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Making the decision to inject the back - talk to me of pros and cons please :)

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  • Making the decision to inject the back - talk to me of pros and cons please :)

    My guy had his annual teeth/shots/checkup today from the vet, and we discussed his progress over the past year with his back/hock/feet saga. He is at about 90% from where he was (crippled ass lame!) but will still palpate with a bit of soreness, and is still a bit tight in the area where the spurs were found.

    We had a lengthy talk about what my next step should be, as I would like to get more out of him in his flat work, and it may not happen until we get him back to 100%. I have had a regular massage therapist out every couple of weeks for the past month, and monthly prior to that for 6 months straight. He needs a visit from the chiro, but she's not in my area for another 2-3 weeks, so once she's back out, I'll have him adjusted again.

    Vet recommends either acupuncture, mesotherapy, or injections, but with the caveat that meso was minimally successful the first time around, acupuncture may not do the job, and injections are a bit more invasive. She pretty much laid it all out there, and we will re-visit when she's back in 2 weeks to administer round 2 of shots and check teeth (mr. pony had broken a tooth pretty badly and she wants to recheck for infection)

    I'm at a bit of a crossroads with making the decision on what to do. Injections will run me $600+ and I'm not sure how much of a difference they'll make. Mesotherapy was minimally effective, so I'm not sure I'd try that again. Acupuncture seems the least invasive, but then again, it may not fix the issue and could just be wasting money.

    I'm a bit afraid of tapping joints, and I try to exhaust all my other options before I make that choice as there is so much that can happen when you start messing with joint injections. I'm looking for others' experiences; good, bad, and ugly, and how it helped (or didn't!) your horse. Thanks muchly!

  • #2
    I adopted a horse from a rescue eight years ago. He had been on and off lame/sore for five years despite daily bute, multiple hock and back injections etc. We fixed his feet and he hasn't taken a bad step since. Once we fixed the feet the rest took care of itself. He was so back sore he would practically go to his knees when I mounted, now he never moves a muscle. He is 24 now and still eventing. Barefoot no less! Moral of the story, nothing you fix above the feet will stay fixed until the feet stop aggravating them.
    McDowell Racing Stables

    Home Away From Home

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      That was actually one of the most recent fixes! We decided on pads up front plus added hind shoes as he seems to like the stability from them. Farrier tells me feet have made a drastic improvement, and are no longer as soft and "mushy" as they were (last barn didn't turn out much, and his poor feet suffered so much!)

      Since the tweaks, I have noticed he's much more comfortable going forward, and can do smaller circles without getting as anxious. The pads also majorly helped as he was quite footsore last summer

      I agree with you though, feet are SO important to take care of!!

      Comment


      • #4
        For chronic soreness we have had fantastic results with both injections of Sarapin, and alternately Shockwave therapy followed by a series of Pentosan. Acupuncture helped, but only for a few weeks at most whereas the other two lasted at least six months for a horse in really hard work.

        Comment


        • #5
          Pentosan, one set of hock injections, and rolling the toes on the hind gave my old field hunter his mojo back. He's even jumping again. The biggest difference was from the hock injections. Rolling the toes and the Pentsan help maintain him. Rolling the back toes eases strain on the hocks.)

          There was nothing really wrong with him. Just getting older and creaky. Injections do have slight risks, but on the other hand, if the horse is uncomfortable the benefits can be tremendous. He may just need one set. It may not need to be repeated for a year or even longer.
          Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
          Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
          -Rudyard Kipling

          Comment


          • #6
            I did hock and back injections on Finnegan last year. BIG difference. He was much happier.

            I think the injections generally work well and work quickly and then you can maintain with Pentosan, massage, correct riding, adequan etc....

            I feel that if the vet uses HA, steriod, antibiotic combo that breaks the pain inflammation cycle.

