Needed help with a horse...

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by petchickenlover, Sep 9, 2010.

  1. petchickenlover

    petchickenlover Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 9, 2008
    Sigh. So about nine days ago we found that our 17 year old horse's back leg is swollen. We've been putting menthol liniment on it, and we've been giving him MSM and horse aspirin but the swelling has not gone down. [​IMG] The swelling is hard in some places, and soft and spongey in others. He had windpuffs on his front legs in may.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Olive Hill

    Olive Hill Overrun With Chickens

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    Is he lame?

    What is his environment? Paddock? Pasture? Stalled? With other horses?

    Are there any outward signs of trauma? Any puncture wounds? Scratches?

    Is any one point particularly painful to him when touched?

    Have you checked the bottom of his hoof for foreign objects?

    Have you tried cold hosing?

    Any change in diet? Exercise? Other?
     
  3. petchickenlover

    petchickenlover Chillin' With My Peeps

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    He is not lame. He's in a pasture with one other horse, and some goats. no scratches/wounds. It all seems to hurt to the touch. Nothing in his hoof.. we've hosed it a couple times. No change, except maybe being ridden less.
     
  4. michickenwrangler

    michickenwrangler To Finish Is To Win

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    UTD on vaccines? Lots of bugs in your area?
     
  5. EweSheep

    EweSheep Flock Mistress

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    Has the horse been ridden on hard surfaces???????? Or ridden alot?

    That looks exactly like those Amish horses legs, mega sized windpuffs....[​IMG] They drive those horses on hard surfaces ten miles into town and back.

    Rest would help along with massages and ligaments and cold water. Sometimes it can be permanent if the damage has been done long enough.
     
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    A very realistic possibility is damage to the suspensory or deep flexor. This does not always cause hugely-obvious lameness.

    Another possibility is a jar to the joint (bruising the joint capsule), or a sprain.

    If there is heat in the hoof, it is even not-impossible it could be from a hoof abscess, although usually there would also be a lot more swelling lower down, and lameness.

    (Note that windpuffs, per se, are not painful. Although you can get a windpuff-y type enlargement of the joint capsule from a traumatic injury or infection that IS painful, generally windpuffs refers to a cold "set" painless chronic enlargement of the joint capsule)

    Definitely your best bet would be to get a vet to look at him (preferably, if you can, a vet who is good at seeing lameness, not the type who prefers to rely on doing a lot of ultrasounds and xrays and all that as a substitute for a good eye).

    However if the horse is just an unworked permanent pasture pet, and does not seem particularly unhappy, I suppose you could go with the "I don't know exactly what it is, but all the likeliest possibilities have the same general treatment plan" approach: As long as the horse does not appear lame, cold-hose the leg as many times a day as you can stand (3-5x is good) for 15 minutes at a time. If you know how to do a proper, supportive, racehorse-style standing wrap, then keep the leg wrapped; however if you are not very experienced at this, now is NOT the time to learn, and it will be ok without. Try to keep the horse quiet but mobile for the next month or so -- if he will restrict himself to the walk when left on 24/7 turnout, that is ideal, but if for whatever reason he is inclined to get to running around, that is a Bad Thing and needs to be prevented (by adding a quiet companion, by turnout only in a small pen during times when he is predictably excitable, or by stalling at night then handwalking for a little while before turnout). At this point, there is probably not a huge lot of point in considering Bute, since the injury is already a week and a half old. DO NOT MASSAGE a joint area containing potentially-injured tendons/ligaments!!! (Although if you can afford a normal body massage for him, it wouldn't hurt, although it is also not likely IMO to help hugely)

    If (as I would be inclined to bet) it is a suspensory or deep flexor strain, you have a reasonable chance of him remaining pasture-sound, although likely with a permanent windpuff and the injury liable to recur.

    Best of luck,

    Pat
     
  7. welsummerchicks

    welsummerchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2010
    WC take on liniments? Liniments do nothing, forget them. No liniment in the world can undo a strain.

    Can't say for sure from one picture but looks like an annular ligament strain. There also appears to be some firmer (probably) swelling over the front of the fetlock, where the fetlock joint itself was strained/injured. I assume the wind puff that we see already existed, I think that's what you said?

