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Hock Injection Nightmare... Video and updates

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  • Hock Injection Nightmare... Video and updates

    First, I want to say hello to everyone! I've been meaning to join this informative site for quite some time now and am excited to be here. Looking forward to getting more involved and will set up my Information soon!

    However, my first post is quite distressing and I would LOVE to hear if anyone has gone through what my horse is going through. I'll give a short history of events leading up to his current condition. I am waiting for the Vet this morning, after a long and stressful weekend.

    I have an 11 yr old Eventer/Jumper TB who had been showing signs of hock lameness/Arthritis for the last part of the Season. Not lame, but I noticed a decrease in stride, suspension, impulsion, and he had started to not use his back and hind end as much, over fences - becoming a bit sore. He also started having issues with swapping his leads, switching in the front and not the rear ect... Being an advanced horse person but an Amature type rider, I thought most of his issues were "me" at first - especially with leads.

    So, I had a lameness exam done. He flexed a grade 1 on his LH hock, grade 2-3 on his right. We decided to inject as a result, last Tuesday. On Friday I took him out of his paddock and noticed he looked a little "off". Nothing serious and I thought it might be a result of us having rain the night before, so perhaps he was just walking funny (as all my guys walk funny) in the mud.

    Tacked him up, rode him. He was definately off, but not badly. When I placed him back in the paddock I noticed he started walking as if he was walking "out of" something, or walking over something such as a low jump/caveletti, on his RH. His LH was short striding. So, I gave him a Bute and settled him in for the night. Next morning, worse. Called the Vet. No temp, slight warmth on his hocks but no swelling. Was told to Bute him and wait it out through the weekend, unless he went extremely lame and/or had a temp. Later that afternoon he was MUCH worse. He was holding his leg up, kicking at invisable flies ect... Sunday, better but still lame. Today, better but still lame. No temp though! No massive heat either.

    So, I am waiting for the Vet to come out at some point today... Has anyone ever had a reaction to a hock injection like this? This is my first experience with personally having one of my horses injected so I admit I am a little uneducated. I've ridden, been around, and have worked with horses that get injections, but never reactions like this.

    Any advice, help, or previous experience with this sort of thing would be GREATLY appreciated. I never thought in a million years that injecting would make him WORSE. I suppose I'll have to see what the Vet says as I am clueless. And to think, I usually diagnose my guys before the Vet becomes involved. It's driving me NUTS not knowing what's going on with him!
    Last edited by BSFKimbees; Nov. 18, 2008, 11:30 AM.
    "There is dignity in lightness, truth in patience,
    but only ignorance in force"... www.cedarpinefarm.com

  • #2
    WHO told you to bute him and wait it out?

    If it was your vet, I would be sitting down and making a log of the entire history of this event, dates, times, conversations, etc...

    If it was someone else, I would make a mental note to not listen to their advice again - because you need a vet and you need one like last week, but today is as good as it's going to get...

    so have your vet out now, and if they won't come, get another one.. because possible joint infection after injection is nothing to mess around with, there is no time to wait it out and see what happens, because if that is what it is - it's bad.

    Not trying to scare you or admonish you, just telling you there is serious urgency to this situation.

    After my vet injects anything, she tells me that if I suspect any joint contamination for the next *three weeks* to call her immediately and she will be right out.

    It could be that he is just experiencing a flare, but again, only the vet can tell that.. and if it's not a flare and it is an infection, it really needs to be treated immediately.
    "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
    ---
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

    Comment


    • #3
      Whoa. Let me understand this.

      Injected Tuesday, ridden Friday (3 days later.)

      We usually give 5 days off after hock injections then 3 days of walk only--not at all unusual for them to still be sore after 3 days. It can take 14 days to see full improvement. You are putting stuff (adding pressure) into a joint that is already sore and inflamed. I know many people actually bute for a couple of days after the injection.

      Don't panic yet. Let him heal.

      Comment


      • #4
        Got to ditto. Vet ASAP. ASAP.

        There is risk anytime you breach the membrane for IA injections.

        Infection can run rampant before any external symptoms present themselves (like heat, lameness, swelling).

        ASAP ASAP ASAP.
        A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

        Might be a reason, never an excuse...

