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Another Lameness Mystery - Horse related FINALLY AN ANSWER! Not good

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Equest94, May 13, 2008.

  1. Equest94

    Equest94 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    *UPDATE (scroll down) -post #7*



    OK, so I'm not sure if "lame" is the correct word to use, but something isn't right at all with my mare.


    A while ago I was showing her up at our University's Equestrian Center...she didn't seem to like the arena footing so much. It was fairly deep and would pack really hard in her hooves. Sometimes when I would ask her to canter, she would kind of "kick out"/flick her ankles a bit (I assumed to get the clumps of dirt out) and would be fine. In between classes I would pick her hooves out; nothing was ouchie or tender, she moved well...etc.


    Well she's back home now. She came home about a week before I did, so she pretty much had a week off. When I got home, I went to visit her and lunged her. She seemed a bit reluctant to move out, but did so when I got after her, just seemed really stiff...not really hurt, but more stocked up... The other day I was riding her she started to do the same thing as she did at the show - when I would ask her to canter/lope she took off in this scrambled gait and then flicked her ankles...but instead of continuing off in a smooth gait she seemed really off. Our footing at our home barn is very soft and powdery, so dirt doesn't stick in their feet so I guess that's not the case. When we circled at the canter/lope her hind leg also seemed to give out a bit, almost like a slipping trip.... I thought that was odd and to not risk her getting hurt I got off. I gave her yesterday off and tried to lightly ride her today. I trotted her round on a long loose rein to allow her to stretch and she was fine...I collected up the reins a bit and asked her to move out a tad more and out of nowhere her hind leg just slipped out from under her and gave out again. I walked her for a bit and tried again...the same thing happen just a few strides after but this time it gave out so bad her rump actually ending sitting in the dirt...she got her legs under her pretty quickly and gave a few lame steps. I just walked her round a bit and she seemed to walk out of it fine; I slowly jogged her and she seemed ok, but instead of risking more I cooled her out and put her away.

    She just turned 14 in April... she does get stiff and stocked up, but works out of it, never really had any lameness issues; she has always been very sturdy and nimble on her feet. I tested her hooves - nothing, I pinched her legs - nothing, I flexed all legs in all directions - nothing, there's no heat or swelling...


    The farrier is coming out to re-shoe her...she's a bit overdue, but nothing terrible... I mean she has really grown out of her shoe, the toes doesn't appear to be too long, the heel still seems decent, etc. She lso developed some thrush but that's been treated and is pretty much gone...I really don't think that would have posed thi sort of issue though... She also is turned out individually, and really isn't "stupid" outside, so I can't picture her getting too hurt out there.

    I'm just really worried, I don't know what is wrong with her... if there was some heat/indication of what the problem might be then I would have a better idea of what to do... she's also not the kind of horse that fakes being lame...I don't really think it's a stifle or hock issue - if it was, seeing how bad the give outs are, I would uspect that there would be more consistency with her hurting. I really hope she isn't developing laminitis, navicular, or has EPM.

    As I have said, the farrier will be out next week to get her shod...he said he will take a look at her, luckily his wife is also our equine vet, so if it's a problem he can't fix, she'll be right on it.



    I know that it's hard to help when you can't see what the problem is but anyone have suggestions or had similar issues?
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2008
  2. Meesh

    Meesh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My first guess - a stifle issue, based on slipping behind. Stifle issues can be hard to diagnose, and very intermittent. Could even be something in the stifle or HQ got aggravated by the different footing or on the trailer ride and it just needs time to heal.

    A catching stifle often feels like a slip - the hind leg lands and then can't bear the weight properly and it turns into a stumble/bumble/trip. My otherwise sweet horse that had stifle issues would be crabby when asked to trot or canter, if his stifle was bothering him.

    EPM is a scary thought. I hope it's not that. :-(

    Cheers,
    Michelle
     
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    By 'flicking her ankles', you mean like a sort of very small hind-end crowhop kind of movement, with one or both hindlegs, not enough to unseat any rider but it interrupts the gait?

    Sore stifles (muscle sore, or strained ligaments) is certainly possible -- and can take some while to heal, if that's what it is.

    Another possibility, and I think probably my [mild] bet, is that she's sore somewhere in her back/topline/pelvis region. Either a pulled muscle or just generalized soreness or a chiropractic type issue -- you can get any of that from deep footing, or it is even possible she did something to herself in the trailer on the way there. They can do that little hoppy-behind thing, with some kinds of back soreness, I think it's to try to stretch out a kink or shift the rider up off the sore bit or something like that, anyhow some kinds of back soreness do involve that, and the scrambled canter.

