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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct. 12, 2007
    Location
    California
    Posts
    128

    Thumbs down Collateral ligament injury?

    Well, my guy's mystery lameness diagnosis turned out to be a moderate injury to his medial collateral ligament...

    We didn't MRI, just xrayed and ultrasounded, so not sure if there is damage that hasn't been seen.

    My vet seemed fairly positive about it, but after reading some of the threads on here about these injuries, I am feeling quite overwhelmed/depressed/etc .

    My guy only just turned 7, he injured himself in turnout- I am a college student, supporting him on my own, and I chose not to renew my insurance because it was going to be ~$600 and I needed to put that money toward the OCD surgery he was supposed to have on his stifle before this cropped up (now that surgery has to be put off until he is further healed... and frankly it only matters if he is going to be in heavy work, which it looks like may never happen due to this injury ).... so I simply can't afford to do a big budget rehab.

    The plan I was given was to rest him in his stall/run (as he has been for a month prior to this, aside from being let out and romping too much once by a friend) until August, then recheck. I was told to try to do 5-10 min handwalking/day... but as I am in/out of town this summer that is tough.

    On top of that, he is pretty horrific to handwalk- he just rears a lot. Obviously this is no bueno for his injury, so I'm not sure how much handwalking I could even risk. There's no way I could do 30 mins/day or anything like that- he gets worse the longer he is out. He will walk better on the lunge, but I can't control him as quickly if he decides to get silly. So I am unsure of what the best option is here!

    I'm also moving him to another barn at the end of this month, he'll be in a stall with a smaller run... I'm just praying at this point that he doesn't get wound up in the new place, I will likely move him and then hang out and supervise for a while.

    My vet didn't mention drugging him, but how does that work? Can you ace a horse daily?

    Thanks for any advice... he is my baby, and also my only horse, I will be beyond devastated if he becomes a pasture ornament.

    ETA:
    There is a slight chance that a friend of mine might be able to lay him up for me at her place. She has a hotwalker (the kind with compartments, not ties), stalls, and different sized grass pastures. Would time in the hotwalker work in place of handwalking? Or is working in a circle no good? I am going on a trip mid-August to September and don't know what I'm going to do with him while I'm gone at this point... I'm looking into hiring someone to walk him daily while I'm gone. I wish I could afford a rehab facility... but my research on prices says otherwise



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul. 19, 2001
    Posts
    8,542

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    Sorry about your horse's injury.

    There are lots of people on here who have dealt with this injury and can likely be more help to you. My horse came back fully from a collateral ligament injury but it was a different one-in the fetlock.

    My horse was Ok with handwalking for about 10 days and then we had to resort to daily Ace which helped immensely. Could not get Reserpine here. Talk to your vet about medication, especially for when you make the move.

    It's great that he has a run attached to his stall if he stays fairly calm in there.

    I don't know if a hotwalker would be a good idea for this or not. Perhaps someone else will chime in.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep. 24, 2001
    Location
    Lexington, Kentucky
    Posts
    7,471

    Default

    What is he eating these days?

    If this were my horse, I would cut out everything but hay. Get one of those "slow feed" hay nets (small holes) and let him have as much hay as he needs to keep him happy. Yes, he will lose tone and get a pot, but the idea is to slow everything way down.

    Either hire someone who can handle him for handwalking or move him to a rehab. Are there any racehorse stables in your area? They might know of some small rehab/layup facilities that you aren't familiar with that might not charge so much. Does your vet know of any?

    I wouldn't put him in an Equitrainer. "Hand walking" means just that - a human at the end of the shank to stop him from blowing up and hurting himself more. If he decided to blow up in an equitrainer you couldn't get to him quick enough.

    I've had no experience with long acting tranqs but that is something you might want to discuss with your vet.

    Sounds like you are going through a tough time. Good luck with everything.
    "My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we'll change the world." ~ Jack Layton



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun. 4, 2004
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    180

    Default Smart Calm Ultra

    Smart Calm Ultra from SmarkPak was a life saver for several friends who had to deal with handwalking and stall rest. It made a huge difference in each of the horses. The 'ultra' has a higher dose of Magnesium plus L-Tryptophan.

    http://www.smartpakequine.com/SearchResults.aspx?page=GRID&free_text=smartcalmul tra&attribute_value_string|Store_ID=Equine

    A boarder was given the OK for her horse w/collateral ligament injury to go on the walker but that was after ~4-6 weeks of T/O in small paddock and hand walking.

