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Please HELP! Mystery Lameness in Mare... Possible SI injury?

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  • Please HELP! Mystery Lameness in Mare... Possible SI injury?

    In September of last year, I was looking for a horse for myself because my gelding is retired and has heaves and I have been wanting to start competing again.I was on a very tight budget because I am still finishing college. I looked and looked for a few months and found nothing that really caught my eye. I happen to be friends with Camelot Auction on Facebook, and the horses that are not sold at the Wednesday night sales, are posted with pictures and a brief discription. I saw Annie, she was underweight, had a problem with her one eye becasue it was "leaking", had no muscle and was distrusting towards people. I went and took a look at her, and we got along excellent. I did not ride her there, due to their new regulations, but for $700 I decided to take a chance. I paid in the office, and to my surprise was handed a whole packet with an abundance of information from her previous owner. She was bred and owned by a private farm, located in Maryland up until August of last year. Her sire is a hunter and her mother is a preliminary eventer. Annie is a full Thoroughbred, but sport horse bred. Her previous owner, is older and unfortunately has cancer. She is closing the farm and had to find her a home immediately, and had no capable riders to buy her. She took her to Thermont auction in Maryland where she was purchased by a dealer, who transported her with a load of other horses to New Holland auction, where she was purchased by Frank who owns Camelot to run through his sale. I am in touch with her previous owner, and I have no doubt that the mare was in good condition when she left her, however in the month she ran through the auctions, we know she had not had any type of grain,and had to fight other horses for food and water. When I picked her up from Camelot she was in a small pen with 6 geldings. Upon getting her to the barn, I wormed her heavily, put her on antibiotics to be safe, kept her quarantined, and started the process of gaining trust and fixing her. She had front shoes, but no back shoes. Over the past 5 months she has gained weight, been wormed regularly, I put four shoes on her, and she has been in training. I have had her adjusted and acupunctured on a regular basis . She responds well to both, however, when the vet does the acupuncture and gets to the sacrum and si region, the mare loses her mind. Double barrel kicks and runs out of the barn ( and she is normally very quiet) . Her right hip appears slightly dropped and when she moves that leg, its an inward twisting motion, however she is conformationally correct. She is not lame, and incredibly athletic and doesnt seem to be in pain when riding, however I have noticed some things. She is reluctant to pick up her hind feet (especially the right) for me to clean them. She also has been started jumping, and refuses and backs off. I am doing my best to "fix" her and want her to be as comfortable as possible. Her movement behind has been referred to as "tight roping". I have had two different vets come to evaluate her and have not received any conclusive answers. The first vet I asked for help did a lameness exam in March and didnt have conclusive answers. We had an issue with the farrier that was doing her feet, and I have corrected that issue, and although there has been a significant improvement, I am still not satisfied with her movement. I then had another vet come and evaluate her, and he couldn't provide me with a conclusive diagnosis after the exam other than it "might" be her SI joint or something completely different. Both vets were "lameness specialists".
    Although I intended for her to be a show horse, if that route is not possible, I fully intend on keeping her and breeding her in the future because she is such a lovely mare. I don't believe she is in any pain, but if there are options that can her more comfortable, I would like to be able to consider them. When I ride her, she is always pleasant and does not exhibit signs of pain that I would readily recognize. I have been reading a tremendous amount about SI injuries and she seems to have quite a few of the symptoms. The refusing to jump, she is unable to fully "use" herself when riding, reluctance to use her top line, and more comfortable cantering. However when palpated in the SI region by hand, she doesnt flinch (but remember the reaction to acupuncture in this area). The chiropractor whole heartedly believes the SI region on both sides need to be injected and it will help significantly.

    It is a little disheartening that I have had 2 "specialists" out so far to examine her, and both had inconclusive results and suggested doing about $3000 worth of injections to see what works...First of all, I dont want to start injecting areas that dont need it, and second, $3000 worth of guessing isnt something im comfortable with at this point. If it was conclusive that the SI was the problem I would be more than willing to spend the $1000 + dollars to inject and hopefully make her more comfortable. Im frustrated and out of ideas. I have posted 3 videos of her lunging in the pessoa system from today. Any help, ideas, or experiences that can be offered would be greatly appreciated. I am located in NJ

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0SSx74RB7Q&sns=em
    ^ The bucking is not her usual, it was actually new as of today. When the vet was out on Thursday, she walk, trot, cantered on the lunge and under saddle with no bucking.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pN5K...e_gdata_player

