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Sore in Legs/Body during and after farrier

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  • Sore in Legs/Body during and after farrier

    My horse consistently is sore after farrier trims and uncomfortable during. I've participated in his appointments the last few months and found that he will sometimes hop when his RH is being worked on.

    While my horse is a sassy lassy, it's clear to me he hurts. The longer the appointment takes, the more sore he is.

    I do bute/prevacoix before the trim. I also cold hose/ice after. I'd do it before, but I don't want to farrier to get soaked! The farrier yesterday said, "I'm sure glad you gave him bute" because he can also tell he is uncomfortable. I also made sure to give him a 20-25 minute walk before the trim.

    I have a new farrier who is doing his best to make him comfortable. He does his hinds first and gives him a break when he insists. He tries to work quickly and accurately, because he is a gentle soul.

    After his trim yesterday I gave him some bute, I iced his legs, and then I put him into his round pen. After that, he walked fine. More than fine. Later that evening it was clear he didn't really want to walk. He moves out, but takes shorter steps and you can tell he's uncomfortable. When he's very sore, I also catch him laying down a lot.

    After an especially painful farrier visit, my horse's back legs will give out. I'm pretty sure it is stifle because it feels like he's stepping in a hole. I unfortunately don't have any good video because it isn't a predictable thing. The more traumatic and more recent the farrier visit, the worse a back leg gives out. I've felt both his right and left go out before (separately). The further away from a visit we get, the less it happens and it's much less pronounced.

    My horse does have bilateral proximal suspensory injuries. A surgeon at Michigan State University told me that horses similar to mine are often very uncomfortable for shoeing.

    I am no longer working with the Surgeon at MSU because my horse has shown healing in his suspensories, so I'm working with Dr. Carol Gillis. I asked her about the soreness during and after farrier visits, and she said she hasn't heard of that before. She thought that he likely has some upper limb lameness, or some lower back trouble.

    I have a vet appointment to look into all of this, but I feel like these things can become witch hunts. I want to be prepared with the right questions to ask and the right things to ask her to look into. A previous vet I had out just told me to bute him before and after trims, but I just really don't think that's addressing the problem.

    This has been a problem for years. Before his suspensory was diagnosed, when I rode him after a trim during his sore period, I would find his left shoulder drifts left and becomes rigid while his right haunches drift out. He tends to always try and travel that way, but it's worse post recent farriery. Bute did help alleviate some of it, but there are times where he was so crooked I couldn't begin to straighten him out

    Anyone have any suggestions for what I should specifically ask the vet to look at? Anyone have any related experience? It is of course possible he is foot sore as well...

  • #2
    A bit confused as to whether horse is equally sore after both farriers. It does sound as though they are over stressing the joints.

    Then too is it possible that the horse needs shoes?
    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

    Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


    • Original Poster

      He has been consistently sore for the previous farrier

      The new farrier has only done two trims. The first he was very sore after -- but he had his apprentice assist. His apprentice was slow. The second time the farrier did it all himself, noting the discomfort from the last trim.

      Horse wears 4 shoes. Hinds are denoix suspensory shoes, front are traditional steel


      • #4
        Just throwing some ideas out there that you've probably already considered:

        Is it possible this is all manifesting from foot soreness? If he is getting foot sore, things I might consider would be subclinical laminitis, metabolic issues, navicular/other hoof changes, or quality of the farrier work (shoeing "too tight" or changing the balance dramatically every time). Foot soreness can definitely lead to soreness everywhere else.

        I recently worked with a very stoic TB who was ill-behaved for shoeing and would also develop significant body soreness afterwards. He was off the charts for Lyme.

        A lot of farriers just really crank their legs up to uncomfortable points, too. I've had this problem with arthritic or injured horses, although it sounds like you've had multiple people shoe him and the problem persists. But I still think it's worth noting; I had problems with multiple farriers with my old TB with a hind end injury until I found someone who stopped cranking her hind legs up and instead rested them in the cradle of a hoof jack as much as possible.

        I can completely empathize with your feelings about not wanting to play veterinary marco polo without more info. It's frustrating when you spend thousands trying to hunt down the source of a problem.
        Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO


        • Original Poster

          I think some if it could be, yes Texarkana ! Dr. Gillis actually said he could potentially be foot sore.

          Certainly I think he has suffered poor farrier work. He did previously also have low heels and long toes, which I think certainly was not helping his suspensories and anything else going on. The other farrier also told me my horse was pretty bad for him... making me wonder if he was really twerking on him and making him uncomfortable. That being said, the farrier did once test him for soreness in his feet when this soreness first presented. He said he did things to his hooves that would make most horses sore and had no reaction.

          Navicular is of course a potential as a TB whom had long toes and short heels for years before I understood poor farrier work.

          I haven't had any issues with obesity or abscesses. I walk him on gravel all the time. He's never been unsound at a walk for me. He doesn't have free access to pasture and he is on very limited grain.

          Could always be lyme. My barn is "in the city" with subdivisions and a freeway near by. We don't have a prevalence of tickets in the area... but you never know.

