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Poor vet news. UPDATE: ALWAYS GET A SECOND OPINION

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  • Poor vet news. UPDATE: ALWAYS GET A SECOND OPINION

    Posting this anonymously. I'll keep it short and sweet. I had a vet x-ray my horse. He's a 12yo ottb. Ran for 4 years. I admit, there is a gap of service. But I do know that before I got him he was somewhat being trained and was used as a beginner horse. He wasn't in a heavy workload.

    I consider my use of him light. I jump him 1-2 times a week in a lesson, but I'll just trot and canter him around on my own. I don't even show at the moment. I'll ride 3-4 times a week.

    Horse was NOT lame at the the time of the x-rays under saddle. This was noted by the vet who did the exam. However, he flexed him and was 2/5 on both hocks.

    vet read the x-rays and basically gave my horse a death sentence due to hock arthritis. He said 6 months he'd last at best, with injections. Could this possibly happen with arthritis?? Perfectly fine to pasture sound only in 6 months??

    I'm now searching for a lameness vet to read the x-rays.

    ​​​​​​His report states that the horse has "DJD", but there are bone spurs. One large (right), one small (left). So does that mean that he really has OA? There is no other remodeling other than the bone spurs. Everything is going on in the LOWER joints. I can tell there is still joint spacing within both hocks (report doesn't mention ANYTHING about spacing issues or fusion. Just the spurs).

    I know y'all can't answer my questions since you're not vets. I'm just frustrated with the diagnosis and such little to go on from the report. I couldn't be at the exam, but my trainer was.
    She used to work in vet clinics and she isn't too concerned. I talked with her on the phone during the exam. But then again, she is not a vet. Vet is horribly hard to get a hold of and does not pick up.tje phone directly.

    I was terrified, so I went ahead and had the injections. He had watery fluid come out, but at least there was fluid. He's been amazing since the injections. He moves so much better and is Forward.

    Any insight and experience would be much appreciated. Or maybe I just needed to vent.
    Last edited by Mystery_oa; May. 20, 2019, 04:59 PM.

  • #2
    A lot of horses have hock arthritis. Try injecting his hocks and see how he responds. You might want to get another opinion from a vet who specializes in sports medicine.

    Comment


    • #3
      Agree with previous commenter. I'd get a 2nd opinion. It also can't hurt to start on adequan/legend/summit, something like that, if you haven't already.

      Also, how well do you know this vet? Some are incredibly alarmist and may blow it out of proportion. If I showed you the reports from my horse's chiropractor, you'd wonder how any of the horses she works on are still alive, even though most are young, competitive sport horses without any soundness issues.

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Originally posted by evilc123 View Post
        Agree with previous commenter. I'd get a 2nd opinion. It also can't hurt to start on adequan/legend/summit, something like that, if you haven't already.

        Also, how well do you know this vet? Some are incredibly alarmist and may blow it out of proportion. If I showed you the reports from my horse's chiropractor, you'd wonder how any of the horses she works on are still alive, even though most are young, competitive sport horses without any soundness issues.
        I don't know much about him, honestly. He was a vet my trainer found. She hadn't used him either. He was the only one Available. Although, my trainer made a comment the other day that the same vet went to her friends house to look at her horse. The friend complained to my trainer that he was very pessimistic. 🤷*♀️🤷*♀️

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Mystery_oa View Post
          I went ahead and had the injections. He had watery fluid come out, but at least there was fluid. He's been amazing since the injections
          Sadly, IME, watery joint fluid is not a good sign.
          I lost a horse to a degenerative condition that had him merely NQR in October to lying down most of the day in December. Last visit from my vet, he tapped the hock & fluid leaked like you'd poked a pin into a water balloon. Should be viscous, like syrup.
          Took him to the vet college in January and was told that tendons were deteriorating in all four. Had to euth as prognosis was poor for any recovery.

