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Radial nerve paralysis

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  • Radial nerve paralysis

    Can anyone who has had expereience with radial nerve paralysis chime in here with recovery time lines, and if recovery was complete?

    One of my training horses (absentee owner) came in from turn out last night dragging a front leg. I had seen this (the paralysis) one other time and recognized it, immediately called the vet & he came right over. We ran DMSO & Dex & gave banamine IV. I've got him in support wraps & we're keeping him as immobile as possible. Scott (my vet) is going to brave the impending snowstorm later to come back out & dose him again. It did not appear to have an associated fracture and loading/trailering with the weather conditions the way they are is too risky so we'll treat him here.

    I was afraid he'd get down overnight and not be able to get up so I got up to check him every few hours. Luckily he stayed on his feet (smart boy).

    The horse I had years ago made a complete recovery and IIRC, in relatively short order. If anyone else has experience with this I'd appreciate your story.

  • #2
    unfortunately my experience did not have a happy ending, hd a TB stallion with a pasture injury cause this condition. He could not handle the pain and nothing was really helping. He wanted to spend most of his time laying down. We ended up having to put him down.


    • #3
      The three I have dealt with do not have a happy ending either. One never regained movement in his foreleg before the owner's designated cut off date (and they gave him a LONG time). The other two foundered in their off leg.
      Only two emotions belong in the saddle: One is a sense of humor. The other is patience.


      • #4
        Electroacupuncture may help.
        "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

        ...just settin' on the Group W bench.


        • #5
          All three I dealt with were getting electroacupuntcure. The 2 that foundered were also getting Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy.
          Only two emotions belong in the saddle: One is a sense of humor. The other is patience.


          • Original Poster

            Originally posted by Ghazzu View Post
            Electroacupuncture may help.
            My vet wants to give this 3 days of hitting it hard with IV anti-inflammatories before doing any sort of massage/acupuncture/electrostimulation.

            My major worry is attempting to transport right now--we have a bunch of snow & though I've dug out from round 1, round 2 is happening right now. With that LF being only able to work in a columnar support I'm afraid to trailer on iffy roads and chance tipping him over in the trailer and doing even more damage.

            Ghazzu--in your experience when is the best time to use the electroacupunture?

            I'm hoping that improved control of the leg this AM and a continued lack of showing pain is a good sign.... He was trotting around playing and sound yesterday at about 4, my feeder called me at 5:30 to tell me he was injured. Ironically I was at the grocery buying stuff to make spaghetti--now my barn smells very garlic'y!


            • #7
              I've had two....

              And both made a full recovery with stall rest and then six months 24/7 turn out. Both returned to full work and showed no lameness or atrophy after being put back into work.
              "Over the Hill?? What Hill, Where?? I don't remember any hill!!!" Favorite Tee Shirt


              • #8
                Doesn't it depend very much on what the injury is?? I mean, if its a neruopathy from a spinal injury, that's a whole lot different than trauma to the nerve in the leg its self, and why its happening - was the nerve severed? Cut? Or is it because tissues around the nerve are injured and swollen and when the swelling around the nerve goes down the nerve will function well again? I mean, unless I am missting the actual diagnosis, I don't think that was given...
                Airborne? Oh. Yes, he can take a joke. Once. After that, the joke's on you.


                • #9
                  No additional ideas, but lots of vibes for your guy. ~~~~
                  HR/MPL Clique

                  "I am villifying you - for God's sake, pay attention!" - Peter O'Toole as Henry II, The Lion in Winter


                  • Original Poster

                    Originally posted by AnotherRound View Post
                    Doesn't it depend very much on what the injury is?? I mean, if its a neruopathy from a spinal injury, that's a whole lot different than trauma to the nerve in the leg its self, and why its happening - was the nerve severed? Cut? Or is it because tissues around the nerve are injured and swollen and when the swelling around the nerve goes down the nerve will function well again? I mean, unless I am missting the actual diagnosis, I don't think that was given...
                    We believe it is caused by blunt force trauma to the shoulder, but cannot be sure as there is no obvious point of impact--no swelling, no hair missing. He is not sore over his withers/heck, but shows some reaction in his pectorals & scapula. The best case scenerio is that the swelling is around the nerve & as it goes down full function will return--and I am going to keep my hopes up for that one!

