Ongoing Lameness- OUT OF IDEAS

This topic contains 8 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  kathleen_santorowinters 2 years, 6 months ago.

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  • beh0408 Original Poster
    Topics Started: 3Replies Posted: 2

    I have a 6 year old quarter horse gelding who has had ongoing lameness since about February. It started as occasional short-striding in the left hind. His hocks are injected annually, so we thought that was the case. The vet injected his hocks in March, but it made only a slight improvement. My horse then started showing some shortness in his right front, not much, but enough to call the vet out a few times. The hoof was x-rayed & blocked but showed no major problems other than our farrier at the time had him way too upright. His hocks and stifle were also x-rayed showing moderated arthritis in the hocks. As a side issue, the horse was diagnosed with lymes disease in March also and had 3 months of antibioics (made no visible difference). We pulled him out of training the first of April because he was moving too poor for his hard exercise schedule but he wasn’t horribly lame. By May, he could barely move. It was then that we took him to a large diagnostics hospital where they did a bone scan, showing his left hock was fusing, but there were no hot spots in the right front where most of the lameness was. Doing a ring block on the right front, the horse was sound on the right for the first time but was now drastically lame on his left front. The vet diagnosed him with soft tissue damage, but we wouldn’t know the exact issue without an MRI. He prescribed stall rest for 6 weeks with hand walking. Earl was at his worst lameness around that time- he couldn’t bring his front past his shoulder (very “stabbing”), head-bobbing, & his left hock was worse as well. In July we took him to a different very reputable vet which simply injected his hocks again. After that he was slightly better in the hock.

    We have also been working with a new farrier since April/May who is working to help his front feet and Earl is no longer “stabbing” it, but he is still very short strided. I should also mention that Earl’s right front hoof is a club foot. The July vet and our farrier told me to work on long trotting to try and get that right front to stretch out more. I’ve been long trotting for a couple weeks and it seems to help a little. Side note– Earl has been turned out daily all summer where he will run and trot showing no lameness. He doesn’t seem to be hurting; he just can’t move properly when he is rode.

    Does anybody have any thoughts on this or other rehab tips?

    Joan Fry
    Topics Started: 11Replies Posted: 324

    I’m sorry to hear about your horse! I know it’s frustrating–a lameness nobody can identify, let alone cure.

    What I’m about to relate is a long shot, and I hope I’m wrong. I went through something very similar with a young ABS I was using as a trail horse. He kept tripping–but the “fall forward” was starting in his hind legs. I could feel it. I had him X-rayed, his hocks injected, pads put on special shoes on his hind feet–nobody could find anything. Then one vet suggested he had spinal damage. This horse’s problems had started when I was longing him in a round pen that hadn’t been properly maintained. Sinjun was accident-prone anyway, and he found the one rotten board in the round pen and stuck a hind leg through it. Essentially he was a wobbler, but from trauma, not genetic predisposition. How is your horse going up and down hills? That’s usually the best way for the rider to tell.

    Good luck to him–and you!

    NinaJD NinaJD
    Topics Started: 8Replies Posted: 139

    Lameness can be so frusterating.
    You mentioned he is lame under saddle, but not out in pasture. Have you had his saddle checked? Alignment done?
    I know someone who bought a horse who would go lame only under saddle, but when worked in a round pen with no saddle on, he was fine. She called him saddle lame. He associated his saddle with pain, so “faked” lameness.
    You also mentioned he was diagnosed with Lymes, could this be the real issue? I know in humans it can cause a lot of joint issues and pain. I know 3 people who suffer from it and one who has passed.
    Have you tried homeopathic to help with his issues?

    Keep us posted!!

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

    beh0408 Original Poster
    Topics Started: 3Replies Posted: 2

    thanks for the replies! I wouldn’t think it is spinal damage; you mentioned that your horse’s lameness was caused suddenly, wheras Earl started gradually and developed over a few months.
    Also I don’t believe it is caused by the saddle- he shows his lameness when he is longed with no saddle and has barely been worked under saddle all summer. He also gets regular chiropractic treatments (always has). As for the lymes, I’m not sure how much it is affecting him. One vet thought that was a big part of the problem and another vet said that lymes disease doesn’t affect him at all.

    Mapale Mapale
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 421

    This is a tough one. My first thought was back pain because it ‘migrates’ over the limbs. My vet (a lameness expert in NC – one that people would come for hundreds of miles to see) once had a horse brought up from FL that had three different issues causing lameness. Each vet that had been previously consulted had come up with part of the answer, but unfortunately could only treat one part and thus the lameness was never resolved, vet to vet. Once all the causes had been identified, successful treatment could be implemented. This sounds like one of those multiple issue cases; I’m certainly no vet, but it would explain why one treatment works then another problem arises.

    Not sure where you are, but many states have excellent university equine programs that could help diagnose the issue(s). They have at their immediate disposal all the advanced diagnostic ability with state of the art facilities, and researchers of all stripes available for a consult. If I encounter any future lameness issues, that’s where I will have to go because my excellent friend and vet died this summer. So I’ll give you advice I’d take myself.

