I have had my gelding for 4 1/2 years (he is now 8). While some what awkward and homely when I bought him, he blossomed in to a beautiful horse. Due to his great build and heart I had high hopes for him, even with the mountain of emotional baggage he came with (he was badly abused.)
If anyone remembers, over a year ago we went through a hoof resection that finally finished growing out 6 months ago. After 2 weeks of longing and long lining, he went off again. I had the chiro out, and then the vet who determined with xrays that we needed to clean out some dead tissue in the hoof. That finally finished growing out 2 weeks ago. I put him back to work, but by the 2nd day I noticed an irregularity in his stride. Which turned out to be a week stifle. No biggie!
However I wanted to address a problem I had noticed from when I first bought him. He has never been able to reach around and scratch himself. I had the chiro out regularly, and she said he just needed to scretch more. Another problem (remember I mentioned emotional baggage) was his tendency when I first mounted to leap around like a loon until finally walking/jigging off. From there he would eventually settle into work, but in all this time it has never stopped. So after watching him go the vet notices he is NQR on the right side nor can he reach around as far. She tells me it is probably some arthritis in the vertabre in the lower neck (from his years of flipping over before I got him). She recommends an anti-inflammatory, and I ask for an ultra sound to be absolutely certain.
Upon doing the ultra sound we discover a enormous bone spur on the C5 (?) vertabre. And there is no way to remove it. Needless to say I am devastated. I was hoping this was going to be my upper level jumper maybe even doing some mini prix. And now we have no idea what he will be able to do. Flextion and bending will be practically out of the question. He may be able to jump, but how high is anybodys guess. I love him to death and he will always be mine, but I feel like someone just snatched my dreams right out from under me. And to think I had been causing him so much pain for so long... I just need a hug...
You have my deepest heartfelt sympathies. My gelding has strugled with 2.5 years of intermitent lameness, we had pastern arthrodesis surgery and am really hoping for soundness. should know within the next year, really really hoping. Best Wishes I am so sorry about the bone spur.
If you haven't tried standard joint supplements and injections for OA in the usually leggy joints, then you do that now for his neck.
Also, your horse may be a candidate for gentle stretching and massage. You can learn to do both yourself. You will learn to appreciate the difference between healthy rubbery-feeling muscle and stiff, thin, board-like and atrophied muscle. He'll feel a little bit better when you help him break a cycle of pain and tension surrounding the offending joint in his neck.
Check with your vet on this point, but most of these horses are in a "use it or lose it" situation, so you may want to try everything you can to help him maintain the range of motion he still has. Don't do what will get you or him hurt under saddle. If he's still willing to do most of the work you want and you have to compromise on how much bend you get, perhaps you can take the deal he's offering.
aww, so sorry! hugs to you.
This may not help you, but I had a horse at a therapeutic riding program (stupid idiots who ran the program never do vet checks).. he had sat in a field for years, then they got him, started using him, he had some pain issues in his poll (or so they thought), so they stopped using him. They wanted me to get him going again-- he was NQR so I finally insisted the vet look at him. Turns out he had massive arthritis in his neck that was actually making him nuero. The vet thought it was a cold injury when they got him, but riding and moving his neck flared up the injury and it was quite painful. He learned how to compensate for it just turned out as a pasture puff. I wonder if the injury had been treated correctly inthe begining if he would have not ended up this way. It's a wonder he didn't fall over with a kid on him.. and also unbelievable they did not do a PPE.
I'm sure your boy is not at that point yet- but just be careful!
C spine injections helped for about 6 months. Repeat injections were only effective for about 2 weeks. Blush is now permanently retired. She's not in pain, but she is not normal neurologically. She does not come from behind evenly at all. Gabapentin was very effective at treating the neuro pain.