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  1. #1
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    Jul. 22, 2008
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    Default Mystery Lameness - Abscess? Soft Tissue Injury? - Updated with Possible Answer

    I'll start by saying that this is not my horse but is boarded at the barn where I keep my horses. The horse is an 8-year-old TB, shod last week in front after spending the winter barefoot. A few days before being shod he was a bit ouchy, which the owner attributed to having taken him on a trail ride without his boots. He also had his stifles injected last week.

    After having had a few days off following the injections, the owner gets on and he's off on his front right. The next day he has about a grade 3/4 lameness. Some heat is noticeable in the foot but there is no swelling or heat in the leg.

    Owner takes the horse to vet clinic. The vet checks with hoof testers but gets no reaction, but the horse at this point is quite agitated and distracted by the activity at the clinic.

    Vet flexes the fetlocks but lameness is the same. She blocks the foot and the horse is sound, so they take several radiographs. These reveal nothing. The vet offers to do an MRI but the owner declines.

    The vet's diagnosis: soft tissue injury. She prescribes six weeks stall rest, no meds.

    So the question is - what type of soft tissue injury could he have in his foot? Also, I've seen horses who had no reaction to the hoof testers but did in fact have abscesses. How common is this?
    Last edited by EAY; Jul. 13, 2011 at 03:12 PM.



  2. #2
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    Feb. 19, 2011
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    Portland, OR
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    Default

    Bruise, abcess or fractured pedal bone? Sometimes fractures dont show up immediately on xrays.



  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dutch Lovin' Dressage Rider View Post
    Bruise, abcess or fractured pedal bone? Sometimes fractures dont show up immediately on xrays.
    A partial fracture might not show up either.



  4. #4
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    Jun. 15, 2002
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    I would treat for an abscess just in case, but of course follow the vet instructions as well.



  5. #5
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    Jun. 4, 2006
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    collateral ligament, deep digital flexor tendon injury. Rarely a collateral ligament of the coffin joint will show up on ultrasound. Would an absess not also be evident on radiograph? Often six weeks stall rest often with NSAID"S at first. Then if no improvement then we move to the MRI.



  6. #6
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    Sep. 27, 2000
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    All kinds of soft tissue in there that can cause problems. As Fhaorah noted, soft tissue injury within the hoof can't usually be detected by ultrasound, tho I read recently of a method to look at the collateral ligaments using a probe that most vets don't have. I spent close to a year re-habbing one.

    Here's some more information:
    http://www.thehorse.com/ViewArticle....7645&src=topic
    (you'll have to sign up to read the full article, but it's well worth having access to that site)
    The Evil Chem Prof



  7. #7
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    Jun. 12, 2010
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    OR
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    Sounds like my horse, except mine ended up having more like two and a half months of stall rest and arena turnout/hand walking only. He is going sound now, but I'm bringing him back really slowly because he's super out of shape. We did treat for a possible old abscess (vet dug it out and I spent a month keeping that foot bandaged and dry) but not sure that made a difference. My horse has really, really low heels and long toes, and it's possible that this is why he got sore -- another reason to bring him back slowly. I'm not going to put him into any real training until his angles are better.

    It is frustrating, isn't it?
    MelanieC * Canis soloensis



  8. #8
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    Jul. 22, 2008
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    I think we've identified the mystery lameness. The farrier was out the other day and asked whether the horse in question had been sore about four months prior since he now has visible rings coming down his hooves. So the little light bulb went off in my head and I said, "Yes, that must have been what it was."

    I didn't update the thread before, but after a few days of rest the horse seemed better and the owner decided to turn him out. She got lucky and he was sound after that.

    So now I'm wondering what might have caused the laminitis. I guess it could have been the spring grass (the horse is out 24/7), or could it have been a reaction to his vaccinations or joint injections? Or perhaps the trail ride barefoot without his boots led to some inflammation.

    I'm kind of surprised the vet didn't pick up on it.



  9. #9
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    Jul. 30, 2008
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    I could be wrong but I don't think the rings you are talking about always indicate laminitis. It was my understanding that they can also indicate the horse has suffered some trauma, inflammation to the hoof. I have seen this on a horse before that was lame that did not have laminitis but instead a bruise on the coffin bone from improperly poured pads using that copper/blue stuff.....Took quite a while to become sound and now you see the exact rings you are talking about.....
    There are no stupid horses....just stupid people



  10. #10
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    Jul. 22, 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by supernatural View Post
    I could be wrong but I don't think the rings you are talking about always indicate laminitis. It was my understanding that they can also indicate the horse has suffered some trauma, inflammation to the hoof. I have seen this on a horse before that was lame that did not have laminitis but instead a bruise on the coffin bone from improperly poured pads using that copper/blue stuff.....Took quite a while to become sound and now you see the exact rings you are talking about.....
    I have heard also of horses getitng the rings from a fever or from changes in diet, but I would think that the rings taken together with the lameness would likely point to laminitis.

    Couldn't the coffin bone bruise also have caused inflammation of the laminae?



  11. #11
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    I thought even a foot abscess can cause rings--and that laminitic hoof rings are distinct and wider at the heel--and i did not think it was that easy to diagnose mild laminitis by looking at the foot months after the event. Sounds like he may have just as likely had a foot bruise months before?



  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by omare View Post
    I thought even a foot abscess can cause rings--and that laminitic hoof rings are distinct and wider at the heel--and i did not think it was that easy to diagnose mild laminitis by looking at the foot months after the event. Sounds like he may have just as likely had a foot bruise months before?
    The farrier, who is very experienced, thought they looked like laminitic hoof rings. Plus he mentioned another sign that I didn't quite catch - thickening of the hoof wall maybe. I trust his judgment and it does make sense. The horse was sore and there was heat in the foot. That doesn't mean that we can say for certain that that what was going on with the horse.

    As far as I know the vet didn't mention laminitis as a possibility, which makes me wonder how often vets miss it.

    Also, the owner started treating it as an abscess, soaking the foot in hot water, which would of course be the worst thing if it was laminitis.



  13. #13
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    so are they going to have the foot re-xrayed (by another vet)?



  14. #14
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    The farrier can absolutely see if they are rings from laminitis. The white line changes (it is difficult to describe) but the front part of the hoof gets wider in the white line area relative to the rest of the hoof. You can see it when the shoe is off and you are looking at the bottom of the hoof. In a healthy hoof, the white line area is even all the way around the hoof.

    I actually saw this the other day when he was trimming a new horse who had a previous bout with laminitis. Even those of us who are not experts could notice the difference. We just didn't know what it meant before he explained it to us.

    This is why you see horses who have had a serious bout with laminitis and permanent damage have toes which kind of have a dish in them. The heel also grows differently as well.



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