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When is enough time to heal a suspensory?

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  • When is enough time to heal a suspensory?

    Almost a year ago my horse was diagnosed with PSD in both hind suspensories although he was only lame in the left hind. I had the surgery last October along with PRP and followed rehab. About 8 months in to rehab and only after starting lite canter, he became unsound in right hind. Ultrasound up to this point showed healing and even after coming up lame, ultrasound did not show much. Deciding to call it a year, and with the blessing of my vet, I just turned him out 24/7 with the hopes of rehab again in spring. 3 months into dr. Green treatment, he still looks sore when he occasionally trots. I guess I was hoping for more improvement with benign neglect. Am I expecting too much too soon? Is a year not enough time? Anyone experience an extra long time to heal a suspensory? So bummed since I retired my first event horse five years ago with a torn meniscus. I'm not interested in doing the same with this guy.

  • #2
    If he's not healed now, and apparently he's not, then he needs more time. I would leave him alone and see how he looks in the spring. Then bring him on real slow. Tack walking for a month, no trotting. You can determine the regimine for then, but if he's not right now, you can't wish that away. Leave it until spring.
    My warmbloods have actually drunk mulled wine in the past. Not today though. A drunk warmblood is a surly warmblood. - WildandWickedWarmbloods


    • #3
      Is this the genetic, degenerative suspensory desmitis that does not heal? My neighbor's horse has that, and while he is improved, he will not be sound.

      I hope yours is just a slow to heal suspensory.


      • #4
        I know this is hard to hear, but your horse does not sound to me like he is a candidate for coming back into work. If he were my horse, I would retire him and hope that he can stay pasture sound for as long as possible. I think continuing to try to bring him back into work at this point is likely to be a frustrating and fruitless endeavor, and could possibly even result in injury so bad that he won't even be pasture sound.

        I'm sorry. That's just my opinion and what I would do if this were my horse. What does your vet think?


        • Original Poster

          Appreciate the honest feedback. I'm going back to the original vet/surgeon on Friday to compare the ultrasound from last October to see what is up. The local vet who has been monitering his ultrasound for the last year said injuries like this could take up to 2 years to heal but the orginal estimate from the surgeon who did the faciotomy thought 6 months. In either case, he has a home with me. I was just hoping for stories of similar suspensory cases where they took longer than a year to heal.


          • #6
            Kiwi, as you know my mare had similar surgery on her LH and had a long complicated recovery. (I was back on her at 8 months post-surgery and spent the 8-10 months doing mounted rehab.) She is sound enough for my purposes, but my purposes are very modest and I don't think she'd do well with someone with a lot of ambition.

            See what your vet says. If the ultrasound still looks bad, it could be a sign... but yes, these injuries do take a long time to heal!

            good luck, in any case, and I'm happy your guy has a home for life.
            You have to have experiences to gain experience.

            1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"


            • #7
              With my horse, the vet said give it a solid year from the time of injury. After shockwave rounds and the prescribed amount of months (it had been perhaps 6 months from the initial injury) I was walking him under saddle (had not even gotten back to trotting yet) and I just felt it go. He reinjured his suspensory, again, while I was walk riding him. Incredible, I couldn't believe it.

              So, this time he got turnout for a solid year after that reinjury before we did anything with him. No riding for a solid year from the date of the reinjury. Then we brought him back very, very slowly. He is now back to where he was before (which was never beyond beginner novice). My trainer now uses him for lessons twice/week and is careful, very careful with him.

              Looking back on it, I seem to recall our vet telling us to expect to see setbacks, even out in the paddock. He explained something about scar tissue forming and reforming (something like that?) before we would see permanent soundness.