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bilateral suspensory injury UGH!

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  • bilateral suspensory injury UGH!

    I cannot find my old thread, my computer got hacked, but as it turns out my horse has now injured his opposite suspensory from the original one! The first one is healing but now he has this. Has anyone had a horse with bilateral suspensories that have survived to be comfy in a field at least?
    Mai Tai aka Tyler RIP March 1994-December 2011
    Grief is the price we pay for love- Gretchen Jackson
    "And here she comes. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's ZENYATTA!"

  • #2
    My first thought when I saw this is...your horse most likely has DSLD. There are Yahoo groups and other groups that talk and have a support system for owners of horses with DSLD. What does your vet say?

    I had a horse that had a suspensory injury and while rehabbing that, developed a second suspensory injury in the other leg (all the while being on stall rest for the first suspensory injury). While the vet could not give me a difinitive diagnosis on the reason for the injuries, all the signs pointed to DSLD.

    If your horses does indeed have DSLD, some horses live quite a long life with it (the progression of the disease varies in each horse).

    Your vet can be the only one who can advise you.

    Good luck.


    • #3
      My thought too is DSLD. My then 10 year old (average age of onset) gelding injured his right hind branches last year and while he healed beautifully, I noticed his pasterns dropping and now believe he has DSLD based on symptoms. He is comfortable with 24/7 turnout and I have him on MSM and Vit E supplements. I continue to note changes in his hind legs (thickening now in his hocks) and I'm sure at some point I will have to let him go, but until then, he is my favorite pasture ornament. Of course, he's my absolute most favorite horse.
      Fat Cat Farm Sporthorses on Facebook


      • #4
        My young gelding got a hind suspensory injury and a few weeks later, it happened in the other hind. No DSLD but these
        things happen. My guess from compensating on the good leg he overstressed it. And once healed he was fine. But they do take a long time to heal. I'd give it a year or so.
        "There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery." - Charles Darwin


        • Original Poster

          I am thinking the stress is what really did it. I just wonder if he can heal from both? He is happy and bright. He does want to be with his buddy. They are now sharing a fence line. I really just want a trail horse if that's all he can do. But how do I know if its worth putting him through this.

          What treatments did you do? On the first leg we did laser then shockwave.. cold hose and icing now the ice vibe boot.. Seems to be improving.. Then the other leg we just started so cold hosing and ice therapy...\

          How do you know if it is DSLD?
          Mai Tai aka Tyler RIP March 1994-December 2011
          Grief is the price we pay for love- Gretchen Jackson
          "And here she comes. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's ZENYATTA!"


          • #6
            I don't recall how I treated it but it was minimal and I did read a lot about the aftercare and learned it was believed that the
            tissue healed better with some weightbearing and movement so I didn't do any stall rest. I'm from the old school that likes
            Dr. Green and a Tincture of time for many injuries. But generally they heal up and are fine in the pasture or as a light trail horse.
            "There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery." - Charles Darwin


            • #7
              Pasterns dropping is the hallmark of DSLD. My gelding injured his right hind suspensory branches last August. His leg wound up blowing up like a badly bowed tendon though he was never very lame; just off. I did a brief period of confinement with icing/wrapping/cold hosing and poulticing along with Bute (2 wks). Had it checked, vet said if he was a sensible guy, which he is, to turn him out. Said I could do shockwave, magnawave, PRP, stem cells, blah, blah, blah, but none of that was proven to work. That if I was lucky 3-6 mos before a return to work; a year or more if problematic. So turned him out and he was recovering slowly but nicely; reinjured it a bit 2 mos later and I went back to wrapping, poulticing, hosing and Bute for a while; vet didn't seem overly concerned. He wasn't overly optimistic at any point either; stating suspensories were notoriously hard to predict outcome.

              I did a lot of reading and researching on here and otherwise, and was comfortable with giving him a year or more of Dr. Green as confinement seemed, IMO, to lead to more scar tissue and calcification; that passive resistance exercise would be our friend keeping those healing fibers smoother.

              Had a 6 mos checkup with a different vet for a second opinion. She was impressed by the amount of swelling but couldn't find a core lesion or any holes. Wasn't optimistic though and commented on his pasterns, and had they always been that low. Looking at him every day, I hadn't really noticed but I did then and got to digging through old pictures, and yes, they had dropped. Right greater than left initially.

              Now, 14 mos out, both pasterns are noticeably lower. His suspensory branches in his right hind look fabulous! If I didn't tell you what he had done, you probably wouldn't be able to tell just looking at his right ankle. It's barely larger than his left ankle. But he is not sound. His stifles are much straighter. He bunny hops at the canter and his hocks seem larger than they have been too. He actually seems a little less comfortable on his left hind now, probably from compensating. He seems pretty comfortable overall for the most part at least. He is now only 11.

              Hoping your's is not DSLD. At 23, probably just stress from the other injury.
              Fat Cat Farm Sporthorses on Facebook


              • Original Poster

                His right hind has dropped but not the left, yet.....I am okay if he is a pasture ornament but the idea of riding him as a trail horse would be amazing...
                Mai Tai aka Tyler RIP March 1994-December 2011
                Grief is the price we pay for love- Gretchen Jackson
                "And here she comes. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's ZENYATTA!"


