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Mild Arthritic changes in 6 year old OTTB

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  • Mild Arthritic changes in 6 year old OTTB

    I did a pre purchase exam on a 6 year old OTTB on tuesday, and everything looked pretty good besides his stifles. He flexed perfect in the front, but had some slight soreness in the hinds, mostly noticeable when turning. I had his hocks/stifles x-rayed and the hocks looked good, but the vet did say both stifles showed mild arthritic changes. He has been sound up to this point with no maintenance (and heavy work for a year). The vet said it would probably be easily managed with Adequan or legend; and I figured since all else looked pretty good, and he is such a cool horse with an awesome personality, he would be worth the risk as a first event horse. This is definitely a little late as I have already agreed to buy him, and do not plan on backing out (although nothing has been signed yet), but I would love to hear other opinions. My goals for him are to be a horse to get experience on at least up to novice, preferably up to training level. I am curious if anyone has experience with arthritic changes in stifles with their event horse. Would this have been a deal breaker for you?

    Some things to note: He retired from the track as a 4 year old due to a fetlock fracture. It has screws in it and was rehabbed well, and after comparing the x rays from now and 2 years ago the vet did not think it would cause issues in the future.
    He has been schooling 1m the past year and has showed novice once
    Really adjustable and uncomplicated under saddle, only has ever been noticeably stiff/sore after flexions
    (Not my first horse, I showjumped for a while and switched to eventing about a year ago)

    Looking forward to hearing your thoughts/experiences!
    Last edited by juliab99; Feb. 13, 2020, 06:49 PM.

  • #2
    Trust your vet....not unknown people online. Personally, I’ve dealt with horses with some changes I the stifles and it was just fine. It isn’t uncommon. The job you are asking for him isn’t too strenuous. Be smart about footing and take care of him and hopefully you will have him as a partner for a long time!!
    ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

    Comment


    • #3
      I'm with BFNE.. Trust your vet. If your vet thinks it's fine, and you like him..

      To be frank it's hard to find a mid-aged race horse without arthritic changes. There's no such thing as a working horse that vets perfectly in my experience - it's really about finding out what you can live with, and what is a dealbreaker.

      Only piece of advice I can offer if he becomes yours, is to see if you can keep him out on pasture and/or on as much turnout as possible. Stifles are one of those things where they do best with constant movement/low impact exercise - I have had a few with stifle issues here and there and all did markedly better once they no longer were stalled.

      Looking forward to hearing updates, and welcome to COTH!

      AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012

      Comment


      • #4
        Agreed, trust your vet. It's not always a pass/fail scenario, if your vet indicates slightly changes but manageable and appropriate for your goals, have faith in that.

        I would suggest in knowing that, keep in constant communication with your vets and be proactive with management to your ability. That doesn't look the same for every horse. My own UL horse now gets adequan, Legend, and injections 2x/year. But, I went to my vet and said what are the most aggressive options I can take, etc. etc. But proactive for you may be like beowolf said, conscious turnout, regular icing, etc. I'd have a call with your vet and just say, Hey what are some steps that I can take now within my budget and goals to maximize his longevity and success. It also may look like every 6-months doing a lameness exam, so the vet can evaluate his way of going. (I've been doing this with my mare who does have a bit more aggressive arthritis, hence the extensive management, and now after 5 seasons, my home-vet is familiar with her way of going, makes suggestions given her history, and it gives me peace of mind knowing how to proceed with each show-season)

        And lastly, my personal opinion for keeping these horses with changes sound, hacking before every ride. (I prefer 30-45 minutes walks, but this may get him too fit!)

        Comment


        • #5
          What did the vet say exactly - did the horse pass with reservations - what are your ultimate goals with this horse - you have to think about that - did the vet pass him at going around Beg Novice/Novice or is this going to be your Prelimin+ horse. Rare is the horse that passes with nothing showing up somewhere - and frankly I think sometimes it's better to know about these sorts of things as you are aware of how the horse should be managed from the get go.

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by gottagrey View Post
            What did the vet say exactly - did the horse pass with reservations - what are your ultimate goals with this horse - you have to think about that - did the vet pass him at going around Beg Novice/Novice or is this going to be your Prelimin+ horse. Rare is the horse that passes with nothing showing up somewhere - and frankly I think sometimes it's better to know about these sorts of things as you are aware of how the horse should be managed from the get go.

