Horse Dragging Hind Leg - Not a Stifle Issue. Hip?
I'm sorry I'm new here so I'm not sure how I'm supposed to do this but I can't find any information about this - went to ride horse today and when I tried to bring him in from paddock he wouldn't walk. His hind leg was out behind him and he could not bring it forward and under him. He was pivoting around it in a circle to eat grass. Called vet who backed him up and flexed his leg up under him and ruled out stifle/patella/foot/etc. We brought him in from the paddock - dragging leg in the beginning, then very reluctant with that leg, bearing weight on toe. When we stopped for breaks his muscles were spasming up near his hip. Vet sedated him and gave him pain meds and will come back tomorrow to do a more thorough exam and to feel out whether his hip/pelvis is or ever has been broken. Horse has had SI issue - no lameness, no stiffness just a pronouced bump and had muscle not filling out properly on right hind glute but is almost back to normal now. Any SI issue was from when he was very little - possibly kicked or stepped on by mom. Bought him a year and a bit ago, vetted clean, moved off well, glutes were fine. Had a really bad winter last year and was only able to walk trot on the road until around April so only in April when I was working him full time, W/T/C jump did the glute present itself. Had chiro out last month to look at him - says glute is completely related to SI, not a big deal, will resolve itself with consistent, proper work - straightness, balance, hills, etc. Not sure how all this ties in together but seriously concerned. Does anyone have any experience with a horse not being able to move hind leg more or less out of the blue? Vet is experienced and well-trusted. Thank you in advance for any info.
Horse is a 17hh, just turned 6, Thoroughbred - not OTTB, broken at 3, bought him at 4.5.
I would wait the night before panicking. Possible you found him right after he was kicked or slipped and fell, and just has a very serious/sore bruise or similar. Hopefully the pain meds and a night of rest bring significant improvement!
Sadly, because of the deep tissue surrounding the hip, the only way to know for sure if there's a fracture is through bonescan.
Not true with current technology Any vet hospital should have a digital xray with enough power to take good pictures of the pelvis and hips. They can even see acetabular fractures (going into the actual hip joint).
Stress fractures may require a bone scan, but thats like with any other part of the body.
OP, see how the horse looks in the morning, but you may want to consider going straight to a major clinic/hospital if one is near enough.
I had a horse that did just what you describe. It was the wierdest thing! One time he pivoted on it and it looked like a dislocated hip, but then was fine 30 mintutes later, so could not have been. Turned out to be a neurological problem. I wouldn't jump to that with your horse, but something to keep in the back of your mind.
Not true with current technology Any vet hospital should have a digital xray with enough power to take good pictures of the pelvis and hips. They can even see acetabular fractures (going into the actual hip joint). <snip>
Are you sure? And they do it standing? Both hospitals in my are have digital equipment capable, but it would require putting $40k worth of equipment between the horse's hind legs.. something neither is willing to do.
Don't mean to be a PIA, just would love to know the new technology manufacturer (or even a pic of the machine), placement of plates, procedure, etc. Thanks..
My horse's pelvic fracture was diagnosed by an ultrasound after weeks of not knowing what was going on.
He would slightly drag back leg and was a little off at the trot after the initial injury but the night he broke his pelvis I thought he was tying up.
We had just come back from a lesson and he was in his stall. 2 hours later he was in obvious discomfort and when I went to pull him out to see what was going on, he didn't want to walk.
I would difinetly have them check his pelvis. It has a good prognosis for healing, just takes some time.
"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." --Ghandi
Did the vet rule out tying up? I saw a case once where a horse just stopped dead in the middle of warming up for a lesson and refused to move. Couldn't walk until the vet gave him meds. They had to keep him on a vit e/selenium supp. after that but to my knowledge it never happened again.
Does anyone have any experience with a horse not being able to move hind leg more or less out of the blue? Vet is experienced and well-trusted. Thank you in advance for any info.
Yes... my horse had partially torn the ligament that runs all the way down the back of their hind legs (I'm blanking on the name). He came in from the the field dragging that leg, not able to pick it up correctly. However, that was also accompanied by massive swelling all the way up his leg as well, which it sounds like wasn't the case with your guy. The diagnosis was confirmed with an ultrasound, both at the time of the injury and a bit later once the swelling had gone down significantly. I'd definitely limit his movement until you know exactly what you're dealing with... sounds like it could be minor, or it could be very serious. Sorry you're going through this! Good luck and let us know what the vet figures out
Hi Guys! Sorry about the late reply - I was never alerted (probably went to spam) that anyone had replied to my original post! Thank you all for your input. I didn't find the true problem until a few weeks later - he went totally sound two days after finding him in the paddock and my vet cleared him for work. Was COMPLETELY sound (although he was having some back soreness) and well-behaved but brought him for a bone-scan for piece of mind about his SI. Everything structural checked out completely normal, his SI is non-reactive and totally sound if slightly tilted. It was a torn muscle attachment way up in his hip! It was too deep to feel or see the swelling but there was lots of it. We put him on a walk for the first month, trot the second, canter the third, jump the 4th schedule and he is totally sound and back to normal now. He is a VERY stoic boy and also VERY wild in turnout so the vet assumes he overstretched the hind leg with one of his many antics. Does NOT think it has a thing to do with his SI or that his SI caused a weakness that led to the strain.
In regards to the first post and W/T/C jump in April, I was being overly dramatic about the snow and the timing. He cantered through the month of March and the jumping started in mid April.