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Broodmares leg is hurt...now what?

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  • Broodmares leg is hurt...now what?

    My mare injured her leg. I saw her out in the pasture just standing there. It is her left hind. I was able to get her in the stall. Vet came out right away, but his x-ray machine was not working properly. Just got off the phone with him and he does not know when it will be working again.

    The injury is just below or at her hock. Swollen like a stove pipe. I am thinking she fractured or chipped it. He was talking EVA, purpura hemorgeccia, and stuff like that. WTF? She is obviously in pain in one leg and it was a sudden onset. Probably got kicked. I have even dealt with suspensory injuries and there was never this much swelling. I dealt with one other pony who was kicked in the hock and she had several chips in there. She ended up healing and being pasture sound after lots of rest, but she was never this swollen and sore.

    The vet is suggesting I do get another vet out to look at her and have it x-rayed. I have a call into another one and am waiting to hear back.

    My other question to him was about treatment and what to do with her. I never got a real answer. So my question to all of you, in your experience, what can I do? I am going to have her leg x-rayed, but does that even really matter?

    It is kind of like when I broke my ribs. They new I broke them, and they asked if I wanted to have them x-rayed. I asked if there was anything he could do for broken ribs and he said no. So to me there was no point in getting an x-ray on my ribs. Regardless of what it would have shown, I would have had the same treatment.

    Worst case scenario, she is pregnant, I know that for sure. Say her leg is fractured. I don't know that I would put her thru surgery if it is an option. She is an older mare. I don't mind retiring her for the rest of her natural life, but surgery is not an option, especially while this late in her pregnancy. Do I keep her going and let her foal out? That is 2.5 months away, if not longer.

    If it is chips, then she may heal. I just hope I can get this other vet out soon for peace of mind. Trailering her to the clinic is not an option, she is not sturdy enough on her legs. Sorry if I sound so morbid, but I am preparing for the worst possible thing. I cannot make the decision on my own about what to do with her life. I do need help, and all I get from friends and family is "I don't know." I don't need to make that decision today, but I might need to make it soon.
    Derby Lyn Farms Website

    Derby Lyn Farms on Facebook!

  • #2
    So sorry about your mare. Your vet should have provided more help! Can the vet call another vet that they know and get someone out there for you ASAP? In the meantime, I'd get the horse in a stall and ice the crap out of the leg. If we're talking more than an hour or two before the other vet comes, I'd put a standing bandage on the lower leg, and a figure 8 over the hock to give it some support/stability.


    • #3
      Get a diagnosis. You can't make any decisions without knowing what you are dealing with. Jingles.
      McDowell Racing Stables

      Home Away From Home


      • #4
        Before going through all the scenarios you really know what it is that's "broke". Then you can sort a plan. It's not really just having the foal, it's the raising of the foal as you well know. It really may not be as bad as the worst case. I just hope, and will be jingling, that it's minor. I don't know what I'd do in your situation.

        Best of luck for you and your mare.

        COTH, keeping popcorn growers in business for years.

        "I need your grace to remind me to find my own." Snow Patrol-Chasing Cars. This line reminds me why I have horses.


        • #5
          Hope it is nothing too serious. Good luck with your mare.


          • Original Poster

            My vet just called back and said he can come out tomorrow and hopefully the machine will be working. The other vet I just called back and she can't come out until Friday or Saturday, since I am a new patient, regardless if it is an emergency or not. Another vet will charge me $800 for an emergency call since I am not a regular patient, even though I have taken horses to their clinic before.

            Both legs are wrapped and I put liniment on both. I will try to ice it in this 0 degree weather. I did cold hose it shortly, but that was too much cold for her. I will try the figure 8 wrap on her hock and see if she will tolerate it. I bedded her down in extra straw to make it softer for her. She is eating and drinking so that is a plus.

            I really feel bad for her, I am so worried. I am the type that assumes the worst case scenario all the time. I guess if it happens to be no big deal then I am happy. If it happens to be the worst then I am not surprised and was already able to think things out clearly.

            When I get a diagnosis I will come back and see what you think. If you don't hear back from me right away it is probably just because I have to go to work after the vet leaves tomorrow.
            Derby Lyn Farms Website

            Derby Lyn Farms on Facebook!


            • #7
              That is horrid that nobody will help you. Do you know how to apply a compression bandage ala Robert Jones? If not, I can sort of talk you through it.
              McDowell Racing Stables

              Home Away From Home


              • #8
                Oh for cripe sake. $800 for a call out because they don't know you? I hope your vet gets the machine working again. Sometimes there are good points to living in Ireland.

                Take Laurie's advice on the bandaging. Best of luck.

                COTH, keeping popcorn growers in business for years.

                "I need your grace to remind me to find my own." Snow Patrol-Chasing Cars. This line reminds me why I have horses.


                • #9
                  Well it sounds like it probably is a kick or something similar, but go ahead and start tracking all of her vitals, temp, respiration and pulse to make sure things are in the normal range (and that you are not dealing with an infection).
                  APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman


                  • #10
                    Older horse here recently was suddenly 3 legged ,couldn't walk, feverish, leaning agst wall to stand up and stovepipe leg. Turned out to be a hoof abscess with lymphangitis, he had total recovery.

                    Vet found the abscess so we did not do xrays. I hope you are lucky too. Did you look for an abscess?


