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Update on stifle problem and question about previcox

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  • Update on stifle problem and question about previcox

    [B]Update post 11-Previcox trial.

    I have a vet apt in 10 days but until then, Im doing lots of research and am have pretty much convinced myself of the worst.

    My horse was bought sight unseen by her previous owner from a fancy show barn. Someone she trusted said the horse was a steal and would be a fancy addition to her lesson program. She bought her, brought her home, and discovered she was really stifle lame.

    Long story but I aquired her, knowing all this. With work, she got better. She was always a little "hitchy" and if she has more than a two days off, you notice the hitch more. But she has been sound enough for my purposes, 2'3-2'6 now mostly dressage, trails, being my best friend.

    I recently moved her to a new barn. She is getting more total hours of turnout but there are very steep hills. I HATE watching her walking down the hills because its so obviously hitchy. She's not very willing to track up at the walk, unwilling to leg yield, doing some hopping at the trot, and is having a hard time rocking back at the canter. She seems to loosen up during our ride but still is hitchy at the end at the walk. She's also pretty irritable. I have never seen the stifle "lock" up on her.
    Last edited by ActNatural; Dec. 19, 2012, 09:11 AM. Reason: made shorter

  • #2
    There is a ton of soft tissue in the stifle. If she's got a strain to one of the ligaments in there, very steep hills could really be aggravating the issue.

    I'd have the vet out to ultrasound the stifle joint. That will tell you a LOT about the condition of the supporting ligaments, the condition of the meniscus and how the joint capsule itself looks. Might as well also radiograph to look for arthritis, chips, etc.

    I have an interesting article on stifles (credit where credit is due: Vineyridge passed it along to me!!) that I would be happy to send you if you would like to provide your email address.


    • #3
      You might want to do a search here, there have been a few threads recently on stifle issues. One was an owner asking if increased/different turnout could bring on stifle ouchiness - similar to you she had recently moved her stifle horse.

      My 32yr old was initially retired around 10 yrs ago due to an arthritic stifle. He only actually had UFP once or twice, his problem was arthritis, and possible torn meniscus. A clever vet can give a good estimated guess on what is going on in the stifle by watching the horse w/t/c. The joint is large and depending on where the hurtie is they will carry or land with that leg in a particular way.

      Every horse is an individual, and I spent years trying everything to help my guy out... In the end what worked best for mine when he was still riding sound was keeping him working despite being gimpy. I would let him dictate the pace though, walk only was just fine, I never asked more than he was eager to offer. Helped that he is a bit of a hot head, never had to ask twice if he wanted to 'go' so if he was content with walking I trusted his judgement. Legend helped. Bute helped when he was particularly ouchy during the change of seasons. Turnout 24/7 and meticulous hoof care (trimming every 2-3 weeks) helped the most of all. Keeping the weight off helps. Occasional injections to the stifle help a lot though its been years since he's been injected. A vet replaced the sinovial fluid in his stifle once, it was pink thats how we guessed he'd torn his meniscus somewhere. DMSO topically worked very well but it burned him and he couldn't stand it, and I didn't have the heart to make him deal. Pentosan is currently helping him stay pasture sound. I've tried every joint sup on the market and he responds best to whole flax seed and MSM, fortunately for my wallet

      Every horse is an individual, but mine would always become extra gimpy with cool wet weather, change of turnout (either more or less, prolonged stalling being the kiss of death for him though), or more than 2 days off work.

      Absolutely work closely with your vet to determine what is going on in there. If I thought my horse had a possible strain I would not be riding it. With my own horse, after months of stall rest, etc., it turned out light daily work was best for him.

      In my limited experience with my own animal, stifle issues never really go away and don't really get better with time, but are also possible to be highly manageable and requires creative thinking sometimes and a willingness to be proactive and thinking ahead so the horse doesn't become gimpy, rather than playing catch up when it does. Tough but manageable, and sounds like your horse is well worth the trouble. Good luck!
      Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.


      • #4
        I would take her to the best lameness vet you can afford, and see what they find/suggest. There are many variations of stifle issues.


        • Original Poster

          Good news-I had a lesson on Saturday with my friend who has been teaching us for about a year. She says her stifle looks just the way it always has to her but Im probably feeling the hitch more because I have switched from deep sand footing to bluestone ring. The new footing is still nice but not as nice as before. She compare it to riding on a mattress for a year and then switching to carpet.

