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Advice Please? Stuck in the PPE Process

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  • Advice Please? Stuck in the PPE Process

    In June I found the gelding of my dreams. He ticks all the boxes: great conformation, beautiful temperament, and just the ride I'm looking for. I've tried a lot of horses, some of them quite nice, but none I've liked half so much. In early July I drove over 300 miles to be present for a PPE. Before doing anything else, even flexions, the vet wanted to see the horse trot on hard ground. He was obviously short-strided and a bit lame left front, right hind, the diagonal pair. Turns out he had a bad case of thrush (up to the hairline) and also a deep frog bruise. The vet said he didn't want to see the gelding again until he had been in full work and could trot sound.

    I said okay, let's give him time to heal and do the PPE again in a month. So the next PPE is happening five days from now, and I'm concerned that he may not pass again. I made the 300-mile trip, looked at the thrush situation and had my hoof-expert friend look too. While the thrush got treated aggressively at first (at least if the trainer's reports are accurate), little if anything seems to have been done recently. Even so, the thrush is somewhat better. The bruise is better too, no doubt about that, but I can't swear it's fully healed. I also can't say for sure that the horse has been "in full work," since I haven't been present to verify.

    So for the second time the PPE may not go farther than the trot test. I've heard of PPE's in which X-ray results raise red flags for one vet but not for another, so third and even fourth opinions are sought. But never anything like this.

    What would you do if the horse doesn't trot sound the second time--call it quits and walk? Or wait and try again? Or...?

  • #2
    Before you even schedule the second PPE, have them trot the horse and video it. They can send you the video. Then you can see for yourself and decide about the timing of the second PPE.

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    • #3
      Insist on Coppertox daily applied until the PPE. If he is still
      unsound, I’d walk.

      ETA- agree with above, I didn’t mention it because I read your post that you’re already there in town for the second PPE. I may have read it wrong.
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      • #4
        Yeah I would delay the PPE and get him sound trotting before coming out there for it. If they can't get him sound, he's not for you. I say this having just spent $10K on PPEs with three horses who failed and one who passed. I feel you.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by lintesia View Post
          Before you even schedule the second PPE, have them trot the horse and video it. They can send you the video. Then you can see for yourself and decide about the timing of the second PPE.
          This, don’t spend more money with the PPE vet til you have satisfactory video showing the horse is ready. I’d say ask for u/s video too but it would be hard to tell when it was taken. If they send you video and you resume the PPE, I would pull blood and I’d probably test it for NSAIDs just to be safe. It’s amazing what gets disclosed when you tell them you are pulling blood . . .

          i feel your pain, I spent thousands on failed PPEs when I last shopped, and it’s heartbreaking when you really like the horse!

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          • Original Poster

            #6
            I've requested and received video of horse trotting (no rig, just harness and longe line). Original vet says no improvement; my own vet says he doesn't see anything to be concerned about, but adds that even good-quality video isn't enough--he needs to see the horse go in person, and defers to the original vet who has seen the horse in the flesh, so to speak. So I'm going ahead with the next PPE, if for no other reason than the fact that I'm here, and if it gets me nothing except another $500 vet bill, at least it should show the trainer/agent for the sale that he'd better get serious about getting the gelding sound.

            Question: With consistent treatment, how long might it take to knock out bad thrush? How long to cure a bad frog bruise--any general ideas? I'm just wondering if a month should be long enough, because that's how long it's been since the first PPE. Oh, and I'm definitely pulling blood!

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            • #7
              A bruise can easily take a month to heal, more if the horse has overgrown bars that are continually bruising the foot.

              How do you know it is only a bruise? Was the horse sound when you first tried him? If so,how did he get bruised during the time between your ride and the PPE?

              Honestly, a diagnosis of thrush can mask a more serious problem like navicular or a rotated coffin bone or a persistent soft tissue injury. A horse can be lame from severe thrush. But horse can also be lame from something else, yet also have some thrush symptoms. If the owners/sellers can't or won't get the thrush under control in a month, if the horse went suddenly lame after your trial ride, I would start to suspect that there is another injury there.

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              • #8
                Sounds suspicious. The husbandry of the caretakers of a horse with bad enough thrush to make horse lame are pretty questionable. And, sounds like they haven’t been invested in correcting the situation. Makes me wonder what else they know about the foot and aren’t disclosing. The cynical part of me says walk, this isn’t going to go well. I’m sorry you are going through this. Horse shopping is so frustrating (and expensive).

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                • #9
                  It sounds like you are trying to buy a lame horse. Think about it this way... best case scenario, you will do entire prepurchase, there will be a few things (minimally) in the xrays because there always are. To me, that’s the point where you look at the actual horse standing in front of you and make a decision. I expect to find things in a vet check, and when buying for myself, do not let xray findings deter me from buying a sound horse that has consistently performed at or above the level I need. Vet the horse like we vet horses in Europe, have the clinical videoed and sent to your vet. Having said that, I would walk away. Sounds like heartbreak waiting to happen.
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                  • #10
                    Is this horse so cheap that it is worth buying while lame?

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                    • #11
                      If he was actually lame from thrush, they would have treated the horse aggressively.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I would be willing to bet there's more than thrush and a stone bruise going on. I know it's hard because you do get attached, but this horse is already screaming maintenance.

