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Sudden Onset of Lameness. Update Post #16.

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  • Sudden Onset of Lameness. Update Post #16.

    Warming up today in the outdoor. Sandy footing. Deeper on the rail but nothing that he can't handle. Decent warm-up, he's being a pill but that is not unusual since (1) it's a bit windy out (2) the are three other horses working (3) he's a bit fresh cause he's outside. I stop to readjust some tack and go to trot off again, and BOOM he's lame. As in dead lame.

    It's the right fore. He's head-bobbing lame. I holler over to my BO/Trainer as she's out in the XC field prepping for the show. Her initial thoughts are hind end, but comes to conclusion it's the right fore.

    Nothing seems amiss with that leg. No heat. No swelling. The only thing we notice is a slight "sprung"ness to the shoe on the outside heel. Gus is currently sporting shoes (I'm assuming steel) with clips and 2* wedge pads. He's been sounder in this combination the he has otherwise been in a long time.

    Again, he was sound to begin with and then boom, lame. What could cause that? We're thinking he may have caught himself, but he is wearing bell boots...

    Suggestions? I have a call into the farrier just giving her a heads up that we may need to pull the shoe and see if anything is stuck between the hoof sole and pad. I'll call the vet if after pulling the shoe he's still off. He's also had a gram of bute to see if that'll help at all.
    Last edited by appychik; Oct. 6, 2010, 03:09 PM.
    Proud owner of Gus & Gringo.
    See G2's blog
  • Original Poster

    Really? No one in nearly 60 reads as any ideas as to what would cause a sudden onset of head-bobbing lameness? Sheesh. I was hoping for some ideas at least...

    I edited the original post + title to see if that would help. Just thought it was ironic enough that he's lame, again, and again right before a show. Should've know.
    Proud owner of Gus & Gringo.
    See G2's blog


    • #3
      I had a similar thing happen. I had trailered my horse to trainers for lesson. Warmup fine, did a few jumps, was trotting a corner, then BAM, dead lame in left front. We trotted a bit more to see, and he started acting lame behind too. He was obviously in pain. We actually thought he was tying up or something, the way he was acting. You are not going to like this, but I never got a diagnosis that I liked, and he never got sound. Texas A&M said elbow, other vet said knee. I could get him sort of sound, but the minute he had to do much work, lame again.
      Rest in peace Claudius, we will miss you.


      • #4
        Honestly, I'd have a call into my vet. They can remove the shoe just as easily as the farrier.

        When something like this happens, I generally call both and if one can come before the other, keep them apprised.

        I always call my vet and let them know about a potential issue like this even if they decide it's not critical for them to come out right away. The practice can help narrow down the potential cause just by asking questions or I can have them call my farrier and discuss it with her.
        Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
        EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


        • #5
          Is he lame without a rider?

          Is he "lamer" on asphalt or in the sand?


          • Original Poster

            I would have called the vet, but seeing as it was Sunday evening and all I would be doing is leaving a voicemail, I figured it could wait until I was out this afternoon. Plus, when I left Gus he was eating and drinking and generally happy.

            He is lame regardless of the footing (gravel versus grass versus sand versus lovely indoor arena footing) but now, or least as of yesterday, only at the trot. When I was up he was lame still at the walk.

            We'll see how he looks today. I guess I can always call the vet instead of the farrier back (or well, call her too so she can reset) but just wondering if anyone has any ideas as to what can cause a sudden lameness like that. There were no major mis-steps, just boom and then he was off (he walked off, off <-- if that makes any sense).
            Proud owner of Gus & Gringo.
            See G2's blog


            • Original Poster

              Originally posted by ToTheNines View Post
              I had a similar thing happen. I had trailered my horse to trainers for lesson. Warmup fine, did a few jumps, was trotting a corner, then BAM, dead lame in left front. We trotted a bit more to see, and he started acting lame behind too. He was obviously in pain. We actually thought he was tying up or something, the way he was acting. You are not going to like this, but I never got a diagnosis that I liked, and he never got sound. Texas A&M said elbow, other vet said knee. I could get him sort of sound, but the minute he had to do much work, lame again.