                    I was just hoping for additional information from people who had experience with this injury as I remember distinctly the presentation in my previous exposure to this but couldn't remember the time line--that horse was laid down for a simple surgical proceedure & got up and was completely lame. Talk about freaked out...

                    At any rate, my vet is very thorough in providing best and worst case scenerios & I just wanted to get some other input.

                    Hopefully this horse will come right--he is an absolute sweetheart and a lovely guy.


                    • #11
                      PM Tuppysmom-- Sara's Rolex and **** horse El Primero suffered a radial nerve paralysis injury a few years ago, we thought we would lose him, he completely recovered and is back comepting at the **** level, and is headed for a 4th run at Rolex this year!!!! All this happened one winter and the next spring he ran around Rolex and was one of only 6 double clear XC rounds that year!!!
                      The only difference between a runaway and a fast gallop is nothing but a SMILE
                      Most horses cross the Rainbow Bridge, but TEDDY JUMPED IT!!!
                      Member of the COTH Enabler Clique


                      • #12
                        My Shetland's newborn foal suffered this type of injury when he was only a couple of days old. We're not sure how it happened; it could've been any sort of little accident. He was TINY, weighed about 45 pounds at birth, which was normal for his breed, but it doesn't take much to hurt a critter that small. It was really pretty sad to watch him hopping around, and after only 3-4 days the opposing front leg was starting to look crooked. In desperation I had acupuncture done, along with topical DMSO/steroids. Within 4-5 more days (I have a hard time remembering exact time frames now) the colt was as good as new, never had a bit of trouble thereafter.
                        Click here before you buy.


                        • #13
                          Two horses were in a trailer wreck many years ago, one a world champion cutter and came out of it ok, except that one hit her shoulder and dragged that leg.
                          The vet worked on that and after three months, she was back in light work and later continued to compete.

                          She needed to be managed carefully, the diagnosis was sweeny, where she would get stiff and sore if she was hauled too long or not kept exercised regularly.

                          Look what I found, some of this may help your horse:



                          • Original Poster

                            Well, we've got a case of so good so far--he is now able to bring his leg forward, though still slow at the toe. We'll hope for continued improvement through Friday & if it continues to look good we'll take him out and walk. He continues to exhibit no pain.

                            I am really relieved to see this kind of improvement! The one I had before came back 100%, but I've known two really super horses that developed sweeney from this were done.

                            The barn sure is fragrant, though! I can put as much garlic as I want in my spaghetti, no one will be able to tell.


                            • #15
                              Splash was 9 when he had a pasture accident. He actually knocked himself out for a few moments. We ran DMSO, steroids and banamine IV within 2 hours of injury. When he was stable, we took him to the Vet clinic for evaluation. Started electroacupuncture within 2 weeks. The good news is, he'll be 19 this year. The bad news is, he never recovered completely. He is happy and fat and retired but was never ridden after that day.

                              \"If you are going through hell, keep going.\" ~Churchill~


                              • #16
                                My vet secured a total recovery in the shoulder of a horse owned by a nationally advertised ambulance chaser Talk about pressure...that was due to him getting kicked in turnout. The horse, not the lawyer.


                                • #17
                                  El Primero suffered a radial nerve injury while on his rest break after his first long format CCI ****, AKA Rolex.

                                  We had him in the vet hospital as soon as he was discovered. He could not advance his RF. We tied a rope to the pastern to move it for him to get him into the hospital stall. A splint was built that extended from his elbow to the ground.

                                  He was not tolerant of the splint and broke three in the first 24 hours. He was combative and difficult to help. He was on IV DMSO and I don't remember what else.

