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How long for a collateral ligament fix?

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  • How long for a collateral ligament fix?

    I have a horse that the vet suspects has a "slight" collateral ligament injury. He has been off and on for close to a year!....He was not in my posession for the first six months, and I believe they did not "keep him in". When I got him (back) the vet suggested I do so, so he had stall rest for another 4 months! However, his soundness varies if we LIGHTLY ride him (to check)....sometimes he's just slightly off, and other times he's obviously off....and a few times awhile ago he wasn't off at all.
    He is 15...
    I am considering just turning him out for the summer.....the Stall rest is hard on his stomach!
    How long can a collateral ligament take to heal, or is there a possibility it never will?

    We have done xrays, ultrasounded (and diagnosed the "slightly" large CL) and it blocked to his foot. Xrays were clean. Vet isn't sure what it really is.....His coffin joint was injected in the first 6 months too.

    A mystery!
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  • #2
    A long time....and they do not always recover. Tough when it is in the foot.

    An MRI is really the best way to know what you are dealing with. Time, specially shoeing/triming.....and then really really taking your time in bringing him back is critical.

    But others I've known have had some success in kicking them out....but we are talking more than year on turn out and even then, just walking for months coming back into work.

    Some it really wasn't too much of an issue.....it really just depends and depends as to why they hurt it (conformation etc).
    ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **


    • #3
      What bfne said. I'm mystified how anyone can see anything in a foot with ultrasound! Methinks there is a miscommunication here. The only way to diagnose a slight lameness that blocks to the foot is an MRI and those are expensive.

      If your horse does have collateral ligament damage then the treatment is many months of box rest (6-12) followed by very slow rehab. My horse was diagnosed with this 10 months ago. She is still on box rest but up to 25 minutes walking twice a day. She is expected to make a full recovery and get back to full competition work. She's an advanced dressage horse. I also know of a couple of stallions who have had this and they are currently competing at GP. So if your horse recovers from the initial injury and you are very careful about your horse's foot landing flat with good medial-lateral foot balance then there should be no sequelae.

      The most scientifically proven route to recovery is box rest and perfect foot balance checked with x rays. Nothing else is proven to be of benefit.


      • #4
        Severe collateral ligament injury dx with MRI. My mare had 9 months of stall rest, PRP, shocK wave then was walking and trotting when she came up a little sore again. I bred her then I elected to turn her out since I did not feel stall rest was right for a broodie, . She had her foal 6 months later. I started her back slowly when the foal was 1 month old, and she has been in full work since her foal was weaned 7 months ago. Still sound ( well, as of yesterday anyway ) and I have started jumping her again .


        • #5
          Boleem had a collateral ligament injury. He too was stall confined for a year. He DID become pasture sound, but would become slightly lame if ridden, so that was the end of his days u/s.
          www.littlebullrun@aol.com See Little Bull Run's stallions at:
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          • #6
            I have a horse currently being treated for this. Coming three year old Han stallion, kicked stall wall in exuberance one day and broke the wing of his coffin bone and tore part of his collateral ligament from the bone. He came totally sound after three months of stall rest and four rounds of IRAP into the coffin joint. We just did new xrays and the results are amazing so far, totally filled in fracture, totally clean joint. Clearly the collateral ligament has healed to some extent because he is sound. Vet is thrilled with results so far.

            He is just starting hand walking (still on stall rest) for 20 mins a day. He is currently in a bar shoe (for the fracture) but needs to be shod now for the collateral ligament. Vet says just a normal shoe now but what have you guys found to be the best?


            "Simple: Breeding,Training, Riding". Wolfram Wittig.


            • #7
              Mine is just finishing day 120 of stall rest. Vet will recheck him again tomorrow and if he trots sound on the lunge line, he will be cleared for months of slow tack walking. If he's not sound, he gets another month of stall rest.

              So the answer is that it takes a long time for them to fully recover, and some of them do not. Best to take it very, very, slowly. It's bad enough without adding an unfortunate setback.
              It's 2017. Do you know where your old horse is?

              www.streamhorsetv.com -- website with horse show livestream listings and links.


              • #8
                Hi. I've been recommended IRAP by one vet and told not to bother by another. My mare almost completely ruptured her lateral collateral ligament of rear fetlock joint, shearing it from P1 so we have two or three adulation fractures too. She had to have a joint flush and was at the equine clinic for three weeks so insurance is exhausted. Any advice re IRAP and how it helped, and more info about it, would be much appreciated.


                • #9
                  Dr Sue Dyson gave the Keynote talk at the AAEP meeting this year. Part of it was on therapies (PRP, Shock wave etc) in "in the hoof" injuries. It's good reading. Her long term study showed that it makes no difference in the recovery time or the recovery quality.

                  RoseLane Sportponies
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                  • #10
                    Thought I would update from my last post on this thread. My guy ended up coming completely sound and after stall rest never took a lame step again. We are now two years out from the injury and he is in regular work. I am still amazed considering how bad it was.

                    "Simple: Breeding,Training, Riding". Wolfram Wittig.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by honeylips View Post
                      Dr Sue Dyson gave the Keynote talk at the AAEP meeting this year. Part of it was on therapies (PRP, Shock wave etc) in "in the hoof" injuries. It's good reading. Her long term study showed that it makes no difference in the recovery time or the recovery quality.


                      I'm not sure I agree with her. It was almost too general.

                      I've certainly seen IRAP significantly help some performance horses with chronic joint issues. Horses who we used to have to inject the coffin joint or ankle 2 times a year...with IRAP are comfortable for much longer periods to time (several years between injections).

                      This is a performance issue...not an acute injury.

                      For Sherryd....I'd probably not spend the money on IRAP unless it looks like she has recovered. IRAP is something I would use on a horse who normal joint injections make a big difference and I'm looking to do fewer such injections (as you take a risk with every injections). I wouldn't be looking to use it the "heal" a horse as much as to maintain a performance horse. But really...this is a discusion best for the vet. But you do have to consider the costs v. benefits. I do know some who really think the IRAP helped their horse fully recover....so it is worth a consideration.
                      ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Donella View Post
                        Thought I would update from my last post on this thread. My guy ended up coming completely sound and after stall rest never took a lame step again. We are now two years out from the injury and he is in regular work. I am still amazed considering how bad it was.
                        Very cool!!!
                        ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **


                        • #13
                          Stepping into this thread because I am dealing with a lateral collateral ligament issue. It's inflammation, no tears or lesions. He was diagnosed via MRI. He has been treated with IRAP and it's been four months. He has been only in his stall which is a box with a 24 x 40 run. Hand walking only. Last check up at three months he was sound. but vet still wants more time hand walking only. I know every horse is different, every injury is different - I am trying to get an idea of how long I should wait until he begins is journey back to work.

                          OP I am glad your horse is doing well How long did you lay up and what did you do to bring him along?

                          The hardest part for me is when the vet says - hand or tack walking for 6 months. If anyone's horse is like my horses, this is just not possible to do without feeling like you are flying a horse kite!
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