            The vet did not really give a perfectly straight forward answer, as most don’t. He said “he would be a great candidate for adequan, to keep it from progressing,” he also said “would this keep me from buying this horse? I’m not saying that. There are people who refuse to deal with a horse with stifle issues, it’s really up to what your willing to deal with and the risk you’re willing to take.” He also said he may be fine going around the lower levels but need more maintenance once he moves up the levels (as I would expect). Ultimately I do trust my vet, because my trainer trusts him (I haven’t used him before). My trainer was out of town but when I asked her for advice she basically said “if Chris didn’t say to run, and you like the horse and are willing to take the risk, then go for it.” I just was curious to hear about others experiences to have a better idea of what to possibly expect. I’m also curious how much adequan would cost. My vet said it’s about $340 for the loading dose and that might be good enough, but my trainer said they generally always do the loading dose continued by monthly injections, which seems like a bit of overkill to me for preventative for mild changes. But, I have no experience with injections, and of course it’s kind of a “wait and see how he’s going thing.” but of course once you spend money on a horse and are committed to having them the rest of their life (or responsible for reselling), you worry about if you made a huge mistake and you’re going to have a lame horse in a month. I understand all horses will have something, I thought we may be lucky and the main issue be the screws, but that turned out to be a non issue and what I expected to show up (bad front flexions) was totally fine. Guess that’s the way horses go! Thank you for all the replies, to recap I do trust the vet but was curious to hear others experiences with stifle arthritis, because I’ve seen a lot with arthritis in the hocks, but almost none I could find in the stifles. I believe he’s worth the risk, he’s a super easy and fun horse to ride who stays the same pretty much all the time. The owner said there’s been plenty of times he’d had a week or two off and she’s hopped right on with a halter and he’s been great (he’s also been jumped bridless). So I think I’ll have a lot of fun on him, assuming we can keep him sound and happy!
            Last edited by juliab99; Feb. 13, 2020, 08:58 PM.

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by bornfreenowexpensive View Post
              Trust your vet....not unknown people online. Personally, I’ve dealt with horses with some changes I the stifles and it was just fine. It isn’t uncommon. The job you are asking for him isn’t too strenuous. Be smart about footing and take care of him and hopefully you will have him as a partner for a long time!!
              Thank you for sharing your experience! I do trust the vet but it is comforting hearing stories like this of horses with similar issues

              Comment


              • #8
                We do Adequan loading doses every 6-months. From the vet it was going to cost me $340, but 1800-PetMeds carries it for $310, and I bought it last week when they were running a coupon for the whole site for $260. (When you order it they contact your vet who confirms the prescription) In my case the vet, then agreed to price-match.



                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by AskMyAccountant.17 View Post
                  Agreed, trust your vet. It's not always a pass/fail scenario, if your vet indicates slightly changes but manageable and appropriate for your goals, have faith in that.

                  I would suggest in knowing that, keep in constant communication with your vets and be proactive with management to your ability. That doesn't look the same for every horse. My own UL horse now gets adequan, Legend, and injections 2x/year. But, I went to my vet and said what are the most aggressive options I can take, etc. etc. But proactive for you may be like beowolf said, conscious turnout, regular icing, etc. I'd have a call with your vet and just say, Hey what are some steps that I can take now within my budget and goals to maximize his longevity and success. It also may look like every 6-months doing a lameness exam, so the vet can evaluate his way of going. (I've been doing this with my mare who does have a bit more aggressive arthritis, hence the extensive management, and now after 5 seasons, my home-vet is familiar with her way of going, makes suggestions given her history, and it gives me peace of mind knowing how to proceed with each show-season)

                  And lastly, my personal opinion for keeping these horses with changes sound, hacking before every ride. (I prefer 30-45 minutes walks, but this may get him too fit!)
                  May I ask how much the adequan/legend costs twice a year? -just realized you answered the adequan cost while I was typing this, how much is the additional cost for legend? What level is she at? Thank you for the advice, I will plan on long warmups for him. He will also be living out full time so hopefully that’ll help the stiffness as well.
                  What are everyone’s thoughts on supplements? I’ve heard everything from life changing to waste of money... my guess is it’s somewhere in the middle? If anyone has used a certain joint supplement with good results please let me know!

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by AskMyAccountant.17 View Post
                    We do Adequan loading doses every 6-months. From the vet it was going to cost me $340, but 1800-PetMeds carries it for $310, and I bought it last week when they were running a coupon for the whole site for $260. (When you order it they contact your vet who confirms the prescription) In my case the vet, then agreed to price-match.


