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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar. 16, 2013
    Location
    Arkansas
    Posts
    4

    Default Plea for help: Need stifle lameness resolution

    Please bear with me, I have never posted before and this is long. I am also just a mom, not a horse expert of any kind. Just joined COH tonight to find help:

    10 months ago, we bought a 5 yo pinto gelding for our 12 year old daughter as a hunter prospect. Horse was chosen by her trainer so we felt confident in his suitability, etc. Soon after we brought him back to the home barn and he got into training (green pasture horse, never jumped or worked...Only pleasure ridden prior to our purchase) the trainer noticed he seemed slightly "off". After months of training and being worked/jumped/shown, he became markedly worse.

    Had feet checked and had 3 chiropractic adjustments done. On fourth visit chiro said he was in good alignment and needed no more adjustments at that time. Still "off". Took him to local, well-regarded vet and films were done of hocks and stifles (where both vet and trainer felt lameness was originating) with no results. Rested him and took him off grains/treats etc. wondering if it could be EPSM. Got back to working him slowly with a little improvement but still not sound.

    Few months later, lameness worsens and horses disposition worsens. Does not want to go forward and begins having a lot of trouble bending and turning. Seemed like he was in a lot of pain. Took him to a specialist in Oklahoma who used a lameness locator on him which showed lameness in both left and right stifles, more in the right. Blocks were done of all three joint compartments first, with no improvement then block of ligaments around stifle yielded marked improvement. Ultrasound of both stifles done with no abnormalities found other than strange striations in the tissue on both left and right. Vet was not concerned. Blistering of both stifles of 2% iodine in almond oil was done with promising prognosis. Rested for 2 weeks then started work slowly. Put him back on grains by vet permission.

    Slight improvement for 3 weeks but still not sound so taken back to local vet who spoke with specialist and re-blistered. Gave trainer two injectables to use for 3 weeks to a month. One was a hormone (Estro something??), not sure about the other.

    After another week, MARKED IMPROVEMENT. SEEMINGLY SOUND!! Happy pony who wanted to work and jump. Daughter had 3 great lessons and trainer had about the same amount of good training rides (over about 9 day period) then POOF, he is AWFUL again!!!

    Soooo, still continuing injections and on Friday we talked to specialist. He is totally perplexed. Never had a horse not respond. Only options given were shockwave therapy, a year of rest or possibly going back and having blocks done in reverse... Ligaments first, then joint compartments.

    I am not a peace with a year of rest or the shockwave therapy. He was not confident at all that shockwave would help and it seems if rest would help, then why would he show lameness after he starts working after 5 years of hanging in a pasture?

    So sorry this is so long. Just trying to give as much detail as possible to help keep this efficient as I can for everyone willing to help.

    Does anyone out there have any input, advice, ideas or suggestions? We are running out of options and hate to give up on this very special guy...

    Also, planning on getting EPM test done just to rule it out. Know others that have had intermittent lameness problems in stifles and horses ended up EPM positive.

    Thanks in advance!!
    Last edited by brentyancey; Mar. 17, 2013 at 12:40 AM.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep. 8, 2010
    Posts
    1,486

    Default

    I'm a little confused. Is the pony still on estrogen? That seemed to be working but then you stopped it?

    Just FYI, it's almost always best to try estrogen before blistering.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar. 16, 2013
    Location
    Arkansas
    Posts
    4

    Default

    Still doing the estrogen shots but he worsened anyway.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr. 14, 2001
    Location
    Fort Collins, CO
    Posts
    16,156

    Default

    Time for a second opinion, perhaps? How skilled is your specialist at interpreting stifle ultrasounds? If the soft tissue in the stifle blocked sound, I would expect to see something there on ultrasound.

    My vet has had excellent results with IRAP for stifle pain.

    Ruling out EPM and the various tick-borne diseases is certainly a good play.

    I do have an interesting article on stifle issues, which I would be happy to email if you would PM your email address.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun. 6, 2012
    Posts
    117

    Default

    I am also currently dealing with a stifle problem. I recently switched trainers and, not to blame anyone, but I firmly believe that my old trainer caused this problem by pushing my horse too hard after a different injury. I do dressage, I think this is a "classical" vs "modern?" dressage problem. So my question is, how is the horse ridden? In a frame? In a "fake" frame? Saddle fits, etc? I think horses start to compensate and this causes lameness problems overtime. I'm not trying to offend the rider or trainer, but my eyes have recently been opened to improper training techniques and there seems to be a pattern of your horse getting worse after being worked.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan. 26, 2013
    Posts
    342

    Default

    Old Schoolers would tell you with a young horse to go hack hills for a year before putting it back in serious training.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec. 3, 2002
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    816

    Default

    In my experience, the WORST thing for a horse with stifle problems is keeping them inactive in a stall. Stall keeping forces lack of movement and so many stifle problems start or get worse after stalling.

    The old standbys for strengthening stifles are:
    24/7 turnout
    Movement- light exercise
    Cavaletti exercises
    Backing up- done daily
    Hill work- walking up and down hills


    3 members found this post helpful.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct. 29, 2000
    Location
    Southern Pines, N.C.
    Posts
    11,421

    Default

    I recently had a stifle problem with my horse. Chiro and accupuncture only helped a little. He then had an appt with deep tissue massge man and, WALLACHT! it turned out to be his glute -- which attaches to the stifle at one end and to the "seat bone" at the other (you can feel the seat bones by feeling along the horse's butt under the tail. They are the equine equivalent to the bones in our butt.)

    Turns out that, at one time my horse must have had an accident (falling, getting kicked in the butt -- we will never know) and he broke his seat bone on the side of the lameness. Which resulted in a weak glute muscle which was exascerbated by the scar tissue build up when he was started in regular dressage work.

    That was a long story to demonstrate that a sore stifle may not be in the stifle at all, but it shows up as a stifle lameness because "de seat bone's connected to the stife bone, etc"

    From my experience (it took 2 sessions to break up the scar tissue so his glute could move freely again) I would get a muscle *massage* person to look at your guy. If the vet says it is a ligament/tissue problem, it could well invlove the muscles which attach at the stifle.
    "I used to have money, now I have horses."


    3 members found this post helpful.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May. 17, 2010
    Posts
    678

    Default

    Yeah, what Snowfox and Marla said. . . . .



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb. 18, 2006
    Location
    east central Illinois and working north to the 'burbs
    Posts
    3,836

    Default

    Have you considered that this horse is not suited for the job you want him to do and that no treatment protocol(s) is/are going to have any long lasting effects?


    4 members found this post helpful.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug. 28, 2007
    Location
    Triangle Area, NC
    Posts
    6,704

    Default

    Rick Burton for the win!

    Some horses sit around in pastures because that's all they CAN do.
    www.destinationconsensusequus.com
    chaque pas est fait ensemble



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul. 23, 2007
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    879

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by brentyancey View Post
    Please bear with me, I have never posted before and this is long. I am also just a mom, not a horse expert of any kind. Just joined COH tonight to find help:

    10 months ago, we bought a 5 yo pinto gelding for our 12 year old daughter as a hunter prospect. Horse was chosen by her trainer so we felt confident in his suitability, etc. Soon after we brought him back to the home barn and he got into training (green pasture horse, never jumped or worked...Only pleasure ridden prior to our purchase) the trainer noticed he seemed slightly "off". After months of training and being worked/jumped/shown, he became markedly worse.

    Had feet checked and had 3 chiropractic adjustments done. On fourth visit chiro said he was in good alignment and needed no more adjustments at that time. Still "off". Took him to local, well-regarded vet and films were done of hocks and stifles (where both vet and trainer felt lameness was originating) with no results. Rested him and took him off grains/treats etc. wondering if it could be EPSM. Got back to working him slowly with a little improvement but still not sound.

    Few months later, lameness worsens and horses disposition worsens. Does not want to go forward and begins having a lot of trouble bending and turning. Seemed like he was in a lot of pain. Took him to a specialist in Oklahoma who used a lameness locator on him which showed lameness in both left and right stifles, more in the right. Blocks were done of all three joint compartments first, with no improvement then block of ligaments around stifle yielded marked improvement. Ultrasound of both stifles done with no abnormalities found other than strange striations in the tissue on both left and right. Vet was not concerned. Blistering of both stifles of 2% iodine in almond oil was done with promising prognosis. Rested for 2 weeks then started work slowly. Put him back on grains by vet permission.

    Slight improvement for 3 weeks but still not sound so taken back to local vet who spoke with specialist and re-blistered. Gave trainer two injectables to use for 3 weeks to a month. One was a hormone (Estro something??), not sure about the other.

    After another week, MARKED IMPROVEMENT. SEEMINGLY SOUND!! Happy pony who wanted to work and jump. Daughter had 3 great lessons and trainer had about the same amount of good training rides (over about 9 day period) then POOF, he is AWFUL again!!!

    Soooo, still continuing injections and on Friday we talked to specialist. He is totally perplexed. Never had a horse not respond. Only options given were shockwave therapy, a year of rest or possibly going back and having blocks done in reverse... Ligaments first, then joint compartments.

