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Mystery Lameness - Comes and Goes... My Head is SPINNING!

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    Mystery Lameness - Comes and Goes... My Head is SPINNING!

    CROSS-POSTING as I am so wrapped up in this I initially posted in Off-Course. Duh.

    There is something weird going on here. I have a 12yo QH (will be 13 May 12th) who is off. Not so strange until you consider all of the following:

    Saturday 3/28: Rode outside for about 35 mins, he took a few NQR steps at the trot, but I chalked it up to the footing and the fact that he's still in the OMG outside! Look other ponies! Hey look a 4 wheeler! Oh hey there's my buddy! mode...

    Sunday 3/29: Walked around the indoor for a few minutes, picked up a trot and he is head bobbing lame. Brought him outside to my trainer who had me trot him to the left, then to the right, and said "yeah that's serious". Great. It is his RF. All legs, hooves, are cold, normal looking; no signs of injury I can see.

    Monday 3/30: I head out to the barn on my lunch to switch blankets and check on him, farrier was on his way to check him out as well so I extend my lunch break a bit. He has been wearing front shoes with snowball pads all winter. Farrier does his thing, breaks out the hoof testers, CANNOT find anything. Puts on shoes w/o pads and we bring him out to longe. Still lame, but not quite as bad as the day before.

    Tuesday 3/31- Sunday 4/5: No TO per BO recommendation, hand walking every day to get some good rolling in gotta scratch his shedding itchies, one or two trot circles per day on the longe toward the end of the week to check progress... He is slowly getting better.

    Monday 4/6- Wednesday 4/8: Since he had improved so much I give the OK for TO again; not sound enough (to my eye) for a lesson but I do ride him around bareback at a walk for ~20 mins, then put a saddle on later in the week. He is still doing better.

    Friday 4/10: Vet is scheduled to come out for booster shots, I had called her the week of the 30th to let her know what was going on, and said that if he was still off I would love to get her opinion. Of course, by Wednesday night he is doing great and is trotting sound. So, I chalk it up to antics in TO and leave it at that.

    Tuesday 4/14: After several days of ~20-25 minute rides (indoors) he is great. On the bit, bending, supple, and he feels great, like he's up underneath me, I am like . Then, instead of a lesson which I had been looking forward to, I find out my trainer has gone to Las Vegas for the World Cup. I'm really happy for her as that is a great and I'm sure much needed vacation, but disappointed because I really thought I was going to finally get a lesson! We do some warmup in the indoor and then go on a trail ride, which he loves (except for getting his precious toes muddy or wet!)

    Yesterday 4/15: Head out to the barn early (took a half day for mental health since the weather was so nice!) and pull him out to longe. He is head bobbing lame again Legs, hooves still cold and normal looking, no rocks in his feet, no nothing.

    My trainer had mentioned the possibility of a "pus pocket" which I think is her interesting way of saying abscess, but from what I've read here there should have been heat, sensitivity to the hoof testers, and total unwillingness to put weight on his foot - there was none of that. I had thought of a bruise maybe, since he has had one before (two years ago, which is why we put shoes on in the first place), but how could he have gotten a bruise with the pads on? I am stumped here, people. The WORST part is this is the THIRD year in a row something like this has happened in the spring/summer. Last year we took xrays and did blocks, etc but it ended up being inconclusive. I was really looking forward to a fun summer with him and now I'm scared I'll be handwalking instead of coming down centerline (and yes, I *may* have dropped the "s-h-o-w" word in his general vicinity lately).

    To top it all off, coming home from the barn last night I almost ran over a black cat who decided to sprint out across the road in front of me. I need a good dose of GOOD LUCK and any suggestions you may have.

    Thank you for listening to yet another installment of Mystery Lameness

    #2
    When Belle had a hairline fracture of one of the pastern bones it would present like that. She would go from being "just a little off" to "barely able to walk" in a few hours. And then back again by the time the vet got there.

    Initial (traditional) Xrays showed nothing. Later (digital) Xrays clearly showed it. Not sure if it was the difference between analog and digital, or if her body had deposited enough extra calcium that is showed up later.

    We were about to take her for a bone scan, and the vet was doing teh second set of Xrays as prep for the bone scan, to tell them where to focus, and it showed up on the Xray.

    A couple of months of stall restr, thenm limited turn out, then reghular turnout, then riding. Didn't do any hand walking. Healed perfectly.
    Janet

    chief feeder and mucker for Music, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now). Spy is gone. April 15, 1982 to Jan 10, 2019.

    Comment


      #3
      Lots of bad things can initially start out as mystery lamenesses. That includes ringbone and navicular (just to cheer you up).

      Is the horse on grass at all? Spring grass can create laminitis that can be very mild in some horses and hard to diagnose.

      Best of luck.

      Comment

        Original Poster

        #4
        He does not get turned out on grass but the past couple of days he has been getting ~20 mins of hand grazing... there's not much there so I doubt that amount would affect him, would it? I purposely stayed away from that just in case, whereas others at my barn were hand grazing the SECOND the snow was gone. I figured anything that had been growing under the snow might be a bit funky so I waited...