          He does also have a bit of arthritis in the hocks and recent radiograph, but the vet didn't think it was anything making him SO uncomfortable.

          My witch hunt just got bigger!!!!


          • #6
            I think "occam's razor" on some things;

            There are several things going on at once, all which would totally make standing for the farrier make a horse sore:
            - Correcting (bad) angles
            - Healing from suspensory
            - Recovering from past mishandling

            Because we know the Susp Desmitis is painful, we know his feet were very bad, I would not chase other answers until these are resolved (or unless something becomes glaringly obvious).

            Suspensory desmitis -- this was chronic right? As in was older / has been going on for a while - so for now you are undoing years of damage, which takes time to undo. I consistently see horses with suspensory soreness have difficulty being shod, especially standing with their hind on the stand or held up to any degree. The pinching/flexing of the leg usually causes too much pressure on their already inflamed ligament, and makes standing long periods of time difficult for the horse. Keep doing what you are doing, giving him bute before trims.. I might even try banamine instead, as I don't think just one tab of previcox would be very effective if it was not given daily. I could be wrong.

            It takes a long time for these defensive/learned behaviors to go away - so part of what you are seeing, may be that he is still remembering it hurts.. and it might still hurt, too.

            It takes a long time for ligaments to feel 100%. Months over weeks.

            Meaning that the healing you are seeing on film is excellent, but is not always appreciable or correlating to the decrease in pain from the original injury; healing hurts. Inflammation hurts. Until that inflammation goes away, there is likely going to be pain.

            I've torn and ruptured several ligaments now in sports, and even after being surgically repaired they still take months to feel 100%.

            Didn't you have his feet x-rayed at some point? Or am I remembering incorrectly? Depending on how bad the angles were, it could take six months to a year, to fix those angles. Fixing bad trims is slow work!

            You have a long way to go; with both the suspensory and with correcting the trim.. and with these kind of rehabs there is almost always a "dark" period.

            One thing both suspensory issues and NPA/bad trims cause, is over-all body soreness, particularly in their back. It might be worth it to try a trial of Robaxin and daily previcox while you are addressing all of this. Robaxin will help with back-soreness, and the previcox does help address discomfort and inflammation.

            So, long story short - keep doing what you are doing - if you did not x-ray the feet, do so, as there may be low grade inflammation (laminitis) from the bad trims, that may need to be adjusted and/or medicated for -- and, if it were my horse, I might put him on previcox daily and a month or two of Robaxin, to help with body-soreness during his healing.

            I don't think it's a bad idea to test for lyme like Texarkana if you are in the area, and can spring the snap test (~$120). At the very least, if you have never tested for it it's a good baseline going forward. If nothing else it would explain the over-all very bad body malaise.

            P.P.S regarding Lyme --
            My TB has been tested every year for lyme and never had it. I usually test in the fall. This year during spring check up I wanted my vet to look at my TB because he was not being great for the gal leasing him while I am out of commission.. Not anything concrete, not bucking or rearing... just behaving strangely. He also was not good for his last shoeing session, which is unusual for him because historically he's always the best behaved one at the farm for farriers!

            He was very reactive to hoof-testers on his heels but no stone bruises or abscesses, good rad angles, and no positive flexions......... reactive to a palp spot on his back he has never reacted to before.. . I mistakenly thought maybe the leasee had electric legs -- but nope, very high lyme titer! Glad I tested. It's been five weeks of doxy and TB is back to normal, much more relaxed over his posture. One other weird symptom of the lyme, is that he had lots of hair loss in his tail.
            AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012


            • Original Poster

              Thank you beowulf

              Perhaps I am just under estimating the amount of pain the suspensory could still be producing. Yes -- chronic (old and untreated). When Dr. Gillis told me she doesn't typically see them being painful during shoeing, that made me concerned! But to hear someone else say they've seen it does make me feel better. So thank you.

              I had previously done a week of equioxx (bute tends to tear his stomach up) with a 2 pill loading dose to start, per my vet's recommendation. Perhaps I'll try equioxx again for the next trim, with a longer dosing period. I do also have banamine I could try at a separate time.

              No x-rays yet, but you are remembering correctly. I have an appointment 7/25 that I was going to get new ultrasounds and some more diagnostics. Feet x-rays if the farrier wanted. Perhaps if nothing else I can get ultrasounds and feet x-rays.

              I haven't ever had experience with the robaxin, but I will ask my vet if she thinks that would be useful. He definitely has a couple sore spots in his back, so while we're just walking and recovering, it would be a good time to make him more comfortable!

              As far as lyme, I've not heard of a local lyme case. I'd love to test for it, and xray every part of my horse but all the shockwave and ultrasounds have been so expensive. I will ask my vet about it, though. He did suddenly start getting sore for shoeing years ago. Before that he had been fine. So if she feels it's a chance, I'll test. It won't hurt anything but my poor wallet!

              Thanks everyone. 7 months of rehab has been really tough!