Frustrated and confused

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  • TWH Girl Original Poster TWH Girl
    Topics Started: 2Replies Posted: 31

    Hello! I am looking for any advice or feedback, or how you handled similar situations with your hose if you’ve ever had them. Here is my situation:

    11 yr old TWH gelding used lightly for pleasure riding, and about 4-5 shows during warmer months. We mainly ride at the flat walk (the first true gait for TWH- not their normal walk, it is collected) and running walk as this is the foundation of the TWH gaits. He’s always been fast at the canter and he also likes to nose out, and swish his tail when asked to move up. (In retrospect, I think perhaps all along this has been a pain issue, but I digress.) He has been sound and fluid all along, maintained in Smartflex 3 and occasionally Legend & Adequan as needed over the past few years…but after coming back from training this summer to work on slowing his canter down, he became stiffer in the hind end and drags his toes something awful. In training, they do canter work in the roundpen- perhaps this put too much stress on his joints?? Afer he came home, ;He then just showed no enthusiasm for work and stopped in the arena quite frequently. Had 2 vets look at him in Oct and both indicated stifles (as did the massage and chiro person) specifically left stifle. So, okay, we injected these in October. No improvement for a few weeks and then I started him on Adequan IM. He got better for about 6-7 weeks, then regressed around Christmastime. He has gotten worse and worse where he does NOT want to do anything and stops about 4 times going around the arena. He is just not himself at all! 🙁 Had a 3rd vet come out after Christmas- she thinks hocks v stifles. Sigh. Yes, I can do x-rays but in all honesty, they do not tell where a horse is sore. So I scheduled hock injections for 2/14 after crying on Saturday over him just not wanting to do anything at all.

    Horse is not lame/limping- it is a noticeable stiffness when riding him that feels ‘off’. He drags both hind toes constantly- in pasture, in hand, riding, etc.

    I have tried chiro and masssage and they did nothing.

    I have tried Previcox- it helped some but he was still stiff. Bute does seem to help a bit more.

    We last did Adequan November after stifles injected 10/7. He has been on daily Smartflex 3 since with no real difference or improvement. Tried Smart TLC too- nothing.

    Right now, here is my plan: Rest him for a month, keep him on Previcox, get the hock injections done, and if he is still not improved, take him to the local big equine clinic for an evaluation.

    I guess I am sad and frustrated- sad that he is only 11 and having these issues, esp after putting my 24 old down in October as well. I am frustrated that I don’t know what is wrong with him or how to fix it. He is my only horse at this time too. Any other suggestions, feedback or similar situations that you’ve encountered?? TIA for any help!!

    NinaJD NinaJD
    Topics Started: 8Replies Posted: 139

    How much previcox where you giving him and how often?
    My one gelding has hock, stifle, ringbone issues and arthritis. We had him on 1/2 a previcox everyday.

    Since you have already done body work and chiro, you might want to look into homeopathic. I put my horse on a cycle(took about a year) but now he is no longer on previcox daily, only gets it when he’s having a bad day(which is maybe once every 2-3 months).
    I was at my wits end and was debating putting him down because he was always limping and just seemed miserable. I found an animal communicator who was able to pinpoint his pain more for me and was able to help me with which remedies to use for his issues. This might be something you could look into. She also gave me peace of mind, knowing he wasn’t ready to give up. And yes I was very questionable about this being legit, but when she told me something that I did not know about, only my mom knew about. I knew it was legit.(he told her that he really liked these chewy cookies he was getting. I had never given him anything chewy, turns out my mom was giving him these little trail bite cookies that are pretty chewy in the mornings when she’d go out to put masks on)

    Good luck. I know your frustration.

    "Take the time it takes, so that it takes less time."
    "Expect a lot, accept a little, reward often."
    Pat Parelli

    drwagner drwagner
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 3

    Injections into joints help to maintain the synovial fluid within the joint capsule. Synovial fluid is responsible for lubrication of the joint and maintenance of articular cartilage, or the joint surface. If you’re giving injections, and see no improvement, my guess is that it’s not within the joint itself, but related to the musculature surrounding the joint – tendons etc. I wouldn’t be surprised if his hocks are sore now too because his stifles were sore – inappropriate ambulation causes harm to other areas. Bruises and stresses to muscles in horses can take three weeks to heal. What it sounds like is that at your trainer’s, your horse may have been overworked a bit at the canter (perhaps his conformation makes a slow, collected canter hard, or he already had some underlying soreness that was exacerbated?) and the daily work compounded into a bigger problem, that is now plaguing his entire back end.

