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SIGH! Jingles and hope requested--long

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  • #21
    DO not stress (well you will but try not too!).....weak stifles are VERY common with young horses. Even full TBs. Actually, I've put hind shoes on more than one early on to help them along. I would do the xrays sooner rather than later to make sure you are not dealing with any OCD lesions or something like that which you may want to remove surgically. (DO NOT freak out if she does have them either....there is a lot they can do and she may well STILL be fine in the long run).

    More correct work often helps weak stifles. I also wouldn't stress about injections. If she had poor angles in her feet and was compensating in odd ways....she probably has inflammation where she shouldn't. Once you get that inflamnmation gone....she may be just fine. I've known many many horses who have had LONG jumping/galloping careers who needed a bit of maintenance and had weak stifles. These horses often did best staying in some sort of work.


    My big guy was especially weak behind as a youngster. I spent most of his 3rd and 4th year old year hacking him out up and down hills (through streams, over small logs...he loved it). Often I would pony him off another horse. I think this is really one of the best ways to get a young horse strong. She doesn't have to deal with a rider and her balance....but will get stronger going up and down the hills (walking and cantering are actually best for stifles I believe).


    Take it a day at a time....but I wouldn't write her off....and I would get her out of the ring to get her stronger.
    ** 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


    • #22
      Viney,

      I agree with BFNE but would like to add a few more things... I am a DVM/acupuncturist and have treated a few "weak stifles".

      I am unclear of your mares's medical diagnosis other than "bad stifles". As has been mentioned this could be due to any number of things. From your reports re: therapy it sounds as if she is stifle sore. This can easily be secondary to poor hoof angles, too much work in deep sand, genetics etc... But there are many ways to adequately manange and strengthen them.

      Personally, I think you should get some films of the stifles and the hind feet, to get a specific diagnosis. This will help give you a more defined plan and peace of mind!

      RE: Getting Radiographs:
      **Nearly every racing TB that goes through a sale has stifle films! Maybe you could find a DVM that does some sale work to help you get good stifle films. It seems that all large practices and nearly every solo practioner has a digital machine these days.

      ** Get films of the hind feet so that your farrier may apply appropriate corrective shoes.,

      I approach these "stifle sore" horses with
      1) correct shoes behind
      2) acupuncture and herbs
      3) a program of strengthening including backing in circles and over time extending the circles into figure eights over 4-6 weeks. Trot raised cavalletti, hill work is preferable.
      4) robaxin to help reduce initial muscle soreness.
      5) TURNOUT! These horses need to be on the move, not in a stall.
      6) Adequan, msm and flax for the antiinflammatory properties.

      keep in mind that occasionally episodes of very, very, very mild local/tying up may present as elusive, intermittent, hard to block lameness...

      Internal blisters can help some horses with weak stifles but will do nothing for ocd etc...thus the need for a specific diagnosis. You are not blistering inside the joint, it is local to the ligaments around the joint , so it is not even as invasive as joint injections.

      Hopefully this helps! Try not to worry too much, you have only just begun to help her !!! Feel free to pm me if there is anything else I can do.

      Nancylee Bielawski

      Comment


      • #23
        ditto TampaBay as well. You really need a more specific diagnosis.

        I spent years spending money with guess work....your vet isn't always saving you money doing that.

        I'm a big believer now in KNOWING as best we can what we are treating before treating it.

        For example...I had two horses with MRIs done last year...YES, it was an expensive year for vet bills. One we didn't really know what we were dealing with...the other we thought we did but wanted to confirm. I found out what was wrong with the first and have probably now saved years of dealing with an on off injury...and know now on how best to manage her. The other...found out we were dealing with something TOTALLY different...with a much easier rehab, and a much much much better long term prognosis....so saved my self MONTHS and YEARS of stressing about something I now don't need to worry about.


        Spend the money on a good vet and work up....get a full diagnosis....then treat.

        And do not be doom and gloom no matter what.....horses surprise vets and owners all the time in how they can recover....and what they can live with and perform with. Some of the top performance horses have xrays that would scare the crap out of you. You just need to take things one thing at a time and see what she can do.
        ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

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        • Original Poster

          #24
          Just to add a bit to the background--

          Ever since I've had her, she's had 24/7 turnout and has the same at the trainer's. At my place, she lives on a hill pasture--one of the very few hills in the Mississippi Delta because it is an old bank of the Mississippi River--, and she and her same aged half sibling, who I also got as a weanling, have always raced each other from one end of the pasture to the other and up and down the hill. The pasture has been a pasture for over a hundred years because it's just too steep to farm.