        Comment


          #5
          Lyme?
          The aids are the legs, the hands, the weight of the rider, the whip, the caress, the voice and the use of extraneous circumstances. ~ General Decarpentry
          www.reflectionsonriding.com

          Comment


            #6
            Coffin bone fracture? Gringo's presented that way... on and off lameness, thought it was an abscess. Only ONE x-ray view out of four showed the fracture.

            Good luck!
            Proud owner of Gus & Gringo.
            See G2's blog
            Photos

            Comment


              #7
              I went through nearly 3 years of mystery lameness with my older mustang.... it was about the worst 3 years of my life... It always was the same too, a week or two of stall rest and hand walking and he was feeling and riding great... but every day back in turnout and on a regular schedule he'd get worse and worse and worse, till he was nearly 3 legged lame again. Back on stall rest and he'd bounce right back.

              In my horse, it was generally fairly obvious which leg it was (offside hind), after 3 vets, 3 years and many thousands of dollars, it turned out to be advanced arthritis in his stifle. Stall rest was the worst possible thing I could do for him... he was getting rested up for sure, and then when it was time to go back out to play or go to work, he had so much pent up energy that it was mind over matter... he'd play and go great, sound as a dollar for a day or four, and then slowly start gimping again.

              I experimented and broke the cycle by leaving him out in turnout and riding (light walking) through his gimping... it was very painful to do, for me, riding a gimping horse, but the light consistent exercise helped him finally find a middle ground of NQR but still able to go play. I finally moved him to a place where he could live out 24/7 and he bounced back like magic.

              Long story, but advanced arthritis in a tricky spot presented as a mystery lameness for me.

              Oh, and spring was always the worst for us.. the cold wet weather... he faired better in winter than spring. By mid-summer he'd seem nearly sound then start gimping again come October.
              Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.

              Comment


                #8
                I'd get my vet out and start a lameness exam. I'd probably go the blocking route. Sounds soft tissue of some sort...i.e., gets better with rest but gets worse when back to work.

                Comment


                  #9
                  I'd start with several good views of digital radiographs and go from there.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by buck22 View Post
                    I went through nearly 3 years of mystery lameness with my older mustang.... it was about the worst 3 years of my life... It always was the same too, a week or two of stall rest and hand walking and he was feeling and riding great... but every day back in turnout and on a regular schedule he'd get worse and worse and worse, till he was nearly 3 legged lame again. Back on stall rest and he'd bounce right back.

                    In my horse, it was generally fairly obvious which leg it was (offside hind), after 3 vets, 3 years and many thousands of dollars, it turned out to be advanced arthritis in his stifle. Stall rest was the worst possible thing I could do for him... he was getting rested up for sure, and then when it was time to go back out to play or go to work, he had so much pent up energy that it was mind over matter... he'd play and go great, sound as a dollar for a day or four, and then slowly start gimping again.

                    I experimented and broke the cycle by leaving him out in turnout and riding (light walking) through his gimping... it was very painful to do, for me, riding a gimping horse, but the light consistent exercise helped him finally find a middle ground of NQR but still able to go play. I finally moved him to a place where he could live out 24/7 and he bounced back like magic.

                    Long story, but advanced arthritis in a tricky spot presented as a mystery lameness for me.

                    Oh, and spring was always the worst for us.. the cold wet weather... he faired better in winter than spring. By mid-summer he'd seem nearly sound then start gimping again come October.
                    That's how Gus's stifle arthritis always presented itself... I HATE stifle issues.
                    Proud owner of Gus & Gringo.
                    See G2's blog
                    Photos

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Just to add another variable, my rotated horse presented with off and on lameness.

                      X-rays would be a good idea.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Things to consider...

                        Went through the same thing and was originally misdiagnosed as a suspensory core lesion. After bringing in the university for a 2nd opinion, they found no lesion. When horse went lame again 3 months later, the university vets blocked leg, full xrays of both legs and hooves, and discovered arthritis in both front fetlocks. He already had arthritis in both hocks. We are doing the IRAP procedure and will handle with more turnout, bute when needed, monthly Adequan, and hock injections twice a year. Good luck and if you aren't happy with the first diagnosis, don't hesitate to get another. I spent a lot of $$ and time on the wrong diagnosis and stall rest was the WORST thing for arthritis! Lameness is so very hard to diagnosis.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Before I even got to the end of your post I was thinking about two different horses of mine who have exhibited very similar symptoms and both had abcesses. In both horses it came and went, no heat, no digital pulse, no reaction to hoof tester, etc. I only know what happened because I was able to see where it came out at the coronary band. This is that right time of year for it also.

                          All that said, there are plenty of other possibilities. Based on personal experience, I would urge you to seek a second opinion if you do what your vet recommends and your horse isn't getting better.

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