    You are not new to horses and it seems awfully likely to me that if it were laminitis you'd know (she'd be standing a little oddly, as well as walking /trotting short and stiff). My money would be against navicular soreness too, it is not especially consistant with what you describe. EPM is a scary possibility that is not inconsistant with what you describe, but I would not go off worrying about that until you've ruled out other things. She's not standing funny, or doing odd uncoordinated things with her legs if you spin her around on the spot? (If she is, that would make me worry a little more)

    Personally, assuming I knew of a vet who was good at mystery lamenesses (all too many these days are not!) I would have him out now to look at the horse, rather than waiting a week or more. The reason is that some problems need real rest, others need bute and work, others need other kind of fixes and at least some exercise -- so if you do not know what the problem is, you are almost guaranteed to be doing the wrong thing for it [​IMG] And since it sounds like she's been like this for a week and a half or more, it is clearly not going away on its own anytime soon and ought to be investigated.

    Good luck,

    Pat
     
  4. Equest94

    Equest94 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No, she doesn't really crow-hop so to speak...it's more like "Something is sticking in my foot ::shakes it off::" but I just found it odd that she did that in a very shallow and powder footing....



    I let her free lunge herself in the indoor today - just to let her move out naturally to see if I could see anything that I may have missed while riding her. She seems to be feeling better overall, but is still very sore. She decided she wanted to romp around and play a bit...squealed, did a rather pathetic buck...and then had trouble deciding which canter lead to pick up hind-leg wise and resorted to cross firing. [​IMG] Her legs didn't seem to be giving out, but she was still very very off.


    The farrier is coming next week to trim and get her re-shod (see if that helps any since she is a bit overdue) and for now she is being buted and wrapped for the night. I think that walking her around will do her some good - keep her from getting stocked up.



    Thanks for you ideas.
     
  5. CarriBrown

    CarriBrown Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    It's a shame that they can't just tell us what's wrong.
    My gelding with the absess would act stiff and stalked up like that after being turned loose and running wild. It doesn't sound like that's the case with your horse.
    I'm stumped.
    It appears to be an overall ache and not local to one foot, or one leg?
    Walking her sounds like a good idea. I wouldn't turn her out again until you have the shoer and the vet out. And I agree with Pat... I would get the vet out asap.
     
  6. Equest94

    Equest94 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Pat,
    No, she doesn't really crow-hop so to speak...it's more like "Something is sticking in my foot ::shakes it off::" but I just found it odd that she did that in a very shallow and powder footing.... As for laminitis; she has been standing a bit odd - she has been pointing her toes a bit outward and when jogging/trotting out, she does come up very stiff and is very noticeably short in the hind left. MC use to be a reiner, so she really knows how to roll pack and spin. Now, when I have her to circle or pivot, she takes her time planting on foot at a time and doesn't even cross over, she very slow and stiff. As for EPM... yes, it's an unlikely possibility but it's not rare in this area. My friends horse actually came down with it last summer (she kept him at a local barn about a mile away from ours). This area does have a rather high opossum population (and those critters are known for carrying it). Although I think EPM probably isn't the cause of her mystery issue, I figured that her loss of balance and falling might be an onset to the disease (just considering all possibilities regardless of how probable they actual are).

    I'm just worried because she normally does take care of herself..she doesn't do anything too stupid outside, she's not a rough-houser or anything and in the 9 years that I have owned her, despite all the showing, clinics, and work I do with her, she has always passed vet checks after events; she has NEVER been lame. All of a sudden she gets a week off and instead of being refreshed, she's just not right at all... It's very frustrating to me, I don't like to see her hurting like this, especially since I can't really find what is wrong and therefore am helpless to do much for her other than give her some more rest, wrap, and bute.

    Thanks for your ideas/suggestions.




    UPDATE:

    I let her free lunge herself in the indoor today - just to let her move out naturally to see if I could see anything that I may have missed while riding her the other day. She seems to be feeling better overall, but is still very sore. She decided she wanted to romp around and play a bit...squealed, did a rather pathetic buck...and then had trouble deciding which canter lead to pick up hind-leg wise and resorted to cross firing. [​IMG] Her legs didn't seem to be giving out and badly today (just minor slips) but she was still very very off. I didn't let her go long because I don't want to risk her injuring herself any further. I did walk her around a bit, took her in some tight circles, asked her to pivot a bit - she was still slow and stiff, but planted her feet more correctly and seemed a bit more balanced.

