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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr. 9, 2007
    Zone IV/Area III

    Default hind end suspenory sprain

    Soooo after trying to figure out what was going on with my 18 year old hony (14.3), we finally did high suspensory blocks and ultrasounded. We had only blocked the left, which he is much more lame on, and while that looked great, he was really lame on the right, which means it's to some degree sprained in the right hind suspensory lig too.

    Ultrasound showed NO lesions (thank god) but a lot of little tiny tears/mark in upper/middle body of suspensory(like it had been rather chronic....this lameness started ~5 mo ago). The left suspensory lig was about 1.5x bigger than the right and they described it as "bulging."

    I have only started to look into suspensories...but so far it is pretty upsetting. I can't imagine him in a stall for 30d, yet alone 3 or 4 months. I have a feeling he will have to be drugged. They did not recommend PRP or stem cell since he had no lesions, but start with 30-60d stall rest and recheck.

    I feel so horrible that I have been riding him for the last 5 months like this, and even took him to an event (where he stopped out on XC, unusual of him). I did take him there 2x before and they did hock injections the first time and the second time the blocked lower limb and injected fetlocks (and possibly the reason he showed mild improvement--from blocks and steroids in general area).

    He was more lame yesterday for them than he has been the past 2-3 times I've brought him in over the past 3 months. He also does NOT palpate sore in the suspensory, but I told them he is very stoic. Little QH

    Any tips or stories would be great. There is no swelling and no heat. They said nothing about wrapping or icing. I have regular no bows and just bought BoT a few weeks ago that will fit his back legs. I can buy ice boots. I could maybe find someone to do shockwave, but they never said anything about it.

    Anyone have any thoughts?? I am out of town this week so I am just hoping he doesn't kill himself in the stall. I'm just bummed poor little guy.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb. 21, 2009


    At his age he is a candidate for metabolic issues, so I would also discuss with the vet testing cortisol levels, (cortisol rhythm). High cortisol levels can weaken ALL connective tissues and it will often how up in supportive ligaments first.
    Therefore the weakened suspensories may be a symptom of something deeper. In dogs for example, torn cruciate ligaments are sometimes the first noticeable symprtom of cushings disease and that is when the dog's cushings gets diagnosed .
    Patty Stiller CNBBT,CNBF,CLS, CE
    Natural Balance Certified Lameness Specialist ,instructor.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec. 9, 2010


    There is an extensive thread on the Eventing Forum. "Proximal Suspensory Surgery", many on there did not have surgery.

    And interestingly enough from your point of view, I believe at least one had been thru hock injections, before DX, got a diagnosis, had surgery and is now back eventing.

    Lots of "survival stories"!!!!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun. 10, 2001

    Default i can relate to your story.

    when my mare was finally diagnosed with a hind suspensory tear and a sesmoidean ligament tear few years ago, the u/s made it clear that this was not her first suspensory injury. yet, while i could recall a single event when i had to give her time off b/c of some swelling in the hind fetlock area, i never realized she experienced prior suspensory injuries.

    i also felt terrible. i wondered how many times in the past when i pushed her when she was not forward or acted out, she was actually hurt.

    since then she's injured her other hind suspensory and re-injured both at least once. no new tears but she tweaks them occasionally. she's 21 years old now.

    i never stalled my mare. throughout all injuries she was on a regular turnout schedule, albeit sometimes in a smallish paddock. there are two different schools of thought on that issue. my vet recommended stall rest but after speaking she agreed that turnout in a paddock was an acceptable alternative.

    the first time i did shockwave. in retrospect, i would go directly to PRP or stem cell if i had to do it again. with the second injury we did tendon splitting with PRP and it healed much faster and much nicer. we also did underwater treadmill therapy for about 3 months.

    given the seriousness of her initial injury, it was made clear to me from the beginning that we could not compete again (we did some distance riding). i still take her for hacks. these days only at a walk unless she feels like trotting or cantering few strides. i monitor the suspensories every time i see her. we use leg wraps when hacking. she's on an oral supplement (xie institute's tendon/ligament health supplement).

    since onset of the first injury we began shoeing her in eponas. bar shoes were another alternative. her comfort level improves dramatically when shod.

    your horse's injury seems much milder than what we went through. you are lucky in that given his age and the type of injury he may return to full use. focus on getting him better and learning how to ensure suspensory health in the future (and recognize problems). don't beat yourself up. whether we like to admit it, we all have had lessons like this. the key is not to let the lessons go to waste.

    (i second patty's recommendation, shortly after the initial injury my mare was diagnosed with cushings)
    TQ(Trail Queen) \"Learn How to Ride or Move Over!!\" Clique

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May. 16, 2003
    Twinsburg, OH


    My 26 yr old mare tore her lf hind high suspensory ligament last June. Found a huge bulge on inner leg. Did not show up lame till 3 days later where I brought her in and she could not put weight on that leg. I vowed I would not do stall rest with her ever because she is a BIG horse and does not like small areas a 12 by 12 stall is small to her . We were force to do 5 weeks of stall rest and hand walking twice a day. We did cold hosing and wrapping for the first 3 weeks. Looking back I did not see a difference in wrapping and cold hosing. We did 1 ultrasound at the end of 5 weeks and found the tear. I decided at her age and now being retired from riding to put her back out on pasture. I started this at the beginning of Aug. very small amount of time out on pasture at first. As of Oct of last yr. she was able to tolerate being out 24/7 with good weather. I almost came close to putting her down. Now I am talking to vet about getting back on her to just walk around. Every horse is different. I had to think outside the box with my mare. Because typically with this type of injury calls for 6 months stall rest with hand walking twice a day. Good luck with your horse

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