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hM2v...e_gdata_player

  • #2
    Do you have any still photos of her? At least one head on, but preferably a head on shot, each side and from the rear would be really helpful. The video is shaky enough that I'm not sure if I see what I think I see.
    "Absent a correct diagnosis, medicine is poison, surgery is trauma and alternative therapy is witchcraft" A. Kent Allen
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/tailsofglory

    Comment


    • #3
      It's kind of hard to see what's going on because the video is shaky and she's wearing that Pessoa rig. Can you post a steadier video without the rig? And with canter and a longer longe line? Or still shots? Also, what does you acupuncturist say about the specific points that your mare objects to? Is she *ever* able to get those points needles or does the mare freak out every single time? Do you have access to previous vet records and shoer? Perhaps they can shed some light on any possible issues/injuries from the past. Does your mare longe over walking and trotting-spaced ground poles OK or does she stumble when lifting her hind legs? Does she evenly lift her legs? Lastly, what is her undersaddle history before you purchased her? How old is she? I'm wondering what is injury-based and what might be training based. Does she walk/trot/canter fine on the flat but just sucks up at the jumps? Does she suck up when longing over jumps, too? Sorry for all of the questions...
      Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation

      Comment


      • #4
        You really do need to give us something else to go on, as J-Lu has explained, in order for us to form reliable opinions, but I think I see more than just hind end here. That's what I was thinking to myself, anyway, as I watched the third video and noticed that the mare "stumbled" on the right hind. She failed to place her right hind foot properly in a way that's often consistent with facet injuries or arthritis in the neck. And she didn't seem phased by landing on and weight bearing on her toe. That should have been a little uncomfortable. There's a shuffling quality to her front limb gait that had me thinking neck before I got to the third video. But without seeing her without the contraption on I can't be sure of what I'm seeing. It appears as if she lands toe first in front when walking and she definitely has a toe stabbing gait (in front and behind) at the trot. How is she shod? She may have some conformational reasons for her gait oddities, but again, the shaky video isn't allowing for confirmation of her conformation. Photos would be a big help.
        "Absent a correct diagnosis, medicine is poison, surgery is trauma and alternative therapy is witchcraft" A. Kent Allen
        http://www.etsy.com/shop/tailsofglory

        Comment


        • #5
          I have seen a horse or two buck at the butt strap on a Pessoa training thing.

          I can't see a lot else because of the video. Sorry to be unhelpful. If anything, just take my advice and evaluate her without the Pessoa thing on.
          The armchair saddler
          Politically Pro-Cat

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Response

            JackieBlue- I am working on attaching photos to this discussion. Not exactly sure why the website is being difficult and not allowing me to attach them. <br>
            <br>
            JLu- I will get a steadier video on Tuesday without the pessoa. The chiropractor/acupuncturist who is also a DVM thinks that SI injections would be beneficial to her. I have had her do acupuncture on her 3 times in 8 months so far, and every time, Annie loses her mind when the chiro puts needles into that region. She literally goes from relaxed to bucking bronco on a lead rope in 3 seconds, and bends and bucks the needles out of herself. I speak with her previous owner pretty much on a weekly basis and have been provided with all vet records from the time she was born. She has even given me the xrays that they took of her right knee when she was a yearling and had some "mystery swelling", nothing was broken, she was probably playing too hard with the other babies, and resulted in some swelling that subsided after 2 days of cold hosing and some bute. Her past shoeing record is pretty normal. She had 2 shoes when I bought her, the vet and farrier suggested I put 4 on her if I wanted to give her more support for jumping, so I did. The shoes are traditional steel. When walking or trotting ground poles she is fine, she can lift up both feet equally and rarely trips over them. Originally when I purchased her, we did TONS of trot work over poles because she would tend to drag the right hind toe when working. The pole worked def. helped her to lift up her feet and be more conscious about where her feet were. She is 8 years old. She was walk trot cantering and jumping small jumps before I got her, I have pictures of her carting around kids over cross rails and the older girls were jumping her around 2'3-2'6 range. She walk trot and canters fine on the flat with no attitude or anything that would signal her rider that she would be in pain. She ALWAYS gets her leads when cantering. From the ground however, when she is being ridden, you can clearly see something is NQR in the back end. She isnt lame, but something is uncomfortable. I havent longed her over any jumps, I really want to get the medical part of the problem solved before I ask her to jump again especially if it is a painful task for her. And I really appreciate all of your questions, dont be sorry. <br>
            <br><br>

