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Thoughts on sudden lameness, oh armchair vets?

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  • Thoughts on sudden lameness, oh armchair vets?

    Just trying to get my head round this, vet is coming in the morning.

    Horse is a 1st/2nd level dressage horse, trail buddy and all around good guy. We have been fighting some subtle problems in the hind end for quite a while now, and as a result, he has had his hocks, stifles and most recently, his SI injected in the last month or so in an effort to finally eliminate the problem.

    SI was done a couple of weeks ago. We've done a bit of plinking around on the trails and some lunging and he looked and felt pretty good.

    This past weekend I took him up to my trainer's place to work with him a bit up there. Her footing is lovely and her arena huge, so I wanted to see how he felt under those circumstances.

    We had a super ride on Saturday, he felt just great--like I'd got more than my old horse back, no more cross-cantering, big movement, VERY forward, happy, happy horse. We were careful and remained pretty conservative in what we did.

    Sunday he came out feeling good again. We had worked for maybe half an hour, done some cantering, but not overdone it, and had stopped for a breather. I said to my trainer "I'm just thrilled, I can't wait to tell Dr S that this has actually worked!!!" and walked of... three legged lame. Very short in the left hind.

    Hopped off, checked for heat, cuts, swellings, rocks in feet, etc. Absolutely nothing.

    Within 15 minutes, walking sound and forward again.

    Trailered him home like a box of cut crystal.

    Hopped off the trailer sound, had a good roll, wandered around sound. conversed with his buddies over the fence. By dinner time, short in the left hind again. Ate all his dinner and every scrap of hay, and he's not one to eat if he's miserable.

    Night check, walked down his (quite steep) paddock sound an mugged me for carrots.

    This morning, curled up in his house at breakfast time,(he has in and out free access to a nicely bedded stall) got up and staggered out lame for his breakfast, didn't really want to bear much weight on that left hind foot, but not dangling it or anything. Still no heat, swelling, sensitivity from foot to SI that I could find.

    When I left for work, he'd gone back to bed. However, that is nap time for him so not unusual--the morning sun hits his stall just right...

    So my original thought was that he kicked himself and caught himself on his cornet band and really stung himself, but that wouldn't be coming and going.

    Or he's brewing an abscess or stepped on a rock (looks footy to me, and to my trainer, though I know how easy it is to be fooled on that as a lay person,) in the arena (he'd have found the only damned rock in the place if he did.) He was shod last thursday, so maybe something has shifted and a nail is getting him, though everything seems to be solid and I'm not feeling any heat in the foot. We didn't make any radical shoing changes, this farrier has worked on him for 7 years and I am confident about the quality and appropiateness of the job that he does.

    Or, he's pulled something because he's all of a sudden moving so much bigger and more forward and differently than he has for some time, as opposed to the tight-backed, not exactly shuffle, but shall we say less generous movement that he has been offering for the past few months.

    Waah. I just tore up my entry for the Region 5 Championship show.

    Sorry, a novel.

    Any thoughts?

  • #2
    Abscess.... hopefully "just." Jingles!!
    <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.


    • #3
      My thought too.. close nail? Timing seems right. If bute doesnt help, then i always blame the foot


      • Original Poster

        Close nail does seem a possibility, doesn't it? But would it have come on so fast and would it be intermittent like that?


        • #5
          Oy, I have one who's done that. Twice. Two entirely different injuries to the same hind leg. One time it was a slab fracture of one of the small hock bones, the other time a slight suspensory sprain--both came right after a few months.

          Then, this summer, I actually had a horse with an ABSCESS. I was happy!

          Keep paying attention, get a video if you can--that helped my vets a LOT the time it was the hock fracture.
          Click here before you buy.


          • #6
            My guess would be muscle soreness. When they've been off for a while, or on "light duty" while being diagnosed, injected, etc, they lose condition. Also, now that his joints aren't sore, he's going to be moving bigger than he was for who knows how long now, and is more likely to pull something or overuse something. Especially when mom likes that big movement and encourages him to keep going

            If he tweaked something, he can't communicate that to you in any form other than waiting until it gets bad enough that his motion changes. He can't say "Hey, you know, that last pass, I really over-extended and tweaked my hamstring. Gees, I need to take it easy for a few days"

            My recommendation would be to put together a good, slow, rehab plan to get him back into work. He's going to need lots of low intensity walk trot stuff to get him back where he needs to be to reach his normal 1st/2nd level abilities.
            Strong promoter of READING the entire post before responding.


            • #7
              Sort of similar experience after I had mine's SI injected. Head bobbing lame at the walk about 9 days out. Bottom line -- he is fabulous now, about 2 1/2 weeks out, so don't panic.

              Here is story, read post #1. Note I gave him bute, robaxin, and have him out in his pasture 24/7. Pasture is slightly hilly.


              Like I said he is fabulous now (touch wood). Did a couple of little jumps today, and he gave me a perfect straight auto lead change.
              Rest in peace Claudius, we will miss you.


              • Original Poster

                (to the nines, I may have to lean through the computer screen and give you a big sloppy kiss...)

                (He's not unfit or out of condition, btw--he's been competing all summer, just not to the capacity I know him to be capable of. And I am a careful, experienced rider better known for being too soft on my horses than pushing too hard. Especially this one. However I suspect he's pushed himself too hard.)

                Off out to take a look see now.


                • Original Poster

                  So, sound as a dollar for the vet this morning, not a wrong step--flexed, trotted up, longed at the trot and canter, poked, prodded and hoof tested up the wazoo... we tried everything to make him go lame.

                  Vet was super-pleased with how he is moving now.

                  He thinks it may have been a muscle spasm/charlie horse type thing. He's on Robaxin for a few days just in case, and a slow, careful return to full work. So we shall see.


                  • #10
                    Good job calling the vet. That's the best way to fix them, IME. I can't tell you how many times I've had to apologize to the vet with "but he was lame this morning, I swear!" Money well spent.


                    • #11
                      Some massage and stretching might really help him as he gets back into work if your not already doing it. Sure helps me after my back has been out and it gets put straight again.


                      • #12
                        Great news! He recovered even faster than my horse (lame post-SI, see above).

                        Meant to tell you that I am definitely not lunging mine. He is going to a little show, to do a couple of classes, and I am making my trainer get on him in the early am instead of a little lunge like he is used to!

                        Saw you had an Appy on your profile... horse in question? I LOVE my Apps! Good luck with him!
                        Rest in peace Claudius, we will miss you.


                        • Original Poster

                          TTN, yes, that is the horse in question--the money pit... Gosh, that's an old picture... I ought to update it.

                          I'll leave him alone until the weekend and then take him for a couple of short hacks and see how he does. He's out there trying to eat the pony at the moment...