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Deep flexor tendon injury, rehab & outlook

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  • Deep flexor tendon injury, rehab & outlook

    I may be acquiring an upper-level dressage horse with a deep flexor tendon injury. After six months of combined stall rest and R&R in a pasture, he was ultrasounded last week, and the vet said he may have a lower-level dressage career ahead of him, but no more upper level stuff.

    I realize all horses and situations are different, but what can I expect with a horse who has sustained an injury like this, i.e., is this an area prone to reinjury?

  • #2
    Originally posted by c5rose View Post
    I may be acquiring an upper-level dressage horse with a deep flexor tendon injury. After six months of combined stall rest and R&R in a pasture, he was ultrasounded last week, and the vet said he may have a lower-level dressage career ahead of him, but no more upper level stuff.

    I realize all horses and situations are different, but what can I expect with a horse who has sustained an injury like this, i.e., is this an area prone to reinjury?
    Run away!
    I have been trying to rehab one of those for 2 years for now. Two MRI's, stem cell therary, IRAP and a surgery later, I am very close to the point of giving up and retiring him forever. This injury is very tricky and very prone to reinjuries. Also, there is a big chance of lesions developing between injured tendon and surrounding tissues, and you will have hard time seeing them on ultrasound.
    Even in case the tendon heals, the horse will need corrective shoeing for the rest of his life. That's beyond the fact that you heart will stop every time he gets playful or puts a leg wrong. There will be no turnouts or lunging, long and very careful warmups as cold tendons are more prone to reinjuries.
    I apologize for grim picture, but I would not wish anyone to go through hell I am going right now with my guy. The only difference- he is already mine, and I do what I can as an owner.

    If I were you, I would probably think twice if he were a giveaway, but paying for headache? Not worth it...

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Equus_girl View Post
      Run away!
      I have been trying to rehab one of those for 2 years for now. Two MRI's, stem cell therary, IRAP and a surgery later, I am very close to the point of giving up and retiring him forever. This injury is very tricky and very prone to reinjuries. Also, there is a big chance of lesions developing between injured tendon and surrounding tissues, and you will have hard time seeing them on ultrasound.
      Even in case the tendon heals, the horse will need corrective shoeing for the rest of his life. That's beyond the fact that you heart will stop every time he gets playful or puts a leg wrong. There will be no turnouts or lunging, long and very careful warmups as cold tendons are more prone to reinjuries.
      I apologize for grim picture, but I would not wish anyone to go through hell I am going right now with my guy. The only difference- he is already mine, and I do what I can as an owner.

      If I were you, I would probably think twice if he were a giveaway, but paying for headache? Not worth it...
      Sorry, but that is pretty spot on. Any level of dressage would be strenuous on this type of injury. Pasture puff, sure. Dressage horse- no
      Don't breed- Adopt your steed!
      Mountain View Rescue

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      • #4
        DDFT

        I have a 10 year old mare that put a core lesion in the DDFT and totally ruptured the sheath that runs through the sesmoid bone. 2 years ago this upcoming weekend.

        This was a VERY low bow, just below the fetlock.

        Not that it is the norm, but she is being ridden several times a week and goes out daily in semi private T/O with one other horse. And she plays.....

        She does have corrective shoeing and will for the rest of her life.

        You can manage a DDFT injury if you have to, I already owned the horse. But I don't think that I would buy into one.
        If you can see it, your doing it wrong...