    The farrier is coming next week to trim and get her re-shod (see if that helps any since she is a bit overdue) and 2 days after that, a "leg expert" vet is coming to check up on some of the other show horses so I will have him take a look at her too (I wish someone could come earlier, but everyone else is booked). For now she is being buted and wrapped for the night. I think that walking her around will do her some good - keeps her from getting stocked up. Since she did seem to make a rather large improvement I'm assuming it's just a sore stifle. There still isn't any heat or swelling...she didn't seem really sore then I stretched her legs (just stiff) and didn't appear to be tender throughout her back at all, but when the vet does come out I will make him look at her regardless....better to be safe than sorry.



    CarriBrown,
    It seems like most of it is in her hind left... she seems just stiff and comes up short on that leg when trotting. She seemed to have had other odd symptoms as well, but those seem to be going away ::knocks on wood:: I'm starting to think it might be a minor stifle pull... maybe a combo of needing her feet done, etc.. but I'm not really sure. :|
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2008
  7. Equest94

    Equest94 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Finally after 2 local equine vets, we finally got a meeting with the leg specialist last night (he was scheduled to come a few weeks ago but had to cancel multiple times do to emergencies). We were at the barn from 5pm - 12midnight, yeahh....


    Turns out my mare ending up completely tearing her suspensory ligament. According to the vet, he is surprised she can still walk and kind of trot, of course an extended trot and canter and totally non existent (not very good for a competing reined cow horse and show jumper). He said that since this was caught still pretty early he's giving some hope that she will make an adequate recovery; however, he told me that in most causes this becomes a chronic issue and thus it may be better to retire the horse all together.

    So after a month of complete stall rest she will be shipped up to his clinic to undergo a minor surgery, and either Plasma/bone marrow/shockwave therapy; depending on how everything looks.


    I am so relieved that there aren't any breaks/fractures, bone deformities, or rotations, but this is still really a bummer. What really gets me so irate is how this all happened. I was informed by another boarder, that despite my stall card and verbal instruction to turn the mare out individually, the new barn owner decided that it would be ok to turn her out in a pasture with her 15 horses.... My mare is very pleasant in general; she's use to be around other horses at shows, etc, but when turned out in a group, she tends to show some alpha mare qualities and proceeds to establish her rank in the heard. From what I was told, there is a belgian draft-cross gelding in that field who was gelded late ( he still thinks he's a stud, but also has a mean temperament all together), he was running my mare around for hours (HOURS!!!) and she began kicking at him, slipped and slid....so that's how everything was hyper extended and torn.:mad: [​IMG] [​IMG] !!!!!!!!!!

    So, to get to the point, my horse is "broken" and I am definitely pulling her out of that barn along with the 2 horses I am training. I find that the new barn owners are extremely hard people to deal with and I do not trust them....for them to disrespect me and go around my back and risk my horse's life and career is absolutely unacceptable!


    Please keep MC (my mare) in your thoughts and prayers that she overcomes the odds and makes a good recovery.

    Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2008
  8. Florida chick

    Florida chick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 19, 2008
    Sorry to hear about your mare, I WOULD DEF hand the owners of the barn the vet bills! PLUS the cost of a replacement horse.
     
  9. Meesh

    Meesh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My mare tore her deep digital and superficial flexor tendons and should have never been able to walk again. Her prognosis was grim... It has taken a loooong time, but it has healed & she is sound. She gallops across the pasture all the time (crazy Ay-rab).

    UC Davis has a very good tendon rehab schedule posted on the web somewhere. You should be able to find it. It's a great schedule for bring back a horse to soundness. We followed it and additionally, my mare has been turned out in a big flat pasture for some time. I didn't have access to any 'fancy' treatments (shockwave, etc.), we had to rely on time, limited handwalking, and very small steps of healing & progress.

    I hope the outcome is good for your mare.

    Cheers,
    Michelle
     
  10. WrenAli

    WrenAli Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If she had a good chance at being competitive and you don't just want retire her for a brood mare you could try Stem Cell Therapy. I have heard great things about it.

    http://www.vet-stem.com/equine/
     

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