                    Thank you for the tip, saving money wherever you can (without sacrificing what’s best for the horse) is so essential with horses because there’s always never ending expenses!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I have an OTTB with stifle arthritis as well We do Ichon (similar to Adequan) injections during the show season, and I just had his stifles injected with marked improvement!
                      He is also maintained with chiropractics, and he has a lot attached to his stall so he can move.
                      With all this he is doing well! When it's colder it does take longer to warm up, but I've always done 10-15 minute walk warmups.
                      We plan to go novice this year as well, so far he has handled things well.
                      I ope things go well for you too!

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Originally posted by zpsid91 View Post
                        I have an OTTB with stifle arthritis as well We do Ichon (similar to Adequan) injections during the show season, and I just had his stifles injected with marked improvement!
                        He is also maintained with chiropractics, and he has a lot attached to his stall so he can move.
                        With all this he is doing well! When it's colder it does take longer to warm up, but I've always done 10-15 minute walk warmups.
                        We plan to go novice this year as well, so far he has handled things well.
                        I ope things go well for you too!
                        That is great to hear! How old is yours?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          No problem, I'm a young professional trying to make it all work. I try to shop local business, but with prescriptions you can usually find much better deals on the online distributors like ValleyVet or PetMeds. I also buy my BOT boots from Walmart.Com (I know how to find the deals)

                          So my mare is running at the Intermediate/3***-level. Pinch me if she runs Advanced this fall. I have only just now begun incorporating Legend and Adequan into her routine within the past year.

                          She will do two loading doses of Adequan a year, that actually line up with the timing of her injections. So if you divide 300/6 it averages $50/month. Then, she will get a shot of Legend before big events. (This is the pricey part) Legend runs about $95/shot. She'll get this the day before the event. At this point maybe once a month/every 6-weeks.

                          If those numbers are a bit more intimidating, but you still want to be proactive. Consider Pentosan or Pentaussie as option or consideration in the future.

                          I would "think" that my scenario is the extreme. (I guess I don't give Previcox, which to me if she starts needing something more, I would consider letting her step down.) The deciding point for me wasn't that the injections weren't working, but more of a wanting to insure I was doing everything possible so that she was comfortable and tip-top for this level. And, my horse ran sound all through the Training/Prelim level with nothing. It wasn't until we even took some rads that made the vets eyes pop out. So now, knowing what's in there and the level she's going took extra steps.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Originally posted by AskMyAccountant.17 View Post
                            No problem, I'm a young professional trying to make it all work. I try to shop local business, but with prescriptions you can usually find much better deals on the online distributors like ValleyVet or PetMeds. I also buy my BOT boots from Walmart.Com (I know how to find the deals)

                            So my mare is running at the Intermediate/3***-level. Pinch me if she runs Advanced this fall. I have only just now begun incorporating Legend and Adequan into her routine within the past year.

                            She will do two loading doses of Adequan a year, that actually line up with the timing of her injections. So if you divide 300/6 it averages $50/month. Then, she will get a shot of Legend before big events. (This is the pricey part) Legend runs about $95/shot. She'll get this the day before the event. At this point maybe once a month/every 6-weeks.

                            If those numbers are a bit more intimidating, but you still want to be proactive. Consider Pentosan or Pentaussie as option or consideration in the future.

                            I would "think" that my scenario is the extreme. (I guess I don't give Previcox, which to me if she starts needing something more, I would consider letting her step down.) The deciding point for me wasn't that the injections weren't working, but more of a wanting to insure I was doing everything possible so that she was comfortable and tip-top for this level. And, my horse ran sound all through the Training/Prelim level with nothing. It wasn't until we even took some rads that made the vets eyes pop out. So now, knowing what's in there and the level she's going took extra steps.
                            Thank you for so thoroughly answering my questions! That is awesome that your mare is doing so well. What joints is her arthritis in? The budget I had planned in my head for this issue was about $1000-1200 a year, so it sounds like that is ballpark with some money to spare for potential supplements/annual-bi-annual lameness exams. Ideally we could compete up to prelim, I’m pretty certain he has the scope just hope he holds up well enough, and is not too restricted by his stifles to do well in dressage. But, like you said, if it ever comes to the point where he needs Previcox I think that would be where I draw the line and stop moving up.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by juliab99 View Post

                              Thank you for sharing your experience! I do trust the vet but it is comforting hearing stories like this of horses with similar issues
                              I had one with screws in his ankle go Training level. Had another with hardware in a rib (fractured his rib near his heart...it was expensive surgery to plate, screw and wire him back together)....he went on to go advance.
                              ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by juliab99 View Post

