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Mystery Lameness: What do you guys see? UPDATE: Tentative Diagnosis

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    Original Poster

    #21
    Close up of her feet. I can't get the view from behind to load, resolution is too high and it won't let me change it, but she is pretty straight, maybe slightly toed out but very slightly.

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      #22
      Oh lordy, RainWeasley, I hate to jump on the band wagon but she is really fat!

      (Anticipated retort: "Are you calling me fat?!"
      Reply: "No, I'm calling your horse fat.")

      They say the camera adds fifteen pounds...


      And not an expert here but from my position in the Peanut Gallery:

      Her toes look really long, too, and that can put stress on her legs. Are her fetlocks sinking or is it just the photo or an effect of the long toes?

      Her hooves look great as far as their condition. If she had had laminitis, wouldn't there be ridges and bulges in her hooves? They look very healthy to me.
      "Random capitAlization really Makes my day." -- AndNirina

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        Original Poster

        #23
        Click image for larger version

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        Here are close ups of the hind feet if you can see them. I do wonder about those rings, but not sure if the timeline of those rings and when she started being lame matches up. It started sometime between February and end of May, and her feet grow fast. So maybe.

        Comment


          #24
          Originally posted by tipzythegreat View Post
          It's tough to bring up neck concerns -- a regular vet can't really do much for it unfortunately...
          Agreed. But a neuro exam (which any vet should be able to do, and usually for <=$100) might go a long way toward determining if there is something like mild hind end ataxia going on (vs. whether something like suspensory issues or foot pain might be a better tree to bark w.r.t. the more nebulous NQR-ness that seems to be accompanying the odd RH movement).

          I'd bet there are multiple things going on here (e.g. pain in multiple places, or both mild neurological deficit and lameness). It sounds like the last home really didn't stay on top of soundness, or fitness, and that can be a recipe for generating secondary issues from primary ones...

          BTW, OP, have you observed anything outside the arena that might provide clues? Lying down a lot? Tripping? Stepping on her own feet? Weird posture? More lame on certain footing, or when moving on a circle vs. straight?

          Getting a better farrier involved and looking for lameness vet recommendations seems like a wise next step.

          Comment

            Original Poster

            #25
            Originally posted by PeteyPie View Post
            Oh lordy, RainWeasley, I hate to jump on the band wagon but she is really fat!

            (Anticipated retort: "Are you calling me fat?!"
            Reply: "No, I'm calling your horse fat.")

            They say the camera adds fifteen pounds...

            Her toes look really long, too, and that can put stress on her legs. Are her fetlocks sinking or is it just the photo or an effect of the long toes?
            I knoooow she's fat! I swear I had nothing to do with it, she came to me like that I told her she is going into Weight Watchers ASAP.

            It's a combination of her toes and how she is built, she has always had very sloped pasterns and they've always been like that, it was a source of stress for me and I always obsessed over them so I can confidently say they are the same they have always been.

            Comment


              #26
              Her front toes are very long. The backs look much better. When is she set for her next trim? Because I'd get on that sooner rather than later.

              Without her standing perfectly square, its hard to see the pastern/hoof angles properly - but the angle on the fronts seems out of whack as well. But photos from the side with her standing perfectly square would be needed to say for sure.

              But she is a pretty mare. I love buckskins. Reminds me of my first pony. He was also chubby.
              ~~ How do you catch a loose horse? Make a noise like a carrot! - British Cavalry joke ~~

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                Original Poster

                #27
                Originally posted by x-halt-salute View Post

                Agreed. But a neuro exam (which any vet should be able to do, and usually for <=$100) might go a long way toward determining if there is something like mild hind end ataxia going on (vs. whether something like suspensory issues or foot pain might be a better tree to bark w.r.t. the more nebulous NQR-ness that seems to be accompanying the odd RH movement).

                I'd bet there are multiple things going on here (e.g. pain in multiple places, or both mild neurological deficit and lameness). It sounds like the last home really didn't stay on top of soundness, or fitness, and that can be a recipe for generating secondary issues from primary ones...

                BTW, OP, have you observed anything outside the arena that might provide clues? Lying down a lot? Tripping? Stepping on her own feet? Weird posture? More lame on certain footing, or when moving on a circle vs. straight?

                Getting a better farrier involved and looking for lameness vet recommendations seems like a wise next step.
                No laying down, no tripping, no standing weird, no off steps, absolutely nothing otherwise odd.