    In short, I’m guessing he was really sore – and to continue working, he compensated which caused hock soreness (and probably back soreness, which would further contribute to stifle problems, eek.) Definitely rest him. Give him six weeks of ‘me’ time and spoil him a bit, do fun things in the arena that are strenuous, so that he stops thinking, “Work hurts!”. (My OTTB is partial to orange cones, thinks they’re fascinating, as are soccer balls, she kicks them.) Massages will help too. That same OTTB fell in our round pen, at the canter, and had a deep tissue shoulder bruise. It took four weeks before she wasn’t short strided in the front, and that was after a week of bute, cold water therapy, and rest. I hope this helps a bit, I understand the frustration. But I think we sometimes ‘over do it’ with our horses, trying to give them the best possible care when all we’re doing is meddling. I know, personally, I do this all the time. I sincerely hope your boy gets better, and sorry to hear about your loss in October. Best of luck to you!

    TWH Girl Original Poster TWH Girl
    Topics Started: 2Replies Posted: 31

    Thank you both so much. I appreciate the feedback and insight. I am definitely a champion worrier and can certainly ‘overdo it’ when all I am really trying to do is help him. I am letting him rest and pampering him. He is on 1/4 tab of the 227mg previcox, and will get a massage in the next few weeks too. I guess it’s hard to say for sure if I should move forward with the hock injections or if I should wait to see if he improves with rest…

    I adore this horse (he’s the one in the photo- his name is Trace) as he is sweet, kind and willing, but I can tell he’s hasn’t been enjoying things lately. He definitely deserves to feel better and be happy!

    DesertHorses DesertHorses
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 7

    I think Dr. Wagner’s “R & R” prescription is spot on – he may have been pressured during the “training” and needs both mental and physical relief.
    Being a nutritionist, I also like to make sure that the diet is optimal; if there are any major deficiencies or excesses this can make a difference on the effectiveness of any treatments you use. Horse owners are often surprised when, with just getting all the basic or “minimum” nutritional needs met, a lot of other issues seem to improve dramatically. No “magic bullets”, just a solid nutritional foundation.
    At minimum, I would want to use a well rounded supplement that supplies at least his daily requirements for most minerals and vitamins. But you need to be cautious in supplementing major minerals – unless you test the hay (which should be the foundation of his diet) first you may worsen things like calcium-phosphorus ratios instead of making them better.
    I would start with something like Glanzen3 or LinPro which have high levels of copper and zinc, plus provide Omega-3 and some other important nutrients.
    Add iodized salt or use plain salt plus Source for iodine If not on pasture, add extra vitamin E.
    I would also talk with my vet about checking thyroid and selenium levels. Thyroid function is a bit like the conductor of the orchestra for what goes on in the rest of the body, while selenium helps everything stay on key.
    You can check for more information on testing your hay.

    Hope this helps.
    Patti Woodbury Kuvik
    in Vail AZ

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 2

    I don’t have any advice for you but I have the same thing going on with my rising 11 OTTB. Just started him on adequan which seems to be helping slightly. (only 3 doses in) He too seemed to sort of mope and was unwilling to move and the final straw was when he tried to buck me off kicking with one leg then the other. My vet said do the adequan, ride normally (for me that’s not very demanding) and see how he does in a month. Disappointed to hear your adequan treatment only lasted 6 weeks. Looking at supplements but hard to find any of non bovine or piggie origin. Still looking….

