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Fibrotic Myopathy in a dressage horse

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  • Fibrotic Myopathy in a dressage horse

    Had anyone ever had a dressage horse with a mild case of fibrotic myopathy? The horse in question looks normal under saddle in good dressage arena footing. The abnormality is noticeable when the horse walks on concrete or asphalt though.

    I had never heard of this condition and am going to consult my vet when they get back on regular duty from the holidays. I did research on the internet but couldn't find a lot about how horses perform with a mild case.

    Any first hand experiences would be great.

  • #2
    I had a horse with a fairly large myopathy on his hamstring. I had surgery the done by Federico Latimer, who was at that time at NCSU. He recovered uneventfully and returned to full use.

    I did have the surgery site massaged by a certified massage person who is excellent. I think that had a large part to do with how well it healed, as it healed without further adhesions. Which of course, is key.
    "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
    ---
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      How old was he when he had the surgery? What level was he at before and after surgery? How long after surgery before he went back to work?

      This horse is not currently having a performance issue so does not require surgery now. But might if the condition got worse.

      My trainer and I were wondering if massage would help without surgery since this is a mild case. (Honestly not noticeable under saddle in good footing. And this is a 3rd level horse.)

      Thanks so much for sharing your experience! I had actually never even heard of this before.

      Comment


      • #4
        I have a LOVELY mare that had an unfortunate accident at a show whenearly in the AM the watering system (jets of water shooting ALL the way across the arena!) went off shortly after unloading and tying her and another mare to the trailer. The other mare broke loose, my mare nearly strangled herself with the halter and in the process of panicking, had her hind legs slide underneath her and tore the muscle along the back of her rump basically when it healed became fribrotic myopathy. I showed this mare for several years in both dressage and hunter shows and noone EVER noticed anything. She does "goosestep" at the walk, but if you keep her working and fit and REALLY use your leg at the walk, she tracks up fine. I even used her for a learner judges seminar, riding a test and getting a THOROUGH critque and nothing but fabulous things to say about her came out. Of course, this really impacted her resale ability, but she will never be sold. I considered the surgery, but she did so well without it I decided against it. She is now pretty much out of work, has a foal last year and we occasionally ride her. She does have some trouble now with maintaining her lead on the rear on that side, but I think it is as much due to being out of serious work as the fibrotic myopathy. She is only 13 and may go bcak to showing her. Oh yes, one thing i did do when she was in work, was to massage the area with DMSO a few times a week to help break down the scar tissue
        www.shawneeacres.net

        Comment


        • #5
          [quote=inca;2899260]How old was he when he had the surgery? What level was he at before and after surgery? How long after surgery before he went back to work?

          He was 14 when he had the surgery, working 4th level. He went back to work 8 weeks later.

          This horse is not currently having a performance issue so does not require surgery now. But might if the condition got worse.

          His issues with it were very subtle. Difficulty in the pirouttes, changes, just on that side.

          My trainer and I were wondering if massage would help without surgery since this is a mild case. (Honestly not noticeable under saddle in good footing. And this is a 3rd level horse.)

          I would definately have someone who is knowledgable about sports massage work on the adhesions. Although it's more of a calcification issue, if I remember correctly. I personally would do the surgery; it will get worse, just a matter of time. BTW, horses who have this should not be hauled in a trailer with a butt bar. Just FYI.

          Thanks so much for sharing your experience! I had actually never even heard of this before.

          No problem. My understanding is, that it is fairly common.
          "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
          ---
          The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Thanks again, both EqTrainer and shawnee.

            Would love to hear anyone else's stories and experiences also.
            Last edited by inca; Dec. 29, 2007, 11:46 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              We have an an older gentleman at our barn who has had a moderate case ever since I've known him (for years). He is primarily a schoolmaster, shows well at the lower levels, but can look very hitchy behind if he is not pushed all the way through.
              Kathy Johnson

              Comment


              • #8
                Kath, are you sure he actually has one? If he does, he could not be pushed to use it more, as it is actually restrictive scar tissue/calcification. Maybe he has something else?
                "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                ---
                The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by EqTrainer View Post
                  Kath, are you sure he actually has one? If he does, he could not be pushed to use it more, as it is actually restrictive scar tissue/calcification. Maybe he has something else?
                  not really true. My mare if allowed to go at her "own" pace, will goosestep which can look "hitchy", but If I USE my leg STRONGLY she can and will overcome the scar tissue and extend the legt further.
                  www.shawneeacres.net

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by shawneeAcres View Post
                    not really true. My mare if allowed to go at her "own" pace, will goosestep which can look "hitchy", but If I USE my leg STRONGLY she can and will overcome the scar tissue and extend the legt further.
                    The way I had that explained to me was that because they are always stepping short on it, the other muscles tend to get stiff/short and that is what you work thru on those horses.. but the actual scar does not give at all. It's probably a minor point in the big scheme of it
                    "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                    ---
                    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Yes, according to the vet, the myopathy can't get any better, and what you say about the scar tissue is exactly the same as what the vet said. We work to keep the compensating muscles loose and free, yet strong. Particularly, if he is worked over his back, it improves his range of motion. This seems to take a lot of the stress off the hind end and makes him look much more even as he straightens through his body. He does compensate throughout his body for the uneveness behind, and that is something we can change.

                      If he is not ridden through, he is like a car with a low left rear tire, and keeping him straight and on the road requires a TON of constant rider correction. Since the vet says it's not causing him any pain, it's almost funny (I have a dark sense of humor) as he stays in a constant drift left as the right hind overpowers the weaker left.

