Old sesamoid fracture - is this as bad as I think it is?
I just got an OTTB. The horse is beautiful with wonderful conformation (if it weren't for the pin firing marks, you'd never guess it was an OTTB), a fantastic mover (my goal was to ride it in the lowest levels of FEI) with a stellar character and smart as a whip; picked up leg yielding on day 1 of riding. The place it came from told me it had pins in its legs, but they didn't do xrays. I got xrays, but was afraid I was wasting my money. This is a tough horse, and it shows no signs of lameness; flexion didn't pick up anything. Just minorly sensitive in the suspensory when vet really tweaked it. Vet looked at these xrays and said they totally didn't see this one coming, but is subtly hinting that I may want to rethink keeping the horse (since vets can't really advise clients whether or not to continue a purchase/ keep a new horse, I guess that's pretty serious). If these were xrays of a new horse you really liked a lot and otherwise seemed perfect, what would you do? Thanks! Xray 1 Xray 2
Pretty is as pretty does, though. If the horse is sound and doing what you want now then you've got to factor that in. If the horse is sound sitting in a field doing nothing and you want to do more with him, I would probably pass.
My horse has an old sesamoid fracture that looks way worse than that although no pins.
Anyway, he was xray-ed in 2009 and vet said he'd probably need injections along the way. 2012 still doing OK without injections. He is serviceably sound, but just does LL dressage. He did flex pretty bad too on both ankles.
When I sent the xrays to some well known lameness vets, one said he could jump up to 3 ft and the other said it amazed him the horse was pasture sound.
This horse is a trooper though and works even when he doesn't feel good. I guess it would just depend on your horses comfort level and when he tells you he can't do it anymore.
The horse was out to pasture 2 years before I got it, and I've been very careful to keep the work appropriate for a horse that's had 2 years off and doesn't know anything about riding besides racing. So, I have no idea what full work would do to the old injury. But I do know I can only board 1 horse at this time, and previous obligations require the horse (and I) perform at a certain level. My SO quite correctly believes I'd never forgive myself if I accidentally pushed the horse too far and had a break down. But I'd feel pretty bad about tossing such an otherwise nice horse aside. I have another film if it helps anything: Xray 3
I have an OTTB that I got last year with a fractured seasmoid that looks like a pac man. He has no pins and is completly sound. I do dressage and have been doing some ll eventing with no problem. If the horse is sound with work I wouldn't give up on him. Mine is the kindest best horse I've ever had:
I think that the sesamoid could very well become a problem down the road - especially over jumps.
The current films don't look too bad, but you really need to get a flexed DP view because the original injury may have been bad (condylar Fx + sesamoid Fx) and the back surface of the fetlock joint could be damaged. That's really the only view to evaluate that on, and often DVMs that don't do a lot of work on actively racing horses don't routinely take that one in a fetlock series.
The screws are no issue at all - BUT again, those two injuries (condylar fracture and sesamoid fracture) together are a little concerning especially if they occured at the same time. To compare - there are three injuries in a "breakdown" - condylar fracture, bilateral sesamoid fractures and suspensory rupture.
I got my horse for free and as a pasture friend for my old gelding. It was a bonus that now I ride him and he's actually a very nice horse with a super temperament and work ethic. If I was buying and had certain goals, it would probably be different.
As we all know, you can buy the most perfect horse with the most perfect conformation and the most perfect xrays and have it go lame the next day. Crap shoot.
A long time ago, I had a horse that was an OTTB that had an old sesamoid fracture from his last days at the track (that had healed after being put out to pasture) and he was a rockstar. With regular injections (I believe it was twice a year) in the area where there was arthritis and glucosamine/chondroitin supplement, he was perfectly sound! We showed regularly and did mostly the 3' and some 3'6" hunters with no problems at all!
I had purchased him at the age of 11, where he had been going in the smaller hunters lightly. I had him until he was about 14 years old. After I went to college I sold him to someone to was more beginner, and they continued doing the 2'6" to 3' until she went off to college, where I think she then retired him. They knew of his past issue and kept up with the injections/joint supplements and he was fine then too. I think maybe they started adequan when he was older due to stiffness in the winter, but that was it.
