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Bone Chips...?

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  • Bone Chips...?

    About 2 weeks ago my horse starting acting out pretty badly while being worked, my friend and I found a lump on his leg figured he whacked it on something being goofy in the field, gave him some bute a few days off and figured he would be fine. A week or so later we tried riding him again and he was worse, ok so it's time to call the vet. Vet came out yesterday watched horse lunge, flex him and decide it's his Right hind leg that is injured. Comes back out today with x-ray equipment and we find a bone chip on his right hind hock . So now he's laid up for 4-6 weeks. My question is who has experience with bone chips and how their horse came back from them, also did you get any inferred laser treatment or something of those sorts and did it help?
    TIA for your help Sincerely,
    Concerned mommy

  • #2
    Is your horse only on stall rest and not having the chip taken out surgically?

    In my experience you generally need to have it taken out (once it starts irritating the horse) in order to get them sound again, I suppose depending on exactly what you want to do with the horse. But once the chip is out, depending on the exact location and how much cartilage is damaged in surgery, whether or not the bone surrounding the chip is healthy, and whether or not it is a weight bearing surface etc. the horses usually go completely sound.

    My horse had a bone chip taken out of his ankle in January and while we've been having some other, (unrelated) issues, he is completely sound on the ankle.

    He had just a little bit of cartilage damage and the area was not a weight bearing surface so the prognosis was very good. The only other treatment he had was a cortisone (I think...) injection in the ankle at a check-up because the ankle was retaining some swelling during stall rest. Now that he's back outside we've had no issues whatsoever.
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    • #3
      Prognosis and treatment depends greatly on the location of the chip, and on how much cartiledge went with it (something you can't xray)

      I am guessing that the horse is sore from more than just the chip; there was likely soft tissue damage done at the same time as the chip was created.

      I have a mare that got a chip in her ankle when she was 6. She is now 16 and just this year needed her ankle injected. its location is such that it just didn't cause an issue or the last 10 years.

      Without more info on the location, or knowing what else was damaged/affected, it is really hard to know what the implications are, or what treatments may help.
      Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


      • Original Poster

        I really wish I had the x-rays to post but it just seems to be a slight calcium build up behind his Right hind Hock area, vet did not mention anything about surgery and said time would really be the only thing to heal it. So I assume this means it is not that seriously damaged.


        • #5
          Originally posted by blondebates View Post
          I really wish I had the x-rays to post but it just seems to be a slight calcium build up behind his Right hind Hock area, vet did not mention anything about surgery and said time would really be the only thing to heal it. So I assume this means it is not that seriously damaged.
          So the chip broke off? Or it's still attached (with crack or something, maybe)? If it is a slight calcium build up that is still attached something like shockwave (which is sometimes used on painful calcification on the splint) can encourage it to remodel to be smoother and therefore less (or not) painful.

          If it's broken off I suppose it depends a lot on the specific horse, but my only personal experience is that they need to be taken out.
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          • Original Poster

            it is definitely broken off


            • #7
              I'd get a second opinion....my experience is surgery is usually the answer.


              • #8
                Can you take him to UF vet school for a second opinion?
                "You can't really debate with someone who has a prescient invisible friend"


                • #9
                  Definitely need a 2nd opinion. I can't imagine this magically improving w/o surgery.
                  Show me your horse and I will tell you who you are.


                  • #10
                    in my experience chips need to be removed. And the sooner they are removed the better; I had one that I left a month before removal, and he had a lot longer lay-up because of additional damage the chip (actually a larger piece of bone) did prior to removal. But after removal, the horse came along fine, and was sound again.


                    • #11
                      I would talk to the vet again and get all the information you can regarding the chip.

                      From what info you have provided I am assuming that the vet has diagnosed an OCD lesion.

                      Good news is that this is one of the best places to have a chip, if there is anything good to be said about a chip, as it has the best prognosis of all chips due to the structure of the hock.

                      Generally surgery is recommended to remove the chip, but if the fragment is still attached, which can still cause pain, it is often left to heal back to the bone with a significant amount of stall or paddock rest.