          As to loss of use in a short period:
          I had (in partnership) a 3yo OTTB. Raced his 20th start the week before we bought him.
          P(ost)PE after we got him home showed mild OCD in both hocks.
          He stayed sound for almost 2yrs - partner bought me out after 1st year, moved him to a friend's farm where he was trailridden & lightly jumped.
          Then she moved him to a show-heavy barn, mainly Jumpers, & within 6mos he was lame. Deteriorated to unable to get up unassisted & had to be put down.
          My personal opinion is he was rushed in training at that barn. Pushed too hard & that accelerated the condition.
          ​​​​
          *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
          Steppin' Out 1988-2004
          Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
          Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

          Comment


          • #6
            Well...one thing that I have heard from the vet I use for lameness is that every horse is completely different. Two horses could have identical x-rays showing joint space narrowing and even lesions, and one is crippled and the other goes fine. This phenomenon is actually the same in humans (I used to do OA research). Radiography can be diagnostic, but certainly not always prognostic when it comes to OA. I think your guy should be fine while you search for another vet to review the x-rays and provide you with his/her own insights.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Mystery_oa View Post
              Posting this anonymously. I'll keep it short and sweet. I had a vet x-ray my horse. He's a 12yo ottb. Ran for 4 years. I admit, there is a gap of service. But I do know that before I got him he was somewhat being trained and was used as a beginner horse. He wasn't in a heavy workload.

              I consider my use of him light. I jump him 1-2 times a week in a lesson, but I'll just trot and canter him around on my own. I don't even show at the moment. I'll ride 3-4 times a week.

              Horse was NOT lame at the the time of the x-rays under saddle. This was noted by the vet who did the exam. However, he flexed him and was 2/5 on both hocks.

              vet read the x-rays and basically gave my horse a death sentence due to hock arthritis. He said 6 months he'd last at best, with injections. Could this possibly happen with arthritis?? Perfectly fine to pasture sound only in 6 months??

              I'm now searching for a lameness vet to read the x-rays.

              ​​​​​​His report states that the horse has "DJD", but there are bone spurs. One large (right), one small (left). So does that mean that he really has OA? There is no other remodeling other than the bone spurs. Everything is going on in the LOWER joints. I can tell there is still joint spacing within both hocks (report doesn't mention ANYTHING about spacing issues or fusion. Just the spurs).

              I know y'all can't answer my questions since you're not vets. I'm just frustrated with the diagnosis and such little to go on from the report. I couldn't be at the exam, but my trainer was.
              She used to work in vet clinics and she isn't too concerned. I talked with her on the phone during the exam. But then again, she is not a vet. Vet is horribly hard to get a hold of and does not pick up.tje phone directly.

              I was terrified, so I went ahead and had the injections. He had watery fluid come out, but at least there was fluid. He's been amazing since the injections. He moves so much better and is Forward.

              Any insight and experience would be much appreciated. Or maybe I just needed to vent.
              If he was positive to flexion on the exam, and (arguably more importantly) is “amazing since the injections”, he was not “fine” before. He was hurting, he was likely just hurting more or less evenly on both hind legs so he didn’t have a conspicuous limp.

              Comment


              • #8
                Get a second opinion from an excellent lameness vet that cones well recommended. Get the best person in your area.

                Be present at the exam and ask intelligent questions.

                This is too important long term to get the information filtered through your trainer. Also your trainer doesn't seem to work with excellent vets.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Mystery_oa View Post

                  Horse was NOT lame at the the time of the x-rays under saddle.

                  He's been amazing since the injections. He moves so much better and is Forward.
                  While he hasn't been "lame", I gather that there was indeed a riding issue with this horse since you comment he is riding better now.


                  Originally posted by Mystery_oa View Post
                  I had a vet x-ray my horse. He's a 12yo ottb.

                  This was noted by the vet who did the exam. However, he flexed him and was 2/5 on both hocks.

                  vet read the x-rays and basically gave my horse a death sentence due to hock arthritis. He said 6 months he'd last at best, with injections. Could this possibly happen with arthritis?? Perfectly fine to pasture sound only in 6 months??

                  I'm now searching for a lameness vet to read the x-rays.