              Thanks. I'm hoping he just hit himself in the heel or something small like that. But knowing Gus, he likes to be dramatic and it's all or nothing. So I'm sure it's more then just "something small"... just like the "abscess" from this past spring.
              Proud owner of Gus & Gringo.
              See G2's blog


              • #8
                well, my "sudden onset lameness in a lesson" story was mis diagnosed by ME as soft tissue. I did the poultice thing and asked the vet to ultra-sound and she found nothing. Finally discovered several months later that it was in the ankle... as in probably cartilage damage and he was never OK again. We did injections and stall rest yada yada. I'm always wondering if we'd done a proper work up right away, if I could have saved him. So now I try to do better and call the vet a little more quickly.


                • #9
                  Not to terrify you, but a suspensory injury can cause sudden severe lameness and does not necessarily involve a lot (or really any) heat or swelling. The fact that there was deep footing involved would make me concerned that this could be the case.

                  Of course, I live in fear of suspensory injuries because my guy had one. But that is how it presented. Sudden onset with no real heat or swelling. Looking back, there were signs that I would catch next time. But at the time, it certainly seemed like he went from completely fine to completely unsound in a matter of seconds.

                  I hope your horse is okay, and please do update when you find out what it is.


                  • #10
                    I'd be suspicious about a suspensory issue, personally.


                    • #11
                      I'd start with a farrier. Jaxon has had 3 episodes of lameness following his DDFT surgery and every time our farrier was able to fix it on the stop.
                      Latest episode happened 3 weeks ago. Jax was fine on Sunday, on Tuesday trainer started the warmup and felt the horse being slightly off, then head bobbing dead lame on Wednesday.
                      Got a farrier out, took the pads off (because of DDFT injury we had pads off to give the sole more support,) applied hoof testers- nothing, however, there was some sensitivity in frog. Most probably, because he has worn rubber pads for almost a year now, they started irritating growing frog.
                      Switched to leather pads and horse was immediately sound.
                      Our farrier is amazing!

                      Good luck!


                      • #12
                        I had this happen. Also never got a diagnosis but had vet out in 30 minutes of sudden lameness.

                        We xrayed the coffin bone... Nothing wrong there. Then worked up. Lameness didn't block out anywhere. Mare was unsound for MONTHS without diagnosis... We finally put her back into light work and she improved. Was put down a year and some change later for unrelated reasons, but even then every once in a while she would be off in the leg.


                        • Original Poster

                          Thanks everyone for your input.

                          Gus is still off but better then he was yesterday. Not sure if it's the bute or just him feeling slightly better.

                          Talked to farrier and she'll be out Wednesday (soonest she can get there). The plan is to have her jog him and see if she sees anything, then pull shoe and see if there is anything that got worked into the padding. She'll probably end up resetting the shoe too depending on if she finds anything or not.

                          I also talked to the vet to see when they can get out but they were on their way to a farm so didn't have the schedule handy. Plan is to get them out as soon as possible too... but not sure (yet) when that will be.

                          I'm really hoping it's not a suspensory issue. But knowing Gus, it isn't something as simple as a rock. That's for sure

                          I will update this post again when we figure out the cause.
                          Proud owner of Gus & Gringo.
                          See G2's blog


                          • #14
                            I know you're saying you've confirmed the front end as being the issue but just a few months ago, my lovely, always sound 16-year-old was cantering around perfectly happy as a clam. I stopped to talk to someone for a couple of minutes, set off at the trot and he was lame, right front. Very obviously lame. Vet came and flexed him and found hocks were in need of some help. He injected the hocks. 3 days later, pony still sore. He came out and blocked the right front, and told me it was likely navicular bursitis. I was devestated to think it might be but my farrier said "wait. he just had his hocks done. it's possible he was heel sore and it just showed up suddenly." sure enough, 1 week later, pony was totally sound and back to normal. So, there are lots of things this could be: in deep footing = suspensory, sore back end might make sore heels suddenly, abscess, bruise from something getting under the pad, navicular changes, a tweaked shoe (if he's a bit dramatic, the uneveness could make him act very lame -- we have one like that, too).

                            You say it's at the trot, is it every step? worse one way or the other? comes and goes? gets better with work/worse with work?


                            • #15
                              Different spin on this...