          At the trainer's she is in a small paddock/pasture. It's too big to be a paddock really, and too small to be considered a "pasture". It is flat, but it's also very nice and grassy, so the footing is quite good. The working area is a full sized dressage arena with sand footing. I've linked her trainer to this thread for ideas, and I do thank y'all for them.

          Perhaps she needs to go to LSU, which is the closest vet school, since they do have a huge TB industry in Louisiana. So they ought to have all the equipment, experience and expertise to do full diagnostics and recommendations on what to do and how to do it.
          "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
          Thread killer Extraordinaire

          Comment


          • #25
            IME if you want to find out who the best lameness\soundness vets are, ask the serious competitors in your area (top hunter/jumpers, top eventers) who they use (ETA - for serious diagnostic work). In my area where there is a plethora of vets many regularly ship their horses over 6 hours to seek out the (in their opinion) best expertise. Maybe it's overkill but there is a lot of peace of mind when you know you've gone to the absolute best vet you can find.

            Comment


            • #26
              Originally posted by vineyridge View Post
              The vet who saw her is a certified acupuncturist. This vet suggested giving her a couple of months and seeing how she does with the injections and more work while she is more comfortable before doing radiographs. That is definitely in the schedule before we try and doing anything but just getting her under saddle and going right, left, forward and stop. I'm told that getting really good stifle pictures is difficult because of the location and angles of the joint. However, I could schedule the xrays sooner than originally suggested.

              Honestly, I would get yourself a different vet. There is nothing that difficult about stifle x-rays. And any vet that would inject that joint in a young horse without any knowledge of what is going on in the joint because of no x-rays.....when weak stifles in young horses are so common, is an idiot IMO.
              http://www.MyVirtualEventingCoach.com

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              • #27
                Agree with lstevenson on the acupuncturist vet injecting without a clue approach .

                24/7 on steep hills background does present a slightly different picture ... in that she may have been aggrevating an exisiting problem ... which could be bad trimming to begin with combined with zooming around with her pasture mate, especially zooming downhill on a steep hill. She could have one small but fixable lesion or calcification that has thrown her off balance and makes everything look worse that it is.

                Definately get some x-rays.
                Last edited by BaroquePony; Jan. 15, 2010, 06:44 PM.

                Comment


                • #28
                  Agreed on the x-rays...I'd be a bit leery of injecting stifles without initial x-rays to confirm what's going on...it's sort of akin to shooting first and asking questions later.
                  Anyway, I had a 14 year old TB mare who began hitching in her hind end, so we x-rayed her stifles, and she did have some arthritis (although they are perhaps not the easiest joint to x-ray, it is doable)...she was injected, but after several months, still didn't show much improvement--it turned out that she had EPM (and had enough damage by that point that she never responded to treatment for that either..go figure). BUT this was a pretty odd case where the only real indicator of a problem was the hitching behind (no tripping, falling over, muscle wastage, etc) until the disease progressed to where it became clear that this wasn't the main issue...and she did have arthritis on top of that, but not enough to cause the degree of hitching she exhibited later on. So anyway, I don't mean to scare you (I hope that my situation in that case was a fairly uncommon one!), but it probably would be good to get a thorough work-up done by a lameness vet or hospital facility to be sure of what's going on.

                  Comment


                  • #29
                    TampaBay gave you great insight.

                    I really think it's not "correct" to say she has bad stifles if you don't have x-rays to pin-point the issue. As others said, the treatment for an OCD lesion vs. whatever else might be there is going to be different. I have had stifle x-rays on my guys- I am not sure why it's such an issue?? I did have them done at the clinic, with digital...maybe that is easier?

                    Even with x-rays, you just might need to strengthen them. CP gave the typical stifle building exercises....

                    I am hopeful for you!! I almost would expect weak stifles in a TB that is starting work....

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      I'm not understanding why you'd buy a horse with bad feet to be an eventer.

                      But sounds to me like you either need some more robust diagnostics such as x rays or else the problem is so obvious that it's well..... obvious. I'm not sure I'd be happy to have a horse's stifles injected though without having diagnostics and knowing what's wrong with them.

