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Mystery Lameness

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  • Mystery Lameness

    Trying to figure out what is causing lameness on right front. Rode last Saturday morning. Popped over a few 2’ jumps. Nothing unusual occurred. He went back in stall. When pulled out of the stall for turnout about 5pm very lame right front. He walks and stands on the foot no problem, no pointing the toe. No reaction with hoof testers. Blacksmith found nothing in the foot. No heat or swelling anywhere. He walks very short on the right front. He puts weight on the foot but doesn’t extend the shoulder forward so that the step is very short. With turnout or tack walking he gets better but stall time makes worse. Oddly enough he’s more sound at the trot than the walk. I can walk him for 20 min and he will look 85% better but if I let him stand a minute and then walk off he gimps again for 10 or 12 steps. NSAID didn’t improve much. Turnout and 2 doses of robaxin he was sound. Stopped robaxin. Sound for 2-3 days. Yesterday 100% sound per vet. Vet examined head to toe. She did say he looked a little tight in his jaw and he needs teeth done. He is just due for teeth as they were done last July. Blacksmith came to shoe as he was due this week. No issues, 100% sound. Turned out after being shod. sound when brought in this morning. I pulled out of stall today and back to square one lame. He hasn’t been ridden since Monday, just turnout about 18 hours a day. Blacksmith came back out to recheck the foot and found nothing.

    Also of note, About 2 months ago he had exact same issue but on left front. I gave robaxin and had chiropractor adjust him because I suspected maybe he had Wrenched something being a ding dong in the paddock. I tack walked him for 30 minutes a day and same thing occurred in that he got better with moving. Resolved completely in a week and no issue until now.

    the being more sound at the trot is very puzzling to me🤔

  • #2
    Sounds like a small but present soft tissue injury in both fronts, maybe DDFT strain? Sometimes lame in both fronts can look kind of sound until on is worse than the other. I would suggest working him until the lameness becomes more "present" so you can get the vet out to block and diagnose it. Sometimes when you give a horse a few days off before the vet, they seem "better" and in fact ARE a little better--just better enough not to get results from a visual vet exam.
    "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"


    • #3
      Do you want to post some video of the walk and the trot? Some posters on here are amazing at pinpointing where lameness is coming from.


      • #4
        Originally posted by HLMom View Post
        Do you want to post some video of the walk and the trot? Some posters on here are amazing at pinpointing where lameness is coming from.
        This. In hand, straight line and on a circle. Under saddle straight line and on a circle. I also like to see a rider switch diagonals while maintaining direction, but that's more important with hind end issues. Might give some insight if it’s a back thing though.


        • Original Poster

          Unfortunately I’m only able to get video in round pen as I’m by myself. He’s not very cooperative when I try to video while I’m leading. I haven’t figured out how to upload video to this forum. Straight from my phone is not in a compatible format.


          • #6
            Even a video on the lunge will help. Or, if you get that desperate, make him trot around the paddock.

            While not very common, a horse can be more lame at the walk vs a trot because in the walk, one leg will bear the weight of the full body during the loading phase. Whereas in a trot, the legs work in diagonal pairs -- which is why sometimes you will see bilateral unsoundness at the trot even when only one leg is lame.

            However, some discomforts and lameness can manifest in such a way that at the trot, the striding is equally short because the horse is equally uncomfortable on both legs: which can create the false impression that the horse is "sound" because there is no obvious limp. Keep that in mind.

            There could be tons of reasons, without a video, can't be much help.. but why robaxin vs something else, like bute? Robaxin is not cheap in the scheme of things (compared to bute) and not as effective for general pain management. Robaxin would only target inflammation of the muscles, as far as I know -- not a vet. Your vet really could not see anything? Did you do any flexions or block the leg?

            I would suspect possibly shoulder given some of what you supplied.. but a video would be much more help.
            Last edited by beowulf; Aug. 6, 2019, 09:29 AM.
            AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012


            • Original Poster

              I did nsaid first but not any notable improvement. Gave robaxin evening and the next morning then he was sound. Didn’t give anything for a few days and all seemed well. By the weekend back to lame. Gave nothing but turned out in paddock overnight and next morning 80% better. I’m suspecting something neck or shoulder related. Being in stall seems to aggravate whatever is going on.

              Working on figuring how to post video


              • #8
                Stop medication and when the horse presents as sore, get the vet out. They need to see him at his worse. If this is shoulder or neck, it my get challenging to diagnose. Your vet may need several looks or you may need to get a lameness specialist
                -- * > hoopoe
                Procrastinate NOW
                Introverted Since 1957


                • Original Poster


                  the video on the grass is from the first day of lameness 7/27, but demonstrates what he’s gone back and forth from over the last 7 or 8 days. Had nsaid (7/27) Saturday evening and Sunday with minimal improvement. He also stayed in Saturday night with limited turnout on Sunday. Sunday night turnout overnight. Monday had robaxin in evening and again Tuesday morning. Significant improvement. Tuesday-Friday sound. Vet and farrier evaluated Friday. Vet only found he needs teeth done. Farrier found nothing. Had acupuncture and reshod on Friday. He was due for shoeing. No issues while being shod. Saturday (8/3) back to being as lame as previous saturday. Sunday improved. Today still improving but still short step on right front coming out of stall. Video in round pen is today. Has not had any meds since last Tuesday.




                  • #10
                    OP.. nice horse.

                    Time to get the vet out, for some flexions for that RF - he clearly does not want to extend the front limb. Keep an eye on his LH (white) hind though, he is hiking his hip and his tail is turned to the side.

