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lyme/persistant stone bruise/lameness in big young horse

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  • lyme/persistant stone bruise/lameness in big young horse

    Long time lurker, but desperate times have compelled me to seek the collective wisdom of COTHers and actually make a post!

    I apologize in advance, it's gonna be a long one.

    I purchased a 3-yr old warmblood mare this past May. Since she is a big girl (just shy of 17.1) who toes in slightly, I was very careful about the pre-purchase exam. Extensive x-rays taken- moderate sidebone but it was present and even on both front legs and PPE vet was not concerned.

    For the next 3 months, she was a complete dream. Perfect disposition, easy to work with, totally sound. Didn't do a whole lot with her given her age- just long walks around the fields and one half-hour lesson per week, which consisted of walk trot work and a small amount (as in 2x around the arena/ride) of canter. Then, suddenly unsound.

    To make my originally super-long story shorter- trainer called one day after riding horse to say she was NQR. The horse was diagnosed with Lyme disease and treated with Doxy. Has responded well overall to treatment, however about a week after first noticing the overall stiffness, developed a head bob and was lame on RF. Vet suspects a stone bruise, hoof testers were positive in a very specific spot. I have been soaking and packing almost every day but RF lameness is still present. Some days it is worse, some days it is better. Vet did take x-rays to rule out coffin bone fracture out and found nothing.

    Since first coming out 7 weeks ago, the vet has been out 3-4 times. Has felt a bounding digital pulse in RF both times, as well as found the same spot testing positive with hoof testers. During this time she has been slowly improving, then getting worse, then improving. Sometimes when I turn her out and she trots on her own she looks great, but then on the lunge line or under saddle she’ll have a super short stride and an inconsistent (but nonetheless present) head bob. Vet ok'd riding her, but I've just been walking.

    Her shoes were pulled by the farrier about 1 week after the initial head bob appeared to check for abscesses, and put back on 1 week ago. She seemed much better (but not 100% ) after getting shoes back on but then today seemed worse again. Also still seems slightly stiff in the hind end.

    So in summary, she’s been off on the right front for 7 weeks now. Vet continues to say deep bruise. I know some bruises can take a long time to heal fully, but I just have a really bad feeling about this situation. Has anyone out there had similar experiences or have ideas about what else could be causing this? She doesn’t seem to be in any kind of pain, she seems totally content and almost always trots or canters out to see her buddies when I turn her out. I just hate finally having such an awesome horse and not knowing if I’ll ever be able to do anything with her☹
    Last edited by MissTaggart; Oct. 3, 2012, 11:53 PM. Reason: length

  • #2
    Is it possible that the Lyme is the problem and the doxy is not working...as in not be absorbed?

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      I am wondering if the Lyme is related, but the problem really seems to be foot/hoof related and I don't associate Lyme as being active in the hoof- am I correct in thinking that?

      Comment


      • #4
        Where are you located?

        Was this three year old horse brought into an area that is endemic with Lyme Disease and had not been previously exposed?

        In my area, Lyme is endemic. Everyone is exposed from an early age. Lyme is a default diagnosis which the treatment (doxy) gives good results for almost any lameness issue.

        Lyme is probably not your problem. Just my unqualified opinion.

        Comment


        • #5
          Which Lyme test did you have done? My horse had a very high titer (20,000... taken by vet #1) and then tested negative for Lyme with the Cornell test (with vet #2) a week later. Just throwing that out there in case only a titer was done.

          Also, did diagnostics stop after the hoof testers and x-rays? Did he do any blocks? Maybe your horse has several things going on in the RF and not JUST a stone bruise.
          "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse..." ~Revelation 19:11

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            We're in Maryland, an area where I know Lyme is prevalent. The horse came from about an hour north in PA, so what I'm guessing would be a pretty similar area in terms of exposure.

            I actually do not know which Lyme test was done- my vet just told me her results were "unequivocal" and handed me the Doxy. Since the vet seemed to think the issue with her foot was totally unrelated, the Lyme was not the first thing on my mind. Like I said, her "lymey" symptoms have disappeared almost completely, which I know could just be the anti-inflammatory effects of Doxy.

            Originally posted by LDavis104 View Post
            Also, did diagnostics stop after the hoof testers and x-rays? Did he do any blocks? Maybe your horse has several things going on in the RF and not JUST a stone bruise.
            No blocks, yet. After the x-rays, the vet was very confident that the bruise was her problem and didn't see any need to rule out anything else, but I am starting to think a block might be necessary. I'm worried there is something else going on.

            Comment


            • #7
              You could be looking at two problems, only one of which was addressed by the treatment for the lyme disease.

              It might be time to bring in a second vet and get another opinion about what's going on. It helps to have another pair of eyes to look at a problem.

              My mare went lame in the hind end last November. It's taken three different vets to untangle the problem, partly because the problem itself persisted and caused secondary problems that then had to be addressed as well. She seems (finally! knock on wood) to be approaching sound. It's been a long road.

              Good luck.
              "The formula 'Two and two make five' is not without its attractions." --Dostoevsky

              Comment


              • #8
                How long is/was she on the doxy?

                No real advice to add, just my experience with a concurrent Lyme/absess. While we were waiting for the (positive) lyme results, my horse started limping. Farrier determined it was a bruise. We pullled the shoe for a day and packed it for a week or two. He was sound on it within three days. Either your horse has a really persistent bruise, or there is something else going on there. You might want to do a more thorough exam to rule out other things.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by salymandar View Post
                  How long is/was she on the doxy?
                  She's been on the Doxy for about 5 weeks now, vet recommended an 8 week course.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Stone bruises can be really stubborn. I personally wouldn't be turning the horse out until it resolved. I would also not be soaking it, as that makes the hoof softer. I'd use Hoof Freeze or Magic Cushion. What about the shoe? Does it lay on top of the bruise? My overly sensitive horse needed a Z-bar shoe that left the bruise totally unweighted to really heal.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I have no advice I just wanted to say I feel your pain! My big 5yo mare has been off on her RF for 3.5 weeks now. There is no heat, nothing tender to the touch and it goes on and off. So frustrating! I'm hoping it's just a bruise and all will be well.