                      I would assume, since the vet has not recommended surgery, or diagnosed it as career ending, that it is a an attached fragment that he believes will grow back into the bone with the suspension of training. In which case the prognosis, if the appropriate treatment is adhered to, is very good for a full recovery.

                      I would certainly ask more questions of the vet to find out where you are though.

                      best of luck!


                      • #12
                        You need to talk to a good Ortho...spurs don't break off and a chip is a chip not a rough area that broke off.

                        He may have had the chip all along and this new soft tissue irritation just gave you a chance to x-ray and find it.

                        Depending on the chips relationship to the joint it may very well not require surgery especially in the hock.

                        Knees are the most frequant joint that requires chip surgery..and there are some knee chips that are so far from the joint and not in a place to increase chances of arthrites/irritation tat stay sometime undetected.

                        Ummm Hauwse I have never in 30 years had a vet say a "chip" will re attache...they can encapsulate sort of but not grow back to area chipped from.
                        A vet would have said it was an "OCD" lesion not a chip they are distinctly diffrent.

                        Take the films to a good ortho vet for a 2nd opinion, but sounds non surgical and secondary to something else...


                        • #13
                          I agree with the second opinion, but I did have a horse that had a chip in his stifle. We did not remove it, it only bothered him once and once injected he was 100%. This was 9 years ago and the horse is still sound and doing 3' at 19.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by x View Post
                            in my experience chips need to be removed. And the sooner they are removed the better; I had one that I left a month before removal, and he had a lot longer lay-up because of additional damage the chip (actually a larger piece of bone) did prior to removal. But after removal, the horse came along fine, and was sound again.
                            What was the recovery time for your horse?


                            • #15
                              A friend of mine's horse had bilateral bone chips in both front pasterns. The vet recommended surgery. Ever since the surgery the horse has been dead lame. The vet told us to give him 6weeks off-I believe he was on stall rest. He received that time and was started back to work. Before the surgery he wasn't lame or off or anything, needless to say they regret ever doing the surgery. Since then I have heard from other people that unless the chips are causing problems, leave them alone!


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by SaddleUp158 View Post
                                Since then I have heard from other people that unless the chips are causing problems, leave them alone!
                                Yes definitely! What with the risk associated with surgery, don't fix it until it's really broken!
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                                • #17
                                  I don't see how time off is going to help in this situation. You need to do something otherwise the problem will persist. Surgery or joint injection or some other treatment is necessary.
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                                  • #18
                                    I bought a horse, during the pre-purchase exam the Vet found a chip near her hock. The seller has the chip removed, give the mare time to recover, the Vet checked her for soundness and sent new X-rays to my Vet. Everything looked OK, I bought the horse. Never had a soundness problem with her - never was a problem.


                                    • #19
                                      My experience was with bone chips in the lower knee joint, both legs. My horse was on again/off again lame on his right front, but he did not have heat and only slight filling on the lower inside medial quarter of the knee. There were no symptoms on the left front. The chips were removed surgically, followed by 4 months off and gradual return to work. Two months were complete stall rest followed by two more months stall rest with up to 1/2 hand walk. After the surgery, he was treated with antibiotics, Adequan, and bandages. The surgeon's comment was he had a good bit of cartilage damage in the joint from tiny peices of bone, and would probably have some arthritis. I am happy to say he was completely sound afterwards, and it hasn't bothered him since (knocks on wood). That was 12 years ago -- he's 15 now.

                                      If your horse has a detached bone chip, I have to agree with Laurie and Judy that it isn't going to re-attach. A floating chip that is bothering him probably needs to come out. Depending on the location, it can continue to irritate the cartilage. JMHO, but I would look for a second opinion.


                                      • #20
                                        my old trainer had a school horse that had a chip. i dont remember if he just turned lame one day or what the specifics were. but she didnt have or want to spend the money on surgery, so they did it at the barn. the vet put him out on the grass. removed the chip. they took care of him afterwards and horse went sound again. and had more years as a school horse.
                                        this was quite a long time ago. so i dont remember the details, but i do remember seeing the horse on the ground and the vet showing us the chip that he removed with the ankle open.