                    It is hard to tell without being there, and seeing and feeling -- sometimes, a niggling front lameness like that where the horse does not want to extend is something related to the coffin bone.. other times its an extensor tendon issue, or shoulder/elbow issue -- you won't know much without more definitive diagnostics.
                    AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012


                    • #11
                      He is a nice horse. He looks very sore and stiff all over to me. I sometimes agree with beowulf that he looks short RF. I also think sometimes he looks stiff in the hind. I am going to again say he may have low level but persistent lameness in both fronts that is causing a lot of compensation/body soreness. He looks somewhat like my horse who had small but nonetheless painful strain on both front feet.
                      "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"


                      • #12
                        My only contribution is to say, OP that is a beautiful horse. You did a good job getting some video of him, too. Please keep us posted.


                        • #13
                          My $ have too much changing in too short of a time frame to really get a feel for what's going on. He's had NSAIDs, Robaxin, turnout, no turnout, new shoes, and acupuncture all in a little over week, with lameness that's come and gone and come again.

                          You need to pick a plan and stick to it for a while to really see what's going on. If you change too much at once you can't pinpoint the cause of improvement or regression.

                          If you're going to have the vet look at him, wait until he's visibly sore. I've had vets tell me to work them for a week until the issue becomes more apparent rather than wasting their time with sub-clinical presentations that are very expensive to track down. Presenting them with sound horse that was lame last week is just a useless bill you have to pay now.

                          In the roundpen, to me it looks like front feet with the right being worse, which would tend to be supported by being sore the day after being shod. If it's both front feet he could definitely look sounder at the trot. However, Robaxin shouldn't improve front foot soreness like it seemed to earlier in the week, and being better after turnout also suggests muscle vs foot or soft tissue.

                          At this point personally, I'd keep him off all meds and keep him on turnout to see what happens. If he's not very sore looking, I'd also ride him lightly.

                          The goal is to have a consistent set of days where nothing changes and to either encourage the soreness to present more specifically (without risking a big injury) or have it improve into a non-issue that you chalk up to one of those things.

                          You can choose the program based on what feels right to you, but it's far more valuable to present a clearly sore horse and say "he's been off all meds and just gotten small paddock turnout so he can move around for 1 week. Light riding seemed to make it worse, so I rode him last night" rather than "he's had this, this, this, this and sometimes he's sore and sometimes he's not."

                          Try to collect the data and patterns with consistency, and change only one thing at a time so you know that it was the turnout that improved it vs the robaxin (or whatever).

                          You have to be intelligent with this approach...this is meant to help pinpoint mildly sore horses, and you need to be thorough enough to catch mild swelling in a suspensory or heat in a foot or something that could indicate a real issue that could get worse real fast. If it's mild and you don't want to risk major injury, control the approach by either eliminating turnout or by using a small paddock. But this is extremely valuable to help figure out a mild or mystery lameness without blocking every limb.

                          Jennifer Baas
                          It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. (Aristotle)


                          • #14
                            Have you taken any x rays at all? When the vet found he only needed dental work did they do observation at all gaits both ways and flexions?

                            Have seen this type lameness with ringbone and sidebone as far as sore the first few steps on the RF and the shorter step that does not react to hoof testers But compensatory lameness there for something else might be occurring or he’s off from compensating for the RF everywhere else which clouds the issue. He also could have bi lateral involvement and both feet are sore so the limp is not obvious.

                            Agree he needs to come off everything and be allowed to move around and work enough to get sore enough to help pinpoint the source. Sounds barbaric but horses can’t talk and just tell us. It’s the only way they can answer our question about where it hurts.
                            When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                            The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


                            • #15
                              Heel pain and shoulder pain can look similar. Heel pain and the toe first hoof landing that it causes can actually cause shoulder pain because of how the impact is spread up the leg.
                              I’ve gone rounds with bilateral heel pain/negative palmar angle and vets telling me “that’s just how this horse moves”. And once I figured out what was happening it was relatively easy to fix with correct trimming and rehab.

                              You know the saying “When you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” My experience might color my opinion, but I would start at the back of that right front and block your way up one section at a time.


                              • #16
                                I would say based of the trot video that your trouble is mostly in the LH.

                                For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. The LH has a very stabbing short gait and the hind end is arrhythmic which can be seen in the walk.

                                it is not unusual to have the diagonal leg go off as well and it would not surprise me for RF to also be in trouble due to loading. The wry tail adds to the likelihood you have A LR problem, either in the leg or sacrum.

                                stop the drugs let the horse get "bad" and call out the best lameness vet you can
                                -- * > hoopoe
                                Procrastinate NOW
                                Introverted Since 1957


                                • Original Poster

                                  He hasn’t had any medication in 7 days. Vet coming out tomorrow. Will see if he’s off enough to do a block. I did ride him today just to push him a bit. I haven’t been able to tend to him the way I normally would due to work being crazy busy the last 2 weeks and having a sick toddler. I wasn’t able to be there when vet or blacksmith came but they both seem as puzzled as I am with his lameness. Unfortunately my vet for 20 yrs has retired so I’m still in the trying out other vets stage while going through all this.

                                  After riding today, I went over all 4 limbs very carefully and I think he had a little heat in the outside of the left hind. He felt very lame again at the walk. Trot and canter seemed ok. He’s getting to be a bit fresh so I dread the thought of him needing any amount of stall rest. He gets bored very easily and becomes destructive even if he has a few days off. He’s a horse that loves to be in work. Thank you all for the feedback.


                                  • #18
                                    Can you please update us after the vet visit? We seldom get any closure plus it increases everybody’s knowledge to see a video then learn the diagnosis.
                                    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


                                    • Original Poster


                                      Updated video with right front blocked


                                      • Original Poster


                                        right front blocked