    My favorite trainer gave me great advice regarding handwalking - the horse must listen and pay attention, just like when you are riding. Teach voice commands, space, make it interesting by mixing in halting, surpenties, walking over poles, etc. whatever the horse is permiited to do for the injury. Give the horse something to think about other than spooking. Also, handwalking in a bridle works better on some horses. And, Ace is your friend.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul. 19, 2001
    Posts
    8,542

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    My favorite trainer gave me great advice regarding handwalking - the horse must listen and pay attention, just like when you are riding. Teach voice commands, space, make it interesting by mixing in halting, surpenties, walking over poles, etc. whatever the horse is permiited to do for the injury. Give the horse something to think about other than spooking. Also, handwalking in a bridle works better on some horses

    This approach simply does not always work. My horse had/has again great ground manners but he completely lost his mind on stallrest. There's not much you can do to make it more interesting for a large athletic young horse who would rather practice airs above the ground.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar. 31, 2010
    Posts
    151

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    My mare was horrific for handwalking and trotting while I was trying to rehab her from a fetlock sprain, full rearing and then trying to bolt. For various reasons, the vet ended up prescribing fluphenazine, it's a long acting drug (3-4 weeks) that tends to calm the crazies but not generally sedate them. It has a rare side effect in some horses the causes them to act out aggressively. That combined with the fact that it lasts for 3-4 weeks means it's not something to use lightly. But, you may want to discuss it with your vet and see.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr. 20, 2009
    Posts
    334

    Default

    About four years ago, I was in a very similar situation - freshman in college, on a budget, and my 8-year-old OTTB mare tore the lateral collateral ligament of her left carpus (seemingly, by tripping over a cavalleti pole... I kind of wanted to kill her). I can't offer too much advice about the handwalking and stall rest issues, because we had her turned out in a small pen with her leg wrapped, and she stayed quiet pretty well on her own. Being outside near the other horses seemed to keep her brain in one piece, at least. If your boy might get amped up, though, especially when you move, a call to your vet to talk about tranquilizing options would probably be a good thing. I would not necessarily advise the hot walker - horses are quite capable of jumping about and being idiots on them.

    I did want to give you some hope though - my mare took about 4-5 months off, but she came back into work (very slowly!) just fine. She's now 12 and an upper-level event horse, and it hasn't been a problem since. It depends on the severity of the injury, of course (she had a lesion in the ligament where she had torn some fibers, but it was not a full-thickness tear), but it is not necessarily a career-ending thing.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct. 12, 2007
    Location
    California
    Posts
    128

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by hitchinmygetalong View Post
    What is he eating these days?

    If this were my horse, I would cut out everything but hay. Get one of those "slow feed" hay nets (small holes) and let him have as much hay as he needs to keep him happy. Yes, he will lose tone and get a pot, but the idea is to slow everything way down.

    Either hire someone who can handle him for handwalking or move him to a rehab. Are there any racehorse stables in your area? They might know of some small rehab/layup facilities that you aren't familiar with that might not charge so much. Does your vet know of any?

    I wouldn't put him in an Equitrainer. "Hand walking" means just that - a human at the end of the shank to stop him from blowing up and hurting himself more. If he decided to blow up in an equitrainer you couldn't get to him quick enough.

    I've had no experience with long acting tranqs but that is something you might want to discuss with your vet.

    Sounds like you are going through a tough time. Good luck with everything.
    He gets 2 flakes alfalfa and 2 3-way per day. If I have the opportunity to move him he can go onto grass hay, but until then those are my only options. Unfortunately, I can't feed him as much as he wants- my vet specifically said he cannot gain more weight, and that I will need to manage his weight very carefully because of the strain it could put on his injury. He is already over 1500 lbs

    He's a VERY strange horse- he doesn't lose it, he just gets bored when handwalking and rears because of it- he's never bolted or done much more than scoot sideways. But the vet says it's important that he not rear at *all* - and it's just a "given" that it will happen while handwalking.

