Well, my horse was supposed to get vet checked by his buyers next week, but apparently he got cast in his stall last night and injured his suspensory.
I got the call this morning that he wouldn't bear any weight on his LF and that he was a hot mess, so I immediately called the vet and now she's talking about up to 9+ months of stall rest.
I am UTTERLY devastated. Not only because now I can't sell him, but I have to pay board on a horse I can't even ride. I do love this horse and I will nurse him back to health, but it's just really disheartening.
I guess that's horses, though.
I'm also concerned with him after recovery. A lot of research I'm doing is saying that there is a good chance that he'll always be NQR because they get so much scar tissue. Are most horses after suspensory injuries confined to lower levels? Do they ever "fully" recover?
Another question: anyone try the back on track no bows? I have to wrap him every day and I was wondering if anyone used them and if they think they may be helpful.
I need a DRINK.
Last edited by circus peanuts; Dec. 28, 2012 at 12:10 PM.
Honestly I think it's a case by case how they come back. So many factors to consider & what if's. My horse came back at a lower level, but due to other factors at the time I was going to drop him down anyways so it didn't matter that much. And he was quite successful after so it wasn't a total career killer for him.
That just sucks.
I am dealing with a tendon injury right now, not suspensory though.
I have been alternating between the back on track and poultices.
As soon as I started this treatment the swelling decreased in the tendon dramatically.
I now have the back on track quick wraps I think they are called. They are simple to put on, so if I can't make it out for a bandage change I just have those put on him as there are less chances of someone messing up the bandage.
Quite a few of the horses I have known with suspensory injuries never came back to the same level they were competing at before the injury, but I suppose every case is different so don't give up hope. And I have know many who become sound, they just are more limited in their activities.
As far as the BOT wraps, a friend who is a vet never believed in them, until one of her clients (whose horse had a suspensory injury) started using them. When she saw how cool and tight her patient's legs were after using them she became a convert and now recommends them. As with everything when dealing with horses, some probably get better results than others do but it can't hurt to try them, although they are quite pricey.
My horse came back fully from a front suspensory injury, but his "fully" isn't particularly taxing. He was only four when he hurt it, and he doesn't (and probably won't ever) jump more than three feet. But that's just me being cautious with him. I think he could do it and be fine, but I don't want to risk reinjury and jumping bigger is not important to me.
I also know a Grand Prix horse that came back from a suspensory injury and competed in more Grands Prix post injury.
Thankfully no personal experience but one in my barn came back from a pretty severe front suspensory (six months stall rest, 3 months slow Rehab) and is back doing the BigEq, including a top 25 call back at Medal Finals this year. He seems quite right.
Sorry to hear about your horse. Horse ownership can be really rewarding, but also really frustrating.
I have a mare who has come back 100% from a suspensory injury. She now actively competes in the 3'6 AOs, and you would never know by looking at her that she has had a suspensory injury.
I will tell you that it was a long road to recovery, but this was my forever horse, and I wanted her to heal properly in order to return to competition. I was also hypervigilant about how we proceeded, and didn't push it, even if she looked like she wanted to do more.
We followed a strict regimen of stall rest, hand walking, walking under saddle, confined turnout, and slowly introducing her back to her normal routine. From start to normal routine was about 9 months. But like I said before, I wanted to do everything I could to get her back to showing.
There have been no residual effects from her injury, in fact, the amount of scar tissue on ultrasound is minimal. I do still get a little paranoid about turning her out in deep mud and snow, but alas she is a horse, and she will find a way to maim herself regardless of how much I try to "protect" her.
I know the outcomes vary from horse to horse, but I just wanted to give you a "happy ending" story so you know that it is possible. Best wishes to you and your horse!
Riding: The art of keeping a horse between you and the ground. - Author Unknown
No advice on the injury, but you have my sympathy. Hopefully he'll heal quickly and well!
As far as the BOT wraps, everyone at my barn swears by them. They've made a huge difference in all of the horses, even the ones that don't have injuries. They did work absolute wonders, combined with poulticing and stall rest, when one of the mares had a stress fracture. They also work really well at keeping the gelding with navicular serviceably sound.
You are not alone. I'm in a similar situation - bought my mare and within a month we have an unexplainable injury to her suspensory and I'm paying show barn board on a large yard ornament with no guarantee of full recovery. Take a deep breath (and maybe a drink!) Work the program once you get one, and keep coming back here - it's a good source of support.