                                  Day 3 he began to founder on his LF although he was in blue boards and other means to help support that leg.

                                  Day 4 he was in so much pain that we discussed the big E. That evening he laid down and stayed down for most of the next week or so. This saved his life. He did get up to poop and pee, but spent the majority of his time flat on his side.

                                  DD did not visit him because he would stand up when he knew she was around. It nearly killed us to stay away, but we did for 2 weeks.

                                  At 2 weeks we took him home. He could sort of support himself, but could not lock his knee or move his leg except to kind of throw it forward from his shoulder. He wasn't able to walk with the leg, but he could hop and flop the leg.

                                  The hospital tried electo stim, but he was very adament that there would be no electro stim of any type. He chased the vet, tech, and therapist from his stall with Kill in his mind.

                                  We were fighting the LF the whole time and experimented with different means of supporting the coffin bone. We had to apply things to this foot while he was lying down as he could not support his weight otherwise.

                                  At 1 month he could move the leg on his own, but the foot was not trustworthy to turn over at the right time and so movement was awkward. His knee would shake.

                                  At about 60 days he was hand walking with a human ankle weight on the bad leg and blue board and Boa Boot on the bad foot. It was a catch 22 with the need to walk with weight and the need to be still for the foundered foot. We added weight to the leg at intervals. and reshod the LF often.

                                  I suppose the fact that he was living in 2 inches of snow and walking in snow helped to keep the bad foot cold and maybe reduce the inflamation in the bad foot. I do not know.

                                  I just know that my DH spent hours hand walking him with weight in the weak leg. They took long hikes through the neighboorhood. We all took turns with stretching the leg and treating the foundered foot.

                                  Our farrier built a number of shoes for him hoping to find something that would be comfortable for him.

                                  We did a ton of rads to track the coffin bone as it rotated and sunk......

                                  He left for FL on Dec 20 having not yet jumped a jump.

                                  He lost about a third of his hoof capsule at Fork in the CIC*** and ended up in Sigafoos shoes for the remainder of the year. Thank you to Mary.

                                  He went to Rolex in May and finished xc within the time won the "Best conditioned horse award".

                                  We keep track of the LF and he just today had new rads of both fronts to see how things are going. It looks great, and so we are a go for 2010. The RF which had the radial nerve damage has not caused any trouble after that first year.

                                  This horse does not owe us a thing and if he never jumps another jump it is OK.

                                  Good Luck with your horse. I hope that you have as good of an outcome as we have had.
                                  Last edited by tuppysmom; Feb. 10, 2010, 11:05 AM. Reason: spelling error


                                  • #18
                                    My gelding did radial and other nerve damage in a pasture crash a few years ago.
                                    Electrostimulation/acupuncture is pretty much the only reason he can walk without dragging his toe. My guy never completely recovered but he reovered enougth to be rideable and happy and it is pretty clear that he either completely severed or crushed one of the major nerves in his shoulder and so that was never going to recover. His case was fairly extreme and he needed a cast to prevent contracture and was completely non-weightbearing on that leg for 30 days (miracle that he did not founder).
                                    My recollection of what I was told about the electro-stim timing was that the sooner the better the results and it was not likely to be helpful outside of a 2 month (?) window after the accident (although that was incorrect in my guy's case- it did help outisde the traditional window). I doubt going with drugs for a few days first, especially since he is already showing improvement, will hurt chances of nerve recovery using electro-stim but I am no expert.
                                    good luck!
                                    There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.(Churchill)


                                    • #19

                                      I have not had a horse with this problem, but sending jingles and prayers from KY, for a full recovery.

                                      Our weather stinks, too.
                                      When in Doubt, let your horse do the Thinking!


                                      • #20
                                        Ghazzu--in your experience when is the best time to use the electroacupunture?

                                        Relatively early on, though I think that waiting for any acute swelling, etc. is wise.

                                        Sounds like your guy maybe slipped and stretched the brachial plexus with the swollen pectorals?
                                        "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

                                        ...just settin' on the Group W bench.