Originally Posted by rustbreeches
[George Morris] doesn't always drink beer, but when he does, he prefers Dos Equis
My opinion would be to keep him. You figure if he went through surgery to repair the fracture and came out sound, he's a strong guy! Work with him and see what happens. If he ends up pushed a little too far and gets sore, take him down to his comfortable level and sell him. For me, it would be worth the chance.
My TB mare came to me with old injuries and starved. We competed at 3'6" for years and she never took an unsound step until she was in her 20's. my vet suggested I keep looking after the PPE and X-rays.
Strong promoter of READING the entire post before responding.
I have a horse with an old sesamoid fracture, occurred roughly 5 years ago. He has evented consistently and fairly rigorously since the injury healed 5 years back, Prelim and Intermediate, without issue. He is currently sound at Intermediate. He is a bit of a freak when it comes to healing and pain tolerance; but, it IS possible to have no issues with a healed sesamoid -- certainly a gamble, but definitely possible.
I talked to the place the horse came from about my options (my vet is certain there's no way to fix it or even stabilize it, and the horse is in constant pain but is tough enough to ignore it). The place says if I send the horse back, they'll have no choice but to euthanize it if it's in chronic pain. Yay.
There were 2 fractures of the left foreleg. The screws fixed the condylar fracture we already knew about and is a non-issue. The sesamoid fracture was unknown to us until the xrays, and was never treated. The sesamoid fracture is at least nearly 3 years old (the horse last raced in 2-10).
Last edited by Wildfire; Dec. 2, 2012 at 11:17 AM.
Reason: Too many details
I'm with Laurierace-- don't really see how the vet can tell the horse is in constant pain without any symptoms (like lameness). That said, you have fairly ambitious competition goals where soundness is going to be a huge issue (FEI). I'm not sure this horse sounds like a great fit for you, which doesn't mean he couldn't be a nice horse for someone who only wanted to do the occasional Training/ First Level dressage show or something.
So the horse raced on this whole mess and has since been doing what you asked him to do without apparent soundness problems? That bodes well in my mind provided you are willing to listen to the horse. If it is FEI or bust then maybe you should pass.
It depends. If he was very inexpensive and you can afford to manage him and retire him down the road if and when he needs it then I may consider. Horses cannot see there own X'rays. Otherwise I would probably keep looking.
I just got an OTTB. The horse is beautiful with wonderful conformation (if it weren't for the pin firing marks, you'd never guess it was an OTTB), a fantastic mover (my goal was to ride it in the lowest levels of FEI) with a stellar character and smart as a whip; picked up leg yielding on day 1 of riding. The place it came from told me it had pins in its legs, but they didn't do xrays. I got xrays, but was afraid I was wasting my money. This is a tough horse, and it shows no signs of lameness; flexion didn't pick up anything. Just minorly sensitive in the suspensory when vet really tweaked it. Vet looked at these xrays and said they totally didn't see this one coming, but is subtly hinting that I may want to rethink keeping the horse (since vets can't really advise clients whether or not to continue a purchase/ keep a new horse, I guess that's pretty serious). If these were xrays of a new horse you really liked a lot and otherwise seemed perfect, what would you do? Thanks!
If you mean the same as I, when you say FEI, either change your goals or find the horse another home.
Vet may be implying that based upon your goals, your home is not the best for the horse - training level dressage & hacking out & the occasional 2' jump place much less stress on horse physiology than FEI dressage (no matter how carefully the horse is brought along).
OTOH I would have a great deal of difficulty returning any horse to a previous home that has brought up the big E as a consequence - is this subtle pressure to ensure you don't return the horse? or do you feel they will thoroughly assess the horse before choosing this as a last resort?
Any chance you could continue to work with the horse for a while and if he doesn't hold up, find him a home with low level goals? I don't buy it that the horse is in constant pain but not showing it; the horse would limp if he was hurting!
It seems a shame that he would either have to be sound enough for FEI or be euthanized; there are a lot of levels in between for a nice horse!!