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Continuation, help finding why Bailey is lame

This is a discussion on Continuation, help finding why Bailey is lame within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • How to handle a lame horse that is upset for not being turned out with rest of herd?
  • How soon after laminitis with grade 111 lameness can I ride horse

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    09-06-2012, 11:56 PM
  #31
Super Moderator
So, what would you do with my two permanently lame mares?

Just kill them?

I hope not. I am more crippled than either one. I live in constant pain -- if I think about it. I am pretty good at 'tuning it out'. I take very few pain meds and use a lot of Flexiril (muscle relaxers) which helps with muscle spasms from my Scoliosis and my lower spine degenerative joint disease.

There is no treatment that will make either of these sweet old mares less lame. Both are happy and fat and live a happy herd life.

I have had many crippled horses over the years. It has been my finding (and that of my Vet I used for 25 years), that if a horse is eating well, not laying around a lot, holding weight well and keeping up with the herd on pasture, THAT HORSE IS NOT SUFFERING. I think most lame horses tune out all but the most severe pain. When they hit a point where it starts to bother them, they do downhill fast and it is time to put them down. That is exactly how we handle it here. As long as I can afford to feed and keep the pensioners, I will.

What I find very unsettling is when people force horses to work when lame or give high levels of Bute or its equivalent to a horse and work them anyway. I would be much more upset with the OPs horse owner if they were Buting it and using it in lessons anyway. Then, I would have a problem with it.

The reasons I would not report 'mildly lame' horses and make a huge deal out of them are:

1) I think animal rights groups pounce on every opportunity to make livestock and pet owners look bad. I think they use every opportunity to advance their agenda that calls for an end to all animal ownership and use. While they are not real big right here, they are in a lot of places.

2) If you start calling authorities for every little thing, the chances are real good that they will ignore you completely when you really need them. If you think this horse is neglected and looks bad, you need a reality check by going to local horse auction. You will see about 75 horses that look really pathetic for every 15 or 20 you see that even resemble this one if you would go to the local sale right here in town and they will not even let people unload very thin horses or crippled ones.
     
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    09-07-2012, 10:46 AM
  #32
Super Moderator
I'm seeing some confusion here
The OP seems to have to deal with this horse on a fairly frequent basis and is obviously attached to it which is why she cares so much and feels frustrated that nothing is being done
The issue for her is that nothing has been done to confirm what is actually wrong with the horse - which is obviously not improving with stable rest
All it takes is for a vet to say what is wrong so they can move on and the owner and barn manager don't seem to want to comply with the best interests of the animal
An abcess in the foot could be treated very easily but if left could be rotting the foot away
Some stifle problems do better for turnout to help strengthen the ligaments and muscles, some are better for rest
If the horse was in chronic pain it wouldn't be eating so well but there is still something wrong that needs looking at by a professional
Getting outside forces involved could cost her the job there so I'm inclined to be against her doing that as theres no guarantee that they will do anything anyway.
What isn't clear to me is 'Does the owner of the horse never visit the barn? Do they ever ride the horse? Why do they not question why their horse isn't improving?
     
    09-07-2012, 10:56 AM
  #33
Trained
"Mildly lame"???

Nearly three legged at the trot is no-ones definition of "mildly lame" and actually constitutes a grade III of IV lameness, so "very lame" is actually the term we are looking for. Were the horse in the wild it would have been something's lunch by now. There is no way in hell, also, that Bute would mask this.

While it's great that you think it's okay for horses to live in pain, I don't. When a horse is 20+ and arthritic, okay, and only if it's managed, but to let them live with a severe, crippling injury and just think nothing about it is neglectful and abusive. There is something that can be done by a vet to this horse to make her more comfortable and possibly even heal and live to walk, trot and canter without having to limp like the dickens to get around. Not at least calling a vet and getting a diagnosis is neglectful. Were this a child, unable to run because of injury and the parents did nothing about it, how fast do you think that kid would be removed from their care.
And I know that people in this country don't give a **** about obesity, but it is a huge health risk and IMO also neglectful to let your horse, or your kids, get that obese. There are so many health issues related to obesity that can be fixed by one of two things, cutting back rations and/or a grazing muzzle - both of which will actually save you money.

Anyways, if the authorities haven't been called yet, they still should be called. Neglecting an animal in so much pain from an injury that it can't jog is abuse, and the BO needs what's coming if s/he is going to let a horse like that founder and die. I give the horse maybe another month before the obesity and overloading of the front legs end up in a severe bout of laminitis, which is likely the ultimate demise of the horse.