            IMO it is really important which vet does the injections. We have one local vet that does not scrub the injection site for very long. The good ones scrub, scrub, scrub, scrub, scrub and use lots of fresh cotton with each scrubbing.
            We have a few local ones that do lots of joint injections and are really good at sliding that needle in the space.
            Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)

            Comment


            • #7
              You are right to take them seriously and weight the risks, but for my guy injecting his back made a huge difference. Huge. Injecting his hocks helped some, but what really ailed him was his back and when we got that under control he was a whole different animal. Good luck whatever way you decide!

              Comment


              • #8
                I have had a regular massage therapist out every couple of weeks for the past month, and monthly prior to that for 6 months straight.
                What has worked for me and my students is this:
                3 massages first week-2 days in between
                2 massages 2nd week
                1 each week after that
                I've found that the first 2 weeks are so important in getting in there and continuing the therapy-this is aggressive treatment-and really attacking it headon! If you wait 2-3 weeks after that first or second massage, you literally allow the muscle to get sore again! You MUST get in there quickly after that firs massage to prevent the soreness from coming back. You can see that it hasn't worked allowing this much time to elapse. Please consider this treatment course before injections.
                Equine Massage Therapy Classes and Rehab for Horses
                http://www.midwestnha.wordpress.com[/INDENT]

                Comment


                • #9
                  I think...it would be best to proceed as you are...I'd wait on injecting anything for now.

                  He has come a great way in a short time and is not in any great pain, just a bit when palpated. I'd give it some more time, let him sort of grow into what has already been done and let his body adjust to the changes.

                  Re evaluate in 6 months and see where you are. Takes time, especially when major changes have been made and he was off for some time before that.

                  I did inject hocks and ankes and a navicular bursa, but on active performance horses for specific reasons.

                  I would not be in a rush to do his back here when time may take care of that for you. Best research who will do it and your regular vet may not be the best choice if you do decide to try it. The back is not a joint even tho it has many moving parts, results are varied especially with no clear idea what is causing the pain. There is more risk that it could make things worse then in a joint.
                  When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                  The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Laurie - on your adoption horse, what was the timeline for the foot fixing/soreness ending?

                    I've got a middle-aged pasture-puff gelding that had a disaster of a RF that I've been trying to bring back into work. His foot is a work in progress (we're about 6 months in), but he's quite sore in his left hind quarter (stifle, back, butt, hocks). We're trying to decide if he's a candidate to continue to rehabbing to have a job or if the problems are just too deep-seated at this point to make it fair to ask him to work regularly.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      OP, can you be a bit more specific in what you mean by "injecting his back"?

                      Where, and what with?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Never had it done but they go in between the vertabrae to add lubrication between disks and reduce inflammation just as they do in a joint.

                        Seen it work well for the lower back and some cervical sites, less effective around the base of the neck and shoulders on those I have been around.

                        I wouldn't do it unless I was pretty sure it was indicated based on good diagnostics.
                        When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          That is one way to do back injections. Another is to go along the back at a couple of inch intervals and inject the muscles with steroids and/or sarapin.
                          McDowell Racing Stables

                          Home Away From Home

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I've got a middle-aged pasture-puff gelding that had a disaster of a RF that I've been trying to bring back into work. His foot is a work in progress (we're about 6 months in), but he's quite sore in his left hind quarter (stifle, back, butt, hocks). We're trying to decide if he's a candidate to continue to rehabbing to have a job or if the problems are just too deep-seated at this point to make it fair to ask him to work regularly.
                            He's compensated with the left hind for the soreness in the RF. Most likely he's sore and a couple good massages would help, a chiro to be sure he's not out somewhere, which I'm willing to bet $50 he is-along with some rehab to get him to start using it again.
                            Equine Massage Therapy Classes and Rehab for Horses
                            http://www.midwestnha.wordpress.com[/INDENT]

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by atr View Post
                              OP, can you be a bit more specific in what you mean by "injecting his back"? Where, and what with?
                              This.

                              My horse has had 2 round of back injections and neither time did they actually go into a joint - which really eased my mind about the whole thing. Went into muscles surrounding the inter-transverse joint which was where my guy was sore. The volume injected was huge - at least 50 mls on each side - and he injected this into a few different points in the general area.

