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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct. 18, 2011
    Posts
    401

    Default shoulder injuries

    my horse sustained a shoulder injury on May 25th. He has been diagnosed with nerve damage in the left shoulder. He is rehabbing and has made tremendous progress and is now
    1/5 lame. anyone have experience with shoulder injuries? how long did it take for a full recovery? thanks!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2002
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    3,591

    Default

    I tell my gelding's saga every time this kind of injury comes up on here.
    The short answer is that he mostly recovered and the only reason he was able to go from dragging his toe to rideable was electro-stimulation therapy and the sooner it is started the better (although we started much later than recommended since his injuries were so extensive that the nerve damage was not apparent for a couple of months after the injury).
    The sooner this treatment is started, the better the results.
    The long story is that my horse had a rather spectacular pasture crash and along with his other injuries, damaged multiple nerves in his shoulder.
    Once the nerve damage became apparent a couple of months after the accident, several vets (very good vets) told me it was too late for the electro-stimulation therapy to be effective. Thanks to a discussion I had with a vet someone on COTH pointed me to, I insisted on giving it a try. My horse went from heavily dragging his toe and the vets telling me he would have to be kept in small paddocks for the rest of his life because of his risk for falling to being rideable again and having a relatively mild mechanical lameness. The reason he did not make a full recovery is that his main scapular nerve never regenerated (the vets say it is either severred or completely crushed). Even without that nerve (or muscle- there is no muscle on his scapula at all), he was able to come back enough to be able to do low level dressage and very low jumps.
    From the time of the injury to the time where I tried riding him was 9 months. He continued to make improvement in how he compensated for the lack of that muscle/nerve for another year and got to the point where the leg had only a couple inches less reach than the other uninjured leg.
    There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.(Churchill)



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct. 18, 2011
    Posts
    401

    Default

    thanks for the info - my horse's nerve is not crushed - was described to me as being "stretched" like elastic that has been stretched. he is doing really well, just so anxious for the last little bit of lameness to disappear. funny thing is that he trots and canters without any problem, but i can see something at the walk. he is not head bobbing, but my vet describes him as walking like an elephant - kind of swings his head from side to side.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2002
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    3,591

    Default

    My guy continued to improve for a long time so don't give up yet.
    He even made an additional improvement a year or two after (can't remember the exact timeframe- may have been more) after not having improved for a long time and one of the vets I talked to said that he had seen that kind improvement more than a year later in nerve injuries before.
    Not sure if you will consider that good or bad news - the bad that you may have to wait a long time but the good that you shouldn't give up that he will improve.
    I personally would still ask about electro-stim- it helps the nerve regenerate (and only works when they are not crushed- the crushed nerve never came back for my guy, he just learned to compensate for its absence) and so theoretically I would think it could still help the nerve's in your horse's shoulder. So might be worth asking. The longer the nerve is "out of service" the less likely the body will be able to respond once it regenerates so anything you can do to speed that up, the better.
    Glad your guy is doing so well. Nerves and their ability to repair are amazing things
    There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.(Churchill)



  5. #5
    Join Date
    May. 13, 2004
    Location
    NW CT
    Posts
    837

    Default

    It depends on the nature of the injury. In addition to nerves, the shoulder has a number of different muscles present and it can be difficult to locate the precise area(s) that are affected. Complicating this, there is compensation by the many muscles that are present in the shoulders (along with the nerves, tendons, etc.), and the fact that the horse carries so much weight on the shoulders, which are supported solely by a muscular sling.

    One of my horses had a biceps injury and it took a full nine months of careful work -- at walk and trot -- before he was sound again. The most important thing is not to reinjure the horse during rehab. The slow way is the fast way here.

    Jean-Marie Denoix and Jean-Pierre Pailloux have an excellent guide to shoulder (and all) injury rehab in their book "Physical Therapy and Massage for the Horse." Although it is focused on muscular injuries, the authors state that any jumping should be delayed until the horse can work on the flat for 3-4 weeks without any signs of lameness.
    The aids are the legs, the hands, the weight of the rider, the whip, the caress, the voice and the use of extraneous circumstances. ~ General Decarpentry
    www.reflectionsonriding.com



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul. 31, 2006
    Location
    VA
    Posts
    2,733

    Default

    have you tried acupuncture
    Free bar.ka and tidy rabbit.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov. 15, 2007
    Posts
    250

    Default

    My mare had/has Sweeney Shoulder. She broadsided her mother when she was 3 years old out in the field. She smashed the suprascapular nerve against the point of her shoulder. Her right shoulder point impacted her mother's head (giving her a concussion).

    Anyway, immediately afterwards she was dragging the leg. Got her on the trailer within 45 minutes of it happening and took her to Univ. of FL. She was there for 4 days and had acupuncture while there.

    When I brought her back home, I began to use a TENs unit and also the homeopathic remedy, hypericum. It is specific for nerve injuries. Within weeks, her entire shoulder atrophied. Over the next 3 months, the dragging became less and less. For awhile she did this "plant the foot and pivot inward" as she walked. The pivoting became less and less and by 5 months, she was cleared to go back undersaddle. There still were no muscles there, but the work helped re-develop them. I used a Mattes type pad that I could shim on the front right side to "make" a shoulder so the saddle did not slide off her right side. She has one muscle that never came back.

    Surgery was an option for her. Vets told me to wait a few weeks to see how shedid, but I chose not to do it. The sugery basically lifts the nerve off the bone and they carve a channel for the nerve to lie in in the bone.

    She is 8 years old and not in work (for other reasons) and she really has no major lameness from it. My trainer did get on her this summer and sais she felt a little uneven, as in that leg doesn't come forward as well as the other.



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