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Yet another lame thread

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  • Yet another lame thread

    I lease a 15 yo ottb who evented through preliminary back in the day. I'm attempting to make the move to training. Went to Aiken in Feb, and he was off after our first xc school- thought it was a stone bruise, he was sound two days later with packing and a little bute. Ran a novice event that weekend, he felt great.

    Was lame the next morning after getting home from SC. Had several days with no turn out, vet came, only thing he found was slight positive flex on l front-- reacted for 3-4 steps then looked fine. Vet thought mild strain, suggested turn out only for a few days then bring back into work. Did that, and he has felt overall good with maybe an ouchy step here or there. Yesterday he felt completely sound when I got on, forward, soft, just great. Saddle pad started slipping maybe 20 mins into ride, so I hopped off to fix it. Got back on and he was lame!!! ???

    The entire time we've not found any heat or swelling anywhere. However, yesterday when I got off I had two new clues. First, hr did not want to stand on either the l front OR the r hind- was pointing the l toe forward and resting the r hind. This to me was significant because he usually lifts each foot for picking without prompting, and I had to actually ask for the l hind and r frog feet. Second, I once again found no heat upon getting off. However, when I checked the legs about 10 mins later, after he was sitting in the cross ties, I found some slight heat and puffiness just below the right knee, on the inside part of the leg. The puffy area ended abruptly about 2" below the knee.

    Spoke with the vet and he will be coming out again obviously, but in the meantime I'm wondering if anyone has had a similar experience, or suggestions of things I should ask for? I'm not wealthy but at this point really want to know what is going on.

  • #2
    The best thing you can do to help your vet with diagnosis is provide the most complete accurate OBJECTIVE history you can. Then, REVIEW the history and make sure you didn't leave anything out.

    It would be helpful if you wrote out a chronological journal of your observations (also anything you have from the previous owner) - a condensed biography so to speak.

    Good luck!


    • #3
      Op's Quote" Yesterday he felt completely sound when I got on, forward, soft, just great. Saddle pad started slipping maybe 20 mins into ride, so I hopped off to fix it. Got back on and he was lame!!! ??? "

      I think I would also check saddle fit or pain causing him to avoid the pain by moving differently and affecting some joint? Gotten worse when the saddle was tightened? Can you get on bareback or borrow a different saddle?


      • #4
        I'd want an ultrasound of the high RF suspensory.


        • #5
          Idiopathic lameness is often related to spinal issues. How tall is the horse? How tall are you? Are you heavy? Do you use a mounting block or other assisted mounting type, or mount using the stirrup?


          • #6
            With the puffiness just under the knee, I'd be checking for ligament problem. Ultrasound is your friend for that, both diagnosis and treatment. Plus ice or cold hosing, mud wraps, and lots of rest. You can also add small amounts of antiinflammatory if your vet thinks that is a good idea. If he stays sound off bute, let him self-exercise in a 1/2 acre individual paddock because a horse naturally never does sustained exercise. Usually, it's stop and go and they tend to rest at first twinges of pain, plus they can lay down and get off their feet, but if your horse is a runner, then a small paddock might be your safe bet. Start rehabbing by taking for walks in hand on a hard surface, following by cold hosing and work up to riding at walk or trot only in intervals of 5 minutes or less, and build slowly from there.

            If he has a ligament injury, trust me from experience, pushing recovery too fast, too soon, too hard can mean a lifetime of future problems. My horse sustained very severe ligament injury in his paddock when he tried to jump his 7 foot fence to go visit the girls. I put him on holiday for 6 months before I even started hand walking and we hand-walked for 3 months before I allowed a saddle on his back. It was a year from the injury before I even allowed him to canter under saddle. He was fine, but I attribute that to my slow, measured, consistent rehab treatment program. I followed my vet's advice to the letter and not a day earlier or an ounce harder than recommended. I was lucky we happened to have one of Canada's premiere leg vets in town the day my horse blew his ligament. I learned things regarding these types of injuries from this man that I will treasure forever - such valuable information, it was like attending a $1000 seminar for only the cost of his $250 assessment.

            Your horse's injury obviously may not be this severe, but even if the timeline of rehab is shorter, the methodology should still be the same. Ligaments have poor blood supply, therefore, poor healing and scar tissue readily forms. Scar tissue is never as strong as the original, and it has a propensity to tearing apart with little provocation. It is better to go slowly and patiently the first time around, rather than rush it and get stuck with a horse who is never reliably sound again for the rest of his life.
            Last edited by rodawn; Mar. 15, 2013, 05:13 PM. Reason: typo
            Practice! Patience! Persistence!


            • #7
              Was just reading this month's Practical Horseman about diseases transmitted by insects. Reading the signs for Lyme reminded me of reading your thread - vague & variable - shifting, on-again, off-again lameness, sore back, lack of energy, depressed or cranky, hypersensitivity to touch. Just a thought.
              But he thought, "This procession has got to go on." So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn't there at all. H.C.Anderson