ANd one last point, to Cherie. Horses are not inexpensive and they hurt themselves. People unwilling to accept this and pay money for vet bills, and instead chuck the horse in a field or stall and go "LALALALALALA" as if they don't see the 3 legged gimping should not have horses, period. They should NOT be allowed to deteriorate and are in far more pain than you realize before they begin to deteriorate. It's great that you are in so much pain, really, so you must have a great understanding of how a horse feels. Next time you go to the doctor, don't talk, don't point and let him figure out where you hurt and what meds to give you based on gait analysis (that means running), x-rays and palpation. And then after a few diagnosis and (wrong) courses of treatment tell me how it feels to be a horse in severe enough pain that they are Grade III lame.
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    09-07-2012, 06:49 PM
  #34
Started
What are the signs I should look for if as to make sure she's not developing laminitis??
     
    09-07-2012, 07:25 PM
  #35
Super Moderator
If she has been taken off of all grain, you should not have a problem. She just still needs to lose 100# or more ASAP, but horses losing weight seldom get laminitis while horses gaining are very susceptible.

Should Laminitis develop, you will see a reluctance to move (much more than now), she will want to keep her front feet 'parked' out in front of her and will be unable to make sharp turns either direction.

If she would happen to have a bout with laminitis, you will see first hand the HUGE difference between 'mildly lame' and 'dead lame' or 'critically lame.

I cannot any horse person or any horse Vet does not make a HUGE distinction between being slightly off to mildly lame and being critically crippled to extremely lame. Everyone I know in the horse business or the horse Veterinary business sure knows the difference.

No one ever told me what they would do with my happy, fat mildly lame mares that I retired. Both are slick and shiny (a good indication of overall condition and well-being); they stay up with the herd and I am sure don't mind their problems at all. Would you just kill them? They cannot be 'fixed' or I would have fixed them. My Vet describes them as chronically / slightly lame. But, I am sure you are much smarter than he is. The roping mare (a granddaughter of Zan Parr Bar) won a LOT of money as a heading horse. I hope you do not have to make any choices for your aging parents or grandmother!

By the way, upper hind limb lameness can be very difficult to pinpoint. I got rid of one that 2 Vets mis-diagnosed and have since found the old Vet (now in his 70s) that does the deep injections and has 'fixed' mine and those of several people we know. Many other Vets will just tell you to 'turn out the horse for 6 months and reevaluate it then. The facilities that can do MRIs on the heavy muscled hips of lame horses have to anesthetize the horse and do the MRI while it is down. These MRIs can cost $3000.00 to $5000.00 just to do it and you take the chance of the horse suffering more serious injury, sometimes fatal as it comes out of the anesthetic. Upper hip injury can be very difficult, indeed. One is probably looking at $500.00 to $700.00 in nerve blocks and preliminary examinations to be sure it is the hip area. In my experience, a 'wait and see' approach is much more prudent on horses that are valued at $5000.00 or less and only slightly lame. Many Vets and barns would set that value at $10,000.00 or more.
     
    09-08-2012, 02:22 AM
  #36
Trained
To Anabel...

Google 'low grade' or 'sub clinical' laminitis Hidalgo. Also Katy Watts | Safergrass.org & Equine Cushing's and Insulin Resistance Information have some good info on causes, risks, treatment of diet & such.

Unfortunately it's not necessarily as easy as taking her off all grain, but that's certainly a step.

Laminitis, as with any other problem, may affect a horse to different degrees. If she develops acute laminitis, or has an 'attack' when her feet are already chronically compromised, you may see the classic 'founder stance' & she may be very reluctant to move, especially on hard ground, but horses are stoic creatures & often also suffer milder episodes. They may not be very obviously lame & may only be 'short stepping' or 'lazy', especially on hard ground, or be resistant to turning sharply.

Quote:
No one ever told me what they would do with my happy, fat mildly lame mares that I retired.
I don't pretend to know what the best thing is for a horse I've only been told a few words about by email. Only that I believe in quality over quantity & would at least want a good vet to advise me on what sort of degree of suffering the horse may be coping with. And as people obviously have such HUGE differences of perspective about 'mildly' lame, I wouldn't take your word for that.

Quote:
.....'wait and see' approach is much more prudent on horses that are valued at $5000.00 or less and only slightly lame. Many Vets and barns would set that value at $10,000.00 or more.
Yup, of course it's all about money for some & not worth risking or saving the life of a hack, but it is for a top athlete or show horse that you might be able to recoup your losses on with a few more prizes...
     

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