek proper treatment instead of guessing. Shooting in dark and throwing things (like chiropractic, random injections, cavaletti and strengthening) at him might be further damaging which he may never recover from. Best of luck and hope you are able to get good guidance.

Oct. 2, 2011, 05:15 PM
I use estrone sulfate IM injections 2x monthly. I also originally did a lot of backing up exercises on the group to strengthen my horse's stifles.

Please PM me if you have any questions, I'd be happy to answer any :) I don't think drugs are necessary or the only solution but estrone helped my horse's stifles tremendously.