Does anyone know much about this? I know a horse where this is suspected, they are still doing diagnostics though. Last year he had a suspensory injury (and a collateral ligament) in his left front, he has been cleared for work since the fall, and has been sound. Now he is lame in both RF and RH and both blocked to the suspensory. When they ultrasound, and if both suspensories are damaged the vets are thinking a degenerative problem. Horse is 14ish and had been very sound up until last year. He had been a solid 3'+ horse his whole life. He is only about 15.3 and well balanced. Anyone have much information on this?
do not know of any degenerative susp stories. But how do you know by blocks alone that is what is going on?
Ie my own horse now is lame Rf and LF. after lots of vet exams and blocks that really couldn't 100% confirm what was going on I bit the bullet and had a high field MRI done of both front feet up through the pasterns as far as they would go. The found injury to RF collateral (on fetlock) and suspensory in RF (again fetlock area) as well as both straight and distal sesmoidean ligaments in both front feet. All of these injuries were found by ultrasound AFTER the MRI b/c the vet knew exactly where to look. The blocks that were done b/f the MRI just didn't give enough info... actually they gave perplexing info.
I'll have to read up on DS, but seems that the house would have just re-injured same susp and the other leg as well.
ok read some of the info, whew, not sounding good. Has the horses fetlocks dropped?
Going thru something similar with a 15yr old gelding.
Fetlocks started to drop 3 years ago and progressively got worse. He now has rock hard swellings over the fetlocks and moves very base wide. Has large elbow musculature from pulling himself forward. He also has unexplainable colics at times, with normal gut sounds and passing manure. He's unable to hold up a hindleg, trimming, especially cutting the frogs is incredibly difficult. I will have a vet re-evaluate. I also started to notice a hardening over the nuchal ligament. Yet in his bloodline no indication of genetic DSLD. He's living in wraps 24/7.
I believe not all suspensory ligament desmitis is necesarily ESPA, but either way, no cure, only supportive care .
I know about dsld not sure why I didn't think about that! I am not sure about the fetlocks as I actually live across the country although it is where my horse lives. I will have to ask about that. But really the horse should not be having problems. His work load has been pretty light. Just cleared for jumping in jan. he is owned by a kid I know she must be devastated. They are still waiting on further diagnostics at the moment just suspecting this at the moment because if he does have injuries to the suspensory it would mean injuries in 3 of 4 legs which is making the vet learn towards a weakness in all of them. Either way it doesn't sound great as he just finished rehab for the other injury. They will know more later.
It sounds like it could be DSLD. I noticed the hardening too with my guy. I had a gelding who had a suspensory tear and had surgery to fix it. We did the stall rest, etc. and he still was NQR. So we turned him out to see if time would help but it got worse. I took him back to the clinic and the doctor officially diagnosed him with DSLD. He sounds a lot like your horse's symptoms. I turned my boy out and monitored him everyday. After about 2 years he was having more bad days than good and I put him down. I donated the leg to Va. Tech. I hope this isn't the case with your horse but it was not immediately discovered when he wasn't quite right after the initial injury and he was at an incredible clinic. Good luck!
Yup, lost my last horse after his fetlocks dropped after he was on stall rest for a hind suspensory. Both fetlocks dropped and then he eventually tore his superficial digital flexor tendon above the hock.
The dsld/espa is known to affect horses once they get to their mid-teens. Mine was 14 years old and a TB, which are known to get it.
Just talked to the BO there, it does not look like his fetlocks have dropped at this point. They are doing ultrasounds next week. I feel bad for the kid who owns him, plus he is a super sweet and really cool horse. He is a TB/QH cross. Either way this is no fun, even if they end up decided it is not dsld probably looking at another round of stall rest. Luckily he is a great minded horse.
Mroades, so sorry to hear, at such young age .
Do you know how the horse's suspensories looked on ultrasound before euthanasia?
I'd like to get a better feel for how to judge the severity of the disease as well as the painlevels.
And what was the horse's demeanor so to speak on a day-to-day basis, was it obvious that the quality of life was diminished. What were the outward symptoms other than the dropped fetlocks.
I struggle judging my horse's level of pain, up til recent I was convinced it was very beareable as a retired horse in private turnout, but he deteriorated lately and it's hard to gauge his painlevels, it does seem to vary from day to day.
I probably should join the yahoo support group to read about the varying degrees of symptom presentation in those horses.
I'd like to give him as full and long a life as possible, but remain fair of course.
Jack16, would you be able to describe a bad day. Thank you.
I have a lot of experience with DSLD, both personally and professionally. It became an interest of mine while working with Dynasplints and I rapidly learned all I could about it. I've handled and worked with many DSLD horses of various breeds and ages. As far as gauging their pain level goes, Lieslot, when they are reluctant to allow one foot to be picked up because it's too painful to bear all of their weight on only 3, they're pretty painful. Sadly, camels are prone to a similar condition and I've done as much work with them as I have with horses. Thanks to their different anatomy, camels are able to begin crawling on their knees when their lower legs become too painful. It's a gut wrenching sight to see a camel crawl painstakingly and slowly from hay to water on its knees. To think, the pain they must be in to choose to heft their enormity around in such a fashion. From my experience, horses would do the same if they could and, at least in my opinion, that is no way for an animal to live. For the majority of DSLD horses in later disease stages, standing is unbearable. But laying down is impossible due to pain and weakness preventing dropping and rising. They begin to lay down less frequently as they struggle more and more to stand again. I think 2 things I would watch for in one with DSLD are reluctance to pick up feet and changes in relaxation time/sleeping habits.
I'm hesitant to share this, but what I found while visiting farms and working with DSLD cases was that owners were prone to underestimating the pain and discomfort caused by this condition. I was frequently alarmed that owners were unaware that their horses' fetlock and pastern angles were abnormal. So, to the OP, I'd be hesitant to believe that the horse's pastern angles are normal just because the BO or trainer believes they are. I sure hope diagnostics prove the horse does not have DSLD. 'Cause it sucks.
Lieslot, my boy was turned out in a big field once he was officially diagnosed. He was brought in twice a day with the rest and I made sure that whoever was feeding watched him. As the weeks went by he went from walking speedily up to the barn with the rest of the herd to lagging behind the herd to not really wanting to walk around too much. I only let him be like that for a couple of weeks. Watched to see if he would have another good day but he almost looked like a really bad arthritic horse. He never stopped eating but he just looked a little depressed. I put him down pretty quickly. I hated watching him go from a happy horse running around the field to not wanting to really walk up a small hill to eat breakfast. He was only 8. My vet is a pretty straight forward older guy at one of the bigger clinics in Virginia and agreed that it was good to let him go. I know he didn't suffer. I think owners often do underestimate the pain. Like I said above, I donated his leg that he originally injured upon request to Virginia Tech and the suspensory looked rotten. It was terrible. I felt so bad and can only pray that I read his signs pretty well and he wasn't in as much pain as that leg looked upon necropsy. It's a terrible thing. I wouldn't wish it on anyone.
My husband and I have decided for sure this was his last winter, but are hoping for a nice summer.
However if he doesn't improve in the coming weeks, I will let go of him sooner. It will be my worst day ever .
I am seeing my vet this week to discuss.
Last edited by Lieslot; Feb. 17, 2013 at 10:16 PM.
Lieslot, I'm so sorry you're going through this. Your horse is fortunate to have you as it seems you're willing and able to put his needs above your own. 'Wishing you strength and peace as you continue to enjoy every minute you have with him.