                Actually seems almost sound trotting on the uneven ground in her pasture, very sure footed, more off on a circle in the sand ring (those videos). Maybe I should try on the hard ground driveway, see how that looks. Lameness on softer footing typically points to soft tissue, doesn't it? Or do I have it backwards?

                Besides this lameness thing on a circle, she is otherwise quite happy. Gallops off with her buddy when I turn her out with not a single off step. Prefers to walk on the grass rather than the gravel going to and from the barn though.

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                  Original Poster

                  #28
                  Originally posted by 4LeafCloverFarm View Post
                  Her front toes are very long. The backs look much better. When is she set for her next trim? Because I'd get on that sooner rather than later.

                  Without her standing perfectly square, its hard to see the pastern/hoof angles properly - but the angle on the fronts seems out of whack as well. But photos from the side with her standing perfectly square would be needed to say for sure.

                  But she is a pretty mare. I love buckskins. Reminds me of my first pony. He was also chubby.
                  Friday! I'll be getting off work early to chat with the farrier too, she is the best with lameness.

                  I did get this. Trying to get her to square up and hold her and take pics by myself was not super successful.

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                    #29
                    Yeah - it takes two people. Or a well lit wash rack with cross ties.

                    You need the camera nearly on the ground, just shooting the lower cannon bone down to ground under the hoof. Especially since her legs are black and front hooves are black.

                    This Friday when the farrier is there is a really good time to do before and after photos. Since you'll have a second pair of hands.
                    ~~ How do you catch a loose horse? Make a noise like a carrot! - British Cavalry joke ~~

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                      Original Poster

                      #30
                      Originally posted by 4LeafCloverFarm View Post
                      Yeah - it takes two people. Or a well lit wash rack with cross ties.

                      You need the camera nearly on the ground, just shooting the lower cannon bone down to ground under the hoof. Especially since her legs are black and front hooves are black.

                      This Friday when the farrier is there is a really good time to do before and after photos. Since you'll have a second pair of hands.
                      That's a good idea!

                      Also update: I heard from the previous two owners, the lameness started not long after previous owner got her, mid April. And owner before that (who I trust completely) said she was in work and had no issues. I saw videos of her lunging and being ridden not long before she was sold too so I know she was good then. She went xc schooling a couple weeks before, so maybe she could have done something then, but I did see videos after that and she was 100% so I don't know. But something happened in that time period.

                      She moved from a pretty fancy jumper barn on stall board with turnout to a run down, closed down barn, pasture board. It used to be a fox hunting/eventing barn but the property was being sold and barn torn down so the owners had let it fall into disrepair and there were only a few horses on the property. Was kept separated for a few weeks until a horse that was in with the others that was known to cause problems with mares had left, then she was turned out with the geldings. Unless she was sneaky about it, they never noticed any signs of laminitis or founder. But I could believe that she somehow injured herself there and no one knew about it, plenty of stuff to get injured on.

                      I feel like a detective now, trying to piece together everything.
                      Last edited by RainWeasley; Sep. 17, 2019, 07:44 PM. Reason: Run on sentence

                      Comment


                        #31
                        This is one of those cases when having better diagnostic tools at your disposal may save you money in the long run. Do you have access to a larger veterinary hospital, like a university teaching hospital, or a vet with something like the Equinosis device? Something that would help quantify and ID the worse unsoundness, then you could block and go from there.

                        Comment


                          #32
                          Front toes are too long. Hind feet, my only concern from these photos are how the stress lines are jammed up higher at the quarters.

                          I think the main lameness is coming from somewhere in the spine or pelvis and could be from an injury, flipping, being tangled, who knows. Or something degenerative like a neck issue. Feet and weight aren’t doing her any favors.

                          A more methodical approach to lameness diagnostics with someone who has access to all the tools would be helpful and will save you in the long run. Ask me how I know.

                          Comment


                            #33
                            I was guessing left hind. How about sacrum? Something in her rear end is definitely bothering her. And looking at the photo (above) her angles in the front are all wrong, at least in that left front. And she could use a trim in front also.

                            Comment


                              #34
                              I would also vote for getting a lameness specialist involved. They have tools, experience and diagnostic expertise that most GPs are unable to offer. Be prepared that it might take more than one visit to diagnose the problem. If she has been lame for a while, she's been compensating and that can cause stress and issues in other limbs (or the back). The vet might address one limb, or area, and once addressed, another limb may flex positive etc. It is easy to get frustrated. Don't. Put you mare in the hands of an experienced lameness expert. He/she will methodically evaluate the mare and help you navigate the diagnostic landscape.