    Good luck with your horse – it’s very sad when they don’t even feel like playing with the other horses

    TWH Girl Original Poster TWH Girl
    Topics Started: 2Replies Posted: 31

    Thank you for your input. Desert, Trace is also on Smart Omega 3 and gets a fortified feed (Stratgy). I can’t do much about the hay as he’s boarded, but they do get plenty of it and it’s second cutting and appears nice and green. I may have some bloodwork pulled this spring to check overall health, but my gut feeling says that’s not it. I did try natural vitamin e for a few months too with no change.

    Saphire, it is a bummer! Today I bundled up and took him for a walk around the farm since he’s on his sabbatical. My vet is doing the hock injections Friday so we’ll see how that goes. Adequan is great but sometimes it’s just not enough. After the injections I am going to use Pentosan from Wedgwood as follow up, and flr the first time in years, discontinue oral joint supplements. I really wanted to believe they worked but I’ve been feeding them since he was 7 and obviously, they haven’t helped. I hope your guy gets better too. You have to start small (like Adequan) and work up from there to see what helps. It feels liks such guesswork!

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 1

    I have a 19 year old Westphalen with some of the same problems. What has helped him the most (along with hyaluronic acid, glucosamine, omega 3’s and previcox has been Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy. It allows him to keep working with all of his arthritic issues. I think it takes a combination of things to keep the old guys sound.

    wyoenglishrider wyoenglishrider
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 101

    So sorry to hear of your troubles! The only other thought I have (& I don’t think it’s been mentioned yet) is this: Could he have ‘knocked his hip/hips down’? I had an Arab that started dragging toes on the hind end, & my vet discovered he had knocked his hip down. Are you able to watch him while he walks-have someone else walk him-& see if he is dropping his hip? Just a thought–I hope this helps & that with rest & your great care, he will start to improve or let you know exactly what it wrong! We love them so much…..:)

    wyoenglishrider wyoenglishrider
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 101

    So, after reading back over your original post, did any of the vets check up higher i.e. hips? I really think this would be worth looking into….dragging toes really indicate hip issues, in my experience. Best to you & your lovely Trace-keep us posted!

    TWH Girl Original Poster TWH Girl
    Topics Started: 2Replies Posted: 31

    Thank you, englishrider. Yes, love them so much that I’d rather have him comfy and happy than any amount of jewelry or a nice car. I have seen him walk from behind with others leading him, and I did not notice a hip drop. I just spoke with my vet and we are doing the hocks on Friday (happy valentine’s day to me) and he will remain on rest with just hand walking and goofing around in the arena for a few more weeks. I will definitely keep you all posted on his progress. I guess my next thing to check would be SI issues if we have ruled out hocks & stifles. I sure hope it doesn’t come to that. It would just be better if Trace could tell me what the problem is and where he hurts.

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 20

    I don’t know how much scintographs show, but they might pinpoint which area bothers him the most. I would make sure the saddle isn’t bothering his back too, but it does sound like a stifle issue, by the dragging toes in back. Usually they advise working a horse with stifle issues by trotting up hills and walking down (the uphill is what helps). Going down puts stress on his stifles, so you need to go easy down hills. Muscle strengthening helps support the stifle joint. Clear it with your vet first. Also there is something made to ice the stifles, made from neoprene I think. I am not sure who makes them but check Schneiders Saddlery and Smartpak to see if they have it. I will look and let you know if I can find it. Limit tight circles and deep footing, also no heavy work or cantering until he is better. My horse “popped” her stifles and I gave her 2 years plus off and she got all better. Needed time! She was worth it! I drive her with a cart. She is very forward and pushes herself hard!

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 20 carries the ice wraps for a great price!

    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 2

    He may well have an SI issue. May have had it prior to going to the trainer…which would account for a “fast” canter. I don’t know your trainer of course, but many of them will resort to mechanical means to get the horse to shorten their step if the goal is to slow the gait. This could certainly exacerbate a back (or pelvis or stifle or hock) issue.

    If he were at my house I would probably turn him out for a while and let him be a horse. “Benign neglect” seems to fix a lot of issues. I have rehabbed many older “broken” horses and turnout almost always seems to solve problems like you are describing. When a horse can move freely, role when he wishes etc he can often “adjust” himself. Time is likely what you need here.

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 20

    I agree time, as I said with my mare. I also give her Smartflex Resillience III Pellets

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