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by BuddyRoo View Post
          Got to ditto. Vet ASAP. ASAP.

          There is risk anytime you breach the membrane for IA injections.

          Infection can run rampant before any external symptoms present themselves (like heat, lameness, swelling).

          ASAP ASAP ASAP.
          Yeah and better to nip it in the bud early! The vet can get him on some hardcore antibiotics and assess appropriately.

          Never had hocks done on one of my horses', but did have a dumb vet do a joint tap on a leg that turned out to be cellulitic (doh)... and we spent the next few weeks worrying the hock would go septic. It was really Not Fun. I was at the barn 2-3 times a day staring at the hock willing it to be ok! Luckily he was treated very aggressively with IV antibiotics and had no issues.

          Call the vet, better safe than sorry. I nursed a friend's pony through a septic joint when I was 18 and it was a nightmare.
          We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.

          Comment


          • #6
            Did you x ray? Or just base the hock injections on the flexing results? How many of these does your vet do annually?

            What you describe sounds more like stifles...maybe that is the root of your problem? Wrong diagnosis? Could be lower down, hip injury (and these can hide on you looking like something else), spine, all sorts of things.

            Joint injections are not totally risk free, it is invasive. I have used them for about 15 years now although not as often as some. Been around countless others and have seen very, very, very few reactions and they were minor.

            The ONLY issue I ever had was a little bit of a bump and some tenderness on one injection site and that cleared in 24 hours with no treatment at all. I do proper diagnostics to identify the cause of the issues and use vets who do thousands of them annually and are quite proficient.

            Am aware alot do inject on suspicion they are getting to the problem without looking for it or any and all other related causes. Sort of a well it can't hurt and may help theory. Disagree with that. Some vets are not as accomplished as others as well.

            I'd get a complete lamness exam on him starting with blocks and including pictures and ultra sound if indicated. Find out why, exactly, he needs the injections if you give them. Moniter temp and condition just in case there is an infection brewing.

            Just does not sound like hocks in general or a reaction to the injection specifically.
            When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

            The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Thanks for the replies so far, I think we can all agree, I'm waiting for the VET for sure!

              I was angered at the "wait it out" reply I got from my Vet, but I highly reguard my Vet and thought he knows best. The Bute really did nothing.

              I have been temping "Trent" since the onset of this lameness (he IS much better today but am still waiting for the Vet to come out). It hasn't been a "pain" lameness per-say, more like one would do if you had a kink in your shoulder/knee and you try to kick it out or stand on it differently, or move it around until it feels better sort of thing - really hard to explain. And of course each leg was different. One is over extending/overreaching, the other is short striding - though as mentioned MUCH less this morning than over the weekend. I certainly HOPE it is/was a flare up as mentioned in a previous post. Hoping to rule out infection as otherwise everything is normal. Good vitals, appetite, temp, very minor heat (though I couldn't detect much if any this morning) and no swelling.

              Everything I did, I did as directed by my Vet. Stall for 24 hours, paddock until Friday, ride lightly w/t and paddock for a week with additional light riding. I was told that he'd be fine for a jumping lesson by this Thursday - not even close! I now know that I should've taken more care - no riding. I wish I had more experience with this sort of thing.
              "There is dignity in lightness, truth in patience,
              but only ignorance in force"... www.cedarpinefarm.com

              Comment


              • #8
                don't be so hard on yourself. You did the right thing by contacting your vet. Some vets are more thorough then others and perhaps yours just is not as educated or just was not that concerned. I'm sure you could ask around as some of the local barns to find out more about your vet or perhaps other vets that are good.

                I have show horses who do require joint injections. I have never in my life has one react negatively. I'm am probably lucky because I know it does happen.

                With that said....we usually stall rest for 1-2 days depending on horse, then turnout days 3-5 then light hack 6-7 then fairly normal riding. However, there are times when very well known vets have said it's OK to take them back to full work after a few days. They will add that the injection may not work as well but, if the horse seems fine then not to worry. Unless we do any injections during show season I go for the resting plan but, have taken horses back to work after 3 days without a problem when I had too at a show. The owner of course agreed and wanted to show and not miss anything.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I wouldn't necessarily blame riding him too soon for your issues. We have a TB who used to always get a flare after coffin joint injections. He would be more uncomfortable 1 or 2 days after the injections, putting me into a panic that he had a joint infection. The time before last, when we had him injected, the vet at the vet hospital suggested my daughter ride him at a walk for the 2 days after the injections. On the 3rd day, he should resume normal work. For some reason, this worked for him, and there was no increase in lameness after the injections. He was totally sound 2 days after the injections. No more stall rest for this boy after injections.

