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He GOT a neurectomy.... w/ Updates to the Story.

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  • #21
    My horse has feeling in the front of his feet, just not the heels, following his neurectomy.


    • #22
      I know you said you are concerned about injections not lasting and doing harm long term. Coffin joint injections and navicular bursa injections can be done for years. It isn't good to do them too frequently, but for our horses, they last 3 months to a number of years. The one horse had his first injections by our vet at age 8, and is now 24. He probably won't need to be injected too many more times. The other horse had his first injections about 5 years ago. He is 22.

      If the navicular disease is more of a bursitis than a bone disease, the injections may make him sound for quite a while. Some horses benefit from Tildren, if they have bone involvement. We had had the regional perfusions of Tildren on several occasions. For us, it is a lot cheaper than IV Tildren.

      My understanding is that doing a neurectomy is not technically difficult. The hard part is knowing if it is time to do the neurectomy, and knowing if you have exhausted the other options. Do you have a board certified surgeon/vet school near you?


      • #23
        I know two local horses who show up to 3' at A shows who have been nerved. No change in their abilities from prior to surgery to after, except they are no longer in pain and needing extensive drug/shoeing therapies. I do not know why they were nerved, mind you, just that they have been done. Both are in excellent barns, with excellent vet care/follow-up.

        And, Gigi--they CAN feel their feet...nerving only affects the heel, thus can only be used for heel pain. The toe remains connected to the nervous system, thus can feel. Advances in surgical know-how have made nerving a less risky procedure and it does allow horses to continue productive or at least pain free lives.
        Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


        • #24
          After exhausting other avenues, my mare is going up to the clinic tomorrow for a neurectomy on Monday morning. My vet is one of the best on the West Coast and I trust his opinion implicitly. We have a few 3' and under hunters at our barn that have gone onto successful and useful careers after being nerved.

          For my mare, it's time. At this point I would just like her to be comfortable. She's been lame since Oct of last year and this will be her second (non-related) procedure since January, so I feel as though I'm making the right choice for her ongoing comfort.


          • #25
            My gelding had a bi-lateral neurectomy done at a surgical facility. It was the absolute last-ditch after 2 years of trying to get him even pasture sound. He was 1/5 lame even with the nerve block, so in my case, we knew we would not get him more than pasture sound even with the neurectomy.

            Your vet is 100% right --- you want to exhaust other options before you do a neurectomy.

            Neurectomy numbs the heels and the rear portion of the sole. As nerves regenerate, the horse develops some sensation in his skin again.

            The cost was $1500 for a bi-lateral neurectomy done under general anesthesia at a clinic. There is fairly intensive bandaging for the first week or two. Aftercare was 30 days stall rest, followed by 30 days stall/paddock rest, then out to pasture after that. My horse was stumbling and didn't seem to know where his feet were the first few days, then his whole demeanor changed once he realized he was out of pain.

            Keep in mind that neurectomy is usually not a permanent thing. I was told to expect 2-5 years on average until it needed to be done again.

            The risk of neuromas is lowered by having the procedure done in a hospital setting under a general, by a REALLY experienced surgeon who has done tons of neurectomies. Also aftercare (bandaging, clean wounds, and keeping the horse on stall rest as specified) helps negate the risk of neuromas.

            Good luck, and feel free to PM me with other questions.

            PS, My very first horse was nerved, too. He was ridden in dressage and also evented and did Pony Club. Nerving was a wonderful option for him. He was 8 when nerved and stayed sound until the day he died at 28.


            • Original Poster

              Originally posted by GiGi Larkin View Post
              Beware, the horse will have no feeling in that foot.
              Your horse will not feel an injury or infection and that can lead to serious problems.
              He will have no feeling in the heal but will feel his toe. I am daily with his care and know his pasture in and out and will be on top of him should injury occur.

              Tomorrow is block day and will know what happens next. I really appreciate all the positve information you all have posted, thanks for that. This is the best decision for my horse, if I felt like he was a candidate for other options I would go that route.

              Wish us luck!!!