                      I don't know the expression "hitch in her getalong" but do you mean she's showing signs of being unsound or lame?

                      There's nothing singing out to me though to say this sounds like a great or even likely prospect for eventing.

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        Maybe it's my science background, but I like to see evidence, such as x-rays, before injecting. Stifle x-rays aren't a big deal nowadays, at least in these parts. I can remember having to send them to the clinic in years past. In Star's case he got worse as I rode him, I got off and called the vet (who is in our area on Wednesdays and I was lucky that it was Wednesday). She came out, watched him work, x-rayed, we discussed, and then she injected. Just another day at the office.

                        A number of years ago with another horse when it was harder to get stifle x-rays, I watched the same vet diagnostically block the stifle. Horse went sound and was injected with HA as a result.

                        But the OP has now injected and what's done is done. I'd still see about getting x-rays if it were my horse. If nothing else, it will give you an idea of where you are now and offer comparatives if you x-ray again down the road.
                        The Evil Chem Prof

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          I agree with getting radiographs before anything else. Be sure to get digitals, as bone cysts and other "jewelry" are easier to find with digital, and sometimes not even visible on regular film x-rays. My current horse has a cartilage condition that makes him unrideable. His condition would actually be worsened by joint injections. So I would have your mare looked at by as thorough a vet as you can afford.
                          In the encouragement vein, my old LL eventer contracted EPM as a 5 year old, and recovered well with early detection. Due to his confirmation and the EPM, he had arthritis at 5 in both hocks that I chose to inject, and kept on a regular schedule, as well as GLC 5500 supplement. He easily jumped 4'+, did jumpers with a teen age girl, was still sound at 15, and sadly he was euthed for colic. So even with arthritis, it is not a "pasture sentence".
                          I'm not really at the top of my game today. I'm not even exactly sure what game I'm supposed to be playing, in fact... or where it's being held...

                          My horse's antics iamboyfriend.com

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                          • Original Poster

                            #33
                            I did not buy a horse with bad feet to be an eventer. I bought a six month old weanling with the mind to be an eventer and decent conformation. I've raised her for four years with the idea that she and I would event together.

                            She's never been lame at all. What she is showing us now is constricted hind leg movement because her stifles bother her so much. She doesn't bring her hind legs forward as much as she should, nor does she extend them backwards as much as she should.
                            "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
                            Thread killer Extraordinaire

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              Do you have any recent photos of her ... conformation shots?

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                Originally posted by lstevenson View Post
                                Honestly, I would get yourself a different vet. There is nothing that difficult about stifle x-rays. And any vet that would inject that joint in a young horse without any knowledge of what is going on in the joint because of no x-rays.....when weak stifles in young horses are so common, is an idiot IMO.
                                DITTO!

                                I've used acupuncturist/vet and chiropractor/vet with varying results, but neither suggested injections without doing xrays and/or ultrasound diagnostics 1st. The only horse I've ever had injected without doing xrays 1st was for a suspected back problem. He was going to have to be laid down for an MRI and it was minimum 2500.00. The injections were 250.00 so I opted for the one with the least amount of zeros.
                                "Everyone will start to cheer, when you put on your sailin shoes"-Lowell George

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  Originally posted by vineyridge View Post
                                  I did not buy a horse with bad feet to be an eventer. I bought a six month old weanling with the mind to be an eventer and decent conformation. I've raised her for four years with the idea that she and I would event together.
                                  Sorry I misread first time round I thought you said raised FOR 6 months not FROM.

                                  Misunderstanding consolidated by my presumption that when you went on about her poor hoof care that you'd inherited that rather than been responsible for it.

                                  So of course with a youngster - well any horse - it's important to get the feet right and absolutely the "terrible hoof trim", "lack of balance", "unevenness", use of incompetent staff etc that you're responsible for may well have contributed to diminishing any potential the foal might have started out with.

                                  She's never been lame at all. What she is showing us now is constricted hind leg movement because her stifles bother her so much. She doesn't bring her hind legs forward as much as she should, nor does she extend them backwards as much as she should.
                                  Well I actually said was she "lame or unsound". I absolutely know that both those words have come to be subjective opinion in some camps.

                                  But I'd say that if she's moving short and restricted on her hind end that can be easily observed that it's got to be taken as more likely than less likely that she's not sound.