                • #9
                  I actually took my guy on a low key trail ride this past Saturday. I was going to ride my green mustang but he was having none of it, and I had two friends over ready to ride, who had agreed to go along with me to make sure someone was around to call 911 if needed since I was (or so I thought) riding out on a green horse.

                  But when he balked and we were all ready to go, the Mustang got put away and I took my sweetheart guy with the suspensory injury who has been pissed at always being left behind. We just walked and were only out for about an hour and he seemed fine. Never a headbob and only a bit of trippyness. He seemed thrilled! Even jigged a bit when we turned and headed back in as he was in the back of the group and didn't want to be *there*. Made me feel good. I did give him a bit of bute in his evening feed hoping to stave off any soreness, but he's been just fine. No swelling or stiffness, so I think I'm going to start doing a bit of that here and there as this guy just loves attention.
                  Fat Cat Farm Sporthorses on Facebook


                  • #10
                    Are you certain he didn't have both suspensories injured at the start? I ask because mine did -- though initially we didn't think the left was very serious (it's all up to interpretation, isn't it?) The right was quite a bit worse, but mine did have bilateral proximal suspensory injuries. We are currently trotting sound for 10 minutes, breaking for 2 minutes, and trotting 10 more minutes. We canter tomorrow.

                    Do you know the extent of the injury? That's really the big thing here. If it's a fresh injury you've got a much better chance to heal -- but know it's going to take nearly a year. Is he sound to walk?

                    If it is something like DLSD there's not much to be done.


                    • Original Poster

                      How do I tell if it's dsld? They ultrasounded both when the first injury was found. Appears to walk OK but then again I am walking him! He drags me outside for grass so he is okay walking hut will not lay down or roll. Probably hurts too much to get up.
                      Mai Tai aka Tyler RIP March 1994-December 2011
                      Grief is the price we pay for love- Gretchen Jackson
                      "And here she comes. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's ZENYATTA!"


                      • #12
                        My mare has DSLD. Started as a mild hind end lameness. Vet said she was crossing one hind sideways over the other. Then one day her leg was swollen from the knee down. Had the vet up, ultrasound done. Vet said mild sprain. Rest in roundpen, i forget what the rehab was. Within a few weeks the other hind swelled up. I began icing/cold hosing and more rest. The farrier came up and said, you know her ankles are dropped in both hinds?

                        DSLD is very slowly progressive. If it is that, you will see further symptoms over time. But i would be suspicious of it any time you have a horse with suspensory injuries in more than one leg. Especially with no history of trauma or extreme work. Check your conformation! The horses with DSLD become straighter through the hock.


                        • #13
                          Mine may not be a apples to apples comparison, but I have a large pony that injured both front suspensories ( one worse than the other), and has been more than ok as a pasture pet. He has been able to WTC and do limited gallops on perfect footing. All this said...if he isn't conditioned correctly or the footing wasn't as perfect as I thought, or he had a big time in the pasture, he would get some swelling in one or the other leg, although never lame. He would get time off and then begin the conditioning work again. His previous job was a first flight field hunter. Post injury and rehab, he was fine doing a not long day of 2nd flight (no jumping, WTC and a short gallop), then reduced his work load to a 3rd flight hunter (WT and an occasional C). He hasn't been in work this past summer and the fall that felt like summer due to me not having time to keep 3 fit. ETA he is 32 years old going on 10 according to him!!! His injury occurred when he was 26.


                          • #14
                            Also have him checked for low level Cushing's. Not just the cortisol level, but the ACTH suppression test...
                            My 19 year old developed subtle bilateral hind suspensory injury, with absolutely no clinical evidence of Cushing's, and normal resting cortisol level, but tested positive on the suppression test.
                            He has been on Prascend for about one year, with many months of very gradual rehab and frequent ultrasounds to confirm healing. He is back to work now and really going great, back to upper level dressage. We will go easy on the super collected work for the future though.
                            So it can be done. But make sure any underlying disease process gets treated.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ivy62 View Post
                              How do I tell if it's dsld? They ultrasounded both when the first injury was found. Appears to walk OK but then again I am walking him! He drags me outside for grass so he is okay walking hut will not lay down or roll. Probably hurts too much to get up.
                              I believe most vets diagnose based on clinical signs. My vet said “probably” based on bilateral presentation in branches.. She wears Bar shoes for support,has some fetlock thickening and is more post legged. She is uncomfortable with farrier so gets drugs for that. It’s been about two years since diagnosis. Pasture puff.


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by 2tempe View Post

                                I believe most vets diagnose based on clinical signs. My vet said “probably” based on bilateral presentation in branches.. She wears Bar shoes for support,has some fetlock thickening and is more post legged. She is uncomfortable with farrier so gets drugs for that. It’s been about two years since diagnosis. Pasture puff.
                                Yes. The only method of definitive diagnosis is a nuchal ligament biopsy. That said, I know many vets who will give a presumptive diagnosis based on clinical signs only - evidence of multiple soft tissue injuries without obvious cause. DSLD/ESPA causes breakdown in all soft tissues, so it isn't limited to only suspensory issues - although it's common to see the hind suspensors break down, and the hind fetlocks drop.