                  I would get the vet to look at your horse, if he is still not sound. Joint infections are scary.

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Findeigth -

                    I agree, it does not LOOK like his hocks. He has a hip hike on his R/S as well. Hmm... Is it possible that by injecting the hocks, he is now showing EXTREME lameness in his stifle? Timing just seems odd and to be so lame by Saturday, but it certainly makes sense.

                    For all I know he could've slipped, though he did not have any mud on his blanket to show me any signs of a fall ect...

                    Interesting. And again, it does make sense, just weird timing. Or, maybe not so weird. Afterall, I have arthritis in my ankle and knees. I get an injection in my ankle and my knee hurts for a week. So I see your point here.

                    Thanks for bringing this up!
                    "There is dignity in lightness, truth in patience,
                    but only ignorance in force"... www.cedarpinefarm.com

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by BSFKimbees View Post
                      It hasn't been a "pain" lameness per-say, more like one would do if you had a kink in your shoulder/knee and you try to kick it out or stand on it differently, or move it around until it feels better sort of thing - really hard to explain. And of course each leg was different. One is over extending/overreaching, the other is short striding - though as mentioned MUCH less this morning than over the weekend. I certainly HOPE it is/was a flare up as mentioned in a previous post. Hoping to rule out infection as otherwise everything is normal. Good vitals, appetite, temp, very minor heat (though I couldn't detect much if any this morning) and no swelling.

                      Everything I did, I did as directed by my Vet. Stall for 24 hours, paddock until Friday, ride lightly w/t and paddock for a week with additional light riding. I was told that he'd be fine for a jumping lesson by this Thursday - not even close! I now know that I should've taken more care - no riding. I wish I had more experience with this sort of thing.
                      Couple of things that might help. We give 3 days off and one light day then return to work (on show horses that jump) unless there are multiple sights involved, like spine or coffin bone. those get about a week. Mine does not get bute other then the evening after the procedures, doesn't seem to have any discomfort but that is just hocks. No knowledge what others get, not my bills.

                      Ummm...still did not answer my question...did you x ray? Do any blocks? Ultra sounds?

                      Don't kid yourself, sounds like you have a problem with this horse beyond arthritic hocks. It's not going to go away and you may be spending money chasing the wrong thing.

                      One poster on here spend alot of time and money treating this that and the other on a Jumper and come to find out, he had kissing spines. He got relief only when that was addressed and treated and all the vague NQR symptoms went away. Have personal experience with symptoms like this being neurological as well, EPM often looks like a sort of rotating lamness.

                      Honestly, I understand you like your vet but treat it like a business relationship...he is not the almighty and cannot be an expert in every field. Advise either get him to do a thorough diagnostic work up or get a second opinion.

                      Not a fan of the give him bute and wait it out in a case like this either. An invasive procedure was performed and the horse is later in obvious discomfort but with no fever with this procedure that usually has no after effects does not sound that minor to me.

                      But then I never inject unless I am pretty sure of the problem, neither will my vets.
                      When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                      The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        My Vet injected w/o X-rays. We x-rayed his front right ankle, as that was the biggest concern - injected. Lamness exam included palpation, flextions, and riding. All 4 superficials were tender to the palpation, and he had an old splint on his RH (which I knew). She never mentioned the stifle, though I have suspected with his recent Jumping form over fences.

                        This is my local Vet whom I typically use for routine stuff. There are two, Senior Vet and a younger new Vet. I assumed his new Vet had experience with this, so I opted to go with them for this as she deemed it "routine" and still are not treating it as high priority, which I am now.

