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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep. 12, 2000
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    Memphis, TN USA
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    Unhappy Prognosis for horse with torn meniscus to return to eventing?

    My daughters 6 y.o. TBX tore his lateral meniscus in April. It was planned for him to go training at the end of this season. He was stall rested for 2 1/2 months and is now turned out by himself in a small grass paddock. The vet hospital didn't give us a cheery outlook for recovery. The horse still is off at the trot and canter most of the time. He is a big guy, 17.1, but he is still young and a fairly quiet temperament. We know that this could take a full year to see how much he will be able to do. Does anyone have a positive recovery story and have a horse that was able to event again?



  2. #2
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    Jan. 19, 2005
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    Default

    my personal experience is not cherry at all.....

    That said, I did hear of a few success stories. Most were not full tears.

    It is a real tough one. You should post a thread in Horse care. You may get more responses.
    ** The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits. -- Albert Einstein **



  3. #3
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    Jul. 7, 2008
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    Chaska, MN
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    Default

    I don't have a recovery story for you unfortunately. I just wanted to say that I know how you are feeling and can sympathize. My 8 year old OTTB just recently started having some issues with his right stifle and after almost $800 in vet bills, we still don't know what's going on. We know he has some arthritis so we are seeing if a joint injection helps. But if it doesn't, the vet said it might be a torn meniscus or something with his upper suspensory. <sigh>

    So my horse's eventing career is up in the air. . .



  4. #4
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    Sep. 18, 2004
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    New England
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    Have you had arthroscopy surgery to confirm tear and extent of tear? I understand that it all depends on how extensive the tear is. Minor tear can be rehabbed and the horse could continue to have a useful life. .

    I had a horse that had bilateral arthroscopic surgery to diagnose a stifle condition. The vet, Dr Rick Mitchell of Fairfield Equine in Newtown Ct (of the Bejing Olympic fame), was the consulting vet.

    You may want to email them and ask, I'm sure they have an opinion. Or do a google search.



  5. #5
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    Jul. 19, 2003
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    Middleburg, VA
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    Unfortunately, mine is not cheery either. One of our horses did this a little over two years ago. He DID initially come sound and started jumping (but at a lower level than pre-injury) but an unrelated injury put him on stall rest again for several months. THAT injury healed very well and no longer bothers him, but as we started to put him back in work again, it was apparent the stifle was in bad shape again, and will be. He is retired now.



  6. #6
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    Sep. 12, 2000
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    Memphis, TN USA
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    The Woodford Equine Hospital in Lexington did ultrasounds and xrays. After some nerve blocks, they said that arthroscopic surgery was not an option for this injury and that it was simply time that would make improvement if at all. We spent a lot of money to purchase him unfortunately. He was insured for everything but loss of use (wouldn't you know).



  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by JustFive View Post
    The Woodford Equine Hospital in Lexington did ultrasounds and xrays. After some nerve blocks, they said that arthroscopic surgery was not an option for this injury and that it was simply time that would make improvement if at all. We spent a lot of money to purchase him unfortunately. He was insured for everything but loss of use (wouldn't you know).

    Not that it is any comfort. But my guy was only 7.....I ended up having to put him down. He was a grade 4/5 and was only going to get worse with time. It was an extremely difficult decision but the right one for him. Fingers crossed that your guy will make enough of a recovery to have a useful life even if it is not as an event horse. Not the easiest of life lessons, but he will still teach your daughter some important things even if it isn't eventing. Sorry that you are having to go through this. Horses are wonderful....but they can be such heart breakers.
    ** The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits. -- Albert Einstein **



  8. #8
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    Sep. 18, 2004
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    New England
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    Quote Originally Posted by JustFive View Post
    The Woodford Equine Hospital in Lexington did ultrasounds and xrays. After some nerve blocks, they said that arthroscopic surgery was not an option for this injury and that it was simply time that would make improvement if at all. We spent a lot of money to purchase him unfortunately. He was insured for everything but loss of use (wouldn't you know).
    Ok, not to jump the gun or to be morbid... but you may still have a mortality claim if you have to euthanize because of complications in the rehab process.

    My horse had a torn caudal cruciate ligament that the vets wanted me to rehab. The vets said that if during the rehab period, the horse developed arthritis or had some other complications, they could file a claim stating that he had to be euthanized because of the pain (crippling pain).

