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What could be wrong with my horse? UPDATE: NO BETTER

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  • What could be wrong with my horse? UPDATE: NO BETTER

    One of my horses came in lame in RH last week. He didn't want to put weight on his heel. No heat or noticable injury to the leg, so I assumed an abscess. I treated accordingly and left him in his stall. Next day he was still lame and he had quite a bit of edema in his leg. I treated with bute, cold hosing, and wrapping for a couple of days. The swelling started to go down, but he still didn't want to bear weight on his heel in his stall. Now, when I took him down to the hose to treat him, he would walk almost normally. Once he was back in his stall though, he pretty much still stood on three legs. My vet was out today and couldn't find an abscess. He wasn't really sure what was going on, so he started him on dex/lasix for the swelling and SMZ/bute. If he is not better by Saturday, we are doing x-rays. Anyone care to guess what may be wrong with him?
    Last edited by caryledee; Mar. 9, 2010, 09:18 AM.

  • #2
    I gather the hoof testers revealed nothing?

    In such case I'll guess a soft tissue injury.

    Jingles for a quick recovery...

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Yes, he showed absolutely nothing to the hoof testers. Wouldn't there be heat somewhere if he had a soft tissue or other injury though? My vet suggested that I turn him out again because he seems to improve when he is walking. I am not comfortable doing that though until we can rule out other injuries.

      Comment


      • #4
        Might be heat you can't feel with your hand. I've got one of these:

        http://www.amazon.com/Raytek-MT4-Non.../dp/B0002198GY

        It measures temperature differences that I can't feel with my hand - sometimes as much as 10deg. F.

        Comment


        • #5
          I would still guess abscess. My mare huge subsolar abscess was not reactive to hoof testers. It was slso in her hind leg. She was non weight bearing for almost two weeks and acted like her leg was broken when she walked. Her muscles were shaking from her trying not to stand on it. We started worrying about founder/laminitis in her other three legs. She stocked up on all four legs. It was bad. We did x-ray to make sure there was no broken coffin bone in there, but nope just a huge gas pocket!

          Finally popped out the cornary band and then a couple weeks later more came out of the sole and she ended up shedding her whole sole off.

          Crazy stuff, so I would still bet its an abscess at this point. Have you been soaking it at all? Or packing it with anything?
          I love cats, I love every single cat....
          So anyway I am a cat lover
          And I love to run.

          Comment


          • #6
            Abcess!
            "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
            ---
            The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Tom-Those thermometers are great! I've been meaning to get one, and that's a really good price from what I have seen.I am still hoping those that are saying it could be an abscess are right!! I have been soaking/ wrapping it, so I will continue. I've been dying to get on this guy; I just got him off the track over the winter. This is going to be the first nice weekend of the year too. It figures.

              Comment


              • #8
                Sounds like a deep abcess, but I would xray if he isn't better or abcess coming out within 10 days or so just to make sure. If he is off the track an abcess would be somewhat "normal" as a lot of the OTTB's I have gotten tend to abcess.
                www.shawneeacres.net

                Comment


                • #9
                  I once had a little mare come in from the pasture dead lame on her LF...no heat/swelling or any sign of trauma or injury.
                  I assumed abcess.

                  She had, in fact, a grade 3, displaced fracture of her elbow.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Mallard View Post
                    I once had a little mare come in from the pasture dead lame on her LF...no heat/swelling or any sign of trauma or injury.
                    I assumed abcess.

                    She had, in fact, a grade 3, displaced fracture of her elbow.
                    How is this pertinent to the OP's case which does have swelling?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by caryledee View Post
                      One of my horses came in lame in RH last week. He didn't want to put weight on his heel. No heat or noticable injury to the leg, so I assumed an abscess. I treated accordingly and left him in his stall. Next day he was still lame and he had quite a bit of edema in his leg.

                      My vet was out today and couldn't find an abscess. He wasn't really sure what was going on, so he started him on dex/lasix for the swelling and SMZ/bute. If he is not better by Saturday, we are doing x-rays. Anyone care to guess what may be wrong with him?
                      Swelling often occurs with an abscess because of the unwillingness to weight the foot and get the requisite circulation going.
                      Not being able to find an abscess isn't very meaningful, since you can't really see them until they're on their way out.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I've had horses with deep abscesses that didn't react to the hoof testers. Does your horse have a digital pulse?

                        If it's an abscess (or I suspected one), I'd start soaking the hoof and encourage movement. Generally bute doesn't help.

