Hello, my 5 year old has always had trouble with locking stifles. I am constantly rehabbing them and it seems like a losing battle. He has been on 2 weeks of stall rest for an abscess and my vet noticed yesterday that his stifles are very weak.
We discussed injecting them or laser surgery. I wondered if anyone has had either the injections or surgery and if the results were worth it?
I've done repeated stifle joint infiltrations to no avail. Remember if the horse catches the stifle due to the medial patellar ligament catching the trochlear grove, you aren't really talking about a stifle 'joint' problem, so it's very questionable what benefits joint injections have to remedy this.
As for surgery, there's been a lot talk about medial patellar ligament surgery on this board and no straight answer to it. The feeling is that it depends whether your horse locks the stifle when leg underneath his body or when leg behind his body as to whether the surgery is beneficial or not.
A first approach could be blistering with iodine, perhaps discuss that with your vet. Or estrogen injections seem to help some horses.
And I'd say prior to doing anything perhaps have the stifle joints X-rayed and the surrounding ligaments ultrasounded to be sure there isn't an obvious thing wrong.
My horse has been doing the intermittent locking for 2 years and only last week I again had stifle X-rays & ultrasound done, but nothing came out of that.
I've come to conclude that if exercise doesn't fix it, it may well stay with the horse for life.
It's also questionable how much this condition does or does not hurt the horse. Vets in general are of the opinion that the catching/locking does not hurt, just simply unbalances them slightly. Personally, and others on here have wondered the same, I think it does hurt them, especially during warm-up.
Do a search on 'stifle perforation surgery' and you'll see a number of people on this board have done the surgery.
My 9 year old Arabian Zanzer had stiffle issues, they would both lock and he could not move. His feet would literally slide out from under him.
Took him to Univ. of Florida vet school. They suggested trying injections first--they did 6 shots on each side of each stilfe of iodine and ????. Have forgotten it was 4 years ago.
Told me to put him to work in strait lines, hills and sand. Easy enough down here on the trail.
He seems to have come out of it. No problems since.
There is a sugery that a French vet started where vertical slits are cut into the offending ligament. The healing scaring supposedly cause a drawing up of that ligament. UF vets said they had not much success with it.
I wouldn't jump into surgery right away. If you are that concerned about it try estrogen first. It is very cheap and you have nothing to loose.
My best riding horse has had stifle issues since he was 4. He is now 15 and his stifles are the best they have ever been. Sometimes as horses go thru going spurts their stifles get worse also. But it certainly helps to keep him in shape.