    Ultimately, I made the decision not to wait (since prognosis was poor that he could be pasture sound/safe) through a rehab just to possibly submit a claim under my mortality coverage.

    It is complicated but not impossible or improbable.



  9. #9
    Sherri Guest

    Default Going through the same thing

    Hi - I am currently going through the same thing. I have a 6yo Standardbred mare that I broke to saddle a little over a year ago.

    This past June she was dead lame. We brought her to the vet ( a very well respected lameness vet that has been to the olympics and also deals with race horses).

    He xray'd her and ultrasounded her. She has a torn meniscus on her left hind. She has had 6 weeks of in stall, then 6 weeks of hand walking 2x a day for 15 minutes and then turnout in a flat pasture by herself.

    I just took her for another ultrasound on Monday and he was less than enthusiastic with the prognosis this time and my results were devistating to me.

    His answer to me was that these type of injuries do not tend to just heal. He also said that surgery is not an option (even though I have insurance). There is nothing that can "sew or glue" the meniscus back together and in their experience, surgery hurts more than it helps. The motion of the leg and the horse getting up and down is detrimental if they have surgery.

    My mare looks great in the pasture but when I sit on her, that knee gives out and cannot support the weight. Eventually, she may be able to learn to accommodate me riding her. But we still have to wait another 4-6 months to find out.

    For those that have posted about ligament damage and putting their horses down - where I ride, we rescue horses and specialize in "fixing" damaged horses and we have had horses with torn stifles/ligaments etc... that because we did the correct exercises and injections these horses go on to lead extroadinary lives. We had one horse they wanted to put down and at 24 she competed in a 25 mile distance ride and did amazing. We do not give up and use Jean Luc Cornille for advice and he has helped almost all our horses.

    That being said. I am beside myself trying to figure out how we can try fix my horse. I have found a type of rear knee boot that goes around the horses back like a pair of suspenders and we are going to try putting magnets on the bad knee to see if perhaps it will somehow help heal the area.

    I dont think Ive stopped crying since my visit on Monday. I welcome any information as well.



  10. #10
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    Feb. 23, 2000
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    Ontario, Canada
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    Sherri I just wanted to send big hugs to you and jingles and best wishes. I too am a "whatever it takes" kind of person and that's not always a good thing. That said however, I still respect your views and truly hope for the best for you and your mare.

    http://community.webshots.com/user/ballyduff
    \"If you are going through hell, keep going.\" ~Churchill~



  11. #11
    Sherri Guest

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Quinn View Post
    Sherri I just wanted to send big hugs to you and jingles and best wishes. I too am a "whatever it takes" kind of person and that's not always a good thing. That said however, I still respect your views and truly hope for the best for you and your mare.

    http://community.webshots.com/user/ballyduff
    Thanks Quinn. I too respect everyones views but want people to know they dont have to give up and to fight with all they have.

    I just wish this injury was one I could adapt that mentality to. Im running into brick walls every where I turn. She is my first horse and I cannot afford another. She's all Ive got.

    Thank you for the hugs.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul. 27, 2006
    Posts
    484

    Default Don't rush the recovery time

    Quote Originally Posted by JustFive View Post
    My daughters 6 y.o. TBX tore his lateral meniscus in April. He was stall rested for 2 1/2 months and is now turned out by himself in a small grass paddock. The horse still is off at the trot and canter most of the time. We know that this could take a full year to see how much he will be able to do. Does anyone have a positive recovery story and have a horse that was able to event again?

    My daughter's horse didn't have a meniscus injury, but had a very positive outcome from a lacerated tendon. He was able to have surgery, but was given less than a 50% chance of recovering to be comfortable enough to walk/trot/canter out in the field. The horse was on stall rest for a year and almost four months of walk rehab. Fourteen months after the injury he was competing very successfully at Training Level, qualifying for the AEC's (unfortunately he had a mistep and is back on stall rest for the next six weeks).

    The key to recovery was the stall rest and waiting for the vet to say when to let him get back to work. We had ultrasounds every two months letting us know how well he was healing. He seemed sound almost right away, but if we had turned him out or ridden him, the injury could have become unreparable.