                        Good luck!
                        Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                        EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          No digital pulse. Swelling is going down gradually. I did put him back outside yesterday. I have been soaking the foot, but I bought Animalintex yesterday and I am going to start on that today. Once the swelling came down a bit, I found some small scratches on his leg and heel that might have been the cause of the edema. Thanks everyone!

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            So now we've done x-rays. There was one suspicious spot that the vet thought might be an abscess. So he came out today to see if he could relieve the pressure. He dug around for awhile, but couldn't get anything to drain. His next thought was that the celluitis in his leg is causing the lameness, so he started him on IV antibiotics today. I'm sweat wrapping and cold hosing and the swelling has gone down a bit, but his fetlock is still huge and he is going on 2 weeks now without wanting to put weight on his heel. He has lost some weight and the muscle is definitely wasting.

                            Anyone go through anything like this?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Same thing happened to one of mine about a month ago and it turned out to be a suspensory injury or tear of some type. She was also diagnosed DSLD due to the painful palpations over the suspensory branches of all 4 limbs and given her breed, which is known for it.

                              She did not get relief until I started Previcox and support wrapping with really good quilts and elastic trace bandages. Bute was completely ineffective for this - even at 4 grams per day, she got no relief at all.

                              My vet said when a horse is going to the toe and unweighting the heel it is generally abscess or suspensories. She said generally if it's an abscess you can locate it with hoof testers, and there will be heat in the heel bulbs or dorsal wall and digital pulse. My horse had no digitial pulse and no heat but did have swelling, but the swelling took a while to show up. She was also non-reactive to testers. She did not xray because she felt that can be dangerous due to "artifacts" that may show up and be just nothing. The vet will then try to dig around and find something, and end up creating a large wound in the foot unnecessarily. Often you will "see something" on an xray that when re-shot, turns out to be nothing.

                              My horse eventually developed the tell-tale "knee buckling" after maybe 2 weeks. In other words she would unweight the heel and stand on the toe, then the knee would fold up and the leg would buckle. Then she'd put the foot flat on the stall floor, then go to the toe again, then knee buckle.....

                              The vet said that they'll generally quit going to the toe once they have good support wraps on that are properly applied with enough pressure. I called The Harness Shop Online and talked to the owner, who is very knowledgeable about Standardbred racing. They have a lot of soft tissue injuries and he further instructed me on support wrapping a suspensory injury based on its location and severity. I would recommend him as a resource *if* your problem turns out to be suspensory in nature.

                              To get the diagnosis, my vet watched the horse walk, then used hoof testers (negative), then did a flexion test on the limb, which extended her lameness from a grade 2 to a grade 5. Obviously flexions will not make an abscess any worse, so that further solidified that it was in the limb, not the foot. She then began range of motion testing the limb at the elbow, knee, and fetlock, and range of motion was perfect throughout. She then began palpating and the horse was very sore over the suspensory branches. The most affected limb was obviously the most painful, but even mild palpation on the other 3 limbs also showed pain and puffiness. I had suspected this for a while because the horse had gotten "weird" about hoof trimming. She doesn't want her leg grasped, held, or squeezed in any way whatsoever.

                              My horse has been on stall rest and light turnout because she's an old retired plug. If she were a young performance horse looking to return to work, the protocols would be significantly tighter.

                              Just my experience. Not sure if it in any way relates to your horse or not, but wanted to share since what you describe is exactly how my horse presented.

                              Good luck and hang in there.

                              P.S. - I still kept soaking and packing that foot with Animalintex or epsom salts because I still wasn't 100% convinced. However, nothing ever "happened" in the foot. I'm glad I at least tried though because I guess you just never know.
                              Last edited by Auventera Two; Mar. 10, 2010, 05:03 PM.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Xraying is the only thing that will reveal something like a broken or septic coffin bone.
                                "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                                ---
                                The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by EqTrainer View Post
                                  Xraying is the only thing that will reveal something like a broken or septic coffin bone.
                                  Didn't she say xrays showed nothing, really?

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Androcles View Post
                                    Didn't she say xrays showed nothing, really?
                                    Yes, my comment was to A2, whose vet apparently doesn't do xrays because they could be misleading? I am hoping I misunderstood that...
                                    "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                                    ---
                                    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by EqTrainer View Post
                                      Yes, my comment was to A2, whose vet apparently doesn't do xrays because they could be misleading? I am hoping I misunderstood that...
                                      Oh, sorry. ( I didn't, ahem, read A2's, ahem, lengthy post). In the words of Roseann Roseannadann, never mind.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        my vote is soft tissue...if xrays were inconclusive, get out the scanner!
                                        or you could block him to see where he gets sound.
                                        "You can't really debate with someone who has a prescient invisible friend"
                                        carolprudm

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