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Crockpot View Post
                      Older horse here recently was suddenly 3 legged ,couldn't walk, feverish, leaning agst wall to stand up and stovepipe leg. Turned out to be a hoof abscess with lymphangitis, he had total recovery.

                      Vet found the abscess so we did not do xrays. I hope you are lucky too. Did you look for an abscess?


                      I think we've all been there...seen the 3-legged lameness, the stove-pipe swelling up the leg, and had a major panic freakout that something was fractured. And it turns out to be an abscess or cellulitis infection.

                      Put some hoof testers on her foot and see if she is sore. Take her temp and see if she has a low fever; if so, it's quite possibly cellulitis/lymphangitis (which could have developed from just a tiny wound, barely noticeable). You can still take x-rays to make sure nothing's broken...but try to take a deep breath and stay calm until you get a real diagnosis.

                      Cellulitis sucks with broodmares...I don't like giving them bute, naquazone and strong antibiotics like a normal horse. But you can certainly sweat the leg and give some SMZs to help, at your vet's approval.

                      Fingers crossed that it turns out to be a minor problem. Hope she feels better!
                      “A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.”
                      ? Albert Einstein



                      • #12
                        My older Clydesdale mare had a stovepipe leg and refused to put any weight on it. Got a call about it from the owner of the place she is boarded at. Sounded like her lef was broken, she was in the trailer on the way to the clinic. By the time I got to the clinic, the mare was on her way (quickly) back to normal. It was an attack of lymphangitis. She got shots of dex for a few days, cold hosing and some other meds. I also went right to the worst scenario in my head and it was not that. I hope you have the same result. Such a hard decision as she is in foal too. Good luck.


                        • #13
                          It can be really hard to think straight when you have a horse really hurting and the vet not able to come and gives definitive answers quickly. I have had abscesses produce stovepipe legs and non weight bearing severe lameness. Sending jingles and hoping it is much more minor than a fracture.
                          Mary Lou


                          Member OMGiH I loff my mares clique


                          • #14
                            My first thought with that much swelling is cellulitis...which if that is what it is, she needs antibiotics. Very painful. Or it could be a fracture...but they do not always swell like a stove pipe...yes, have dealt with a fracture, healed fine with time. Or an abscess...dealing with one of those now. Leg is swollen but not like a stove pipe. Cellulitis is really the only thing I've seen swell like that.

                            In other words, it could be a lot of things and many of them she can heal from but you do treat them differently. So yes, it is critical to get a decent vet out who can give you a diagnosis and treatment plan.

                            Good luck! Hope she will be fine.
                            Last edited by bornfreenowexpensive; Jan. 23, 2013, 10:27 PM.
                            ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **


                            • #15
                              My first thought is also cellulitis. I have one now....fine one day, major lame next day, normal temp, hot leg, dilated vessel going all the way up leg into body, in 3 hours it tripled its size and he spiked a 102.5 temp. Doing fine now after 4 days. If this is what it is you need to act quickly. It is extremely painful and needs pain control and antibiotics,


                              • #16
                                Our old guy also spiked a high Temp and vet said it was good that I called him out when I did . Fortunately,the owner had given the OK to get the vet. With meds he was better in less than a week and now he's back to his cranky old self.



                                • #17
                                  First off, jingles for mama, baby and you! How stressful!

                                  Does she have a higher temp? I personally would moniter that closely and other vitals. Instead of cold hosing, can you put some crushed ice in a shipping boot or cold gel ice packs on her? And I had to mention this.....$800!!!!!!!! WTF is that about!?! Yowza!!

                                  I don't have anything else to offer other than what has been mentioned, and major jingles. If they can hurt themselves, hey why not do it when pregnant and close to foaling? *sigh*


                                  • #18
                                    Christ on a raft!! I am angry, on your behalf, at the lack of veterinary services in your area that will work with you.

                                    I have been there, in a way. Only one equine vet to choose from though, and he answered his phone only when he had the inclination.

                                    At the time, I lived in the middle of nowhere and ,finally getting a good, kind, smart ,equine vet was such a relief! Before the new vet arrived, in an emergency, my horses were seen to by caring but inexperienced small animal vets (when equine vet wasn't into being on the job).

                                    Take deep breaths and follow the advice of the smart folks here. TOO BAD YOUR LOCAL VETS IN MICHIGAN (I would love to name your exact location here, as a public service announcement for anyone else who finds themselves in your situation) AREN'T HELPING OUT! Not even a suggestion on the phone of what you might do?

                                    The stove pipe swelling does sound as if she may not have a fracture. Is she dangling the limb? Just resting it?

                                    Best wishes from Colorado. I hope your usual vet can figure things out. The others,


                                    • #19
                                      My first thought was also to take her temperature! We had some cellulitis here this winter (though no lameness), and I have seen lymphangitis make horses lame to the point where vets initially thought they were dealing with a fracture. Jingles for your mare!
                                      'Like' my facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Calla...946873?sk=wall


                                      • #20
                                        I would also say that if it was a fracture from a kick...typically there is a wound/kick mark. At least in all the fractures from kicks that I've seen, you could see the trama on the outside. She could have fallen and twisted it though...

                                        But cellulitist will swell tons and typically they are lame. I've had a few who did not spike a fever with it. Good luck and please let us know if you find out what is worng with her.
                                        ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **