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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun. 17, 2013
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    Unhappy Conflicting Vets on PPE

    Posting this under an alter. Apologies for length, but advice would be highly appreciated.

    I was interested in a young horse that lives hours away from me. I contacted my vet, whom I have great trust in as he is a lameness specialist, to recommend me to a vet in the horse's area to do the PPE. It helps that he used to practice in this area for nearly 20 years so he easily could recommend a great vet. The recommended vet is a very well known vet for hunter/jumpers and dressage for a major city. I checked in that this vet is a third party, a nonaffiliated vet with the horse's owner.

    The horse goes through with the PPE and the vet states that the horse has beautiful movement, a great temperament, and that he would be a wonderful candidate for his job. He sends the x-rays to my vet so he can look them over. My vet says that in the horse's front foot, he appeared to have "some erosion in the navicular", which would make my personal vet pass him up.

    I contacted the owner to disclose this information to them and sent her the x-rays of the horse. The vet who did the PPE was informed of what my vet said and he still stands firm by his diagnosis of completely clean legs. He offered to have his associate also give a look at the x-rays to confirm or refute his statement. The owner also stated that she is going to send the x-rays to her personal vet to see what they say.

    Should the horse be deemed to have clean legs by three different vets, I was going to contact another very, very well known vet in the next city over to have him look at the horse's x-rays.

    What would you do in this circumstance? The horse is absolutely wonderful in all other aspects. Feels like quite a conundrum in that I have never been in this situation before.



  2. #2
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    Jul. 25, 2007
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    First off it sounds like you have done everything correctly so far. Even if the second opinions come back clean, I would still send the X-rays off for one more reading. I think for peace of mind it is well worth the price as well as preventing a possible heartache down the road. Good luck.


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  3. #3
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    Nov. 29, 2007
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    Would an additional xray or two clarify anything, or is your vet confident with the views he has?
    "However complicated and remarkable the rest of his life was going to be, it was here now, come to claim him."- JoAnn Mapson


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  4. #4
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    Is your vet a lameness specialist? It sounds like the other one is. Actually in this case, I agree that a second set of radiographs should clarify the issue for both vets. I think that would be my choice -rather than another vet (who probably would want to order fresh radiographs anyway).

    Radiographs are not always "clean," and easy to read. The DVM who took the films may have had difficulties getting a good angle and knew it -which is why he/she discounted the findings. Who knows? But another set of radiographs seems reasonable -if the horse is worth it.
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  5. #5
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    Apr. 14, 2001
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    Minnesota
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    Vets provide opinions. Opinions may vary, especially on things like radiographs or other imaging techniques. What you do depends on who you trust.

    The point about additional films is a very valid one, if there is any question on the quality or technique. If they weren't digital, get digital films.

    Was the horse reactive at all (at ALL?) to hoof testers on the rear third of the foot? If the horse exhibited any caudal heel pain + potentially questionable rads, I would pass. If the horse was not at all painful or reactive to hoof testers, then I'd consider looking further into more rads or another opinion...


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  6. #6
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    Jun. 17, 2013
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    Thank you to everyone who has replied.

    My vet does take an interest in lameness and one of the most trusted in our area for lameness. He didn't say whether more xrays will help him decide -- he simply said that it appears that some erosion has started to happen. From this I would assume that hoof testers would not really show any problems until it has progressed. During the PPE he did not show any reaction to the hoof testers and the vet actually commented that the horse had nice feet.

    The vet who did the PPE is highly respected in his area as well (and any mentioning of him on COTH has been positive).

    We are open to having the foot re-radiographed if the PPE vet's associate doesn't find anything wrong and the owner's personal vet does not find anything wrong, just to be extra careful.

    Just wanted to see how people would approach this situation as we have never been in one like this before!



  7. #7
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    Sep. 2, 2005
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    I personally would get another set of xrays and have whichever vet you want to look at them again.



  8. #8
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    Aug. 12, 2001
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    See if you can find someplace to take the horse that has a better quality of x-ray, as well. Field x-rays can vary wildly in quality.

    I totally vote for another opinion. I've had as many as five on some issues!
    "The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief



  9. #9
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    You can also send radiographs to vet schools to be reviewed by the radiologists and ( sometimes) equine specialists

    It is difficult to find a horse of any age without navicular changes. Changes do not = lameness

    The radiologists may suggest another set of images.

    These days so many have digital systems and sending and looking at the images is a piece of cake.

    I think you are likely to get many opinions over the same images. Radiology is challenging and horse hooves one of the most difficult particularly using the hand held systems.
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  10. #10
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    Apr. 28, 2008
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    "navicular changes" without lameness don't bother me and I would buy the horse. I have seen no correlation between "changes" in a young horse and development of navicular later on. To the contrary, my 2 horses that developed navicular had no changes at age 3 and 4 respectively. My horse with changes at 4 never developed navicular pain despite a decade-long career jumping 4' plus. I know a lot of people with similar experiences.


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  11. #11
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    Jun. 17, 2013
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    Thank you all for the anecdotes and advice.

    I have asked the owner to please have the horse X-rayed again and we will have 2 new vets put their eyes on these x-rays: her vet and a vet at a very, very well known public university. I feel at this point the previous two vets will stand firm by their previous conclusions, so it's time to start fresh. We will have all four feet radiographed again, just to be careful.

    I hope this is all sorted, eventually. This has become stressful and more expensive than I originally anticipated for a PPE.


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  12. #12
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    Aug. 17, 2006
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    I agree with fordtraktor, i would buy it anyways! Leased a horse with a shot hind end(would have bought if i had the $$) who had alot less lame days than a horse i knew with no issues.

    Then again i pride myself in my knowledge of senior horse care to keep them happy and comfy!

    Minor issues dont scare me, if it makes you feel better my friends gelding is barefoot with navicular and sound 90% of the time
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  13. #13
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    Jun. 17, 2013
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    Update: Had a navicular specialist from well known public university vet school take a look at the young horses' x-rays. She did say his left front doesn't not match his right front, but we would need more imaging before declaring it pathological or an imaging mistake.

    So time for new X-rays!



  14. #14
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    Sep. 29, 2009
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    I would not buy this horse.

    Other horses are out there with no foot issues. Many fish in the sea.

    Navicular. We all know where that goes, how it can go, how it may go.

    Any vet from that area, I would be suspicious. I doubt this horse is a cheap $500 horse, from a no name barn and no name seller/trainer, etc. Any area vet may not want to upset the apple cart.

    I would trust YOUR vet. The one YOU trust. He has said his opinion, why question it? He has no dog in the race. He will have to treat your horse if it has the questionable hoof.

    It is all about risk. Willing to risk it? Whatcha got to lose? $, your sanity, your heart being broken, lame horse you can't sell, or everybody was wrong and everything is perfect 5 years down the road?

    You do not say what the horses job will be. Doubt horse will be a once a week trail horse. I feel, since you haven't said, the horses job will be of some importance to the horse being very sound, for a long time, and for a very athletic job.

    So, there is my opinion. Pass.


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  15. #15
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    Fewer and fewer vets these days are willing to indulge in crystal-ball gazing when it comes to future soundness potential; they've been burned too many times. So they've learned to identify any remote shadow on a radiograph even if it kills the sale of a horse they are 99% sure is sound for the use intended. Strictly a CYA thing.

    I would run the films by the university teaching hospital vet you mentioned, with additional views if he expresses doubt. You haven't mentioned the horse's price, I'm imagining he's not a cheap one. Be aware perfection doesn't exist, and what many people have said above about lame horses with clean X-rays and vice-versa is my experience as well. If he's doing the job right now and is sound, I would weigh that against this finding.

    It's kind of like having "cholesterol" doesn't necessarily mean you're going to have a heart attack.


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  16. #16
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    ^^ Yeah, kind of like how George Burns smoked a TON and still lived to be 100...and Winston Churchill drank a lot and smoked and he lived to be pretty old too.

    So a lot of this horse stuff, lameness, etc. is similar - i.e. a very individualistic thing.



  17. #17
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    Sounds to me like the expert needed here is a radiologist, not a lameness specialist.

    If the issue is what's on the film then get the film (originals) into the hands of a expert in reading films. If they call the films dispositive for changes or unclear then a second set would be appropriate. If they call them clear then go ahead with the purchase.

    Also, if they've not already done so, the OP should review the Merck Vet. Manual on navicular disease so that they have fresh in their mind the proper current diagnosis treatment options, not what people remember from prior life experience.

    G.
    Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


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  18. #18
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    just out of curiosity are any of these vets in FL?
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  19. #19
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    Not sure what the price or the job for this horse is but with all this on xrays - either the horse is awesome and OP really likes and wants this horse- and might be able to manage issues for a long time; or OP is burning up her budget on xrays and additional vet opinions. OP also said it was a young horse - how old/young. If fairly young like 4-8 I think I'd pass; if it was an older horse (9+) and I really like the horse, and could manage any issues fairly well, I would continue to pursue and would negotiate the purchase price more



  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lady Eboshi View Post
    Fewer and fewer vets these days are willing to indulge in crystal-ball gazing when it comes to future soundness potential; they've been burned too many times. So they've learned to identify any remote shadow on a radiograph even if it kills the sale of a horse they are 99% sure is sound for the use intended. Strictly a CYA thing.
    Agree with the CYA.

    I had a horse for sale that had not taken a single lame step in the three years I owned it. Sent it out on trial, they LOVED it, had their vet PPE it, and suddenly I am told it is lame behind with bad xrays.

    Send same xrays to vet that does the Olympic team and he practically screams in my ear that there is NOTHING WRONG WITH THE HORSE.

    They passed, horse went to a different home.
    Still hasn't limped once.


    Local vet just had to come up with something for CYA.


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