          So, I feel a lot better. Im still going to have the vet out to find out what exactly going on and to discuss possible options that will make her more comfortable as she gets older. Maybe stifle injections. Ill post an update after he comes out!


          • Original Poster

            Vet came today. Watched her go, flexed, and xrays. Got very minimal responses to hock and stifle flexes but she obviously has a gait defect so I decided to xray. Pics of both hock and left stifle were beautiful but right stifle Has aN osteophyte . It looks like a sharp spike sticking out from the joint. He is going to take a closer look at the rads tomorrow and call with treatment options and we will most likely go with a high dose Bute trial to see if she is in pain. He thinks she had a strained or torn ligament when she was younger, which caused it. She has very minimal arthritis in the joints for a 10 year old otherwise. We know she was at least 5 or 6 years old when whatever happened because i have known the horse for about 5 years now, owned for 4ish. I'm really sad about this. I don't know what I was expecting to find because obviously something was wrong so I don't know why I'm so sad. She's such a great horse, smart, easy on the eyes, and so athletic otherwise.

            Anyone have positive experience with this sort of thing? I didn't make it far enough to talk about options if it turns out she is in chronic pain but will discuss tomorrow. In the meantime, I'll fret about it and drive my husband nuts.
            Last edited by ActNatural; Dec. 11, 2012, 08:34 AM.


            • Original Poster



              • #8
                No personal experience, but my suggestion would be to get those xrays in front of an equine orthopedic surgeon for an assessment. Good luck, jingling for a successful outcome!
                "You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed." - The Little Prince


                • Original Poster

                  Im under the impression that you cant operate on a bone spur because that just makes it come back faster and larger but its on my list of questions to ask the doc when he calls today.


                  • #10
                    Depends on several factors.

                    Also remember that while a spur is there that does not mean the horse is lame because of the spur. There could be another part of the stifle damaged, or it might not be the stifle causing issues at all. You need to block the joint to confirm if the stifle is even the cause. When they do that, they can also put in the therapeutic dose of steroids so you avoid going in the joint more than once. Injecting the joint will be your treatment anyways, so you might as well confirm the stifle is the problem and see if there is a secondary lameness.


                    • Original Poster

                      Stifle update round 3

                      Okay so heres the latest update:

                      Vet looked at xrays of hocks and stifles in high res back at the clinic and says he doesnt see anything that would really cause him concern saying that the spur isnt very big, she doesnt flex positive, and is not senstive to palpations in that area. SO he said to try previcox for two weeks and see if she has any change. Says it will take a few days to kick in and to keep her on a consistant work schedule to see.

                      I started the previcox on Friday night. Rode Sat and Sun and didnt notice a change but probably too early. Monday was rainy so didnt ride. Rode last night (Tuesday) and she is "different" Not sure what Id call it. She's more forward and is really moving different but was really snarky and marish so didnt get a good assessment. Tonight I have a lesson and will get a good assessment from my instructor.

                      Can horses stay on previcox long term? She's only 10. She is so athletic and such a great horse (other than the occasional mare episode ) Of course ill try to get to the bottom of what exactly is bothering, funds premitting, but then what?? So frustrating!


                      • #12
                        I have a 16 yr old arab that had stifle surgery to remove a bone spur. We did the surgery when he was 7 - he has been injected twice and we had him on all sorts of supplements. I put him on previcox three years ago and he is doing great. Of course he does better if he is standing in his stall and not turned out - although that is the opposite to what the vet said to do. He does go out and on those days he is a little off.

                        He also has DJD in both hocks so that doesn't help. Anyway they get scar tissue in the stifle area from the surgery and eventually arthritis - but the previcox does help. I also have a 25 yr old that has been on previcox for 5 years - you can use it long term without any problems. I saw and felt the effects two days after I started both horses on it. I call it a miracle drug

                        Good luck - stifle issues suck!


                        • #13
                          yes, they can be on Provicoxx long term. There can be side effects (mainly GI upset, though less than with bute usually) but that can sometimes be reduced by giving a smaller dose and it may be better than the alternative (lameness). A horse at my old barn had been on low low dose Previcoxx for months and months and he did ok. He was not a horse prone to colic otherwise and was much sounder on than off. When my horse had a DDFT strain he got Provicoxx for several months and had no side effects. I do think it helped with the healing too.
                          "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"