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by thinkpink11189 View Post
              JackieBlue- I am working on attaching photos to this discussion. Not exactly sure why the website is being difficult and not allowing me to attach them. <br>
              <br>
              JLu- I will get a steadier video on Tuesday without the pessoa. The chiropractor/acupuncturist who is also a DVM thinks that SI injections would be beneficial to her. I have had her do acupuncture on her 3 times in 8 months so far, and every time, Annie loses her mind when the chiro puts needles into that region. She literally goes from relaxed to bucking bronco on a lead rope in 3 seconds, and bends and bucks the needles out of herself. I speak with her previous owner pretty much on a weekly basis and have been provided with all vet records from the time she was born. She has even given me the xrays that they took of her right knee when she was a yearling and had some "mystery swelling", nothing was broken, she was probably playing too hard with the other babies, and resulted in some swelling that subsided after 2 days of cold hosing and some bute. Her past shoeing record is pretty normal. She had 2 shoes when I bought her, the vet and farrier suggested I put 4 on her if I wanted to give her more support for jumping, so I did. The shoes are traditional steel. When walking or trotting ground poles she is fine, she can lift up both feet equally and rarely trips over them. Originally when I purchased her, we did TONS of trot work over poles because she would tend to drag the right hind toe when working. The pole worked def. helped her to lift up her feet and be more conscious about where her feet were. She is 8 years old. She was walk trot cantering and jumping small jumps before I got her, I have pictures of her carting around kids over cross rails and the older girls were jumping her around 2'3-2'6 range. She walk trot and canters fine on the flat with no attitude or anything that would signal her rider that she would be in pain. She ALWAYS gets her leads when cantering. From the ground however, when she is being ridden, you can clearly see something is NQR in the back end. She isnt lame, but something is uncomfortable. I havent longed her over any jumps, I really want to get the medical part of the problem solved before I ask her to jump again especially if it is a painful task for her. And I really appreciate all of your questions, dont be sorry. <br>
              <br><br>
              That's terribly interesting b/c it's her right knee that made me ask for the head on confo shot. It's either pretty offset or varus, either deformity being a potential cause for discomfort and/or dysfunction. Regardless, it causes her right front limb to move "wonky" enough that her right knee was the very thing that grabbed my attention when watching the videos. Was she x-rayed more than once when the knee swelled? Do you know how old she was? Now, with a history of knee swelling, that joint and limb are even more suspect to me.
              If you need help with the pics you can email them to me and I can post them if you'd like. You have to be a Premium Member to post attachments directly.
              "Absent a correct diagnosis, medicine is poison, surgery is trauma and alternative therapy is witchcraft" A. Kent Allen
              http://www.etsy.com/shop/tailsofglory

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                JackieBlue- I sent you a email with the photos that I had taken for the first vet. The last "head on" photo is the best one that I have on this computer. The knee has been re-xrayed, since the initial problem and everything has come back fine. She flexed sound on that joint for both vets. When the initial injury happened, she was a yearling. Ive been told that never swelt up again, and in the 8-9 months that I have had her, I can verify that no swelling or favoring of that leg has occurred. If it helps at all, the chiro says her right side (pretty much all over) is the side that always out of whack when being adjusted. Her left SI is usually the only thing on the left that is out alignment. Thank you for your help! I really appreciate it!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Posting photos for OP.

                  Oops! OP, the png files you sent won't upload and I need to run to see to a foal that can't stand. The one jpg is up and I can convert the others when I get back, or if you can convert and resend I can post from my phone. I am SO sorry to have to bolt.

                  She does have a dropped hip on the right, evident in unevenness in her croup/SI region. I've known horses with neck injuries and resultant neuro deficits to have this same physical appearance, so not necessarily a straight forward SI injury and very worth looking into.
                  Attached Files
                  "Absent a correct diagnosis, medicine is poison, surgery is trauma and alternative therapy is witchcraft" A. Kent Allen
                  http://www.etsy.com/shop/tailsofglory

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Thank you everyone. I am making a few phone calls tomorrow morning to NJ Equine (Dr. Palmer) and to Dr. Patty Hogan. I need answers and I believe that either of these vets will be able to give me some sort of diagnostic answers. I have never had to use either of these 2 vets (knock on wood), does anyone have a preference? I have heard wonderful things about both, and both are located about 10 minutes away from the boarding stable where I keep my mare. Let me know your opinions. Thank you again for your help!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      OP's other photos.
                      Attached Files
                      "Absent a correct diagnosis, medicine is poison, surgery is trauma and alternative therapy is witchcraft" A. Kent Allen
                      http://www.etsy.com/shop/tailsofglory