    That's why I was thinking the hotwalker might help- without a person there to get bossy with, there's a good chance he would walk calmly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Indy100 View Post
    Smart Calm Ultra from SmarkPak was a life saver for several friends who had to deal with handwalking and stall rest. It made a huge difference in each of the horses. The 'ultra' has a higher dose of Magnesium plus L-Tryptophan.

    http://www.smartpakequine.com/SearchResults.aspx?page=GRID&free_text=smartcalmul tra&attribute_value_string|Store_ID=Equine

    A boarder was given the OK for her horse w/collateral ligament injury to go on the walker but that was after ~4-6 weeks of T/O in small paddock and hand walking.

    My favorite trainer gave me great advice regarding handwalking - the horse must listen and pay attention, just like when you are riding. Teach voice commands, space, make it interesting by mixing in halting, surpenties, walking over poles, etc. whatever the horse is permiited to do for the injury. Give the horse something to think about other than spooking. Also, handwalking in a bridle works better on some horses. And, Ace is your friend.
    I have had him on SmartCalm Ultra previously, I might try it again although I didn't see a huge change- but can't hurt!

    He has already been laid up in stall/run with some handwalking for over a month...if my friend is able to do this then I will definitely call my vet about the walker

    He does know voice commands, I have done tons of ground work with him because he came to me with awful ground manners, he just loses his mind a bit on stall rest. I can still lead him place to place, and he's even quite good for the vet (stood there like a champ for all nerve blocks, etc).... but handwalking just sends him over the edge

    Quote Originally Posted by lizajane09 View Post
    About four years ago, I was in a very similar situation - freshman in college, on a budget, and my 8-year-old OTTB mare tore the lateral collateral ligament of her left carpus (seemingly, by tripping over a cavalleti pole... I kind of wanted to kill her). I can't offer too much advice about the handwalking and stall rest issues, because we had her turned out in a small pen with her leg wrapped, and she stayed quiet pretty well on her own. Being outside near the other horses seemed to keep her brain in one piece, at least. If your boy might get amped up, though, especially when you move, a call to your vet to talk about tranquilizing options would probably be a good thing. I would not necessarily advise the hot walker - horses are quite capable of jumping about and being idiots on them.

    I did want to give you some hope though - my mare took about 4-5 months off, but she came back into work (very slowly!) just fine. She's now 12 and an upper-level event horse, and it hasn't been a problem since. It depends on the severity of the injury, of course (she had a lesion in the ligament where she had torn some fibers, but it was not a full-thickness tear), but it is not necessarily a career-ending thing.
    Thank you, that really does make me feel better!! It's hard not to get caught up in feeling like this is an "endless" injury SO glad to hear that your mare is doing so well!



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep. 14, 1999
    Posts
    804

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    My gelding had a collateral ligament injury a few years ago and recovered well. He's actually been back eventing and it hasn't come back to trouble him. I think they often heal better than something like a suspensory, although I've also rehabbed those. My vet used to give me ace in the tablet form, and yes, you can give it every day. I would hollow out a carrot or piece of apple, feed it to him, and then let him chill out for 30 minutes before handwalking. A chain and dressage whip are also your friends. The hotwalker type thing can work well too, if you can make sure he isn't getting too nutty in it. Having company in the hotwalker and acing him first will help.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep. 27, 2000
    Location
    Southern California - on a freeway someplace
    Posts
    9,530

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    Star had what sounds like a similar injury to your horse and is back to jumping. That's the good news. The less-pleasant news is that parts of the rehab were not fun and this was with a fundamentally fairly easy horse, albeit one who has issues with horses coming near him when he's high--which was pretty much the entire rehab. I followed my vet's instructions to the letter WRT how much exercise, what type of exercise, etc.

    For the hand-walking you will need to do what you need to do. Drugs. Plug ears. Chain thru mouth. Walk at a quiet time of day. If he ramps up after "n" minutes consistently and you can't deal with it another way, walk him for "n-1" minutes enough times a day to add up to the right number of minutes. This is rehab, not training. Find a way to get him off the alfalfa if you can (I was able to keep Star on it, but the same vet advised the owner of a less-cooperative horse to get that horse off it).

    There's more information in the blog linked from my signature line. Good luck!



