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mystery lameness....frustrated

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  • mystery lameness....frustrated

    So one of my horses came up with a very slight lameness in the left front about a month ago. my trainer suggested a day off and to try again the next day so we did that and seemed better but not 100%. Had the vet out and he really couldnt see much on the soft ground but could see a slight lameness when he trotted him on the driveway, he rated it a .5 out of 5. So we put the horse on surpass, handwalking and small turnout for a week. Still about the same so we blocked him first in the heel and that didnt help and then the pastern which he then trotted sound on following the block. following that we did an xray of the pastern as well as an unltrasound, both showed nothing nor did the hoof testers. So the vet recommended another week off with walking 20mins per day no turnout. Vet came back out with the intention of blocking the coffin but didnt as he was sound both on the lunge line as well as the driveway so he suggested slowly putting him back to work. he looked fabulous and didnt show any signs of lameness until he saw some deer and had a nast spook and spin and lameness is back. Had the vet back out today and again hardly sees anything but there definitely is a slight intermittent lameness. Vet suggests an MRI as it has been a month of off and on lameness very slight but definitely there. I would love to hear some feedback or thoughts of what this might be, really not looking forward toforking out $2500.00 for an MRI. Any help is appreciated

  • #2
    Could be soft tissue related or it could be inflammation in the joint that is not visable on radiographs. MRI would probably give you the answer. Did your vet block the pastern joint directly or do a general block of the pastern region. If blocking the pastern joint makes him sound then a trial of injecting the pastern joint may be an option.

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    • Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by Fharoah View Post
      Could be soft tissue related or it could be inflammation in the joint that is not visable on radiographs. MRI would probably give you the answer. Did your vet block the pastern joint directly or do a general block of the pastern region. If blocking the pastern joint makes him sound then a trial of injecting the pastern joint may be an option.
      He blocked the pastern region I believe not the joint directly.

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      • #4
        You could ask your vet if he could do a pastern joint block. That should tell you if the issue is joint related, the joint block will only block the actual space between the joint.

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        • #5
          My horse had the same issues as your guy. My vet found a small lesion to the SDF on the inside branch. It was very hard to see and took multiple ultrasounds to finally find it! Might be worth having a second look before going the MRI route.

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          • #6
            Bruise

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            • #7
              You could just give him 6-8 weeks off with NSAID therapy and see how he is after that. MUCH cheaper than an MRI. You'd have to do that if you found something on the MRI anyway.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Lauren12 View Post
                You could just give him 6-8 weeks off with NSAID therapy and see how he is after that. MUCH cheaper than an MRI. You'd have to do that if you found something on the MRI anyway.
                Ditto. I just went through something similar with one of my horses. Did 30 days in limited TO and he is now back to being ridden lightly. I would try time off before doing an MRI.

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                • #9
                  If I have a horse who is NQR, and the vet cannot find anything definitive, I will sometimes go the "kill 'em or cure them" route.

                  Keep the horse in light work; do not stop on him. If the problem is a small one which is in a sensitive area, then the horse should get lamer. If so, it will be easier then to diagnose.

                  If the problem is a "hitch in his giddyup", then keeping him in work might get him through the problem.

                  Frequently vets never find the real problem in a lameness like this. Yes, they have these new and incredibly exdpensive machines that they need to justify owning (and need to pay for). But in this case, an MRI sounds like total overkill.

                  Putting a horse on stall rest when he is so mildly lame can make the situation worse, not better; he will get bored and look for stupid ways to hurt himself. Or he will get high with no work and get stupid when allowed to move around again. Either keep riding him or turn him out for 30 days unless he suddenly gets worse. We used to call it "Dr. Green's medicine" (green as in grass in the pasture).
                  "He lives in a cocoon of solipsism"

                  Charles Krauthammer speaking about Trump

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Lord Helpus View Post
                    Keep the horse in light work; do not stop on him. If the problem is a small one which is in a sensitive area, then the horse should get lamer. If so, it will be easier then to diagnose.
                    I do not agree. Making it lamer to make it better? Not a good idea. What if it's a tiny tendon tear making him a little lame? Making the tendon tear worse just to "check" is totally contraindicated.


