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Update post 7: good news!

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  • Update post 7: good news!

    ...and I'm worrying myself sick. Smallish, hot, soft swelling just above the fetlock on the right hind for about a week. I just can't accept that this mare might have a serious soft tissue injury. She's been more like family to me than most of my real family. Not a candidate for long-term rehab, anything more than a few months and she'll become dangerous to herself and others (happened two winters ago when she had to go through a quick 2 month rehab due to a large cut). It's been a week that she's been confined to her stall with a yard, and she's already stressing and cribbing about not going to work (I seriously love this mare).

    Hoping for a minor issue, but having days until the vet comes to do a solid diagnosis, there is plenty of time for lots of ugly scenarios to grow in my mind.

    I'm lucky that I'll be able to keep her (I don't care about not being able to ride), but I know it'll break her heart to be retired so abruptly. She knows her job and enjoys it, I can't imagine taking that away. But here I am putting the cart before the horse. *breathesdeeply*

    Anyone have any success stories of horses who were able to come back after tendons/suspensories on hind limbs? I need to think positive thoughts, but it's so hard! Thanks in advance, COTH.
    Last edited by bluebuckets; Mar. 3, 2013, 01:31 AM.

  • #2

    Re: Stall rest for a tendon:
    My big mare tore her DDFT in the left hind years and years ago. She was not a great stall rest candidate, either, and the vets at that time actually recommended a very short initial stall rest, followed by small paddock turnout so she would keep moving (but not running around like a lunatic), keep adhesions from forming, and keep it flexible as it healed. (This was probably 10 or 11 years ago, so I'm working off possibly faulty recollection.) In any event, her tendon healed up really well, never had another problem with it (and I still have her, aged 20 now).

    Re: Stall rest in general:
    Years later she injured the other hind leg (gashed it, nicked the tendon sheath) and absolutely did need stall rest for that one. We put her on a long-acting tranquilizer, which made it bearable for all of us. Can't remember if it was reserpine or fluphenazine. I was able to hand walk her with only rare episodes when I felt like I was trying to fly a rocket ship on a kite string.

    I highly recommend ulcer prevention measures, too, especially if you think she'll be stressed without a job....
    Custom and semi-custom washable wool felt saddle pads!


    • #3
      Take a deep breath or two and don't assume the worst.

      It's a shame that your vet can't get out to see her earlier. If you know what the problem is, then you could start treating it.

      Does the swelling go down if you ice the area?

      Is your horse off?

      Will she tolerate hand walking? or does she know how to long line? Sometimes just ground driving or hand walking is enough of a job to keep their attention.

      Jingling for you that she's okay.
      Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
      EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


      • Original Poster

        Thank you! Very reassuring to know that others have rehabbed a mare like her. A rocket ship on a kite string... very apt analogy. Vet gave me instructions to keep her wrapped and tack-walk for 10 minutes/day until he can get here. (Although she has to bear weight, I have the most control over her while she's under saddle. Unfortunate, but true at this point.)

        She is very slightly off. If you didn't know her, you might miss it. (subtle lameness... yay.) It would be easy to just chalk it up to some soreness behind, but she's always been very smooth, and coupled with the swelling, it made me suspect an injury.

        If it comes to it, I will ask about a long term tranquilizer-- sounds like it could make a rehab possible.

        Thanks again, just so hard not to worry! (Breathing...breathing...)


        • #5
          A friend of mine had a long term stall rest for her very fit Arab gelding. He needed the long term tranq for the stall and then some oral ace for hand walking. He was a fire breathing dragon with out the help from a little chemistry.


          • #6
            Yes- it's possible. Race-fit thoroughbreds get put on stall rest all the time. If you need it, you can do a long-term tranq, plus a short acting tranq daily before walking. It may take a few tries to get the dose right, but it can almost always be done.

            Some horses also handle stall rest really well when their 'stall' is outdoors, i.e. a 12x12 pen placed outside on the grass.

            Finally, start ulcer prevention now. This is doubly true since you said she cribbed the last time she was confined.

            Take lots of deep breaths- you will get through it.


            • #7
              Don't be afraid to give her some ACE if you're walking under saddle. It may well help keep her calm. The vet can give you something long term, but one or one and a half ccs of ACE could be the ticket for the short term.
              Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
              EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


              • Original Poster

                Ok, so the vet came out today and the good news is that it looks like my mare has a strained tendon, nothing too serious. Such a relief, she had my trainer and I really worried. The plan is: Surpass 30 min before rides, light ride w/t/c in the sand arena (vet feels the movement will help the tendon get back to normal faster) and ice for 15 min after. Mare is to remain wrapped in her stall. Continue this until the swelling goes away completely, and if anything worsens, let Vet know immediately.

                I just exhaled, haha. A huge thanks to all the above posters for helping me through a scary week, I'm sure the positive outcome has something to do with the jingles!

                Anyone know of any good ice boots for the hind leg that actually get ice all the way down to the fetlock? (Her strain is low on the tendon, just above the fetlock).

                I'm also thinking about doing a 3 month round of SmartTendon, just to be sure. Thoughts?

                Thanks again!


                • #9
                  Wow, that is so opposite of what I would do. Stall rest with or without hand walking for at least three months but that's about it. No way I would do anything besides walk in sand.
                  McDowell Racing Stables

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