Something unexpected comes out of left field and pulls you down. Well, that's what I feel like today.
Last Monday I took my horse to a vet clinic to be assessed for stiffness issues he's had for a long time. I had wanted to get a lameness workup on him for a long time as I suspected some arthritis in his hocks or back and I wanted to find out if we needed to address it with injections at this point, or adequan, etc. I've had him on Adequan for some time and its always helped him, as well as a good joint supplement. But he's always been a stiff moving horse. Always flagging his tail, and yet people kept assuring me nothing was wrong, its just how he is, or its my riding.
Well, I took advantage of some others going to the clinic to split the trailering cost and he got the going over he's needed. You know how bad things come in 3's? Well, we have 3 areas to target.
AP (my horse) showed lameness in the front right and the left hind. Xrays were taken of both front feet, and it was found there was some arthritis in the coffin bone of the right front, and the vet thought he'd foundered sometime in the past.
On the left hind leg he did 2 blocks and things indicated the high suspensory. He then did xrays of the hocks to rule that out, and ultrasounded the suspensory and found that there were lesions. Actually on both hind legs but the largest one on the left leg.
Palpation of the SI joint also brought a negative response.
The coffin joint and the SI joint can be managed with Adequan or injection if an increase to 2x/month of Adequan doesn't show an improvement. But the suspensories, could be chronic. And that's the killer for me.
Vet recommended no jumping but flatting for 90 days. He recommended shockwave treatments during that time.
My horse is 9 yrs old. I took him over as a 6 yr old from a boarder who had defaulted on his bills. I never had a thorough vet check. The guy was a big man who rode him too heavily and jumped too much from the time he was 3 yrs old. I do know the horse got into some grass on the edge of a paddock that had been sprayed with herbicide when he was 2-3 yr old. I know he was very ill and he could've foundered then.
I got what I asked for. I wanted to know if there was something going on. At first I felt relieved and vindicated that I had been right all along. But tonight as I sit here and write this novella, I feel discouraged because suspensory disease is a hard one to deal with. I am afraid I won't be able to jump him again. My goals aren't that big, 3' or so, mostly to have fun showing or hunter paces, improving my riding for my own gratification.
Anyway, I'm going to slog ahead and try the best therapies I can afford for him. He's a young horse still and I'm not ready to see him totally sidelined. I don't think he is either.
Does anyone know what shockwave therapy runs? I'm told about $3-500 a pop.
Thank you for your patience in reading this. Any advice is welcome.
I don't have anything but my sympathy to offer you. My mom's horse is an older mare who has similar problems. Lots of abscessing and stiffness. She's been putting off the vet for ages in fear that it will mean possibly putting the horse down. But at the same time she doesn't want to be unfair to the horse. In two days the vet's comin out at last.
All I can say is give him a good chance to recover before deciding to make the next move, whatever that may be.
Hes lucky to have you. You are right though, he's young and hopefully has a good chance at a solid career in a few months to come. Take it easy with him, and hopefully with your new knowledge you will find the right career path for him.
I've been told twice that my horse had career-ending injuries. At 19, he had a high hind suspensory. I was told he would never be able to jump again. We gave him time off, then hand walks, tack walks, then back into work. He came back better than before. We let him jump lightly, and he tolerated it well, so we let him go back to work at 3' and he was sound. A couple years later he had a trailer "incident" on his way to a show (he always scrambled in the trailer). Result: deep digital flexor tear. Again told he was done. He was 21, so put him in a pasture for 6 months. He didn't really like it, as he's a people horse. So back to the barn he comes. Lo and behold, he is sound from the ddft. Of course, he is 21 at that point, so I just flat him for about 6 months. Gradually we added in some jumping up to 2'6" or so, and he is still fine, for a 23 year old. But he has (knock on wood!) been sound on the ddft, though we still need to keep up the Adequan, Legend and his feet and hocks. When he tells us he's not interested in trotting the beginners around anymore, he will be retired. Oh, and when I bought this horse he was 13, and wouldn't pass the vet due to navicular x-rays. So play it by ear, and give your horse some time before thinking he can never jump again. He may need 6 months off, but then he could be back in the thick of things. Hang in there!
Kent Allen deals with a lot of very high end sporthorses and has had very good success with shockwave. I would think that is pretty encouraging.
We have a horse at our barn with the same injury. They treated him with prp and stem cell - and are now planning treatment with ultrasound. He has been on rest/handwalking for several months and is improving steadily.
********** We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
Thanks for all your replies. I finally found someone to do the shockwave therapy. The vet said to keep riding him walk, trot, canter. Tonight, though, he was so cranky, even after having warmed up for a good 20 mins plus, walk, trot, canter. I rode him into the ring and he just would NOT.GO. FORWARD., especially he would NOT canter. Something was bothering him, but I'm not sure which part it was. Day before yesterday, he was going fine. Yesterday, he had the day off, but no turnout.
I did find some strange looking red patches around some teeth today, though. I'm wondering if we also have a dental problem too. I'm going to see what the vet thinks on Weds we I see her. I'll use a hackamore tomorrow when I ride, see how it all goes.
My horse has had shockwave treatment. He was on stall/paddock rest for 3 months and during that time got 3 shock wave treatments. Slowly got back into work, slowly worked up jump heights. All was great until first show at original height where he suspensoried the same leg again. Off for 4 months with 3 shockwave treatments. Slowly brought him back to work, slowly worked up jump heights getting to 3'3 instead of 3'6. Never was lame again on me from then till the time I solde him 2 years later, and is still going strong for the girl (only sold him 3 months ago or so)
However I have never heard of people being told to continue riding on a suspensory so I don't know how shockwave would work on a horse that is still ridden.
My horse has a similar history/condition, though she did have surgery for the suspensory (LH). I am surprised that the vet wants you to keep riding him, especially since it sounds like he's really telling you THIS HURTS, MOM!
During my horse's lengthy rehab and after, not wanting to go forward usually means she has a stiff joint somewhere. Various ways to deal with that, but over the past 15 months she's had hocks injected three times, both SIs once (early in her riding rehab), right SI once, and just had her stifles done. She's a horse that just needs a lot of maintenance now and as long as I keep up with it, she's sound for trail riding and LL dressage, which is what I want to do.
She was a LL eventer, but I don't jump her anymore, except for the occasional small thing we encounter on the trail, and we canter over "courses" of ground poles in the ring. In our case I am not allowed to jump anymore anyway because of a medical condition.