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Last one.
                        Attached Files
                        "Absent a correct diagnosis, medicine is poison, surgery is trauma and alternative therapy is witchcraft" A. Kent Allen
                        http://www.etsy.com/shop/tailsofglory

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          So, as you mentioned in your first post, the mare has a dropped right hip. That's evident in your photos. However, I have to disagree that she's conformationally correct behind. We don't have enough to go on in the way of images to assess her front limb conformation, but based on her way of going in the shaky videos, I'm willing to bet she's got some anomalies there as well. No doubt, she's very cute and has a lovely eye, but conformational faults are likely playing into her unusual gait at the trot.
                          Her hind quarter is shallow and, despite some decent muscle definition, gives an impression of overall weakness. She appears sickle hocked and camped under, but we lack a straight profile shot including her body, so it's difficult to determine how this fits or doesn't with the rest of her. In fact, her entire pelvis seems tilted forward. In the side view of her hind quarters it would be SO helpful to see the rest of her because her back slopes downward rather dramatically. Is she built downhill? Or does she have a sway back? It's impossible to tell, but knowing how all of her parts fit together is crucial to a meaningful evaluation. It looks as if she stands with tension in her hind end, possibly indicating discomfort, but again, without seeing the whole horse.....
                          The dorsal surface of her right hind fetlock looks thickened, as if there's effusion in the extensor tendon sheath. I'm guessing she lands toe first and continues with the load bearing phase of her gait from time to time, causing "kinking" of the fetlock and pastern joints, as we saw when she did the same in the third video. I'd want to know why. Is the RH hoof wall convex with a shorter toe than the left? Hard to tell in the photos.
                          In vet_pic_3 it looks like there's more trailing of the heel of the shoe on the right hind. Is this accurate? If so, why does the farrier do this?
                          In 2 of the photos she is clearly standing base narrow behind. This could be how she's put together or it could be due to discomfort. With the muscular tension that's evident in her stance and the "tucked rump", I'd vote for discomfort as the causative.
                          Do you know what her tail tone is like? If turned very tightly (spun on a dime) in each direction, what does she do with her hind feet? Is she comfortable with backing on the ground and under tack?
                          I really do like her look overall and I'm sure she'll make it worth your efforts to get to the bottom of whatever is troubling her.
                          "Absent a correct diagnosis, medicine is poison, surgery is trauma and alternative therapy is witchcraft" A. Kent Allen
                          http://www.etsy.com/shop/tailsofglory

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I have a 7yo OTTB mare who exhibited some on and off lameness in her RH and seemed sore up front sometimes, too. Three vets looked at her. One flexed her and the horse was more off behind after flexing. She said she thought it was her SI. One palpated her spine (got very minimal reaction) and her SI (horse tried to kick him in the face because she was so sore). He was positive it was her SI but said not to inject before we had some type of a confirmation. The third one was stumped.

                            She's insured so off we went, and she had a bone scan and three ultrasounds. Her SI was textbook perfect but they found a very small tear in a ligament in her back. She needs two months off but can return to full work after she is healed (we will re-scan in two months).

                            My point is that two vets said, you should inject this horse's SI, but without the ultrasounds they couldn't be 100% sure. It would have cost me $800 to do it and it would have done NOTHING for the horse because there was nothing wrong with her SI. I could have injected her hocks, her SI, her neck, etc etc etc and it would have all been a waste of time and money. I am glad I have an answer and I'm even more glad that she just needs time off to heal

                            I realise you may not have insurance but ultrasounds are a lot cheaper than joint injections. You could u/s the SI area and her back and see what is really going on before injecting all those joints and it would probably save you money in the long run.
                            http://www.lucysquest.blogspot.com

                            Custom Painted Saddle Pads and Ornaments

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Jackie these pictures are from late Feb of this year. I had to move the horses from my small farm to a bigger boarding facility for the winter months that had an indoor. The farrier that worked out of that farm was not my normal farrier, and despite my better judgement, I let him shoe her. He REALLY screwed up her feet. Left WAYYY too much toe, and left those "trailers" on the back of her shoes. That is why she appears more camped out underneath herself. The first lameness specialist compared her feet at that time to "walking in backwards high heels". Since then, I have her feet corrected by my normal farrier who shoes for Walnridge clinic and we have taken radiographs to make sure she is being shod properly. Upon removal of the backwards high heels, my farrier showed me that the farrier from the previous farm had put shoes that were 2 sizes too small on her. It was a huge mess.. None the less, we have it fixed now (6 weeks later). I will take some more updated pictures tomorrow morning.