                      Jingling for your mare!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I might be totally off base, but this sounds similar to our gelding that has sidebone.

                        In our case, we gave 30 days rest (on pasture), added shoes with wedges and slowly brought him back to work (which was just light w,t,c anyway). Something to look into.
                        Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
                        White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)

                        Mystical Moment, 1977-2010.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          My 18 y.o. Paint gelding has been slightly off on his right front for a long time. He did have Lyme and finished a 6 week course of doxy about 2 1/2 yrs ago. The last time the vet looked at him (in April) he said the problem is so elusive that he would not be able to sort it out with nerve blocking. I have him on Previcox from time to time, but I'm not sure it really gets rid of the problem. I have him on MSM too. A farrier (not my own) who specializes in lameness mapped his feet and declared it to be the collateral sesamoidian ligament. My regular farrier doesn't think he could know that specifically.

                          I've always thought it was a soft tissue issue. He gets around just fine at WTC with the girl who is part-leasing him, and when she finishes riding he looks absolutely the same as when he started out.

                          Oh, if only they could talk...

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I think you have two separate issues- the lyme, which it sounds like you go on top of, and the hoof issue. Whether it's a stone bruise, some foreign body/gravel/deep abscess, a fracture-- I don't know... but it sounds like it's separate from the lyme. Some stone bruises and abscess are really, really hard to deal with and take a long long LONG time to resolve.

                            Does it block out? Were the initial rads digital? I'd be tempted to take another set just to double triple check there's no fracture. It could also be soft tissue in the foot (DDFT) though you'd need an MRI to diagnose. I think if you want an answer, it's time to put the lyme aside and just try to diagnose this as a separate lameness in the foot. I think it's time to block and then do more diagnostics.
                            ~Veronica
                            "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
                            http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Originally posted by joiedevie99 View Post
                              Stone bruises can be really stubborn. I personally wouldn't be turning the horse out until it resolved. I would also not be soaking it, as that makes the hoof softer. I'd use Hoof Freeze or Magic Cushion. What about the shoe? Does it lay on top of the bruise? My overly sensitive horse needed a Z-bar shoe that left the bruise totally unweighted to really heal.
                              The area of the bruise is just approximate based on the hoof testers, but the shoe does not appear to be sitting over it. The thought in putting her shoes back on was that it would alleviate pressure on the foot overall. The vet was ambivalent about putting shoes back on her, and left the decision up to the farrier.


                              Originally posted by AliCat518 View Post
                              I might be totally off base, but this sounds similar to our gelding that has sidebone.
                              AliCat- was your gelding's unsoundness caused by the sidebone? Both the ppe vet and my current vet didn't think that her sidebone would be the cause, but I know in some cases it can. She is in what my farrier describes as "sidebone shoes"(I believe the outer edge is rolled from halfway on the outside to a 1/4 from the inside heel but I couldn't be sure without looking at them). I will say she was much better after getting them on, but still far from 100%.

                              Originally posted by vxf111 View Post
                              Does it block out? Were the initial rads digital? I'd be tempted to take another set just to double triple check there's no fracture. It could also be soft tissue in the foot (DDFT) though you'd need an MRI to diagnose. I think if you want an answer, it's time to put the lyme aside and just try to diagnose this as a separate lameness in the foot. I think it's time to block and then do more diagnostics.
                              No blocks yet but I am going to call the vet tomorrow to discuss it. A large part of me wants to go ahead and get more imaging done, if only to give me some peace of mind

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by MissTaggart View Post
                                She's been on the Doxy for about 5 weeks now, vet recommended an 8 week course.
                                Two seperate issues but can be caused by the Lyme. A horse we battled Lyme with had constant hoof bruising and abcesses. It took almost a year for everthing to get resolved in his feet anyway.
                                Please talk to some lyme experts, 8 weeks is really not long enough for the doxy to work, most vets that have lots of lyme experience say 3 mos. is the least. My horse was on Doxy for 3 mos. to start then had recuring issues and for about a year was on it for a total of 8 mos.
                                On the other hand, it could be a simple bruise that will go away with time, but with a lyme diagnosis I would find some experts in your area, there was a good vet at New Bolton that specialized in Lyme.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I think it is time for a trip to Morven Park or another referral center. They can block him, trot him on pavement, x-ray, scan or MRI him so you can figure out the cause or causes of the lameness. When lameness is confusing, it makes sense to go to a referral center. You will feel better after you know what you are dealing with.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Our geldings lameness was absolutely from his sidebone. Rest and then slow conditioning brought him back sound. Vet suggested no high impact activities for him, ever. No jumping, barrel racing, etc.

                                    Just a thought! Good luck.
                                    Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
                                    White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)

                                    Mystical Moment, 1977-2010.

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Thank you all for your responses/suggestions. I have alot of faith in my vet, but I realize he isn't perfect. He's been so confident about the diagnosis that I've been reluctant to question, so it's really great to hear some other ideas and reassuring to know I'm not just being a paranoid hypochondriac.

                                      I'm considering just biting the bullet and taking her to New Bolton for a workup. She is insured, so hopefully it won't be too awful cost-wise.

                                      Comment

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