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Alcohol Injection for Pastern Joint Fusion

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  • Alcohol Injection for Pastern Joint Fusion

    I figured this would be a good place to begin 'chronicling' my horse! I bought a 4 year old thoroughbred off the track last June 2010. I didn't know anything about ringbone, so the enlargement of his back right pastern just didn't register as a 'problem'. Wow, hind sight huh?!!!
    It wasn't until Dec 2010 that I started seeing slight lameness when I rode him heavily. I am an eventer, and when I asked him to do intense dressage work (which made him put a lot of pressure and weight on the hind) he became sore on the right hind.
    After thinking it was an absess and giving him some time off I started working him again and he became lame again in Feb 2011. I decided it was time to take him to the vet. My vet did a flexion test, which was very revealing! He could hardly put weight on it! We did x-rays. To my utter disappointment his pastern joint is half bone-on-bone.
    My vets prognosis? Retirement or a $5-6K arthrodesis surgery to fuse the joint.
    So, I went home and cried. Then I got it together and started looking at other options. I researched the alcohol injection method, called up my vet, and he said "let's do it"!

    We injected him last Friday 3/11. We got about 8 ml into the joint space. I have soft casted it to minimize movement and keeping him stalled for 30 days. Our thought is that less movement hopefully means a 'cleaner' fusion, without further enlargement of the pastern.

    First 24 hours he didn't put weight on it, but this week he is moving on it fine! We are going to x-ray in 6 weeks. I will re-post then!
    Thank-you!!!

  • #2
    Wonderful, please keep this updated!

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    • #3
      The Horse just had a really good article on alcohol injections for fusing the pastern joint. Most of the horses in the study they mentioned had a great outcome. Good luck I hope it works for your horse!
      Last edited by BoyleHeightsKid; Mar. 17, 2011, 10:41 AM.
      Boyle Heights Kid 1998 16.1h OTTB Dark Bay Gelding
      Quiet Miracle 2010 16.1h OTTB Bay Gelding
      "Once you go off track, you never go back!"

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      • #4
        Please keep up posted. My guy has ringbone in his right hind pastern as well, though has never been lame on it (in intense work, doing the high adult A/O jumpers) and I am very curious as to the outcome of this procedure!!

        We discovered the RB in a vetting. He flexed mild positive and potential buyer did x-rays which revealed the RB.

        http://www.thehorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=17861 The link to the article I believe BHK is talking about. In this study, they didn't cast the leg. They allowed regular turnout.

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        • #5
          Early Update

          Thanks for the feedback, I did see The Horse article which is one of the articles that I took with me to the vet.
          I noticed yesterday when I changed the soft cast that the area was thickened and hot to the touch. Worried about infection but hoping that it was just the inflammatory response we want, I called the vet. Since he is walking on it fine they agree that this could be a good sign that there is some major inflammatory response in the region indicating that 'something's happening'.
          Just wanted to keep you all informed about everything that happens!!! Thanks for all of your support!!

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          • #6
            If you dig around you'll find my story on this.

            Lucky is still doing well. He's an old man and has many other old man things going on, but at least his front feet don't hurt!

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            • #7
              Hey atr,
              Your story is what inspired me to share my experience! Thanks so much! I was wondering if you ever saw a final x-ray that showed fusion. How long did the whole fusion process take?
              Thank-you for sharing your story, it has really been amazing to have this place to come and learn and share our experiences!

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              • #8
                I'm happy (and rather frightened to voice this aloud) to say that we haven't needed the vet up here for a while... When he comes in May to do Spring stuff, I'll ask him to x-ray it again--I know he'll want to know so he'll probably do me a freebie if he's here anyway

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                • #9
                  Good luck with your horse! I hope the treatment works.
                  www.ncsporthorse.com

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