                              As others mentioned, her front feet are too long and the angles are not the same. If she's been shod incorrectly and that is causing or contributing to her lameness, it can take several farrier cycles before things are back on track.

                              SI injections can take longer than two weeks to have their full beneficial impact. But after two weeks, there should be some improvement, assuming the SI was an issue.

                              We regularly use a chiro for mild soreness and stiffness. I sounds like your mare is beyond that point and your funds would be better spent on a lameness specialist and a new farrier.

                              Comment

                                Original Poster

                                #35
                                Update: the farrier came and took care of her feet. Whoever had been doing them before had one toe left longer than the other, so that's awesome. We discussed her feet though, she definitely doesn't think her issues are anything foot related, no signs of laminitis, nothing like that.

                                The vet wanted me to do a bute trial, today was day 5 of 2 grams of bute a day. I went ahead and had a chiro out that came highly recommended, she is a vet too. We checked how T was doing on the bute, and she is WAY worse. Slightly off at a walk on soft ground on a big circle now. I'm thinking she possibly was feeling a bit better on it and aggravated whatever it is playing or something. Definitely right hind, she really thinks stifle like I do. Pinpointed some other areas she was a bit locked up in too. And even though it didn't fix anything, Twi REALLY enjoyed getting adjusted, which she never has liked it before, so I'm fine paying for that if it made her feel at least a bit better.

                                So the current game plan now, looking at how my schedule is with work and everything...I texted my vet that checked her out before, asked him to xray her stifle for me at least for my own peace of mind because I just really keep leaning towards that and want to just make sure. If that doesn't show anything, I'm going to make an appointment with a lameness specialist a couple hours away. I would just start with that but I really want to get that stifle looked at now, and I'm not sure when I will be able to get up there for the specialist (even if he did happen to have an opening soon). My farrier that worked on her feet goes up there twice a month too and wants me to get the appt scheduled on a day she is up there, so she can work with him on any special care she might need feet wise.

                                So, still no clue what's going on, but we are assembling a little team of people that are wanting to help us get this figured out. Which is really encouraging. We had to move to a different barn today too, and she is such a champ, she just takes it all in stride. I really want to get her feeling good, she deserves it.

                                On a related note, MY right knee is acting up a lot too now. We can both be gimpy together!

                                Comment

                                  Original Poster

                                  #36
                                  Update:

                                  We went back to the same vet yesterday. I wanted to get some xrays and discuss some things before I try to find time to haul her up to the other vet, and I figured we might as well just do the xrays here since I want to have some of her stifles, hocks and feet anyways.

                                  He did some flexions again to see if there was any change. We lunged her first, right hind was short. Fine on the straight after flexing. But interestingly enough, this time after he flexed her left hind, while she was okay on the straight you could tell she was more off left hind on the lunge both ways. Which he had noted last time that after we blocked her feet, she was more off on the left hind (I was having to lunge her last time because she was being a bit of the devil incarnate so I didn't get to focus much).

                                  He mentioned though that the way she moves just makes it all really confusing. She doesn't drag her toes, she doesn't land toe first but lands quite solidly on her whole foot evenly on both sides. She isn't flexing much on the left hind. She kind of steps out. The only way you can tell she isn't 100% is her hip hiking up a bit more on the left and not flexing as much, and her right not tracking all the way up going on a circle to the left. Xrays were all clean, minus a little hook on her left stifle that he doesn't think should be enough to cause anything. He said that if we did decide to block her, he wants to take a day to hook her up to the lameness locator so we can get a baseline to compare any differences to, just because she is so weird and stoic that he thinks it might be more difficult with her to tell when something helps.

                                  She has a nice lump on her right hip that I pointed out (hadn't though much about it last time), that she was iffy about him pressing into, that he says appears to be an old muscle tear. He doesn't THINK that would be causing the short stridedness, but it's possible. She is also very very tight on all the muscles on that leg. I got the videos of her being ridden and worked right before she went to the new lady, and he agreed that she looks 100% there, so there was definitely something that happened right after she was sold.

