Any experience with two bad tendons in the same leg?
I am looking to see if anyone has any experience that might help me determine if my guy can return to good quality of life.
When Joey was 6, he got a tendon sheath infection in his DDFT and had surgery to clean it out. The tendon has never been the same. He's had a severely underrun heel in that foot and the best farriers I have been able to find have not been able to correct it, because the compromised tendon doesn't allow him to stand up correctly over that foot. But, I have been able to keep him pasture sound and mostly comfortable for the past 9 years.
He recently tore the SDFT in the same leg... In diagnosing this injury, we discovered that the DDFT has a decent amount of calcification. I have been doing everything the vet has prescribed: keeping him in small turnout where he can walk but not get up to any antics; icing; bute; and using a SMBII 24/7 to support the leg. Wearing the SMBII all the time has caused him to blister and the skin to slough, despite my best efforts (a sock underneath, cleaning everyday, anti-fungal sprays and powders everyday). He's in a good amount of pain just from the skin irritations.
He has been improving, in that he was actually bearing weight on the leg about 90% of the time as opposed to about 20% of the time. He has still been lame at the walk. Since its been over 30 day, the vet suggested I try leaving the SMBII off to see how things go and relieve the irritation on the skin under the boot. He stayed in for 12 hours with the boot off... and was significantly worse... significantly more swollen and weight bearing is down to 40% or so...
I'm worried that having two compromised tendons in the same leg is going to make it very difficult if not impossible for him to heal enough that he is comfortable again.
Does anyone have any similar experiences? Any idea if a horse with two compromised tendons in the same leg can adequately heal so that he is comfortable in the pasture? I don't want to perpetuate his pain by continuing to try treatment methods that will end up being ineffective. But at the same time, I don't want to give up too soon.
Hmm, that is tough. I have worked with horses coming off the track that had bilateral double bows that were hardly even lame; every situation is different. The calcification is bothersome, because those areas lack normal elasticity and are prone to tendonitis and re-injury.
What are you doing shoeing wise for him? Have you played around there?
Is he in or out 24/7? I like support boots, but not for 24/7. I think leaving it off for some amount of time every day is a good idea, to promote normal weigh-bearing ability, fiber alignment and stretching, give the skin a rest, etc. I would try slowly weaning off; 1 hour, and if that is tolerated try 2, then 4, etc. Perhaps you could switch on and off with something like the Veredus stable boots. While they wouldn't promote normal stretching etc, it would at least give you an option that would give a rest from the pressure points of the SMB and has better padding underneath.
Good luck. You sound admirably dedicated!
As Peter, Paul, and Mary say, a dragon lives forever.