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Any ideas about this lameness?

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  • Any ideas about this lameness?


    I've enjoyed reading people's ideas about mysterious lameness problems. Now I am dealing with one, and would really appreciate feedback.

    A friend has a horse I used to ride, and on which I still teach her during the summer. In June, when I went to her place to teach her, the horse was clearly off on the LH. She called the vet, who said the horse needed hock injections. But the injections didn't help at all. The vet then suggested the owner send the horse to a clinic for a bone scan.

    The clinic vet, who is highly regarded in our area, said he had no idea what was happening with the LH. The bone scan showed nothing. He said he saw some slight inflammation on the RF, and said he thought it was a suspensory injury. He ultrasounded, but nothing showed on the RF.

    The owner then consulted the original vet about the clinic vet's findings. The original vet said he'd seen no lameness in the RF . He then examined the horse again, confirming that he saw nothing there. Nor did the ultrasound show anything.

    I know that suspensory tears often don't show up on ultrasounds. But if the horse had a suspensory on the RF, wouldn't you see some lameness in that leg? I know that it wouldn't be surprising to see LH lameness too, if there were a RF suspensory. But wouldn't you still see some lameness in the RF?

    The horse has rested since June, but is still quite lame behind.

    If any of you have any advice or suggestions, I would greatly appreciate hearing it. This is a great little horse, and the owner and I are very concerned. Since she's already gone the bone scan route, what should she do next?

  • #2
    Well, it sounds to me like you haven't located the lameness.

    I'd get the horse in front of the best set of eyes you have access to- a lameness/prepurchase/sport horse expert. I don't know what area of the country you are in, but someone here could probably recommend someone.

    That person will likely watch the horse jog in hand, and then add a variety of stressors (unless its obvious) such as hard ground, soft ground, tight circle, straight line, with rider up, flexions, etc.

    If the vet is able to isolate a leg, they would start a series of nerve blocks at the heel, working their way up, until the horse goes sound. Then you have located the area of the problem.

    If it isn't located in a leg, the vet may recommend spinal x-rays, SI ultrasound or any number of other diagnostics for the body.

    I'm honestly somewhat surprised that she was sent in for a bone scan without all of these diagnostics done.


    • #3
      Originally posted by Willa View Post
      A friend has a horse I used to ride, and on which I still teach her during the summer. In June, when I went to her place to teach her, the horse was clearly off on the LH. She called the vet, who said the horse needed hock injections. But the injections didn't help at all. The vet then suggested the owner send the horse to a clinic for a bone scan.
      Wow, does this ever sound familiar. Please go read this thread here:


      Did the bone scan look at the whole horse?


      • #4
        It is pretty common for lameness to be mistaken for the diagonal leg.
        McDowell Racing Stables

        Home Away From Home


        • #5
          What about the hip? Spine?
          Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakend. ~Anatole France~


          • Original Poster

            more information about testing with this horse

            Thanks to all for your replies. Just thought I should add that the vets did nerve block the horse, and that gave them no more information. And he was already treated for Lyme (His owner put him on Doxy, before waiting for titer results. His numbers weren't high enough, as it turns out, to warrant treatment. I think everyone in my area runs to Doxy too quickly, by the way.)

            And to answer a question, his bone scan was full body.


            • #7
              So the lameness doesn't block to any particular location, and nothing lit up on the bone scan? Not even the neck or pelvis? Any discussion of feet? Maybe a torn collateral ligament?