                                  So, our current plan of action is to try bringing her lightly back into work, no circles, just walking long and low, try to stretch and relax those muscles. My equine massage therapist friend is coming out next week to work on her too, which he thinks is a good idea. If she appears to get worse, obviously stop the light work, and if she doesn't get better or doesn't change at all by a week after the massage, he wants us to come back and try the lameness locator and blocking. So we can do that, or go up to the vet in TN. Leaning towards the vet in TN just because my farrier is really wanting me to take her up there, but I want to give relaxing and stretching those muscles a chance to work first (and my bank account a couple weeks to breathe).

                                  On the bright side though, her temperament is so much better. She isn't randomly spooking and bolting, she is much more relaxed and happy, back to the horse she used to be. The vet and techs all commented on how much happier she seems now. She is slowly losing weight too (obviously don't want it to drop too fast). Her feet all look great now. She is coming up to me shoving her face in her halter begging me to do stuff with her. That, at least, is all very encouraging.

                                  Comment

                                    Original Poster

                                    #37
                                    Continuing with updates in case someone else has a similar problem.

                                    She has lost weight, though still has a ways to go. Feet are looking very good. No change in the lameness that I can see though. We have an appointment with the specialist vet my farrier recommended up in TN, it's at the end of the month at a time she will be there just in case we need to do anything special with her feet to help (per her request, she wants to make sure she knows exactly what is going on so she can help if she can). My massage therapist friend is coming out one more time tonight, she enjoyed her massage the last time and it did seem to loosen her up some so we will do one more session.

                                    I'm dreading the possibility of this being something she will need to be on stall rest for. She will be an absolute menace on stall rest, drugs will probably have to be involved if that's the case. I really just want an answer at this point though. So fingers crossed that either something magically happens that fixes it all before the vet visit (hah) or that we can figure out what's going on and it not like, bankrupt me. She is still quite happy though, so there is at least that.

                                    Comment


                                      #38
                                      Thanks for the update! Please update after you see the vet in TN! I'm really curious. My fingers are crossed for relatively inexpensive answers.
                                      Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation

                                      Comment


                                        #39
                                        Originally posted by RainWeasley View Post
                                        Continuing with updates in case someone else has a similar problem.

                                        She has lost weight, though still has a ways to go. Feet are looking very good. No change in the lameness that I can see though. We have an appointment with the specialist vet my farrier recommended up in TN, it's at the end of the month at a time she will be there just in case we need to do anything special with her feet to help (per her request, she wants to make sure she knows exactly what is going on so she can help if she can). My massage therapist friend is coming out one more time tonight, she enjoyed her massage the last time and it did seem to loosen her up some so we will do one more session.

                                        I'm dreading the possibility of this being something she will need to be on stall rest for. She will be an absolute menace on stall rest, drugs will probably have to be involved if that's the case. I really just want an answer at this point though. So fingers crossed that either something magically happens that fixes it all before the vet visit (hah) or that we can figure out what's going on and it not like, bankrupt me. She is still quite happy though, so there is at least that.
                                        My mare goes into self-destruct mode on stall rest, and chemistry isn't enough to solve it. I much prefer a hospital paddock for those types, if at all possible.

                                        Hoping you get some answers soon about the lameness, and hope the expense and stall rest it may take to fix it isn't too outrageous.

                                        Comment


                                          #40
                                          You mentioned she has a somewhat tender lump by one of her hips? So I knew a horse who slipped and fell and chipped off a piece of the point of his hip, injuring all of the soft tissue in that area. The initial lameness was extreme but within a few weeks he was lame in a very specific way. If we hadn't witnessed the injury it would have been an odd one.

                                          So what hurt was actually a particular part of the swinging motion, I think the last little bit of bringing the leg forward and down. He was short but not obviously lame and if you didn't know what you were looking for it could be quite hard to pinpoint where it was. He recovered fine but it took a long time for that little odd step to go away and we had to really work him through it to show him he could use his leg properly again. It took all summer but he is back jumping and everything now.

                                          Moral of the story is muscle and soft tissue in that area can affect the gate in weird ways and can sometimes require work and PT to get them through it. Unlike tendon/ligament or bone damage, muscle pulls and strains will get worse if you don't do anything with them and will only get better if you do the right sort of stretching and movements.
                                          "I'm too sexy for my blanket, too sexy for my blanket, these mares-they should take it..." (J-Lu) - Featuring The Skypizzle Pony aka Classic Skyline

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