                        She did not see any stifle issues during the exam and blamed the hocks as they were positive, one more than the other. After injecting, my senior Vet palpated his stifle and said they may need further investigation as they were loose, aka loose stifles. I have much experience with upwards fixation, but not "loose stifles". Wish I was told this prior to me injecting! He seemed annoyed with the attending Vet, but I thought, "fix the hock" wait to see how he feels. X-ray the stifle at a later time... Grr...That's it, went home.

                        For my first experience with this type of thing, I am not very satisfied. I had anticipated a much more thorough exam, and certainly wished we had looked at the stifles - we were already approaching a 5 hour visit so we decided to address it another day.

                        I am uploading a video right now on YouTube, that I took on Saturday (right after I called my Vet - the one who told me to Bute). My senior Vet is coming out today. I will post the link when it's finished. May take a while as my computer is slow, even though I do have high-speed Internet, what a joke...
                        Last edited by BSFKimbees; Nov. 17, 2008, 11:55 AM. Reason: added info
                        "There is dignity in lightness, truth in patience,
                        but only ignorance in force"... www.cedarpinefarm.com

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Here is the YouTube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMuMTIARz2Y

                          Vet is on their way, going outside!
                          "There is dignity in lightness, truth in patience,
                          but only ignorance in force"... www.cedarpinefarm.com

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by BSFKimbees View Post
                            Here is the YouTube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMuMTIARz2Y

                            Vet is on their way, going outside!
                            Yikes that's bad! Jingles for your horse and I hope the vet can figure something out.
                            -Tami-

                            [Paint It Black - "Kiddo"]

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Wow, that is an uncomfortable looking horse! I don't have any insight as the only time I had my horse's hocks done it was uneventful. Good luck with the vet's visit today and keep us posted!

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by BSFKimbees View Post
                                Here is the YouTube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMuMTIARz2Y

                                Vet is on their way, going outside!
                                Holy Sh*t, hurts just to watch that. And sure not his hocks. Does not look neurological either, or like a loose stifle. Looks like an acute injury.

                                He's a 5 out of 5 on the RH starting out and only walks out to a 3/4.

                                I'd get him to a clinic for a complete evaluation including all the diagnostics. Pay now I know but you may pay more later and for stuff that does not work.
                                When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Owie. That's much worse than I was expecting to see.

                                  I'd agree, doesn't look like hocks to me--look at how he's actually flexing that hock.

                                  Let us know what the vet thinks, and good luck to you!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Never have had hock injections but did have my mares stifle's injected.

                                    To diagnosis, my vet spent 2 hours with us. Flexed her, then hand walked, then flex. Then had me ride her for 20 minutes, then flexed again. She was quiet stiff after the flexing post ride.

                                    Injection scheduled for following week in that no riding 1 week before injection. The tissue needs to 'calm down' before injections.

                                    Injection day- took about 1 1/2 hour and was very sterile. Each injection site was clipped and then each site scrubbed for 10 minutes ( there were 4 sites). After 40 minutes of prep, one more prep, then injections. I was instructed that there be no riding for 2 weeks, then I could slowly bring her back. No jumping for at least 4 weeks.

                                    Does not sound like that is the protocol for hocks or should it be to lesson adverse effects?

                                    I followed that protocol and Mare has felt better than she has for quite some time. Vet said she may never need another injection, just will see how she does.
                                    My Blog ( for me and my OTTBs)-ableequine.webbly.com

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by kbbarn View Post
                                      Does not sound like that is the protocol for hocks or should it be to lesson adverse effects?
                                      So very few have any adverse effects with the hock injections when indicated and properly done by a vet that does alot of them, there is no need to change the recovery protocol. That actually is not set in stone anyway, depends on the horse and the nature of the work. Most of them are fine in 3 days, some need more and you need to be willing to watch for signs they do.

                                      Stifles can be more complicated and typically get more time off. So do those with coffin bone injections, back work and other areas. But that is also an individual thing depending on the horse and what was done as well as it's overall management program.

                                      They are all different and it is never wrong to give them more then somebody else says they need.
                                      When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                      The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I personally think this is in the hoof, the way he holds it up and does not want to put the foot fully on the ground. I am thinking it may be an abcess, and jsut a cooincendence with the injections. Of course, could be wron,g but with him not responding to bute, that is classic of abcesses.
                                        www.shawneeacres.net

                                        Comment

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