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Armchair vets, your opinions?

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  • Armchair vets, your opinions?

    Coming out of lurking to see what other people's thoughts are on my horse. I've been trying to decide where to go next with treating him.
    His purpose in life is to be a trail horse and go on easy trail rides 1 to 3 times a week with me, my friends, or my horse-clueless bf. No jumping, no hard arena work, nothing strenuous. My goal is to make sure he is as comfortable as he can be, and keep him sound enough for light trail riding.

    History: acquired in August with positive flexion in both hocks and radiographs showed moderate arthritic changes in right (left not imaged). Vet cleared him for trail riding, suggested hock injections if I wanted to do anything other than trails.

    About a month after I got him he started showing signs of being sore in the back - moved away when brushed, flinched when the saddle was put on. He seems to be sorest in the lumbar region. Biggest difference was in his attitude- he went from being forward to sluggish and just stopping and refusing to go forward at times. I've tried different saddle and pad combinations, and I am confident the one he has been ridden in the past month fits well.

    I started him on 57mg Previcoxx daily about 10 weeks ago. He seemed a lot better attiude-wise, no more stopping on the trails, but still sore on his back. During this time he has been lightly ridden 1 or 2 times a week on flat or gentle hills. He is on 24/7 turnout.

    Here is video of him in the round pen today:


    So. Next month when I have the money I will have the vet out again and discuss possible next step. But in the meantime, I am wondering if anyone has any suggestions. I don't have 100% confidence in my current vet, so trailering to the vet school is another option. I assume his back soreness is from hocks, but how can I tell if it could be something else? I've read that hind shoes can help sore hocks, but I don't understand how that works. I do have a fantastic new farrier who I can ask about that in a few weeks when he comes out.

    Thanks for reading!
    "Here? It's like asking a bunch of rednecks which is better--Ford or Chevy?" ~Deltawave

  • #2
    How are his feet? He looks bilaterally short up front to me. Cur-Ost can lower NSAID requirements (making less NSAIDs go farther/work better).


    • Original Poster

      His feet are terrible- thin soles, crumbly hoof wall. They've gotten a lot better with a new farrier, Farrier's Formula Double strength for 5 months, and Hoof Flex Gel 3 times a week. He has shoes and pads up front.
      "Here? It's like asking a bunch of rednecks which is better--Ford or Chevy?" ~Deltawave


      • #4
        Foot pain can cause back pain as the horse tries to shift weight off the front. It sounds like you're doing everything right with the feet though! Bad feet can really cause all kinds of manifestations of pain.

        Have you considered injecting coffin joints?

        I think trailering to the vet school is an excellent idea. Which one are you close to?


        • #5
          I agree I'd consider injecting the joints that need it, probably shoes on all 4 if needed, having a person who is experienced in saddle fitting check your saddle, have a chiropractor/acupuncturist check him out and honestly in the mean time I probably wouldn't ride him. If my horse shows symptoms of pain he doesn't get worked.


          • #6
            He doesn't look that off. Have you had a good chiro check yet? His right pelvis needs adjusted and I'm sure he has several other chiro issues that need addressed.


            • #7
              Hock pain can definately also cause back pain. Ask me how I know


              • #8
                I would trailer to the vet school. I would also keep riding him lightly until you get an appt. if you rest him, they may be able to find what is wrong.


                • #9
                  Hock pain can cause back pain as well as saddle fit as well as a bouncy hard rider and lots more things. Maybe a chiro and massage therapist would help. Also you can inject his hocks with steroids which will help with the pain but also will. Help the hocks fuse faster. It's cheaper if money is tight then doing other joint injections also. I'd have someone check your saddle. Is he in a western saddle on the trails? If so it maybe hard to fit one to him and you may want to switch him to a lighter English saddle that can be adjusted. I'd say haul him to a clinic if you are not 100% trusting in your current vet.
                  Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole


                  • Original Poster

                    He's been ridden in an english saddle for at least the past month. I'm thinking a trip to the vet school (U Wisconsin) is in order. The thing that makes me think it is not so much a rider/saddle thing is that even after a week off he seemed just as touchy... but maybe he was just anticipating.
                    "Here? It's like asking a bunch of rednecks which is better--Ford or Chevy?" ~Deltawave


                    • #11
                      Seated safely in my arm chair so here we go...

                      re: rear shoes. My farrier suggest that having shoes only on the front can throw off a horses balance- the front end is slightly higher than the rear. For some horses that isn't a problem but for other it can create issues. On that saint of a horse you have, he has a long back and is butt high so maaaaybe he does need shoes all around. How old is the horse??