                        Finding something in a PPE in an otherwise sound horse is normal

                        Finding a horse lame and looking for reasons for it to be sound is not something I would want to play with. It's the what if game, isn't it?

                        Perhaps there's a reason he's got a good price tag.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The vet's advice is very good. Wait until the horse is going sound, then do a PPE. That's because the PPE ends at the point the vet sees the horse is lame. A PPE is not a diagnostic exam like you would have as an owner, where you get to the bottom of the problem. A PPE continues until the vet finds something that makes the prospective buyer go "hmmmm..."

                          If the horse is head bobbing lame or even "slightly ouchy" then there is no point doing a PPE because the prosepctive buyer can already see the problem without paying a vet.

                          If a vet is given an excuse by a seller why the horse is lame, he isn't going to go on and do a diagnostic exam for the buyer. He also isn't going to argue with the seller. He's going to say exactly what OP's vet did. Very diplomatically say, call me back when the horse has the appearance of going totally sound.

                          Now if the seller called a vet in to do a full diagnostic workup, then that vet would be in the position to say "you have thrush masking navicular" or "you have thrush so bad the horse's feet are falling apart" or whatever the case may be.

                          Is the horse shod or barefoot?

                          IME, barefoot horses are more sensitive to thrush than shod horses. It would have to be some major case of thrush to make a shod horse sore. On the other hand, barefoot horses are very prone to "imaginary thrush." This is my name for when a barefoot trimmer overpromises on his skills and can't get the horse "gravel crunching sound" without shoes or boots, but then blames all the soundness problems on thrush, when there is none.

                          Also, I would really hesitate to buy a horse with "really bad thrush up to the hairline." Does that mean the entire hoof wall is compromised? In my book, that would be white line disease that eats up the connection between inner and outer hoof walls. It can be difficult to treat and it will take a year to grow out.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            No foot, no horse. Walk away. In my experience with thrush, daily treatment with Tomorrow” or thrush buster put in as deep as possible on a cotton ball and it is under control very quickly. I am shocked the sellers did not get it under control. What else do they cut corners on?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Limerick2017 View Post
                              No foot, no horse. Walk away. In my experience with thrush, daily treatment with Tomorrow” or thrush buster put in as deep as possible on a cotton ball and it is under control very quickly. I am shocked the sellers did not get it under control. What else do they cut corners on?
                              Honestly, I'm reading this whole story as thrush being the excuse used to mask an underlying more serious problem.

                              Anyone who had a horse for sale that was "lame from thrush" would move heaven and earth to get that horse cured so he could be sold. Also thrush just doesn't come on that fast, so if the horse was OK when the OP did a trial ride, it is unlikely he suddenly got thrush to the point of visible lameness in the week or so (I assume) it took to get the the PPE arranged.

                              If you do move forward on this horse, get blood drawn and ask specifically about medications and maintenance. If the horse has navicular for instance, he might be given a bunch of painkillers for the PPE.

                              Who are the sellers? If there is a trainer or agent involved, then I would suspect someone not being entirely honest about the situation. If the horse is being sold by a clueless ammie, I certainly have seen folks dither about thinking thrush is the problem when it is something else, or indeed vice versa.

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                              • #16
                                You aren’t talking about differing opinions on x rays though. You are talking about a lame horse with the advanced thrush excuse, which equals bad management.

                                Then you let the seller send you another video of the horse going sound? Yeah I’d believe that....

                                Bought most of mine without a PPE but they were in full work and they weren’t lame.
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                                • #17
                                  agree with others that the intractable thrush may be the outward sign of a bigger problem starting with basic hoof anatomy. Proceed no further without excellent foot rads
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                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by hoopoe View Post
                                    agree with others that the intractable thrush may be the outward sign of a bigger problem starting with basic hoof anatomy. Proceed no further without excellent foot rads
                                    This ^^ Persistent thrush can mean the hoof is out of balance, and if that's the case it could be as simple as needing a shoeing change and better management to as complicated as causing an underlying soft tissue injury, which is one possible reason you could be seeing lameness. Even if you love the horse, you don't want to cross over into doing a lameness exam on a horse you don't own!

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                                    • #19
                                      would anyone be amenable to you "leasing" the horse so that you and your team can see to the management/treatment?
                                      Let me apologize in advance.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Scribbler View Post
                                        A bruise can easily take a month to heal, more if the horse has overgrown bars that are continually bruising the foot.

                                        How do you know it is only a bruise? Was the horse sound when you first tried him? If so,how did he get bruised during the time between your ride and the PPE?

                                        Honestly, a diagnosis of thrush can mask a more serious problem like navicular or a rotated coffin bone or a persistent soft tissue injury. A horse can be lame from severe thrush. But horse can also be lame from something else, yet also have some thrush symptoms. If the owners/sellers can't or won't get the thrush under control in a month, if the horse went suddenly lame after your trial ride, I would start to suspect that there is another injury there.
                                        This. All of this. I’d also add that being sore can affect how a horse behaves under saddle. You may have heard the old horse adage that “A horse isn’t quite until it’s fat and quite.”

                                        I’d argue a horse also can’t be considered quiet until it’s sound and quite. You don’t want to end up with a horse that’s only pleasant when he’s got a bad case of thrush, so if they won’t get it cleared up for you I’d reconsider doing business with this barn.

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