                                That is great to hear! How old is yours?
                                He turned 11 this year - our goal is to make it to training level - not lofty goals, but he's a gem over fences, and I need that.
                                And possibly up to 2nd level dressage.
                                I'm an AA, not in any rush, and love his personality so I'll keep him going as long as he's comfortable

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  If you do Legend, google Merial rebates and make sure to get your rebate. My vet turned me on to this for Gastroguard and I just got a HUGE rebate, $7/tube even on the discounted tubes I bought through my other bet’s online pharmacy. All I had to do was scan and upload my receipts. Probably worth googling to see if Adequan has any sort of rebate. (Merial has rebates for Equioxx, Marquis, and several wormers too)

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by zpsid91 View Post

                                    He turned 11 this year - our goal is to make it to training level - not lofty goals, but he's a gem over fences, and I need that.
                                    And possibly up to 2nd level dressage.
                                    I'm an AA, not in any rush, and love his personality so I'll keep him going as long as he's comfortable
                                    I totally understand, same with mine as well. He has a very rhythmic canter that is adjustable and so easy to find a distance on, one of my biggest struggles! Hope he keeps going along well

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by bip View Post
                                      If you do Legend, google Merial rebates and make sure to get your rebate. My vet turned me on to this for Gastroguard and I just got a HUGE rebate, $7/tube even on the discounted tubes I bought through my other bet’s online pharmacy. All I had to do was scan and upload my receipts. Probably worth googling to see if Adequan has any sort of rebate. (Merial has rebates for Equioxx, Marquis, and several wormers too)
                                      Thank you so much for the tip! Will definitely take advantage of this if I use any of their medications.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by juliab99 View Post

                                        May I ask how much the adequan/legend costs twice a year? -just realized you answered the adequan cost while I was typing this, how much is the additional cost for legend? What level is she at? Thank you for the advice, I will plan on long warmups for him. He will also be living out full time so hopefully that’ll help the stiffness as well.
                                        What are everyone’s thoughts on supplements? I’ve heard everything from life changing to waste of money... my guess is it’s somewhere in the middle? If anyone has used a certain joint supplement with good results please let me know!
                                        As long as you are aware there is a continuing cost as these products do wear off, go ahead. Adequan is typically given 2 or 3 times a year, sometimes more often for horses in regular work. Legend wears off in a few weeks, mine (teenaged hocks) got it monthly during show season. It’s an IV shot, I don’t care to do those and neither did my barn so that was an added cost. IM shots not an issue. Also had hocks injected once a year for about 5 years starting at age 12, then twice a year at 17 and 18 (along with dropping height and reducing work) then they stopped having any effect.

                                        There are two oral gels that work almost as well for many as the monthly Legend shot, like Legend it’s Hyalauronic Acid (HA). The products are called LubriSyn and Hyalauronix. Both worked for me and eliminated the need for the Legend shots for years until the horse hit about 18. Both these are cheaper the the shots but still expensive. I tried all the cheaper stuff, these are the only two that worked. Quite a few race horse trainers use these two as well.

                                        Please note I speak only of products I actually used and had success with. There are some newer things like Pentosan, which is another injectable, IM if I recall correctly. No first hand experiece with them.

                                        How much did I spend on joint injections, injectables like Adequan, Legend and the oral HA gels after switching away from the injectables? Probably about 1200 a year. If you give your own shots, including IV, you can knock that down a bit. Joint injections are priced by number of injection sites and vary by region and product, today they inject HA and a modern, much safer steroid.

                                        Couple of caveats. First these things won’t work forever in hocks and you can’t count upon them fusing. Mine was retired at 21 and sent on at 29 going to their grave with a “ hot”hock that never did fuse completely.

                                        The other thing is my experiences are with hocks and pastern/ fetlocks. Not stifles. My late trainer of almost 20 years didn’t want to fool with stifles so recommended against client purchase and did not buy any for themselves in twice a year buying trips. Even before that, stifles were on my short list ( based on my personal experience and observation) So can’t speak to specifics on maintaining stifles.

                                        Just go into it informed and aware of maintenance cost potential and probability. It’s always something with any horse that ever been in regular work, some hate working with hocks that doesn’t really bother me. Pick your poison.

                                        Listen to your vet and your trainer, get complete info and consider your goals before deciding either way.

                                        Especially if you can only keep one horse and board out. It’s a much easier decision if you have horse property to park one on if things don’t work out or long layups are required. It is a complication in the evaluation process. Good luck to you whatever you decide.
                                        When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

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