Chronic Lameness - Cool to the Touch - Circulation Problems? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 51 Old 08-15-2011, 10:27 PM Thread Starter
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Chronic Lameness - Cool to the Touch - Circulation Problems?

I'll try to make a very long story short. I have an 18-year-old who has been lame for years now, somewhat progressively worsening, but for the most part holding largely steady. Unrideable due to his problem. It's a lower leg lameness, but not true heel pain, and various vets have diagnosed it as "navicular," "low heels," "thin soles," "soft tissue damage," and a myriad of other problems, none of which actually fit his situation. Multiple visits to four different vets, with radiographs and ultrasounds, have proved inconclusive. All standard treatments have failed to bring him more than very minimal and short term relief: coffin bone injections, navicular bursa injections, mesotherapy and regular back injections (he has significant back pain as well, and I think it's a chicken-and-egg thing with his legs and back playing off each other and making each other worse), isoxsuprine, Tildren, joint supplements, magnesium supplement, daily bute, eggbar shoes, wedge shoes, soft pads, barefoot...even tried freezing his nerves but it didn't take. No one knows what he hell is wrong with him, and we've tried all the recommended treatments for things that *could* be wrong with him, to no avail.

I've noticed recently, though, that his legs are cool to the touch--cooler than the other horses'. Same with his ears. And maybe I'm grasping at straws, and maybe it's just within the realm of normal equine body temperature deviation, but I wonder if he could have some kind of circulation problem that all of the vets have missed, and that is at least contributing to his lamenes issues? He's never had thermography as a diagnostic; no one has ever recommended it. And I thought that isoxsuprine was used specifically to improve blood flow, and it didn't do a thing for him. But has anyone heard of such a thing as I just described--is it a tenable theory?
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post #2 of 51 Old 08-15-2011, 10:39 PM
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I have never heard of it, but it stands to reason that if his circulation is poor enough to make the the temperature difference that noticeable, it could well be a contributing factor to his lameness. Although it could also be another symptom. I have nothing intelligent to suggest, but am subbing so I can see what wiser people have to say.


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post #3 of 51 Old 08-15-2011, 10:46 PM Thread Starter
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I've heard of something called "Sympathetic Nerve Dysfunction." Don't know much about it.

Equine Infrared Imaging, Equine Thermography, Animal Thermography,

Southern Hills Equine Veterinary Clinic - Our Services

I don't know if it's generally just one limb, or one area that's affected...or if it could be body-wide...?
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post #4 of 51 Old 08-15-2011, 10:46 PM
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I am on the same page as Indy. I can see how poor circulation could lead to undiagnosable lameness. You would think some sort of blockage would show up on an ultrasound though.
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post #5 of 51 Old 08-15-2011, 10:54 PM
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I have nothing of any use to offer either, but is his lameness always the same leg or does it switch between the legs?
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post #6 of 51 Old 08-15-2011, 10:55 PM Thread Starter
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It's both front legs, for sure, but it seems to be worse in the right. And you have to nerve block him higher in the right to get pain relief and soundness--they he switches to being crippled on the left.

Dunno if he has back leg trouble or not. When they're so bad on one, it's hard to tell if the others are "fine," or just less affected.
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post #7 of 51 Old 08-15-2011, 10:55 PM
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I have to say, those Thermographs are super cool...but probably hella expensive.
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post #8 of 51 Old 08-15-2011, 10:56 PM Thread Starter
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Probably way cheaper than an MRI, I'd bet!
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post #9 of 51 Old 08-15-2011, 10:59 PM
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True. Is that vet clinic close to you? I think if it were affordable, it would be worth the experience.
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post #10 of 51 Old 08-15-2011, 11:00 PM
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You know, (and this is so a tangent so, forgive me, but I do have a point) over my lifetime I have had some bizarre, hard to diagnose medical problems. I also suffer from chronically low blood pressure (runs in all the females of my family - I tend to have a resting bp of 65/40). The low blood pressure has caused some problems in otherwise diagnosing relatively simple things with me. Raised bp, for me, tends to still be well within the "healthy" range for normal people, so it often gets shrugged off. But I have wondered in the past, if all my problems could actually be tied TO my low BP. One of the problems I have is I tend to get very bad cramps in my legs that are difficult to get rid of with anything other than a warm bath. Because of the low BP, I also have a lot of trouble regulating my body heat and will get chilled on even a cool summer evening, and when I get badly overheated I have to put ice on my pulse points because my body can not readily cool.

I am just thinking, it stands to reason it could be the same with a horse. I have no proof that my OWN problems are linked to my low BP, I just suspect that to be the case, so I certainly have no proof or even guesses to offer up in terms of your boy. I think the infrared imaging is intriguing, though, and I think the theory is definitely worth following up on.


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