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                From what I understand of my vet's recommendation, she would be injecting 2 places - one where some spurs have developed in the area right where the back of the saddle sits, as well as the SI joints.

                                My other option is to do acupuncture, massage and chiro, but it will cost about the same as the injections over the long run. Massage says she needs to come out weekly, chiro will likely need 1-2 adjustments and vet will be doing the acupuncture.

                                I had a woman out today who did some endotapping and Bowen on my guy - he seemed to LOVE both! Big yawns, lots of licking and chewing and farting, and looked very happy by the end of his session. I have been recommended NOT to inject by my massage therapist, BO and th woman that came out today...All seem to think that injections at this stage my just be opening a can of worms, but this has been such a lengthy and costly battle that I'm getting anxious about finding the solution so that I can stop going down dead end treatment roads.

                                My BO made a remark today about the treatment being more work than it was worth, as the horse is only on moderate work, with limited jumping, and is the highest maintenance horse in a barn full of eventers (some up to 2** level!). I am getting frustrated, not going to lie....the injections seem like a tempting fix to the issue, but again, I want to be very informed and make the right decision, not the quick fix

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Aponi View Post
                                  Laurie - on your adoption horse, what was the timeline for the foot fixing/soreness ending?

                                  I've got a middle-aged pasture-puff gelding that had a disaster of a RF that I've been trying to bring back into work. His foot is a work in progress (we're about 6 months in), but he's quite sore in his left hind quarter (stifle, back, butt, hocks). We're trying to decide if he's a candidate to continue to rehabbing to have a job or if the problems are just too deep-seated at this point to make it fair to ask him to work regularly.
                                  He was sound after the first trim and just got better as time went by. He had contracted heels and sheared heels in all four feet as well as deep central sulcus thrush that took months to completely correct but the pain was improved immediately. Right now he is barefoot and moving better than ever! We went cross country schooling for the first time this year and he felt awesome so he may get to stay barefoot throughout the season. We'll play that by ear.
                                  McDowell Racing Stables

                                  Home Away From Home

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Justabay, you say there are bone spurs present in the spine where the back of the saddle sits?????

                                    You do realize they are not going anywhere and will continue to be an aggravation injections or not. Any relief will be temporary.

                                    Just kind of thinking "out loud" here...any thoughts about changing the shape the saddle to relieve pressure on that area???

                                    May not want to think about it but he may not be able to comfortably carry your choice of saddle. But he maybe can go on to do something else. Know 2 that now pack western saddles for trail riding and lead happy and useful lives-one a former Ayrab Park horse and the other a TB/WB cross Hunter, both retired from the show ring with chronic back trouble right where the back of the former saddle sat. There are also alternative type saddles out there for trail riding and such that might suit him better and avoid pressure on that bad spot.

                                    It's just a thought. A Plan B if you will. But the bone spurs along the spine under the saddle make me think you need to start thinking of a plan B for him.
                                    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I think your can of worms is already opened if you have bone spurs on the spine, and if you want to carry on doing what you are doing with this horse and keep him comfortable, you should listen to your vet. I can't see how any amount of massage therapy, chiropractic, Bowen, etc., etc., is going to magically cure what ails him, whereas injecting may well keep him serviceably comfortable for some time to come.

                                      You won't know unless you try.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I just had acupuncture and a back injection into the muscle done 2 weeks ago. My mare showed no signs of soreness with palpation prior to being worked but showed significant soreness on palpation in her right side back just behind the saddle. Xrays revealed she has kissing spines in that area. The vet recommended the back injection (with steroids IM), acupuncture, and a 4 week course of pentosan (once weekly x 4 weeks). My mare feels pretty good right now. She's willingly stretching over her topline at walk and trot for now. Not sure how long it will last though.

                                        She's been out of work most of the winter. Time off never helped her before so I do think something the vet did helped. Not sure which of those treatments made the most difference or whether it was a combination of them. I'm taking it slow with her to help get her back into shape. The vet hopes that once we break the cycle of pain and inflammation that she'll be able to build muscle to help stabilize the lumbar area of her back. Fingers crossed that she continues to improve.

                                        Comment

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