Casue of Mystery Lameness
I had written on this earlier referring to it as a possible, maybe, not really sure suspensory strain. I have a 7 yr OTTB being ridden only in dressage currently at training level. A couple of months back he developed a slight lameness, and I do mean VERY slight, in the right forelimb. A vet check with full flexion, standard trot out and some light linging had the vet failry baffled as the signs of lameness were so slight they were barely noticeable. The legs has never had any heat or swelling at all. A run of the fingers (in a pinching motion) down the suspensory ligamanet with the leg held paralle to the ground gave a very mild pain response on the outside band about halfway down the cannon; there was no reaction in the opposite forelimb. Vet advice given, among other smaller treatments (cold hose, a few days of bute, liniment), was a week stall rest and if sound, go back to riding. Me being the paranoid type that I am gave the horse 6 weeks off which consisted of a week of full stall rest, a week of handwalking, a week of solitary and confined turnout (in a small indoor arena) as long as he stayed quiet, 2 weeks of limited regular turnout (he was walked out mid-morning after his paddock mate had time to blow off energy) and then another week of regular turnout before I rode again. In this he had a couple of very light (10 minutes) of lunging, twice in the 6 week period..he was showing no signs of lameness.
I started riding again and due to a change in schedule the riding time has been light, only 7 times in 2 weeks, however, on Friday this past week he was showing low level signs of the same issue only now I am seeing the pain response to the ligament in the exact same location in BOTH forelimbs.
Not wanting to do the nine hundred vet visits and individual tests, I am having the vet do an eval in preparation for a referral to an equine hospital..a very good place that is luckily nearby and is very highly ranked, where hopefully I can get the full diagnosis in one single visit (though it will take a few days).
The issue with this is that in all of this fiasco the horse has had full definition in both limbs with no heat and no swelling. I did notice an improvement right after his feet were done a few weeks into his recovery period but not sure if it was the rest or the possibility a more frequent trimming schedule can help.
Anyone have any ideas on what else this might be? The riding I have been doing even in the last two weeks was a majority of walking, some trotting and only one time where I let him canter; he was not being pushed at all. His back is not showing any signs of pain on a standard back pain check, he is calm, and willing to move forward if asked though he loses connection and has a very slight head bob when tracking left and the bob is only seen if someone is really looking for it.
I was using regular brushing boots/splint boots on him until this came up (the first time) and then I went to regular support boots, but, since I have been using these for years, I am pretty confident I was using them correctly.