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

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    Original Poster

    Originally posted by Hawks Nest View Post
    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.
    That's one of the the things on my radar too... I am just worried about doing too much work until I know for sure, in case it's something that needs rest, not work or stretching or anything. There are just so many things it could be, some that might need rest, some that might need work. Makes it really frustrating. If we can at least rule out bone or ligament/tendon, then we can proceed with PT and massage.


      Original Poster


      Just got home from the vet that was recommended to me, Dr. Wooten. He was much more thorough than the first vet and obviously knew what he was doing.

      After lungeing, flexions (better ones than First Vet did), a couple xrays of that right stifle, a nerve block on the stifle which made a HUGE difference (short striding still there but she was obviously moving out extremely better, and this was immediately after the block too), and an ultrasound, the current diagnosis is a torn meniscus.

      With the degree of lameness she was showing and how the US looks, he thinks the prognosis is extremely good. He has had good results with PRP so she stayed up there overnight while they get that prepared, and I will go pick her up tomorrow.

      Then it will be a month of stall rest/mini paddock if I can get panels to build one, with handwalking every day. She can move, just doesn't need to be cavorting around like a fool. Then back for a checkup in a month.

      Here's the thing though: we are really hoping this is it. But, if the month goes by and there is no improvement, there is likely something deeper in the joint going on. So she would need surgery, which I can't afford after these vet bills. I would probably have to put her out to pasture and pray it doesn't get worse while I pay this off. I wish she was insured, but I never knew it was a thing before I sold her and by the time I got her back she was already having issues. Ugh. She could use jingles, hoping this is The Answer and we can get it fixed up.

      At any rate, I highly recommend Dr Wooten at the Jaeckle Center in Thompsons Station, TN. He was fantastic with Twi and I was really impressed by him.

      Also, if anyone reading this has dealt with a torn meniscus before and knows of anything that might help her heal, please share!


        I can't offer any help, but just want to wish you both well. I hope you see good improvement over the next few weeks!


          Thank you for updating and jingles that this is it.
          The Evil Chem Prof


            Thanks for the update and praying that this will heal for you. Jingling!


              Super interesting read all through - but mostly wanted to just say thank you RainWeasley for not only taking back your old girl but putting so much time, energy, and $$ into helping her out.


                Thank you for the update -- and glad your vet believes it has a good prognosis.

                I had a TB with a torn meniscus. Depending on how severe the tear is, the prognosis can be good or bad. For my gelding, prognosis was not so great. Some things that helped my gelding - FTR, his was quite severe, and he always had a hitch in his get-along even after it was 100% healed.
                - Pentosan / Adequan / Legend
                - 100% no holds barred turnout. If my gelding even saw two hours of stall time he became so sore. Horses with old stifle injuries need to move around, as that joint gets quickly inflamed when not in motion
                - Estrone and hill work the first two months back to work
                - VERY slow return to work. Mine was severe, I took over a year to even canter in the ring
                - Avoid lunging and circles
                - Staying on top of hoof angles and/or shoes behind as well
                - Once healed, stifle injections yearly

                Good luck and keep us updated. Glad you guys have some direction now in which to go. Chasing unknown lamenesses is never fun.
                AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012


                  Wishing you all the very best. Also, adding my thanks for being such a responsible owner.
                  \"If you are going through hell, keep going.\" ~Churchill~


                    Only torn meniscus experience I have is human knee, not equine stifle, so I'm afraid I have no insights or advice on that ... But I'm SO glad to hear that you got a diagnosis and are moving forward with treatment. She's lucky to have you looking out for her.

                    Wishing her a good recovery, and keeping my fingers crossed that this is just the ticket for getting her feeling better.


                      Original Poster

                      So, the month is up. For several reasons, I'm not able to drive her up to that vet, probably won't be able to for a few months. I chatted with him about our options though, and we decided that she can go ahead and be turned back out. If she was sound, she could be slowly started back into work, otherwise just let her be on pasture rest either until she is looking better or I can get her back up there.

                      Unfortunately, when I did go to lunge her for a second to see if there was any improvement, while she looked much better, and looks 100% going straight, she still has a bit of a hitch on that right hind. Unclear as to whether it just hasn't fully healed yet or it is something else going on too. So she will be on pasture rest for a bit until I can get her back up there. I might check her again in a week or so in case it was maybe just muscle memory and her thinking she still needed to guard it, or maybe did something that tweaked it, but I'm pretty sure that's not the case.