    Until you identify the problem you can’t heal it; you need better diagnosis than you’ve currently gotten. Find the best lameness expert (probably at a large university) you can and get Earl to it. This may sound like a costly choice but in the long run it may save you vet bills as you will have a comprehensive and effective treatment plan.

    Here’s hoping that you will get a proper diagnosis and that Earl can be restored to you sound and well. Please keep us posted.

    Alois Podhajsky: “When I hear somebody talk about a horse being stupid, I figure it’s a sure sign that animal has outfoxed them. ...

    Joan Fry
    Topics Started: 11Replies Posted: 324

    Actually it did start gradually–I just left that part out! After the accident, he was fine for a few months. Then he started to feel slightly “off,” but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Neither could the vets (about four of them). They tried various things–I seem to recall he even had some kind of chemical burn they used to give race horses as a “counter-irritant.” Poor horse! I was also told to give him six months off. That didn’t help–he was still slightly off, and then one day he tripped. That’s when I knew something serious was going on.

    Mapale is smart to wonder if Earl’s lameness has various sources. She’s probably right! I meant to look up Lyme Disease but forgot–doesn’t that have neurological implications too?

    Glad to hear about the chiropractic. I did acupuncture on my guy because towards the end, even though I rode him very seldom and never far from home (a horse who doesn’t know where his hind legs are isn’t safe to ride), I knew he was in pain. The acupuncturist told he he could cure that–remove the pain–but he couldn’t help me with the underlying problem. And he did ease his pain. I hope somebody finds what’s wrong with your guy, and that it’s treatable!

    pheets pheets
    Topics Started: 5Replies Posted: 477

    Lameness with unknown origin is SOO frustrating! I am inclined to agree with the others here that a new opinion/diagnostic session (with another vet tho it seems you have researched most in your area….I understand WELL that frustration, too!) might be in order.

    What I can tell you of Lyme disease is this: It is a bacterial base, often with a slow onset and manifests ever so slightly different in each horse, both in severity and location. The longer it goes undiagnosed, (and without a proper blood test/testing procedure, it IS difficult to pinpoint), the more the bacteria tends to pool in the larger joints. My little Arab, Taji, is riddled with it as we didn’t diag him easily or quickly enough. He is now chronic, with flares every couple months or so. This requires a one to three month course of minocycline as the standard oral Doxy or IV Oxytet no longer worked for him. There ARE homeopathic and holistic applications available that I have NOT tried yet.

    Pooling of this bacteria in the larger joints (hip, shoulder, jaw, lower back, etc.) makes him travel with great stiffness, short strides, low to almost depressed demeanour yet not debilitated. Tripping from the hind, as far as I know, is not a common occurence but depending on IF it IS Lyme, and how long it has been present without intervention, it COULD be influential in the integrity of your horse’s gait and balance. It also wreaks havoc with my chronic Uveitis mare, creating an almost impossible condition to clear up.

    I guess what I am trying to offer is that while it might NOT be Lyme, it is worth a proper and thorough testing to rule it out. Lyme Disease is sneaky, subtle, hard to diag and even harder to get rid of tho once pinpointed, and managed, the horse can go on quite well : )

    Good luck with this very frustrating lameness, Beh0408, I, as well as the rest of us here, can readily relate I am sure.

    Sure there's right and wrong but mostly there's just a whole lotta different.

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 4

    Check out a newer technology Cytowave Equine Therapy it can close serious tendon and ligament lesions in 3-5 weeks.Nothing out there can claim that. It’s new on the market but lots of case studies and top riders using, as well as head vets for US eventing and showjumping. Check out the site and call.

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 3

    Hi There,

    I have a horse that has a club like right front as well. He has always been a little short strided on that right front. HE started going off in May. He is also huge 18.2 hands. I say that because the size of him works against him.
    Our first vet visit was also a bone scan. The scan showed a bone bruise on his right front. We started treating that with Hand walking and rest. * weeks later I started bringing him back, within 5 days he was off again. I took him back for an MRI. They determined he had degenerative joint disease. My heart sank and I thought this might be the end for this horses career. Again the pure size of him works against him.
    I have started him on Adequen we are in the loading dose now. But one thing I have done which I am amazed about is I started doing laser therapy on him. I am amazed at the results. The trick I found is on the right front besides using the laser on the pastern and coffin bone joints we started doing his shoulders and back. I have seen incredible results. My horse is totally sound. If you can find someone in you area that has this machine its called Pegasus Therapy Laser. Its a very high powered laser that works miracles. We even used it on my dog that was having a hard time getting up and he is now up and running around again. The machine works on a cellular level. Here is the website for it and If you are in Southern California area let me know. I know two ladies that do this at a VERY reasonable price. My insurance covers it as well.
    Good luck!!! I hope this has helped you and given you some hope!!

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