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct. 12, 2007
    Location
    California
    Posts
    128

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Peggy View Post
    Star had what sounds like a similar injury to your horse and is back to jumping. That's the good news. The less-pleasant news is that parts of the rehab were not fun and this was with a fundamentally fairly easy horse, albeit one who has issues with horses coming near him when he's high--which was pretty much the entire rehab. I followed my vet's instructions to the letter WRT how much exercise, what type of exercise, etc.

    For the hand-walking you will need to do what you need to do. Drugs. Plug ears. Chain thru mouth. Walk at a quiet time of day. If he ramps up after "n" minutes consistently and you can't deal with it another way, walk him for "n-1" minutes enough times a day to add up to the right number of minutes. This is rehab, not training. Find a way to get him off the alfalfa if you can (I was able to keep Star on it, but the same vet advised the owner of a less-cooperative horse to get that horse off it).

    There's more information in the blog linked from my signature line. Good luck!
    Thanks for the helpful info! I have been slowly working out what my guy does best with. So far:
    -walking new places, avoiding boredom
    -occasional stops for grass
    -stud chain but only very mild corrections

    By paying careful attention to what keeps him calm and happy, I've been able to avoid using the ace I have and slowly increase our walk time- up to 20 mins/day now! I hope to continue to walk him longer- from the research I've done it seems that more is better for this type of injury. I'm crossing my fingers that our good luck continues!



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul. 4, 2010
    Posts
    18

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    My horse has the exact same thing yours has. Slight damage to the medial collateral ligament in the foot. He tolerated a good 2 months in stall rest before he got crazy but I found the best thing to do was go to the barn at the quietest part of the day, just act slow around him, and never jerk on the rope or yell at him if he got excited about something. Maybe walk him with another horse? I never aced mine but I probably should have, maybe walking your horse with an old calm horse would help...

    Out of curiosity, what did your vet say about the prognosis..? We did an MRI and the vet said that my horse might never be sound, MAYBE serviceably sound, but that it was possible for him to return to full work. It's been a year and he's just starting to be sound (only 1 week of soundness...) Fyi don't turn him out if he's sound until like a month or two after he stays sound... Also how lame was he to begin with?



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep. 27, 2000
    Location
    Southern California - on a freeway someplace
    Posts
    9,530

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    imjustjoking22 - Sounds like you have found the right mix for your horse. At some point they figure out that this hand-walking routine is their life for know and the settle a bit. At least until something good happens to wake them up. I don't know what it's been like in your part of California, but it's been unseasonably cool here. If/when it warms up that will help a bit too.

    PaddlezPony - Star had what was described as a relatively small strain to the collateral ligaments, mostly the outside of the RF and the inside of the LF, but a bit on the other two as well. The vet who did the scintigraphy and MRI was pretty optimistic WRT the prognosis, stating that much of the bad news concerning this injury was financial. My vet was also optimistic. Maybe she was just trying to keep me going? But, she had successfully treated a few of them before Star. We did a combo of shockwave and IRAP. As far as how lame he was from this injury, it's hard to tell. To make a long story somewhat shorter, he strained his RF suspensory (from which is was about 2+/5 lame), we rehabbed that and he was still off, tho not as much so as originally. We found the collateral ligament strain when we started digging. In hindsight, there were days for a few months before the suspensory injury where he would be slightly NQR. There are a lot more details in my blog linked below if you are curious.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul. 4, 2010
    Posts
    18

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    Thanks. Our vet was somewhat guarded about the prognosis (slight "thickening" of the right front medial collateral ligament) and we couldn't afford to do shockwave or IRAP. Even with insurance it would have cost us $600-$800. He did get injections in his coffin joint and plenty of stall rest, but we ended up turning him out and accepting that he might never be sound. He had aluminum wedge bar shoes with a pour in pad for awhile, but it ended up being too expensive for the benefits (which were few...) so we put regular shoes back on. Then I had the farriers put regular shoes with a plastic wedge pad which is much cheaper, and he's actually been sound for about a week now. Knock on wood... I think it's really important to assess the way your horse moves and use shoeing to correct it. He had 46 and 49 degree angles which gradually have been shifted to 57 degree angles in both front feet now... Usually I'd try to go with whatever's most natural for the horse, but being sound should be natural, so I'm not quite sure what the trade off is there. What type of shoes does your horse have? It might make quite a difference, since collateral ligament injuries supposedly tend to be injuries closely related with the way the horse's foot hits the ground (or hit the ground at the time of injury).



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