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  1. #1
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    May. 14, 2008
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    Default How many opinions would you get?

    In December I had my horse x-rayed because people kept telling me my horse seemed "off". Now, as his trainer and rider, I have not noticed it. I have noticed other things with him, but him not being off.

    He's a jumper and all he wants to do is jump. I can literally sit in half seat and he'll pick out a course for himself, jumping the biggest jumps he can find. So obviously if he WERE hurting, he'd sure as heck not want to jump.

    anyway, I had him x-rayed to see if he had problems. Hocks were fine, but our current vet thought his knee was too bad to jump. I took him off jumping and just flatted him out.

    I then talked to my vet in California (I'm in Texas) and asked if he would review the films. He agreed. In the meantime, I lept my boy over some stuff only to find him to be even more amenable to jumping after a brief break.

    So yesterday my vet from California calls and says he sees nothing wrong with his x-rays. I've been going to this vet for over 20 years and have had him, more than once, tell me to give up the dream, sell the horse and move on. But he didn't with this horse.

    I now have two conflicting opinions. I, obviously, trust my CA vet more. Should I get one more opinion or just trust that my CA vet is right and that my initial feeling that my TX vet is a panic peddler?



  2. #2
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    GET ANOTHER OPINION..

    P~



  3. #3
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    Send the films to a board certfied radiologist for review. You should be able to find one at any veterinary teaching hospital.



  4. #4
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    Could you send the x-rays off to a major vet. hospital/school and have them read by their radiologist? Vets are kinda like regular Doctors, taught to do a lot of stuff but never really specializing. If you're concerned enough, I'd have a board certified radiologist read them, or at least a lameness expert.

    JMO. I love my doctors and my animals' vets. But when I'm really concerned, I seek the specialists. They've never failed me.

    But, I'd be inclined to agree with the CA vet. They're likely to tell the truth because they have nothing to gain (i.e. can't recommend expensive shots, etc).

    ETA: Posted same time as Simkie...
    Proud owner of Gus & Gringo.
    See G2's blog
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  5. #5
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    The ability to read xrays varies greatly between veterinarians. Have seen xrays completely panned as disasters with horses who have never been lame, and have no noticable signs of lameness or problems, and when these vet's opinions have been ignored, have continued on indefinately as sound horses.

    It is not impossible that your horse has some slight soundness problems, yet wants to jump so much that he will continue to want to work THROUGH whatever his problems may be. Try putting the horse on bute for a few days, full dose, and see if any slight problems you are noticing change/improve, just as a test. If he is different on painkilling meds, then there IS a problem, somewhere, which you can then try to find and diagnose.

    There are examples of horses who have fairly horrid looking xrays, who remain functionally sound. Listen to your horse, who knows more about his own physical condition than anyone else. There are never any guarantees of long term soundness with horses in heavy training.



  6. #6
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    Jun. 17, 2002
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    Default

    Perhaps the "off" the others are seeing is a soft tissue problem and nothing that would show up on an x-ray?



  7. #7
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    The horse seems to agree with vet #2 but vet #1 has actually seen the horse and seen him go so has a more complete picture.

    I dunno.

    Just because he seems to want to jump after a break does not necessarily mean it is anything other then excess energy-he may still be NQR. Think I'd weight a little more on the caution side since several you respect that have seen him go tell you he is not right and seems off and vet #1 also has seen him go and thinks there is a problem.

    What, exactly, did vet #1 see in that knee? It's 12f here and the few flurries forecast yesterday turned into 10 inches-not a barn day for me, so I got time.

    What did he see and say?
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.



  8. #8
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    Well, we are pretty close to Texas A&M so I could send it over there and have them look at it once they trek back from California. It takes about a week to make it back.

    I'm not really sure. He has an old quarter crack and he's in heart bar shoes to allievate the pressure while it grows back out. He came to me with it and the changes in weather (dry, wet, dry, wet) seem to affect it. I only notice it if the crack has been disturbed by shoeing or if he bangs it.