                      Chiropractors- a good one is worth every penny! Just had my mare adjusted yesterday and he picked up on an issue I thought I was feeling- and that was without me sharing my concerns before the adjustment. He never wants to know about problems before the adjustment, he wants to find the problem without a bias.

                      Are you 150% certain the saddle fits?? With the conformation you are working with on that horse there are several places where a poor fit could make him sore.

                      If you don't have 100% confidence in your local vet then do go to the vet school because your wasting time and money. Sometimes those local vets just aren't curious enough to dig deep into an issue that isn't obvious to them. Or as in my own experience, my local vet was biased against my horse with a past condition it once presented with so that he missed the great big new problem. Sigh. His error meant I spent some big bucks getting a specialty exam that it turns out wasn't needed. The problem could have been caught IF my regular doc had listened to what I said, instead he dived into the old problem. Sigh. I use a new vet now.

                      Good luck with your horse!


                      • #12
                        All of the symptoms you describe spell hocks & chiro to me.

                        The vet school near me is far cheaper than my local vet or local clinic so if you think you're signing up for a lot of images or treatments just get in the trailer and make the longer drive.

                        Btw, your horse is adorable. His face made me want to reach out & touch him. Good luck.


                        • #13
                          re: rear shoes. My farrier suggest that having shoes only on the front can throw off a horses balance- Quote SLW
                          __________________________________________________ ___________________

                          Have you considered saddle fit?
                          Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                          Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


                          • Original Poster

                            Thanks PrettyBayMare! He is a peach, I just love him. He's 10 years old. I haven't had a professional saddle fitter out, but have had knowledgeable friends evaluate the saddles we ride him in. Also having a week off didn't seem to change things, which makes me think it is not saddle or rider.

                            Anyway he is going to mostly be a pasture puff for the next few months while it is dark/wet/cold and the trails are rotten. Then hopefully I can arrange a ride to the vet school to get a full eval before next summer.

                            I have zero experience with chiros but I could ask around about it. I will admit I am highly skeptical.
                            "Here? It's like asking a bunch of rednecks which is better--Ford or Chevy?" ~Deltawave


                            • #15
                              He's lame behind both directions (and lame at a walk to the right so I didn't go any further on that video) - so IMO you need a good lameness exams with diagnostic nerve blocks to see what is bothering him and then you know what to treat....


                              • #16
                                Did you or did you not have his hocks injected? I am not sure from the first post, sorry.
                                "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                                The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.


                                • #17
                                  I don't have any advice, I just wanted to say how cute he is! I hope you are able to get to the root of his problem and if you aren't confident in your vet I would definitely check out the vet school. It may save you time and money.
                                  My blog: Crackerdog Farm


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by merrygoround View Post
                                    re: rear shoes. My farrier suggest that having shoes only on the front can throw off a horses balance- Quote SLW
                                    __________________________________________________ ___________________

                                    Have you considered saddle fit?
                                    Third paragraph.


                                    • Original Poster

                                      No, his hocks have never been injected. Previcoxx and light work with full turnout are the Rx of choice for now.
                                      "Here? It's like asking a bunch of rednecks which is better--Ford or Chevy?" ~Deltawave


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by nuevaburro View Post
                                        No, his hocks have never been injected. Previcoxx and light work with full turnout are the Rx of choice for now.
                                        Then based on his PPE, I dont understand your question. He needs his hocks injected. Lucky you, you already have an answer
                                        "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                                        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.