    Talk to your vet, but 2 1/2 months seems early to be turning the horse out at all, and trotting and cantering at this stage could do even more damage. Ultrasounds are very helpful in diagnosing your horses stage of recovery...put your insurance to work and have your vet come out regularly to check things out. Resist the temptation to work the horse too soon.

    Good luck with the recovery, injuries like this often result in incredible bonding between horse and child. My daughter sheds tears of joy every time she rides cross country on her wonderful horse.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep. 18, 2004
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    New England
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    [QUOTE=Sherri;3540839]For those that have posted about ligament damage and putting their horses down - where I ride, we rescue horses and specialize in "fixing" damaged horses and we have had horses with torn stifles/ligaments etc... that because we did the correct exercises and injections these horses go on to lead extroadinary lives. We do not give up and use Jean Luc Cornille for advice and he has helped almost all our horses. QUOTE]


    Sherri, I feel for you and hope it all works out for you... I really, really understand what you're going through.

    Please don't judge those of us who chose to euthanize our horses rather than rehabbing before you know the specifics of the situation. Sometimes euthanasia is the kindest thing to do. I checked with two of the top vets in the country and one of the top vets locally about my horse's case. I did the right thing for him.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun. 12, 2007
    Location
    Edgewater, Maryland
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    16

    Default A little Anatomy and Physiology...

    CANTEREOIN is right about the arthroscopic surgery.

    Coming from a biomechanical perspective the meniscus are the shock absorbers of the knee. In humans when there is a tear rarely do they "heal" spontaneously. They do not have sufficient vasculature for repair and the ligament structure that holds the meniscus to the bone can sometimes be torn and cause similar symptoms - rarely regenerates as well. Unfortunately, in humans a tear will cause "catching" and "locking" of the knee, and in horses can seriously cause problems. I would never feel confident his leg wouldn't fall out from under him one day with a sustained injury. In humans we can "unload" the limbs to allow for appropriate rest and decompression of the joints and horses cannot.

    Ideally I would say returning him to work that increases the wear and tear on the joints will increase the injury and exacerbate his problems. I'm not sure on the research but a repair might be necessary to have him return to work if possible. I wouldn't hold out too much hope for it to "heal" on it own since it cannot nourish itself and avoid constant biomechanical stressors.

    Do some research (Google - Scholar is ideal). I'm sure they have options for you, if you can financially afford, them to determine the extent of his injury as well as possible solutions.



  15. #15
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    Sep. 13, 2002
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    Azle, Teh-has
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    this thread is a heart breaker and I would just like to extend my heartfelt hugs to JustFive.
    http://kaboomeventing.com/
    http://kaboomeventing.blogspot.com/
    Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!



  16. #16
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    Jun. 20, 2008
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    5,943

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    Several years ago my horse had torn his cruciate stifle ligament. Initially we did very little in terms of diagnostics as vet was certain of injury. Put on stall rest for several months; healed enough to a point where he could be turned out and no longer cantering on 3 legs. Then we determined to just let him be for about 6 mos to a year. Fortunately or unfortunately, I worked part-time at a tack shop and during quiet moments I would read up on the injury in the various VET/Lameness books in the store. Most pretty much confirmed what I'd feared but was in denial about. We took him to Morven Park for further evaluation - I think I got out with a record "low" fee as once the initial ultrasound was done, nothing else needed to be done as the diagnosis was pretty obvious. My horse's particular injury was not really going to get better, might not get worse. Surgery was given to me as an option but at that time the success rate was barely 50/50 chance of improvement so I opted to retire him. Now my situation was about 7-8 years ago and it could be that surgery has improved things dramatically.

    From my experience it seems that a ligament injury of the stifle is just not good news. I did not insure my horse for loss of use either; but I did end up finding him a place in a University program where he could live out his days. That sad that can also be a very very difficult decision - and one has to be prepared for that when making a decision to donate a horse to a vet school. While it was a difficult decision for me to donate him, knowing that the study of his injury might help other horses w/ similar injuries in the future gave me some solice.

    My heart goes out to you and your daughter and I do wish and hope your horse makes a full recovery.



  17. #17
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    PA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sherri View Post
    For those that have posted about ligament damage and putting their horses down - where I ride, we rescue horses and specialize in "fixing" damaged horses and we have had horses with torn stifles/ligaments etc... that because we did the correct exercises and injections these horses go on to lead extroadinary lives. We had one horse they wanted to put down and at 24 she competed in a 25 mile distance ride and did amazing. We do not give up and use Jean Luc Cornille for advice and he has helped almost all our horses.