                              Both specialists never said anything about her being sickle hocked, it might just appear that way from the pictures with the terrible feet. She is actually pretty straight behind. Her back isnt swayed at all, but I guess you could say she is built slightly downhill (again the vets said nothing about this). I agree with you Jackie, when you said that she stands with tension in her back end. However, she is the most stoic horse I have ever seen, she flinches at nothing. They have palpated her SI and her back and she does not react. But when the chiro comes and starts sticking needles back there, she loses it.

                              The right hind fetlock I also agree. She does land toe first. The vet said that it is most likely contributed to something "higher up" possibly SI. Her feet are fixed now, so I cant blame them as the issue. I agree that she looks discomfortable behind, but flexes sound which is frustrating because it offers no answers. The tone of her tail bone is within normal limits. If turned tightly, she does turn and try to please you, and moves her feet like a normal horse, but when riding, she is hesitant to perform a turn on the haunch (trouble sitting back and turning). She backs up no problem on the ground and under tack she is a little more hesitant but will do it. As I said before, she is really stoic. Both vets commented that she is extremely clean legged. And when flexed and palpated, she stands like a statue. Both vets were blown away with how much they could flex and push on her and get no discomfortable reaction whatsoever. They said they press on (mostly very large warmbloods) all day, and most of them would jump through the roof if they flexed and pressed on them in the ways they were doing to her.

                              I will take more pictures tomorrow. I appreciate your help Jackie. Thank you for your kind words.

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Starhouse- I appreciate you posting your experience. That is really really interesting. I will have an ultrasound done of that region before any injections just to confirm that is the actual issue and its not something completely different. Im happy that your mare will be fine with some time off. I wish all fixes were that easy. I am waiting for a call back from the clinic to schedule an appointment. I will keep everyone posted. Thanks again! Fingers crossed

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Yeah, it has been a month long ordeal and I finally got the answer from Tuft's on Wednesday last week. For what it's worth, I was convinced it was her SI also. She couldn't hold her hind lead cantering to the left, bucked under saddle when I asked her for any collection, and appeared a bit lame on that RH. Tuft's said the ligament injury could manifest as RH/LF lameness at the trot so it explains all her symptoms.
                                  http://www.lucysquest.blogspot.com

                                  Custom Painted Saddle Pads and Ornaments

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I have a horse that has SI issues and like the other say a better video would help. I would also suggest a video of her trotting on a straight line away so we can watch her rear movement along with her side movement. With my guy you could see it noticeably more from behind than the side. Hi's was pretty bad, but had the same muscle atrophy your mare shows. We definitely worked on strengthening the topline and rear end.
                                    Calm & Collected, 13, OTTB
                                    Forrest Gump (Catasauqua) , 17, OTTB
                                    Little Bit Indian, 29, TB
                                    Owner of Spur of the Moment, Custom made spur straps! Find us on Facebook

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      CSwoodlandfairy- What did you do for him? Did you choose to inject? Is there a significant difference once the muscle on the top line and rear end are built up? Ive been using the pessoa lunging system that my vet recommended what other exercises did you use to build up these muscles?

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Well I have some positive news...My regular vet came out today to do the 2nd round of spring shots on all the horses. I was explaining my frustrations about the mystery lameness with him. I took her out today for him to do her shots and he asked if he could mess with her and take a look. He pressed (not hard) on one area of her sacrum and she flinched really bad and nearly sat down. He put an acupuncture needle in a spot on a acupuncture point near her cornet band on the same leg (right hind) ( the point has something to do with the gall bladder meridian) left it in for a few minutes. With the needle still in he palpated her again (same spot) and she had almost no reaction. Took her out to lunge afterwards and she isn't tucking her butt under so bad and has better range of motion with that leg... she is still going up to Dr. Palmers for an ultrasound of that area, and to get the injections done at the clinic. But it was nice to have him listen and figure out what I was saying and use it to make a diagnosis..for free none the less..I am blown away.. This is a huge weight off my shoulders. Atleast I know I am not crazy!

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