                                  When horses don't move freely and have such as an abnormal or restricted limb flight, then it's a HUGE great bleeding sign that something isn't right. Things like shorter stride, irregular rhythm, stiffness through the joint, how long the limb is on the ground to weight bear is all indicative. But even plainer and more obvious than that is hoof imbalance and poor trimming. That's a good sign that there's problems to come.

                                  Shame it's taken so long to get it noticed but it's not necessarily too late to get it sorted. DEPENDENT on what it actually is though. So what are the diagnostics actually telling you? Does she already have secondary joint disease because of the undue strain put on her hind end because of the poor hoof management? To give the horse a chance of realising it's potential and be more viable and not restrict it's life to "pasture ornament and lawn mower" you need to be better informed about what's wrong. So ask your vet "precisely what is the problem?" "What's showing up on x rays?" "Would arthroscopy help to inform?"

                                  I'm one of those old fashioned sorts that don't like treatment by guesswork and have to understand WHAT precisely is wrong. So that means I HAVE to have a diagnosis before I can begin or decide what is or isn't effective treatment.

                                  There's a mass of things that can contribute and help. From hill work and building up better muscular tone of the quadriceps. A lot of work in straight lines. Perhaps even elevation of the heels or some other therapeutic shoeing. Or a surgical intervention. Or even just good farriery and rest.

                                  But NO POINT pontificating on possible solution or way forward without knowing what's wrong because you could do damage or good.

                                  For example, if there's severe ligamentous attachment or a bone spur then prognosis is "No way ever going to be a decent riding horse let alone an eventer". If there's no underlying boney or supportive structure damage then prognosis would be good providing day to day improved husbandry is maintained.

                                  But with a stifle problem the first thing is to know that radiographs are fundamental and informative.

                                  MUCH better than jingles is effective management and diagnosis and then more appropriate management!
                                  Last edited by Thomas_1; Jan. 16, 2010, 05:55 AM.

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    Vineyridge, I can really empathize with not living within easy reach of top vets. We have a farm in Western NY but our primary residence is in PA. Here in NY I live just within range of excellent vets, but in PA I live just outside of the area where the Unionville/Fairhill vets are willing to travel. After some very anxious moments I decided that my best strategy for PA was to establish and maintain a good relationship with the local clinic (necessary for those terrible emergencies like a horse breaking a leg in the pasture), but for more complicated/chronic problems I take the horse to Fairhill. I've only had to do that once, but will do it again in a heartbeat to get the quality of care I got then. The actual cost of treatment was about the same as my local clinic but the eyes, experience and logical management of the problem exceeded the local clinic by miles.

                                    I've also found (the hard way) that not all ultrasounders and xrayers are equal. It's worth it to go someplace where you can have someone who is specialized in this area.

                                    I, of course, think she's going to come out of this fine because she's a tb ; )

                                    Comment


                                    • #38
                                      As for the poor hoof trim. If I were you I would get the xrays of all four feet. They can be hard to look at am make sense of (your farrier should be able to of course) but what I did was put the xray on the screen of my computer and then trace it, Then apply lines to show how the coffin bone and trim angles all line up. use different colors if you need to. Now I can look at an xray and make sense of it but at first it was hard. Like this
                                      This article is concerned with founder but you will get the idea. My mare had feet that were too upright and it made her body sore all over. I think she has been this way for a long time and so she has some arthritic changes from it. But she is an older gal so she has had more time to get perm damage. It has taken a year but her trim looks great and she is sound. I don't know what level of work she will do but the vet was sure she was unsound forever. PS Few vets know anything about hoof trim.
                                      “If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?”
                                      ? Rumi






                                      Comment


                                      • #39
                                        Sigh. Blistering. What a disaster. Do you think there is perhaps a reason why we do not blister human athletes?

                                        I predict that time to grow up, figure out her feet, and gain strength through proper conditioning will get rid of this issue for your pretty girl.

                                        Comment


                                        • #40
                                          Originally posted by In_ View Post
                                          Sigh. Blistering. What a disaster. Do you think there is perhaps a reason why we do not blister human athletes?

                                          I predict that time to grow up, figure out her feet, and gain strength through proper conditioning will get rid of this issue for your pretty girl.

                                          pretty sure they do some internal blisters on human athletes....they just don't call it that.
                                          ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

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