    Windpuffs are usually ignored in family pet type horses that live an easy life and don't work hard, but in sport horses in a tougher work program, they are viewed with rather more concern, as meaning the leg is getting strained and not handling it well.

    The soft puffiness is excess fluid that gathers where things have stretched and sort of 'made a space' (really a potential space), and the hard firm things you feel - if cold - are a strain that has healed as much as it's going to heal - if hot - an ongoing inflammatory process that requires a good leg vet to evaluate.

    Such hard areas (assuming they aren't 'normal bumps' that are always felt on the joints) can mean a microfracture or a strain or a developing arthritis. Some of these heal as well as they are going to, without much help as long as the animal is rested. Others are more severe and require treatment.

    You can't tell what's going on in their without some sort of imaging - xrays, usually. Otherwise most of it is just guess work.

    Your horse is not lame - not even slightly? I have to ask and I don't mean at all to be rude, even though it may seem so, but do you have experience in being able to detect slight lamenesses? It's been my experience that most people can't see a lameness unless it is really obviously a 'head bobbing lame' type of thing, or a 'carried leg' lameness. Most people can't see mild lameness, intermittent lameness or something that happens only in certain situations, or is just plain slight.

    Have you tried jogging him while leading him on a loose lead, on different surfaces? The loose lead is to prevent from hiding the more slight bobs of the head in mild lameness. Hard, like a driveway, soft, like a sandy area to see if he's lame on one surface but not the other? Tried turning in smmall circles vs on a straight line? Does the horse stumble or take missteps - in the paddock, in the pasture, in his stall, on rocky ground? Other places? Does he limp for some time after he steps in a hole or on a rock?

    If I read right, you said there is no NO HEAT and no lameness.

    People vary in how much they attend to lamenesses. Many horses have lameness the owner doesn't notice. One guy told me, 'if he ain't gettin' better on his own he ain't gettin' better, and that means he's goin' down the road' (to the killer auction). And other people notice the slightest heat or swelling and get it treated after xraying the part to be sure what's going on.

    Generally what I do is treat it with 'home treatment' for 3-5 days unless there is anything that suggests it is serious and needs immediate attention. I am LESS likely to treat something myself if I have no idea how it possibly could have arisen, if it's on a joint, if it's causing distress, if it appears a suspensory tendon is injured. Home treatment is ice, bandaging, cold water. If not improved, I have the vet xray it with his portable. Most strains get 14 days of anti-inflammatory medication and stall rest. Then start gradually with walking the horse in hand and gradually returning him to his regular work program.

    Is he either in work in a regular program, or is he more a pet that spends most of his time in the pasture with other horses? Please describe his 'program'.
     
  8. petchickenlover

    petchickenlover Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:He is out in the pasture with other animals and was ridden a couple times a week, although he hadn't been ridden for a week or two before the swelling showed up because of saddle fit issues.
     
  9. EweSheep

    EweSheep Flock Mistress

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    Then I am stumped! I've not dealt with non working swellings or hard concrete work outs of draft/standerbred horses....that would be out of my league.

    When my Paso came down with one windpuff on her cannon bone, closer to her fetlock hock leg, all the vet said to massage it for a few minutes, put on some DMSO and treat it again daily for five days. After that she was fine and ready to go again. I had to be careful not to get DMSO on me otherwise I would taste garlic as a side effect. Believe me, I accidently did and it tasted nasty.

    I've been out of the horse limelight for a long time, and vet education has not been used often since 1984 so I can not be much of help. However if it persists, I would have a vet take a look at it and see whats going on. Sometimes mud sliding would create lameness on horses who went helter skelter in a muddy pasture.
     
  10. welsummerchicks

    welsummerchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2010
    Well I'd have a leg vet look at it. There are 'shots and cuts vets' and 'leg vets'.

    As I said typically people don't get too concerned about wind puffs (my situation with my horses is different), but what worries me is what looks like a hard swelling on the front of the fetlock. I'm very, very aggressive about swellings around joints and very proactive.
     

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