                              My horse did this in the Spring. I was riding him w/o issue and then just as we were getting ready to finish and were walking to cool out... BAM. Head bobbing lame. I mean head was hitting the ground. WTF??? I checked him over. No heat, no swelling. Checked his hoof and didn't see anything abnormal. Maybe slightly pushed his shoe in on the back corner towards his frog. The farrier was due out the next morning so I called him (it was a Sunday) to let him know and see if he could find anything. He called me later the next day after working on my guy and said that the corner I had mentioned sure enough was putting slight pressure in that area and that was just enough to make him go lame. My horse is the sensitive sort.

                              Farrier said he walked off fine. So I went out that night and he was fine on the lunge.

                              So... maybe the slight "sprungness" in that shoe is really bothering him. And won't correct itself until the shoe is removed. Just another thought... and a shot in the dark.

                              My guy really over reaches and lives in bellboots. And the Farrier has really tried to help him with that. He has been known to whack those corners of his front shoes. But this specific incident hasn't happened again.

                              Sending positive thoughts your way!


                              • Original Poster

                                Well, farrier was out today to see Gus. She pulled his shoe and noticed that he did have a positive reaction to the hoof testers on his sole (slight reaction, but reaction nonetheless) and another reaction to the outside heel (same area where the shoe was slightly sprung). There was some sand also built up into the shoe/pad/packing too but it shouldn't have been enough to cause the lameness. He also had a slight pulse in that hoof, nothing noted in the other three.

                                So, she reattached the shoe and pad and put in Equipak instead of Magic Cushion (or Forshners, not sure which product she used last).

                                Vet is scheduled to come out on Tuesday. That was the earliest that I could get her out, since it's a one (wo)man practice and he's still very much eating, drinking, pooping and peeing I don't think we need to make it an emergency visit. I plan on keeping the appointment unless he is miraculously better by then.

                                FWIW, farrier did not think it was an abscess... and he did have a small "dent" on the heel bulb where he had the positive reaction.

                                Any other suggestions? Ideas?
                                Proud owner of Gus & Gringo.
                                See G2's blog


                                • #17
                                  My horse came up mysteriously lame a couple of months ago much like you described. She was suddenly head bobbing at the trot then the next day she wasn't putting any weight on her LH. My vet had me give her Naquosone that evening and she was 99% sound the next day. Farrier hoof tested and didn't find any tenderness but a couple of days later the vet hoof tested and she did present some soreness in the heel area. We decided to block and she trotted out 100% sound with the lowest block. Within a couple of days she was fine but we decided to take x-rays before her next shoe cycle. My vet thought there might be something going on in her hoof that needed attention.

                                  The x-rays didn't show much other than a very slightly angled P3 which we decided to address with a new type of shoe and wedges on her hind feet, just in case.

                                  In this instance, we attributed the sudden onset of lameness to a low heel combined with not so good footing. My mare has been going the best ever since the wedges and is finally really starting to engage her hindquarters, which is great.

                                  I hope things with Gus turn out okay!
                                  Proud owner of a Slaughter-Bound TB from a feedlot, and her surprise baby...!


                                  • #18
                                    The one time I had a horse go that lame under saddle that fast it turned out to be an abscess. I figure it must have shifted slightly to a position where it was more sensitive.
                                    The Evil Chem Prof


                                    • Original Poster


                                      Well, read between the lines but

                                      So, we'll see how things go. I had my usual lesson tonight and while he looked a lot better on the lunge, he still looked a bit off. Decided to tack up anyway and see how he was with me on board. I couldn't be happier . And that's all I'm saying (and yes, he was sans bute).

                                      I didn't ask for much from him, just a happy, forward and supple horse. Which by the end of my VERY ABBREVIATED lesson (ie 25 minutes versus 60 minutes), I had. Here's hoping that things go upwards from here.

                                      FWIW, I took a look at his RF after my lesson real well. He had a nice (as in not so nice) bruise right over the outside heel area. The clip that is there also seems to be nearly embedded into the hoof wall. Not sure what's up with that, but it's interesting where the bruise is... cause that's where the farrier had a positive response.

                                      So, I'm going to try hard to not do the happy dance too loudly... but !
                                      Proud owner of Gus & Gringo.
                                      See G2's blog