    I am not a peace with a year of rest or the shockwave therapy. He was not confident at all that shockwave would help and it seems if rest would help, then why would he show lameness after he starts working after 5 years of hanging in a pasture?

    So sorry this is so long. Just trying to give as much detail as possible to help keep this efficient as I can for everyone willing to help.

    Does anyone out there have any input, advice, ideas or suggestions? We are running out of options and hate to give up on this very special guy...

    Also, planning on getting EPM test done just to rule it out. Know others that have had intermittent lameness problems in stifles and horses ended up EPM positive.

    Thanks in advance!!
    Been here, done all this.....my horse, after one year of off and on stifle.....will tell you....Check the Neck.....my horse had Wobbles.....the rear issues came from the cervical spine/neck. He got markedly worse when ridden a few days in a row. Have a really really good neuro exam and neck exam done.....as another said...I ruled out EPM and lyme and it was confirmed wobbles via radiographs and myelogram.
    Adriane
    Happily retired but used to be:
    www.ParrotNutz.com



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun. 12, 2007
    Location
    Westchester County, NY
    Posts
    5,714

    Default

    Yes- rule out EPM and Lyme, then x-ray the spine (neck and back).


    1 members found this post helpful.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun. 7, 2008
    Location
    now in KCMO, and plan to stay there
    Posts
    2,989

    Default

    Kudos to OP (original poster) for trying so hard to do right by this critter. It is possible a cure may yet be found, but if not, consider maybe he needs to be someone's trail horse and you need a different horse or pony for your child. If you mention what part of the country you are in/nearest large city, more ideas may be forthcoming once that is known. Good luck and keep us posted!
    Jeanie
    RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died, Death either by euthanasia or natural causes is only the end of the animal inhabiting its body; I believe the spirit lives on.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun. 4, 2006
    Posts
    2,527

    Default

    I think I would repeat the blocks again. It is possible there be something more going on. I might be tempted to try a bone scan which would hopefully light up the hot spots.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct. 21, 2003
    Posts
    8,672

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Parrotnutz View Post
    Been here, done all this.....my horse, after one year of off and on stifle.....will tell you....Check the Neck.....my horse had Wobbles.....the rear issues came from the cervical spine/neck. He got markedly worse when ridden a few days in a row. Have a really really good neuro exam and neck exam done.....as another said...I ruled out EPM and lyme and it was confirmed wobbles via radiographs and myelogram.
    Yep. Whenever I hear about a "perplexing hind end lameness" I always think neck or some other neurological disease. And so far I have always been right. And considering I have been there, done that, it's NOT a happy place to be.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct. 10, 2007
    Location
    down south
    Posts
    5,060

    Default

    Check for epm and Lyme. If those come back good then I'd also look in the neck as well. I'd really recommend the neuro check though. I don't agree that the horse is lame because he is not suited for the job. There is something wrong and I'm sure if you just rode him for a week on the trail he'd probably still have issues since they are not finding anything yet. Something is being missed and neuro could be it.
    Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole


    2 members found this post helpful.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug. 7, 2012
    Posts
    305

    Default

    Im going through a stifle issue of my own. Id recommend a bone scan if you are willing to put down the $$. I just spent a lot of $$ on diagnostics and injections and she is still off but Im thinking (hoping) its just weakness from having so many months off so the plan is to just hack out for a month and check back. Of course, my horse's stifle problems were mild in comparison to what you are describing.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug. 21, 2004
    Location
    Guanajuato, GTO, Mexico
    Posts
    2,465

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Snowfox View Post
    Old Schoolers would tell you with a young horse to go hack hills for a year before putting it back in serious training.
    This.

    I bought a 4 YO horse with weak stifles. She was not sound jumping until she was 7 and we did a lot of flat work at canter and gallop. When she was completely done growing and kept fit, she went on to a very successful and sound life as a field hunter with another owner.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar. 16, 2013
    Location
    Arkansas
    Posts
    4

    Default

    Wow, thank you guys for all the constructive suggestions! I have compiled a list and will go over them with the trainer today. We are already trying to arrange a serum EPM test and I will have a lyme test added. I am also going to get all his records sent to me from all three vets as well and put together a more specific timeline of events so we have all our "poop in a group" if we seek out another opinion or revisit any therapies.

    One poster asked for me to share where we live: We live in Fort Smith, AR and the horse is being kept in NW AR at the trainers barn. We have seen a local NWA vet briefly but mostly worked with a respected vet in Sallisaw, OK and went to the lameness specialist in Edmond, OK at Oakridge Equine Hospital. Open to getting another opinion and/or non-traditional therapies from highly recommended professionals.

    Thank you again! I will keep checking back and I will post an update as soon as I have one.



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