Have a 15.3 gelding, 7 years old. Bought as unhandled 4 year old, started under saddle middle of 4 year old year. Has always been stiffer going right-so much so that when we taught him to lunge, thought something seriously wrong traveling to the right. But we worked slowly out of it. Initially would not pick up right hind-patience and trainiing resolved it, but did have right hind xrayed, clean. Does have upward fixation of patella on both hind legs, worse on right. But not really an issue-occasionally 'catches', then immediately releases.
January, he starts having intermittent lameness. Short striding on right hind. Gets better with time off, stalled, then comes in from pasture short striding again. Regular vet out, flexes sound, more time off in stall. Sound, then once again after a couple days off in pasture, comes in off on right hind. Farrier looks at him. agrees, thinks he has arthritic changes.
Off to local vet school. Flexes ok on left, flexes ok first two times on right. 3rd flexion on right, horse is over it, acts badly, and trots off unsound. Unable to do blocks as he is uncooperative, and they dont feel it is safe. Xray right hock and stifle-xrays are perfect, no changes, lesions, chips, etc. After discussion, decide to inject both stifle/hock anyway. 4 days off, slow return to work, stays sound. Occasional funny step, occasional locking of patella, but back in full work. (2nd level). By occasional, maybe once a week or so. He was also put on estrogen to see if it helped UFP issue. Also started Adequan, more because it made me feel better.
Horse sound since February. Came in unsound from pasture , same issue.
What we have tried:
Larger turnout area-2 acre pasture, 24/7
More consistent work
Have not started ultrasounding as there has been no heat/swelling/signs of injury anywhere.
Things that seem to be linked to lameness:
Always starts after a day off work.
Not affected by how hard he was last worked, or what we worked on
Seems to be originating in right stifle
Only noticeable at trot-and horse would rather canter than trot
Question: Could this be related to UFP? Is he tearing around in pasture, 'catching' and making himself sore? Any thoughts here? Anything else I haven't tried, thought of? Chiro coming Wednesday. He was going so well, is fit, muscular, gleams, good attitude. Gaits until soundness issues are very good.
This is breaking my heart.
I don't know. I don't know at all. But my trainer just let me know about a "stifle clinic" she will be having mid June - seems a specialist in stifles will be coming to talk to people and review issues with their horses if they want it - I don't have a horse with stifle issues, but I will be auditing. I am on the east coast. If you wanted her name, and cv data I could get that for you.
Cheers and I hope you can figure this out...
Trainer's website - photos of my horse Airborne under About and Francesca Edwards also in media page 1
Is it worse when the RH is on the outside of a circle? That would suggest stifle to me.
Could you try the blocks now or do you think he would be naughty about it?
Would it be too soon to inject just the stifles again and see if he returns to soundness again? Maybe he had a lot of inflammation and the injections worked but just not for very long. It would be interesting to do just stifles to see if you get improvement.
A long time ago, my now aged gelding had a mystery lameness as well, right hind. I spent 3 years with 4 different vets chasing diagnosis, from hocks, to SI, to contracted heels and corns, etc. In the end it turned out to be his stifle but he never did get UFP (which is what baffled vets, his hocks are ugly but apparently he's sound on them).
He also had a yo-yo type lameness, vet would prescribe xxx and stall rest. After stall rest he'd be great for anywhere from 4 to 30+ days, we'd think we'd solved the issue, and then he'd go back to gimping. Sometimes slowly, sometimes overnight. Gimp until I had another vet out, etc., vet would prescribe xxx plus stall rest, and same thing over again..... over and over and over for years.
I finally started keeping a log book so I could figure out why sometimes he'd come off stall rest and be great for month, and other times just a few days, and try to figure out what triggered him returning to gimping.
After about 6 months the pattern became clear: wet weather, cold wet being even worse. It caused several issues:
First, cold wet weather is just miserable for arthritis, but second and more insidious problem was increased time in his stall.
I boarded at a place that held a lot of horses and had limited turnout. On a good day, he'd be out 6-10 hours per day. On a rainy day, 2-3 hours... on a cold wet day, one hour in the indoor is all he got. It was a big stable, management was stretched thin, there was simply no option for special treatment unless I wanted to put him in a small pen by himself (tried it, he dismantled it).
The third issue was how squishy and slick the ground got when wet. To this day, the more he has to push with his hind legs in less than perfect footing, the more sore his stifle becomes.
I took a new plan of attack and worked him lightly 6x a week, gimping or not. I took him on long trail rides, no more ring at all, and let him determine the pace. It sure was embarrassing riding a gimping horse but after about 4 weeks we got over the "hump" of the yo-yo sound/lame thing and he found an even keel of "mostly ok", which was great for us since that meant he could enjoy as much turnout as was available without hobbling around with his buddies. I moved heaven and earth to make sure I rode him, or at least handwalked him for a few miles, 6x per week though.
At the same time I went through a lot of treatments trying to make it work, including legend and adequan and injections, but the only thing that truly helped this horse was finally moving him to a facility where he could live outside on good footing 24/7. He rebounded in a matter of months and we even were able to enjoy some lightly competitive riding for another 14-16 months before another injury finally made riding just too much for him.
Thanks all-Ambitious Kate, would love that info, if you have it.
He is worse when traveling to the right. In fact, to left mostly not noticeable.
Yes,a bone scan may be in future. I don't think he will allow injections.
buck 22, your reply is interesting- he seems to come in shortstriding when he has a day off. I hate to ride him every day-he has a great mind, and is a hard working horse, but the day off seems to be an issue. Collection, extension, lateral work-none of that seems to trigger this. He does get out on the trails every 3rd or 4th day ridden. He is out 24/7 in large pasture, rolling, with my other two. He is in middle of pack regarding hierarchy, but it is a stable situation-we all know the Big Guy is in charge and respect that. :-)
Everyone who has looked at him agrees it is right hind, most think stifle. Regular vet, farrier, lameness expert at vet school, trainer. But other than UFP, nothing seems to be wrong.
My horse's stifle rads were clean but the bone scan lit up on his patella. Apparently that is unusual (I think usually another part of the joint lights up or something), and the vets seemed unsure about what that meant exactly.