              • Original Poster

                Originally posted by Watermark Farm View Post
                PS, My very first horse was nerved, too. He was ridden in dressage and also evented and did Pony Club. Nerving was a wonderful option for him. He was 8 when nerved and stayed sound until the day he died at 28.
                This does my heart good... and I am sure it was a blessing for you to have the option at that time. Thanks for offering your voice through PM. Just a for warning after tomorrow you may be hearing a lot from me with my long list of questions


                • #28
                  Originally posted by Ozone View Post

                  I feel like maaaaybe my vet has never done one before and that what brings out the hesitate, not sure though.
                  Uh - is there a reason you haven't ASKED? Like, Dr. Vet, HAVE YOU PERFORMED THIS OPERATION BEFORE?
                  I realize that I'm generalizing here, but as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care. ~ Dave Barry


                  • #29
                    I agree with Guin..... Why in the world haven't you asked your vet if they have ever done this surgery! If it were my horse I would get the opinion of several surgeons from a well known and respected clinic or vet school.

                    And I would definitely try injections first.


                    • Original Poster

                      Originally posted by Guin View Post
                      Uh - is there a reason you haven't ASKED? Like, Dr. Vet, HAVE YOU PERFORMED THIS OPERATION BEFORE?
                      When I made the statement of "maybe he has not done them before" that was because I talked to him on the phone prior, not in person like I did yesterday. I like face to face conversations with folk.

                      He was hesitant because as he has done many neurectomies he stresses to people the safey precautions afterwards for humans to abide by and said he sees SO many people get neurectomys and go out and jump their horses like they were before the surgery. He knows me well enough to know I know better

                      He is going to the clinic next week for surgery. He blocked sound with only doing the more progressed foot. I am having them both done. I am nervous and excited.

                      Once again I spoke in lengths about injections. It is not something worth it for my horse.


                      • #31
                        Interesting findings!

                        Ozone how did your horse's neurectomy go? I was following with great interest, because we have an otherwise fabulous QH/Paint that just had a DPN. When they did the proceedure the vet discovered excess nerve bundles in the foot that was bothersome. He is on five days of stall rest, then stitches out and return to light exercize. He is already a happy camper after four days.


                        • Original Poster

                          So far, So good!

                          Originally posted by Wheel Whip View Post
                          Ozone how did your horse's neurectomy go? I was following with great interest, because we have an otherwise fabulous QH/Paint that just had a DPN. When they did the proceedure the vet discovered excess nerve bundles in the foot that was bothersome. He is on five days of stall rest, then stitches out and return to light exercize. He is already a happy camper after four days.
                          Hi Wheel Whip - everyone. On Wednesday 8/4 we had the neurectomy done. He came home from the clinic on Thursday. Thursday night I walked him for 10 minutes, changed his bandages and ice wrapped him for an hour. The clinic did a fab. job. The incision site is clean, the stitches looks great. No heat - no swelling - nothing - THANK GOD.

                          Since Thursday I've been doing the same after care just increasing the walking time. I am up to 35 minutes now. At first he was stubbing his toe but besides the surgery I chalk that up to he is shoeless at the moment. Now when we walk he gets a stub here and there but for the most part knows where his feet should be. On his discharge papers it said to go for short walks however, since his whole circulatory systems is interrupted I would rather him walk his heart off and get the blood flowing then be on complete stall rest.

                          He is doing better then I could have ever expected! His spirts are high (literally ) and he will get some turn out towards the end of the week. Stitches come out and shoes back on!! From there I will do a slow start back undersaddle.

                          This was the best deicison I have ever made and it's something I owed to my horse. He has given me ALOT over the years. It was the least I could do for him!

                          Thank you COTH for your positives!


                          • #33
                            Excellent! Pirate is enjoying his first evening turnout and he seems secure with his footing. Stitches out on Weds and shoes on Thurs. He is a terrific horse, and if I can give him a comfortable life, YAY! Both the vet and the farrier were a little reluctant to broach the subject because of the reputation the "back alley" neurectomies have. When I mentioned it, they both said he would be a perfect candidate.
                            Let's keep in touch.


                            • #34
                              That's great news! My guy is 7 months post-neurectomy, and I don't even think about it anymore. He seems perfectly sound and happy. I watch him zipping around out back, and think of last year when he was hobbling around.