                    Frequently vets never find the real problem in a lameness like this. Yes, they have these new and incredibly exdpensive machines that they need to justify owning (and need to pay for). But in this case, an MRI sounds like total overkill.
                    This is true, and super frustrating. Which is why "tincture of time" and NSAIDs often works great in cases like this.

                    Putting a horse on stall rest when he is so mildly lame can make the situation worse, not better; he will get bored and look for stupid ways to hurt himself. Or he will get high with no work and get stupid when allowed to move around again. Either keep riding him or turn him out for 30 days unless he suddenly gets worse. We used to call it "Dr. Green's medicine" (green as in grass in the pasture).
                    Most horses do okay with stall rest. If they don't, that's what tranquilizers are for. If they are "high" when allowed turnout again, tranquilize them and turn them out in an enclosed area like a round pen. Easily solved!

                    Continuing to ride and turn out a horse with a small issue can easily turn something small and fixable into something big and potentially not fixable. I'm in the "better safe than sorry" group for this kind of thing. If you don't know exactly what the problem is, don't risk it.

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                    • #11
                      when my horse first was mildly lame and blocked to the pastern region radiographs were clean the specialist suggested I give the winter off in a 30x30 foot paddock and then re-evaluate in the spring. In the spring he was still off so he injected steroid HA as a trial run. The horse was virtually sound actually cleared as being sound by my regular vet then 1 month later mildly off again. Then we did an MRI. Collateral ligament desmitis of pastern joint. Injected with steroid and HA 4 months rest still in a 30x30 foot paddock. Then or he was still off we did IRAP and horse was sound and stayed sound through rehab.

                      So guess my point was maybe just give him the winter off and then see if he is sound in the early spring. If lameness recurs in the spring, then do an MRI.

                      Good Luck!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Lauren,

                        I am not aying to ignore the horse and let him get 3 legged. I AM saying to keep him in light work to see if he becomes visibly lame. If he starts to actually limp, it may be easier for a vet to diagnose the problem and come up a plan tailored to a cure.

                        I would probably not call a vet on a horse who is a .5 on a scale of 1 -- 5. It is not even on the scale. I would give him 2 bute and a couple of days off, just being turned out.

                        But I am old. I have been riding for ove 50 years and taking care of my horses for decades. I did not wear a helmet when riding a horse or a bicycle when growing up. (Nor did I ever text while driving. ) And I am here to tell the story.

                        What I am trying to say is that I think people often call the vet before a vet is needed.

                        But this might be a backlash to last month when I called my vet to come out and inject my horse's hocks. He was away and sent his new associate. HE wanted to do a full lameness exam before injecting. And x-rays. My bill was over $1500. God save me from people who are long on book learning and short on horse sense.
                        "He lives in a cocoon of solipsism"

                        Charles Krauthammer speaking about Trump

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by worldclass View Post
                          He blocked the pastern region I believe not the joint directly.
                          I feel your pain, OP! I'm in the same boat, except I've gone a little farther with blocking and imaging ($3000 so far). My horse is lamer than when we started 6 weeks ago. I'm so frustrated I could scream. I've always felt o.k. about not masking injuries before vet exams (i.e. withdrawing NSAIDs, putting horse in light work if asked to by the vet), but I'm also a big believer in catching things early and protecting soft tissues at all costs. I feel so let down by my new vet and myself for this, and there's no budget left for an MRI.

                          OP, as to what can cause this sort of lameness, it sounds like bony stuff is still on the table for you (coffin joint, fetlock joint) -- for my horse whose injury blocked to the fetlock (low 4-pt) it's probably one of the following: superficial or deep digital flexor tendons, collateral ligaments, distal sesamoidean ligaments. Joints can be injected, but all of the soft tissues require significant rest and rehab.

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                          • #14
                            I have never seen a vet "cure" a soft tissue injury.

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