        Comment


        • #5
          3 years ago, my WB took a weird step in a hole while we were cantering and boom...DDFT in the front right leg. did IRAP, ultrasound, rest, all that. he was out of work for 9 months and then came back. i was thrilled. his work (and we brought him back VERY slowly) lasted about 5 months and he was off again. had the MRI and his re-injury was worse than the first.

          i was heartbroken that this injury happened again. i took my chances with only stall rest this time (insurance covered all the rehab stuff the first time only) due to lack of $$ and 9 months later he came back. the good news is that he has been (knock on wood) super sound for almost 2 years. yes, he will be wearing corrective shoeing forever (he's in bar shoes), but since i show at lower, local shows, his steel shoes are not that big of a deal.

          as for buying a horse with DDFT, how long has it been since the injury? is he in normal work now? was he a very expensive horse who is now going to be a 'steal'? i would really think long and hard about purchasing a horse who already had this injury. i went thru this with my horse because i dumped a big bunch of $$ to buy him and i didn't want to not have the horse i wanted/lose my investment. it isn't fun wondering if today is the day that your horse finally breaks. gets worse when you realize you now need another horse in addition to making a game plan for this one.

          remember, if you do buy him, you won't be able to insure the entire leg which has this injury. you must think about the possible $$$ you'll be doling out. i don't say investing because one wrong move and your horse can break.

          i love my WB and trust him and am thankful he came back from 2 DDFT injuries (that is really not the norm) and i ride him (with the exception of how high he jumps...used to be 3'9" now is 2'6") and turn him out the same way as before. i can do it with a clear conscience because i know he is happy, loves his job, and is super sound.

          having said that, i have a young TB on his way up in case the WB breaks. i also have a very good retirement plan for the WB if he does reinjure himself.

          Comment


          • #6
            I have one that tore his deep digital flexor tendon at the region of his fetlock and his collateral ligament. Two years rest and rehabilitation he made it to virtually sound then developed ringbone from his collateral ligament is and could not get him sound he was right back at square one, so we arthrodesed his pastern, I hope he comes sound. Honestly since the diagnoses was made by MRI and my surgeon only did clinical evaluation and no recent nerve blocks I sure hope that tendon is healed!!

            Good luck, I would run away as fast as you can too much heartbreak if they don't stay sound!

            Comment


            • #7
              I've known them to be rehabbed them successfully with stem cells but also know of one that became a pasture ornament and another that was put down.

              Stay away from this one even if it's free.
              "are you yawning? You don't ride well enough to yawn...I can yawn, because I ride better than you, Meredith Michael Beerbaum can yawn, you, not so much..." George Morris in Camden, SC

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              • #8
                I have one success story and one failure. The success was ten more years of showing in hunters after two years of rehab/rest and he's still going strong. I walked on eggshells for all ten years, however. Iced his leg after every time he jumped or went on a long trail ride. If there was even a potential for trouble (deep footing), I would scratch the show. I never did more than two rounds a day at shows and only did one warmup class and my division. I coddled and protected and did all I could. It worked.

                My failure is still happening. We're about to start on year three. Still lame.

                All in all, I'd say run as far as you can as fast as you can. Really. I was incredibly lucky in the first case and I think the second case is far more common.
                R.I.P. Ollie (2007-2010) You were small in stature but huge in spirit. You will never be forgotten.

                Godspeed, Benjamin (1998-2014). A life well-lived. A horse well-loved.

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                • #9
                  I have a lovely broodmare that was given to me with a DDFT injury. She had to be retired from her low level dressage career. Luckily she is a mare with nice bloodlines. She is definitely only pasture sound.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    We had one who recovered completely. His bow happened on a Friday when our other horse kicked him in the leg, so the mechanism of injury was different from most bows. That Monday, I felt like a fool taking him to the vet hospital, as the swelling was gone and he was sound. The deep digital flexor tendon was bowed, so I was glad we went. We did a 6 weeks of paddock rest. He then had a normal ultrasound. Of course nothing is ever that simple. On the re-ultrasound, he was found to have bilateral high suspensory core lesions, which explained why he had been stopping at fences during the month before his injury. Those took 6 months to heal.

                    If the horse you are looking at is not fully healed now, I would be afraid that he isn't going to heal.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      LJC
                      just wondering how high was he jumping b4 the injury? how high now?

                      3

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Two years and counting...rest; stem cell; IRAP; nerving...love the mare, but she went from GP jumper to pasture pet ...

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