                              It's not right for everyone, but it sure worked out for my horse. Sounds promising for yours, as well.


                              • #35
                                Great news, so glad he is doing well.

                                It is also one of the hidden secrets of upper-level horses that many have been nerved (at least back in the 90's when I competed more). I know of at least half a dozen grand prix horses that were nerved and went on to perform well at those levels afterwards. It is one of those subjects that is generally not talked about, but it is there. Don't let people scare you. Everyone does the best they can for their horses.

                                I've never nerved one but if nerving worked for ringbone I would nerve my old retired horse. I hate to see him limping around, but he's happy and I can't put him down yet either.


                                • Original Poster

                                  Originally posted by Wheel Whip View Post
                                  Excellent! Pirate is enjoying his first evening turnout and he seems secure with his footing. Stitches out on Weds and shoes on Thurs. He is a terrific horse, and if I can give him a comfortable life, YAY! Both the vet and the farrier were a little reluctant to broach the subject because of the reputation the "back alley" neurectomies have. When I mentioned it, they both said he would be a perfect candidate.
                                  Let's keep in touch.
                                  Awe Great to hear Pirate is at the next stage and onto turnout! Tomorrow when his stitches come out can you let me know how that goes? If you still have to wrap the incision for a few days etc. Can he turn out daily for short periods now? Are you planning on riding him? Did he walk on his toes at first?

                                  Phone is no longer walking on his toe. He gets a stub here and there but he truly know where his feet are at now. The vet just called and is coming Friday to remove his stitches. Tomorrow will be 8 days. I think tonight he is ready for some short period turn out and of course I will keep him wrapped and ice - everything I have been doing.

                                  I am very pleased the way his surgery went. Going in I had tremendous anxiety of "what if's" but that has subsided and his after care is going as planned. I am excited for the days to come seeing my horse off bute for good and knowing he is not in pain any longer!

                                  There is controversy about this surgery but I think its lack of knowing, negative results/horror stories that turn people away from it. There are many good results but like anything risks are risks. First person I called was my farrier. He's been doing my horses for 20 something years and knows my horse better than anyone. He was all on board. He's seen so many horse continue on riding from where they left off. My vet's big concern was safety of horse and rider afterwards - which I can understand and will abide by. Other than that everyone was all on board for this. Like Pirate he was a candidate for it.

                                  Saddleup - Does my heart well knowing 7 months later your horse is out "doing him". I wish many many more years for him of pain free happiness!

                                  Ford - Agree. I deal with some top people on the farrier/vet/old schooler horse people end and neurectomy was being performed left and right "behind the scene" since there was so much friction about it. Those horses did alright I could only wish ringbone could be nerved. I would have done it 3x's over now for my beloved horses.

                                  This has been such a successful "journey" and I could not be happier ..... for my horse!


                                  • #37
                                    My horse had the exact same problems. He actually had his navicular bursa injected, which helped temporarily but did nothing in the long run. We ended up nerving him which was the BEST thing we could have ever done for him. My horse was also fairly young and loved his job. Our vet did block him prior to the surgery to make sure the surgery would effectively block all lameness.
                                    We are now 2 years out from nerving and my guy is still going great. He has been able to continue competing at the upper levels and I noticed absolutely zero performance loss. I would highly recommend the treatment, as it has allowed my horse and I to keep doing what we love.


                                    • Original Poster

                                      espridham - I was almost talked into injections but did my own extensive studying on it and felt like I would see no change in him. I am more than happy with my decision.

                                      When I started this thread and read others in the past there would be more cons on the subject than pros but now I find it comforting that there really are so many of us that did this for our horses with great results.

                                      I wonder if it is the "what ifs" (neuromas etc.) that turn people off to this surgery...


                                      • Original Poster

                                        Up date today Last night I found a "veiny bump" on the right side of the foot. Close to the stitches but far enough away, worried so vet is coming later today. Wish me luck!


                                        • #40
                                          Fingers crossed that the bump is nothing! Pirate has been turned out since Monday. He is wrapped because he tried to scratch out his stitches with his teeth. Other than that he is just iced(with gel packs) for 20 minutes a day. Farrier reset his shoes and said there was no heel reaction.