    He's almost 11 so he might have some slight soundness issues. But he's never given me any reason to think he's hurting other than the ulcer issue we seem to finally be overcoming.



  9. #9
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    z...I would not just send the pictures. If you want another opinion, take the horse and let them evaluate his movement, that is a very, very important component of the NQR diagnostic process.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.



  10. #10
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    When you had the radiographs taken, did the vet perform a full lameness work up?

    If you have not had a full lameness evaluation, it might be a good idea to take the horse to A & M and have him worked up. There's a lot that can make a horse lame that wouldn't show on a radiograph.



  11. #11
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    Findeight,

    He said that the thought my horse was a premature baby (uh, a TB born in April premature?) and that his knee never really grew together correctly.

    I will say he is a little over his knee conformationally speaking, but I don't "see" anything. The "bum" knee is the same knee as the quarter crack. He couldn't really get specific.

    He's always been an amazing jumper. He started out nicely over crossrails, would get bored and then bang through them to be a monster. If you'd raise it up, he'd jump nicely. Once he figured it all out, he wanted it to be at least 2'6" or he'd just bore quickly. Now that he's good at 2'6" he wants a 3' fence. He a nice round and powerful jump and has always been that way. he just seemed to be a nicer pace after his break.



  12. #12
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    Jun. 4, 2006
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    I would get a really qualified lameness vet to examine him. I went through this with my gelding spent thousands and have now learned go straight to the best in your area you will save money and your horse. Maybe video the horse and discuess what others are considering off. If you agree that he is not quite right a bone scan may pinpoint what is bugging him.
    Last edited by Fharoah; Feb. 4, 2009 at 01:40 PM.



  13. #13
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    I don't think that any vet can really diagnose a horse that the vet hasn't seen move by just looking at the x-rays. I mean if there were something that just lept off the x-ray, I'm sure it would be possible, but if you're talking about a subtle NQR then I think that just x-rays don't cut it.

    If you like this horse and have plans for this horse, then it makes sense to take the horse to a strong lameness vet who has a clinic set up to run various tests and take (re-take) necessary x-rays.

    Good luck.
    "The formula 'Two and two make five' is not without its attractions." --Dostoevsky



  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Posting Trot View Post
    I don't think that any vet can really diagnose a horse that the vet hasn't seen move by just looking at the x-rays. I mean if there were something that just lept off the x-ray, I'm sure it would be possible, but if you're talking about a subtle NQR then I think that just x-rays don't cut it.

    Good luck.
    I agree. The x-rays without the horse don't give the whole picture. Bring the horse and the x-rays to A&M. Be prepared for them to want to take other views. Bring your tack in case they want to see him under saddle. Do some research and find out who the best person to see at A&M would be and make an appointment for that particular vet.

    Then you can evaluate the 3 opinions and make a decision. YOU know your horse the best. Be well informed, but then trust your feelings.



  15. #15
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    Exclamation

    If you are that close to Texas A&M, I would haul him over there. They have some really goos lameness specialists on staff.
    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.



  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by zahena View Post
    Well, we are pretty close to Texas A&M so I could send it over there and have them look at it once they trek back from California. It takes about a week to make it back.

    .
    Uh, nobody else picked up on this. Are they digital films or not? Doesn't sound like it if they are going by snail mail. I wouldn't waste my $$ or time worrying about "dinosaur" x-rays, not when we have much improved technology. Take him to a good hospital and get a full workup done on this horse because....(see below)

    Quote Originally Posted by Posting Trot View Post
    I don't think that any vet can really diagnose a horse that the vet hasn't seen move by just looking at the x-rays. I mean if there were something that just lept off the x-ray, I'm sure it would be possible, but if you're talking about a subtle NQR then I think that just x-rays don't cut it.

    If you like this horse and have plans for this horse, then it makes sense to take the horse to a strong lameness vet who has a clinic set up to run various tests and take (re-take) necessary x-rays.

