My horse has just been brought back into work after a number of years off (due to me having a baby). He was in work for 1 week when he went lame on his offside fore. The vet was called and using nerveblocks we discovered that the pian was in his fetlock region. He had x-rays yesterday and we discovered that he has some artheritic (sp?) changes in his fetlock joint. Not huge changes but obviously enough to make him sore. He is only lame when he has to put pressure on the affected leg eg on a circle in trot.
My question really is should I try injecting the joint to see if this can make him sound again? My number 1 priority is to get him comfy and then IF he can cope with light work then great. If not he will be retired and live out the rest of his life in luxury.
IMO, if it's regular IA injections (e.g monthly, or even every 3 months IMO), then that's my limit of "too cruel" and I consider "unmanageable".
But if yearly IA injections and a supplement (IM adequan, for example) take care of it, with occasional bute after really hard rides, then I think that falls under "manageable".
But, if it were my horse, I'd try everything before IA injections. Try IM adequan or IV legend. Also, regular work may make things better. The poor kid was yanked out of a pasture, ridden, and came up lame after a week. Hell, *I* would come up lame after years off of work! I didn't ride for two weeks, took an hour trail ride on Sunday, and I'm lame at the walk today!!
I would probably go ahead and do the injection, and then if he comes sound, do a joint supplement or Adequan and light work and see how it goes. Six months is the minimum amount of time between injections I would want to see in a riding horse--a year would definitely be better.
I would look at the feet FIRST to make sure he's balanced, not run down in the heels, too long toes, etc. And if he needs it, put lift pads on to get his angles back where they need to be.
I just recently experienced the same senario with one of my horses - a thoroughbred with hooves that don't grow much and with very thin soles and walls. He had been in shoes on his fronts, but came up lame this fall. He too has arthritis in his fetlocks. Vet recommended lift pads and shoes that were set back a tad to help support his heels, bute for a few days, then a feed through joint supplement with HA. He was almost immediately traveling sound, and much more comfortable. I just have to really watch his hoof angles now, and put him on a 5 week farrier schedule.
I am a little adverse to injections as the first line of defense....and besides, if you don't fix the balance the injections won't help.
She's x-rayed. He's got arthritic changes in the fetlock.
I'd (with vet's blessing) inject the joint, then take a very careful look at his feet/trim/shoing, then bring him very carefully back to work over the course of a couple of months--like I would an injury rehab.. I'd probably put him on Adequan, too.
Heck, I'd inject the joint even if I was going to retire him back out to pasture.