I bought an unknown aged small QH (bw 4 and 8 years old) over 10 years ago. We did the hunter A circuit, fox hunted, etc for many years without any lameness problems. I retired him for 3 years and bought myself another horse that I fit better on.
I brought him back to work my second year of college in fall of 2010 so I could have a horse to keep my leg strong. He was very sound and we started eventing in BN. March 2011 he had this odd mystery lameness, and we injected the hocks and it seemed to get better. Come around this fall, he was stiff, and sucked back behind the leg when you changed directions to the left from the right. Right to left lead change didn't work in the hind end. No heat or swelling anywhere, no lumps or bumps, etc.
Went back to the vet school, injected hocks, little change, injected fetlocks and tendons sheaths a could months later. Seemed to be a little better. Stifles flexed fine. He has been getting monthly (and now twice monthly) shots of Polyglycan since October of 2011.
Fast forward to now, funky again, another vet said arthritic changes, start him on cosequin, polyglycan doesn't work (Blahblah), and do loading dose of adequan. Give him 6 weeks off.
His radiographs of his hocks and fetlocks really show only minor arthritic changes that look very good for his age. No fusing joints or anything. We did a neuro test yesterday seeing if maybe he had EPM and thats why he was having some of his hind end problems, and the vet ended on the conclusion that no neuro problems but he was protecting and careful about hind end. We knew that.
I just have this fear that he won't ever be sound again. He is a forever pony and I will be okay with retiring him, but he is SO much happier in a program and working. He loves to jump. He loves to show and he loves the attention. He's not dead lame, just stiff. You can WTC and jump him around. He is happy jumping, but not completely comfortable.
Does anyone have any success stories or tips?
I was also considering pulling off his shoes, but we have pulled off the hinds before and he got a little foot sore. I dunno, I just thought if we were going to let him rest, might as well let his hooves rest too.
It just puts me in a sad mood I've had this little guy since I was 10, and I'm 21 now. I know he's going to last forever and if he does have to retire he can live on previcoxx if nothing works for him, but I just want him to be happy.
You have a horse who may be as old as 18 who worked very hard for a number of years and is now a little creaky. Nothing to be sad about! It's part of having older horses.
IMO the best thing we can do for the hard-knocking older horses is keep them fit, keep their weight ideal, do whatever needs doing for their feet, avoid bad footing like the plague, and keep them turned out as much as possible. A little bute or aspirin from time to time helps on the bad days, and there are a number of injectable products nowadays that seem to really work. If you want to try one of the 1,001 supplements out there that's unlikely to hurt, either.
Maybe spend the spring really getting him FIT (lots of walking and trotting up and down hills), do some dressage to get him using his muscles optimally (thus sparing the joints) and see what you have after six months of dedicated work. If he can't jump comfortably, maybe you both will find that dressage shows can be fun, too.
We have been keeping him in constant work for 3 months now. Ridden at least 4 times a week, usually 6 (in the past 2-3x week). Can't avoid bad footing which I think plays into it. He did work for about 6 years, 3 years off, now in work for 1.5 years.
I'm slightly afraid if he has a whole 6 weeks off he will be worse, but we've tried the constant work and haven't really gotten anywhere.
I really want to get a chiro down here but once my trailer comes in I might be taking him on a road trip to find a chiro. Nearest is 3 hrs away.
Under those facts, I think you'll likely see very little response from an oral supplement other than a diminished wallet - if you're going to go that route, I'd try adequan or legend first. But with an older guy who sounds like he's more actually lame than just a little creaky? Wouldn't be my go-to option.
That fact pattern sounds like SI to me, with a possible flag for a tendon issue behind, given your statement re the footing not being great. If nothing soft-tissue shows upon a look see, I'd try chiro to see if it makes a difference (you'll know if it does pretty fast). I'd also look into occasional previcox to make him comfortable and keep on doing the better weight/more turnout track you're on.
Sure you can. With an older and not-perfectly-sound horse I would rather not ride than ride on bad footing. I don't mean a little bit deep or a little bit hard, but by bad I mean BAD: slippery, uneven, rock hard, deep/sticky, etc.
I have a 17yo WB retired from a career as a GP Jumper.
He was "rode hard & put away wet" before being rescued (thanks to COTHer Donkeyman ) and coming to live with me.
He came to me in December 2009 after being on monthly polyglycan for 6mos and has some "jewelry" all around as well as some infrequent ouchiness RF.
My vet agreed to try him off the injectible and on an oral supplement.
So far he's done great on MSM along with Biotin & Red Cell.
Weight is great, coat is beautiful and the RF is hardly ever a bother for him, he usually works out of any stiffness.
My 27yo TB had the minor arthritic changes you mention and MSM kept him fit as well.
Last edited by 2DogsFarm; Mar. 2, 2012 at 03:06 PM.
*friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon: Steppin' Out 1988-2004 Hey Vern! 1982-2009 Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
For what it's worth there is no way to actually palpate the SI joint from the outside. Just because the horse shows no reaction on palpation does not mean there isn't an injury or problem much, much deeper down where the joint (really a mass of ligaments) sits. I think it is a very under-diagnosed problem in working horses.
I have a 25 yr old Arab gelding that is retired from the show ring. He stills gets lunged a couple times a week and ridden a couple times to keep him in shape. My granddaughter shows him lead line and is working on walk/trot. He has a little arthritis in his front fetlock - I put him on Previcox everyday for a year and now he is on every other day. He isn't off at all or stiff on that leg. He has been fine since starting the drug. It works wonderful for him. My other gelding is 16 and has had 2 stifle surgeries and DJD in both hocks - he has been on numerous supplements, I took him off everything and put him on previcox every day and he is now great. I know he has scare tissue and arthritis issues but with this medication he is doing great - he gets ridden 4 times a week and lunged 2 times a week. Give it a try it can't hurt!
My mare was having hind end issues, reluctance to canter on one lead etc. First injected hocks and showed a little improvement, next injected stifles (which by the way x-rayed perfectly clean) and she is showing amazing improvement. Also doing Poly G shots every 30 days. She acts like a youngster again. Good luck to you.
Upper limb flexed well for his age. Radiographs show mild OA, pretty good for his age and his activity level.
I guess I am just picky about footing. I am used to a covered manicured ring, so anything a little hard or muddy is "bad" to me compared to that.
I think we are going to give him previcox for a week or so to calm down any inflammation.
Right now he is getting MSM, Cosequin, Polyglycan 2x month, and Adequan loading dose (every 4 days for 28 days). Thats getting a little expensive. Is the PP CJ REALLY worth it? I know there is a large debate on oral joint supplements.
I would love if he just needed stifles or SI injected but we just injected 2 joints in the past couple months.
as i said no swelling or any soreness when palpating leg, so I don't think it would be soft tissue or tendon issues.
I am going to vote considering SI also, it is very difficult to diagnose. The SI joint injection is not very expensive compared to other joints. I would try that along with some acupuncture. The rehab for SI is steady long and low work, long walks and trots to strengthen behind and try to get them lifting through the back to stabilize that joint.
Other than that you may be dealing with some natural aging. Sounds like a wonderful horse and partner, hope you can make him comfortable. It is so hard to figure out this kind of issue and so frustrating.
I know it does not scientifically make sense, but NOTHING including injectables helped my navicular DWB. He even had his navicular bursa and coffin joints injected with no change in soudness. He is 17 this year and has been retired for over a year. On a whim I put him on the PP CJ about a month ago and within two days I had a totally sound horse. Like so sound he is about to go back into work again. IMO it is totally worth a try, you will see the difference right away if it is going to work.