                      Oh, yeah, and of course he has "something else" --mild laminitis as well as navicular changes in front, and hock issues behind. The myopathy makes him look most uneven, as the rest is bilateral. He's pretty old, and had a long, hard career, but he's a good guy, a good teacher, and thrilled to be doing dressage and not jumping anymore.
                      Kathy Johnson

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Fibrotic myopathy

                        Here's a little info about fibrotic myopathy:

                        Fibrotic myopathy is an acquired, nonpainful, mechanical lameness associated with a distinct gait abnormality of the pelvic limb(s) which usually involves the semitendinosus muscle, but can also involve the semimembranosis and biceps femoris. Fibrotic myopathy can result from a variety of causes, including trauma, intramuscular injections, exertional injuries, purpura hemorrhagica, and peripheral neuropathy. There is also a breed predisposition; Quarter Horses are at risk for this disease, and it is suspected to be work-related.

                        Fibrotic myopathy involves a progressive fibrosis with local adhesions of the affected muscles, which eventually ossify. The gait is fairly characteristic; the forward phase of the stride is jerky, and the foot is jerked back a short distance before being placed on the ground. The action is appreciably different from those of stringhalt and upward patellar fixation. The hardening of the muscles can be palpated in some cases. Radiography and ultrasonography help to establish the degree of involvement.

                        Treatment involves surgery to incise the medial ligament of the semitendinosis at the stifle. Results from a limited number of cases are encouraging. (Healing in horses may occur with less contracture than in dogs, because horses spend most of their time standing, while dogs spend much of their time lying down with the pelvic limbs in flexion.) Otherwise, the prognosis is poor.

                        As far as a mild case in a dressage horse goes, I would recommend starting your horse with an equine acupuncturist. I would do 4-5 treatments in a row (at least once every 7 days), then every other week for a couple of treatments, then as recommended by your vet. Also, I would probably put your horse on Body Sore by Jing Tang Herbal (as prescribed by your vet). I would recommend looking for a vet in your area that does Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine. Go on www.tcvm.com and enter your zip code. The website will provide you with a list of TCVM trained vets in your area.

                        Massage and physical therapy (inclusive of passive range of motion exercises and active on-the-ground and ridden exercises) may not help a huge amount with the fibrotic myopathy but certainly won't hurt, and they will definately help the supporting and surrounding muscles and tendon/ligaments. Good luck!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          What an interesting thread. I have never really heard about fibrotic myopathy.

                          We have a horse whom we suspect had some sort of injury. She does not have a jerky gait, but she is not an easy horse to ride straight. She also does NOT leg-yield off the right leg anymore, which is weird because she'll leg-yield off the left leg just fine, and she used to do both directions easily.

                          I have had some massage therapy done on her, and I would like to have more. She does seem to have a sore back/loins/hip sometimes, especially when it's cold.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            fibrotic myopathy in dressage/endurance horse

                            Dear Riders,

                            Eq Trainer, do you know what kind of surgery you had on your horse? and do you feel it was 100% successful?

                            There are 2 types of surgeries performed on this condition. Iam looking at the tenectomy of tibial insertion. I have been told by vet sugeons, and read, that the success rate is about 65%..but I think alot of it has do to with the rehab portion.

                            Since all of ya'll sound like pretty serious riders, could you please give me your experience, if youcan, on Fibrotic myopathy? My guy is 11 yo arab gelding. Does dressage/endurance. I am wanting to be educated before making a surgical decsion on my serious riding horse... :
                            This thread has been very informative so far.

                            Thankyou VERY much!

                            Mary Beth
                            ridin' high

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Also how do you know your horse has this, if in a mild form?
                              How is it diagnosed?
                              Seems like weak stifles could easily be mistaken for fibrotic myopathy?

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                My horse has it and had surgery at the end of his 4 year old year. At that time he was just green broke to walk, trot and canter. I do think he has a particularly bad case of it, you can see it in all gaits, but through surgery and work it is MUCH better then before. The surgery was pretty simple and he recovered quickly. Since both hind legs no longer follow the same arc he does get sore in his bum so I do have him worked on by a chiropractor and that helps a lot. (Along with massage) He is 9 now and showing GP so it hasn't slowed him down a bit. He is a bit uneven in his passage, although he does push the same with both hind legs they just follow different arcs. Also, that hoof grows at a steeper angle then the other.
                                I do think it can be difficult to diagnose but once you have experience with it you'll know. The horse will "goose step". When you watch them walk it looks like the hind leg stops when it reaches a certain point, like it cannot swing all the way through, and then "slaps" down. A friend of mine has a horse with it in both hind legs and it did take them a while to diagnose it.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  My arab had a therapeutic ultrasound to have it diagnosed. His fibrotic myopathy is 3cm x15 in his semitendonosis. You are correct about the classic 'goose step' and a hair shorter stride on his rt rear. Do you know what 'kind' of surgery ya'll had? The one I am referring to the horse is put under anesthesia and his ligament is cut at the tibial insertion, to allow the release of the tension. As it grows back, you hope that affords you the extra length to take away the restriction in his gait. The reason I am asking is b/c I was told it only has a 65% success rate..so I wanted to hear first hand from some good riders like ya'll..! This group is very aware of footfalls, and knows if a horse is 'short'.

                                  Thank you again!
                                  Mary Beth
                                  ridin' high

                                  Comment

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