Another story of full recovery.... we did stem cell and a long recovery period (PRP was not available back then).....it took a LONG time -- the healing period, hand walking, and following the prescribed under saddle rehab explicitly.... but our mare came back entirely. We sold her and disclosed the injury --- interestingly enough the buyers pre-purchase vet ultra-sounded the leg and could not find any evidence of the injury. The mare is still showing competitively.
Dealing w/ my own tendon and ligament injury, it is not a fun recovery b/c you just don't know how well they'll come back until you bring them back.
As far as BOT, I am one of those people who doesn't believe in 95% of the stuff out on the market BUT back on track is #1 on my list of things that DO work! I have saddle pads, blankets, pillow wraps, polos, and just recently the quick wraps. Honestly, I would not wrap your horse continually in the BOT pillow wraps, they get quite hot and I think it could possibly cause skin issues being on for that long. I would suggest purchasing the quick wraps and using them an hour or 2 a day. My horse had both front legs wrapped 24/7 for 4 months, I strongly suggest using regular no bows as opposed to quilts to help keep down other issues from wrapping. Ice is also your friend.
So sorry! Had something similar happen a few years ago, horse was being vetted the next day and I elected not to ride but hand walk instead. Horse slipped majorly with one front leg while going after what must have been a particularly delicious patch of grass. Developed moderate lesions of both suspensory branches.
You may want to call some of the bigger teaching universities and ask what their protocol for rehab is... I think the months-on-end stall rest/hand-walking is pretty outdated. I was back on mine tack-walking after the first month and he was going out daily in a small 36x48 paddock pretty much from the start. He healed so well that the vet that did the follow up ultrasound had a hard time telling where the initial injury had been.
An older horse at the barn had a rupture of the suspensory with just a very small amount of tissue holding on. His owner used the Game Ready machine for icing and it was AMAZING!!! I think the combination of pulsating action and ice really, really helped him recover. The horse was already retired, but I think he came back as sound as before.
The more ice you can use, the better, Game Ready or not. I think put the ice on for about 20 minutes, then off. Repeat, repeat, repeat. (Please confirm that with your vet, but ice is so good for inflammation.)
I wish I could send you a virtual drink. My horse injured his RF suspensory (high, I think area 2B on the ultrasound) in May 2008 when he landed funny off a jump. I did the whole rehab as prescribed by the vet and that injury has caused us zero issues. You can feel it a bit when you palpate, but otherwise wouldn't know it was there.
But it was a long and winding road of a rehab as once the suspensory area showed healing on the ultrasound (about 3 months), he was still lame and ultimately turned out to have strained his collateral ligaments in his feet as well. So, he got much additional time off for that plus IRAP treatment (which, while it's injected into the area causing the problem, some undoubtedly leaks out. So, after all that we weren't doing WTC until about 9 months later. But, he did come back fully and, tho I really babied the site of the collateral ligament injury, I never did anything special for the high suspensory once we'd gone thru the rehab. It is quite possible that the additional time off for the collateral ligament and/or the IRAP helped.
It really depends on how bad. I know of a whole lot of horses who did fully recover from suspensory injuries to compete at very high levels (as in Olympic).
I've had 5 with my horses over the years--and each was different. Only one so far didn't fully recover. I'm in the middle of one right now---very very mild, no lesion just inflamation, we caught it very very early. She has been on stall rest for over 2 months. Walking the entire time (under saddle or in hand...depending on what I felt like doing). We are trotting for the first time tomorrow...for less than 1 minute. We will be up to 5 minutes of trotting in 6 weeks....and the scan her again. Her last scan (after 2 months stall rest and just walking) was perfect so her prognosis is very very good but it is still a long processes. She will not be turned out until cantering under tack so yes, probable 6-9 months until they are back to normal work and turn out but most have you walking the entire time. This is the coming from the most cutting edge protocol......most do not want them turned out but do want them walking.
I did have to send one horse to a rehab farm as he got dangerous to handle.
I've done PRP and IRAP with some of the horses (depend on the injury)...and shockwave with all of them. You may want to consider those options with your vet.
It really really sucks on a horse you almost had sold. And to do the rehab correctly takes a LOT of time....but I wouldn't give up hope that he will come back fully. I even know of one horse that sold to the buyers that "almost" bought him right before he did a suspensory. They rehabbed him, and the buyers then came back and bought him.
** The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits. -- Albert Einstein **