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WingsOfAnAngel
Mar. 6, 2012, 08:32 AM
My horse essentially has auto lead changes in one direction and then the other way he misses them behind often and then fixes after. He is naturally weaker in that direction as found in PPE. My trainer and I have both exhausted our resources I'm finding a hole in training and she believes now that it may be something physical. She suggests that hock injections may fix the problem almost instantaneously. (he's never taken a lame step)

I don't pretend to know a lot about hock injections but I am somewhat hesitant. Can someone enlighten me about them? What, exactly, are their function? Generally, how much do they cost? Once you start, how often do you have to do them? How long do you give them off after injections? My horse is only 8 so I'm afraid I'm starting a long career of needing all sorts of injections.

Thanks!

KateWooten
Mar. 6, 2012, 08:44 AM
Talk to your vet and get x-rays to see if there's wear / damage to his hocks.

JumpItHighPie
Mar. 6, 2012, 08:44 AM
The way my vet described it was that after the initial injection the potency of each will only have to go up until eventually the horse may reach a level where the injection is no longer effective. So rather than giving a "full blown" concoction right off the bat, you give a baseline one and tinker a bit to see how that particular horse is going to respond to each prescribed injection. If you give the strongest injection right off the bat, there is no where to move up from there. Start low and build up to the stronger cocktail over a course of time.

supershorty628
Mar. 6, 2012, 08:49 AM
First of all, talk to your vet and get his/her opinion. I think injections can be very useful, but that's obviously something that your vet needs to decide (not just your trainer).

My 16-year-old mare gets injected twice a year. After injections, she is handwalked for 2 days, "turned out" on the third (I say that loosely because she hates turnout so it's more like I take her out, let her roll, and then hand graze her), and then back to normal work. That said, I don't jump her at home very often, so her normal work is mostly flatwork.

JB
Mar. 6, 2012, 08:52 AM
There is nothing about the "potency" needing to go up. You might have to do it more often, it might not last as long, it might not work as well, but it's still the same drugs. Arthritis progresses, which is what makes things not work (as well) over time. It's not that the drugs are losing effectiveness.

I agree - xrays are a must, as well as flexions. You have no idea at this point if it's his hock or his stifle or somewhere up higher. Is your saddle straight?

Just because you don't think it's training doesn't mean it's his hocks ;)

Instant Karma
Mar. 6, 2012, 11:05 AM
Have you tried a chiropractor or a good muscle worker?

FineAlready
Mar. 6, 2012, 12:55 PM
I agree with the others - consult with your vet and at a minimum get flexions of his hocks and stifles, and probably also x-rays of his hocks if you plan on injecting them.

Hock pain can certainly make them have difficulty with lead changes, but so can a lot of other things...including just not being very naturally adept at lead changes.

My last bill for lameness exam, hock injections, and x-rays (2 views) of one stifle (I had had hocks x-rayed previously...was double checking a stifle before spending money on another round of hock injections) was about $690. I use a fairly pricey vet clinic, but I love them, they have great digital x-ray equipment, etc. You can definitely get an exam, x-rays, and injections for cheaper...although injections are not necessarily something you want to use the bargain basement vet for...

My horse was able to go about 7 months between injections. He's a weenie about pain and started to get very resistant about working, and especially about picking up his right lead when he was "ready" for his hocks to be injected again. The injections do wear off at 6 months post-injection, but many horses can "tough it out" a bit better than mine and you can go up to a year between injections.

kmwines01
Mar. 6, 2012, 02:13 PM
It could also be a soft tissue injury lower down that's a bit nagging or just uncomfortable. Do a lameness exam, etc. Also I would hope that your vet wouldn't just come out and inject without doing some sort of workup and evaluation just because you said he needed injections.

FineAlready
Mar. 6, 2012, 03:23 PM
It could also be a soft tissue injury lower down that's a bit nagging or just uncomfortable. Do a lameness exam, etc. Also I would hope that your vet wouldn't just come out and inject without doing some sort of workup and evaluation just because you said he needed injections.

I would also hope that the vet would not just inject without doing a lameness exam, but I know of vets who will do just that if a trainer says the horse needs injections. It is terrifying!

I was once at a barn where practically the whole barn (minus my horse and a few others) were "mass injected" in one big group. A vet came in and injected hocks, stifles, etc. on the majority of horses. Several horses ended up having complications. The way I learned about the mass injection plan was that I was riding around the day before the injections were to occur and the assistant trainer casually said, "Oh, hey! Do you want your horse injected tomorrow?" Um, NO!

Anyway, OP, I would advise against using any vet who would inject your horse without first doing a lameness workup. While it should not happen, some vets will do it. You want to stay away from those vets, IMO.

Ainsley688
Mar. 6, 2012, 04:06 PM
Have you considered that it might be YOU that is causing the late change? I know that for my mare, her left to right change is harder. Why? The right lead is her weaker lead, as is mine. I tend to drop my right seatbone, and let my right leg swing and be weak, which unbalances her enough so that she will get a late change (like, a half step late) if I'm being lazy. :-)

I would NOT inject your horse's hock just because of a late change in one direction. I would bet it's something simple, like being weaker on that side. Something a good chiro/massage could help fix.

WingsOfAnAngel
Mar. 6, 2012, 04:40 PM
Of course I would discuss options with the vet first. :) Just wanted to get some general information from my knowledgeable COTHers! Thanks!

WingsOfAnAngel
Mar. 6, 2012, 04:41 PM
Have you considered that it might be YOU that is causing the late change? I know that for my mare, her left to right change is harder. Why? The right lead is her weaker lead, as is mine. I tend to drop my right seatbone, and let my right leg swing and be weak, which unbalances her enough so that she will get a late change (like, a half step late) if I'm being lazy. :-)

I would NOT inject your horse's hock just because of a late change in one direction. I would bet it's something simple, like being weaker on that side. Something a good chiro/massage could help fix.

Would a massage/chiro appointment help with him being weaker on one side?

JB
Mar. 6, 2012, 08:52 PM
If he's weaker on one side because he's not able to use himself evenly because of a skeletal or muscle issue, then yes, a MT or Chiro, or both, may be required to straighten him out.

I would HOPE your trainer is competent enough to be able to watch you coming and going, straight on, to see if your horse travels crooked, or with a dropped hip - those are easy to see, doesn't take a genius :)

You can also do some looking yourself. Stand him up squarely on concrete, have someone hold his head forward and around wither height, and look at him from in front and behind. You'll have to get up on a stool behind him to get a look at his shoulders from that perspective - you want to see shoulders of even height and muscling. You want to see his hips even and with even muscling.

If you see uneven heights and/or uneven muscling, then you know that's a symptom of something, and then you, your vet, and/or a MT/chiro will have to help figure out the cause.

WingsOfAnAngel
Mar. 6, 2012, 09:05 PM
Thank you! So what do you all think the first course of action should be? Start with the vet and get an exam done, or start with a chiro and see if that doesnt help the issue before calling in the vet/getting hock injections?

stolen virtue
Mar. 6, 2012, 09:35 PM
If it were my horse I would start with chiro, and in fact my baby has regular chiro since he is growing and in training. Whenever my older guy started to get fussy at the canter (crow hopping) he also had chiro for atleast 3 seesions. The sessions worked and I noticed a difference with the baby this weekend.

First do no harm...