                  ​​​​​​His report states that the horse has "DJD", but there are bone spurs. One large (right), one small (left). So does that mean that he really has OA? There is no other remodeling other than the bone spurs. Any insight and experience would be much appreciated. Or maybe I just needed to vent.
                  So he's 12 and he has some arthritis. Personally, that's not a big deal to me. Most horses of that age will have arthritis to some degree.

                  Bone spurs are a form of arthritis. They will cause pain as well. You did the right thing by injecting.

                  As already stated by another poster, I would also put this horse on Adequan.


                  Originally posted by Mystery_oa View Post
                  vet read the x-rays and basically gave my horse a death sentence due to hock arthritis. He said 6 months he'd last at best, with injections.
                  Did you happen to misunderstand him?
                  Did he say the horse would be a pasture ornament after 6 months?
                  Or...... did he say you may need to do injections again after 6 months?
                  (because those are two very different things)

                  But either way, if you were not happy with this vet, then don't use him again. Go to someone else next time.


                  It is not enough to know how to ride; one must know how to fall.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by beau159 View Post

                    While he hasn't been "lame", I gather that there was indeed a riding issue with this horse since you comment he is riding better now.




                    So he's 12 and he has some arthritis. Personally, that's not a big deal to me. Most horses of that age will have arthritis to some degree.

                    Bone spurs are a form of arthritis. They will cause pain as well. You did the right thing by injecting.

                    As already stated by another poster, I would also put this horse on Adequan.




                    Did you happen to misunderstand him?
                    Did he say the horse would be a pasture ornament after 6 months?
                    Or...... did he say you may need to do injections again after 6 months?
                    (because those are two very different things)

                    But either way, if you were not happy with this vet, then don't use him again. Go to someone else next time.

                    And be present for the consult.

                    Vets may indulge in morbid humor or be extremely Frank with trainers. And trainers can have a vested interest in selling you a better horse. And some vets are depressed or pessimistic or might have a higher level of competition in mind.

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Thanks everyone. I've sent the x-rays off. I just want to do what's right for this sweet boy. I just flat out don't trust myself anymore to know how he is, or what he's capable of. I'm so terrified I'm going to miss something, or I start analyzing every little thing he does.

                      I Know the 2nd opinion will clear everything up to make sure that my horse gets the best treatment and life possible. Wish us luck!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Mystery_oa View Post
                        Thanks everyone. I've sent the x-rays off. I just want to do what's right for this sweet boy. I just flat out don't trust myself anymore to know how he is, or what he's capable of. I'm so terrified I'm going to miss something, or I start analyzing every little thing he does.

                        I Know the 2nd opinion will clear everything up to make sure that my horse gets the best treatment and life possible. Wish us luck!
                        I would not pin everything on a second opinion either as lame or NQR horses can get very complicated.

                        But best of luck, read up to
                        make yourself educated on the range of issues and treatments, and be a hands-on owner. Don't let anyone examine or treat unless you are present. And come ready to ask intelligent questions.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          I just got the best call in the whole world. The vet I called (who is a lameness specialist and highly regarded on this board), just said there is NO issue with me riding the horse the way he is. In fact, he sees no joint remodeling and quite good spacing for his age and years as a racer. The bone spurs, especially the large one are of really no issue. He stated that he has seen that same type of "spur" on horse across the country and never advises against them. He was shocked that the original vet had given me such a grim Outlook.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Good to hear!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Well that's super news!

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                So happy to hear this!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by 2DogsFarm View Post

                                  Sadly, IME, watery joint fluid is not a good sign.
                                  I lost a horse to a degenerative condition that had him merely NQR in October to lying down most of the day in December. Last visit from my vet, he tapped the hock & fluid leaked like you'd poked a pin into a water balloon. Should be viscous, like syrup​​​​
                                  It's not good, but it is not necessarily permanent either. Generally it is a responses to inflammation and left untreated obviously things will get worse, but with proper care (IA injections, adequan, etc., proper rest/work load) it can change. I have owned horses who depending on the circumstances went from high powered geysers back to viscous fluid over the course of years (coffin and hock joints) with proper management. So yes, something could be terribly wrong, but generally speaking most of the time that is not the case.

                                  Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    So happy for you. That is good news!

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