    That being said. I am beside myself trying to figure out how we can try fix my horse. I have found a type of rear knee boot that goes around the horses back like a pair of suspenders and we are going to try putting magnets on the bad knee to see if perhaps it will somehow help heal the area.

    I dont think Ive stopped crying since my visit on Monday. I welcome any information as well.

    My horse fully tore the meniscus in his stifle. He already had significant arthritis in the stifles and hocks....as a 7 year old. This indicated to my vets that he had probably had a partial tear for some time (probably racing on it). He was never 100% sound when I got him off the track (had won over 100K in only 4 races over 2 years....that should have been a red flag for me but he needed to be saved). I had tried everything with several of the top vets in the county, including those at New Bolton. I had already resigned my self that he was only going to be a trail horse or pasture puff and I was fine with that. He was a very neat horse. But then he came in from the field with the full tear.... We tried to see if we could get him pasturn sound at least....but even on significant amounts of bute and some time with the rehab, he was a grade 4/5.....walking lame. That is VERY lame. Given his already advanced arthritis, according to the vets, he was only going to get worse and in more pain with time. I spoke two respected rescue organizations and both told me that in this situation, they also thought that putting him down was the right choice for this horse. It was still a hard thing to do.....but I know it was better to not let him suffer. He was a very stoic horse and a cool one (had a really noble air about him that really attracted people to him) and I really loved him (he really got under my skin).....but I made the decision for him, not me.

    I do not envy anyone having to face those choices. Every case is different....put putting a horse down isn't always the wrong choice. I hope that in the OPs case, they will not have to make that choice.....but these can be very serious injuries. I have heard of a few success cases were the horses did recover enough to have a good life (especially the ones that had surgery...and NO other complications)....and many that were only pasture sound.....and some, like my guy, where the right choice was fairly clear.

    Horses need to live like horses.....and when we are responsible for them, that means some times making a very hard decision. I hope that some one will some day make that decision for me as well.
    ** The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits. -- Albert Einstein **



  18. #18

    Default Rehab

    I can provide you with a little hope........

    My mare, Clio, now 7 yrs, tore her left medial meniscus and associate cruciate ligament as a 5 year old. It took us 9-months to confirm the diagnosis. She had slight changes in her hock and the vet school and subsequent graduates of that university refused to believe the problem was in the stifle. Finally, I got smart and took her up to someone that specialized in lameness only! Again, worked for our Olympic team in Sidney. He diagnosed and began shock-wave therapy immediately. The idea is that scar tissue will develop over/on the tears. Three treatments, 3 weeks apart, stall rest, stall rest, hand-walking. Three weeks after the final treatment she went out into a small paddock by herself. I bred her and turned her out with my other two broodmares. She delivered a spectacular foal in July 08 by Rapture R.

    I have not ridden her since the injury was diagnosed, but she is definitely moving freely in the field with the other mares and foals. She never did show obvious lameness at the canter or walk, only at the trot and especially when she made the downward transition to walk. Now, during periods of extended trot, working trot in the field there is no sign of weakness. However, occasionally I will see her take a few short steps prior to the transition to walk. But, nothing like before. I've since moved across the country, but I do plan to have her ultrasounded after weaning the colt in a couple of months.

    Do I have hope that she will return to her former potential --- of course, but I don't think this will happen. Lower level dressage, trail riding, I'm keeping my fingers-crossed that this will happen. If not, she is very happy being a mom, and my Clio is still lovely and everyones favorite........

    Good luck and I hope this helps a bit.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Oct. 2, 2001
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    Greenville, SC
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    Default

    A student's horse tore hers in July of last year. They treated it successfully and she went to her first event in August. They did IRAP & Shockwave on it.



  20. #20
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    I wanted to add that when my horse tore his cruciate ligament he was on 3 legs. It sounds like from some of the other posters that the injury may have been more vague in presentation. Mine was quite obvious right off the bat. And again, my horse's injury was 7-8 years ago and I think they had some success w/ shock wave therapy but surgery was still touch and go - and probably dependant on the degree/size of tear.

    Again, my best wishes to you and your daughter, and of course the horse



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