    Good luck.
    ....of this. Ditto everything PT said. You canNOT diagnose a horse by just looking at one (dinosaur) x-ray unless it's a horrific injury. I sold a sound, competing 4th level horse who, when they took the x-rays, the vet couldn't believe the horse could stand let alone show at that level. They all have different pain thresholds and cope with it differently. Good luck! PS PM me with who you sent it to in Cali, if it's NR he's a good egg and knows what he's talking about but you should still get him some digitals on the horse in question and they can be sent electronically. NO waiting around or lost in the mail problems.



  17. #17
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    Just for general info to those that have not had the privilege to really work with a good vet on a through lamness evaluation with only vague NQR symptoms and as a little reminder to the OP...

    A good lameness evaluation starts with observing the horse on the lunge or under saddle at all 3 gaits both ways, sometimes they even want to see them over a fence and they definately will want to keep going for awhile to rule out stiffness or see if they can aggravate it into showing up. Or both.

    They will feel all joints, tendons, ligaments and the back carefully. They will repeat the flexions on a suspect leg to try to create the NQRness and narrow down where to look further.

    If they get a hit, aggravate whatever is wrong, they will start blocks from the hoof up to isolate the specific area.

    They will not rule out another source for the problem-that is why the blocks are important. If it is coming from higher up on the spine, shoulder or hip, it won't block out. If it does, they know where to start looking inside.

    A good lamness diagnostician never, ever assumes that they have found the only cause of the problem and never doubts there could be others contributing to it.

    In OPs case, something is NQR in the opinion of those familar with the horse. There may very well be NOTHING wrong with that knee. Many suspensory injuries look just like this and come and go as this does. Continuing to work, even if they are willing, can cause much more severe injury.

    We have a poster that chased vague NQR and minor lamness for years on her's and finally found kissing spines that had been missed.

    You could keep going with this horse and risk that it is not a suspensory or something in another leg, back, shoulder, pelvis. Or you can take him to A&M for a complete evaluation. It is Pricey but cheaper then throwing money at sending pictures around for varying opinions without a complete evaluation. Takes about 2 hours unless they get real lucky real early.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.



  18. #18
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    Oct. 19, 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by Just Wondering View Post
    Perhaps the "off" the others are seeing is a soft tissue problem and nothing that would show up on an x-ray?
    My thoughts too - could also be hooves, mild EPSM. However, the horse appears to be OK as he's not showing any resistance. Do you have a video of him jumping to share by any chance?

    Quarter cracks are generally caused by incorrect trimming btw, usually leaving the quarters too long, so there's potentially too much leverage forces in that area. And being over the knee can be caused by leaving heels too long! You have any photos of his front hooves?



  19. #19
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    I'm actually a few hours from Texas A&M but close enough for the drive. The issue is the finances. I'm out of work and workign only on a contract basis so the financial end is hard for me.

    FindEight, wow. they did NONE of that! NONE! He just did a flexion test, first trot off, fine. Flexed him very hard and he trotted off lame for about 4 steps and was fine.

    We're growing the quarter crack out from other bad trim jobs but it's just super slow going. I don't have pictures here of the feet.

    I don't have anything under saddle, but just a really brief clip of him trotting under saddle on youtube. I am having problems uploading to youtube.



  20. #20
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    That's OK, you cannot afford it, you cannot afford it. But you also cannot afford paying for half as*ed lameness work ups either, crap they ALL limp after a hard flexion. Try another vet.

    Sounds like you have a variety of issues with that leg and hoof. Even tho he wants to go, I would resist the urge and be really careful until you get the hoof angle issue and quarter crack grown ouit-it could still be bothering him.

    Honestly, I fear you have a suspensory cooking with the angles being off. That scares me if you are jumping. It can tear and/or completely let go.

    I advise another vet and an ultrasound if you cannot afford the full work up. Hel*, I couldn't either but have a much better regular vet and have had him for years.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.



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