                      At any rate, barring her healing while on pasture rest, it will probably be a few months before I have more updates. Thanks to everyone that has been following and offering advice and well wishes, we both really appreciate it!


                        Original Poster

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                        She was, at least, very happy to get to go out finally. She is almost back to her normal weight, could probably stand to lose 50 or so more pounds but with winter here I'm not going to stress much about the last little bit. So beyond the lameness, we are back to healthy!


                          Thanks for the update! Crossing fingers she comes 100% sound for you SOON!


                            I hope she feels better!

                            I had a little mare delivered to my new barn, and after a kinda traumatically long trailer ride she was never quite right after. Went through all of the Dx stuff, ruled out legs, maybe thought it was SI, injected that without any improvement.

                            After poking and prodding the crap out of her, I threw in the vetting towel and retired her to a friend who just wanted something to eat grass with her goats. After 6 months of doing nothing but eating grass, she's right as rain and my friend now has a perfectly healthy top of the line large pony for her kids to learn on - free of charge

                            Sometimes they can really surprise you!


                              Original Poster

                              I lunged her for a few minutes a few days ago, and there miiiight still be a bit of a hitch but it's really subtle if it's there. I had another chiro come out wednesday that was recommended to me by a bunch of people and also happens to work closely with the vet that had diagnosed her. He was shocked at how messed up she was. The difference in how she moved right after adjustments was quite frankly amazing. Lunged her for a second again yesterday to see how she looked, about the same, there miiiight be a tiny hitch if I'm really looking for it but I could also be imagining it.

                              After discussion with the chiro and the vet, we have decided to begin light walking under saddle. I'm going to start with ten minutes at a time for a week, reevaluate and bump up to 15 if she still looks okay, just stick with walking for a while. If it starts looking like its regressing at all, we will stop everything and go back to pasture rest until I can take her back up.

                              Fingers crossed she stays good!

                              I thought you guys might enjoy her displays of her athleticism though, she feels much better:
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                                I hope she continues to feel good!


                                  those pictures are great! She's clearly feeling pretty good in her skin!

                                  Love love love all the care and attention you've put into helping this girl come around and feel better.


                                    Walking is a great way to ease back into work. Sounds like you've got a solid plan and team. And a happy mare! I love your photos -- somehow all of my horse-at-play photography events end up capturing the derpy moments between feats of athleticism, but yours paint a great picture of how frisky she's feeling. May the contentment and improved soundness continue!


                                      Something to keep in mind. Horses on the verge of laminitis sometimes show lethargy and an I hurt all over body attitude.

                                      Good luck with "slenderella" in the future.
                                      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

                                        It's been some time, so I wanted to come back and update for anyone who deals with this in the future.

                                        Since the last update, we have moved to the barn my other horse was boarding at (who has since been sold to the barn as a lesson horse, they are in LOVE with him). We had started getting back into work, then were on lockdown so she got a couple months vacay again. Then some ouchy feet issues (the ground is rocky and hard right now). But we are FINALLY back working again. There is still just a biiiiiiit of a hitch on that outside hind going on a circle to the left, but it's barely noticeable and has in fact been getting better the more we build that muscle up.

                                        We are still just walk/trot under saddle, I don't feel like she is strong enough to canter under saddle yet, but we have started cantering on the lunge (veeeery large circle) and she is progressing really quickly. She is back to a decent weight. And she is HAPPY. This, I think, is the best part. She is so much more affectionate than she has ever been in her entire life. She never has that tight, annoyed expression. She is a whole new horse, playful and focused in work, and super sweet the rest of the time.

                                        So as a general summary, she had a torn meniscus, and is now just rehabbing back and strengthening up the muscles around her stifles. Our next steps are going to be to continue our lungeing sessions since they seem to really be helping, hack out as much as I can, and work on basic dressage (staying in front of the leg at W/T, straightness and bending, etc). I'm also planning on getting some neck and back xrays soon just to see if there's anything going on there that could be contributing. But overall, she is doing much better, is an absolute joy to be around, and I've been soaking up all the time I get with her now.


                                          RainWeasley wow! What a wonderful update. You are the best owner, so dedicated to her. I hope things just continue to go great with you guys. Please update later.