My 5yo TB mare has been NQR (again) for over a month now. I had the vet out today and after checking her x-rays from this spring and watching her move, she's thinking it may be a dirt lesion in her hock that is causing her problems. Mare does not noticeably respond to flexion tests, but apparently she may be desensitized to some degree to that joint hurting?
The vet will come back out next week to block the joint to ensure that is where the problem is coming from and probably re-xray if that is the case, but it started me thinking what I will do if this is the issue. Does anyone have experience with surgery for this type of issue or IRAP? How well do they work, in your experience? Any other therapies worth considering? Or should I just give up on her and turn her out? (I would hate to do this- she has the potential to be a nice mare, and she's so young to become a pasture ornament!)
Some DIRT lesions will not show up on xrays but can be seen by ultrasound. If you don't find anything on the radiographs, you could opt for that. Also you could rule out any soft tissue damage in that joint with the US (if you are sure it's the hock).
If the DIRT lesion is causing lameness, then yes, you are most likely looking at arthroscopic surgery. The other hock should also be imaged because there is a good chance it's bilateral (even if only one is causing lameness). Price of the surgery depends on location, but in Nor CA it runs about $2500-$3500 for bilateral arthroscopic surgery.