I took my boy to the vets after a couple of months of him not feeling quite right. He wasn't lame at all, but there was a stiffness in him and a lack of forwardness that he couldn't seem to shake.
I actually didn't tell the vet anything at first. He wanted to see the horse do a trot out on both sand and concrete.
He determined that he was lame in the left front and an extremely subtle lameness in the hind left, although the vet thought it was more of a gingerness than an actual lameness in the hind. Flexions showed absolutely nothing (which was a major surprise, because I've never seen a vet hike a hind leg that high before!)
Anyways, since we were there, I opted to take xrays, since I (stupidly) did not do so when I had him vetchecked in April. Anyways, we had the hocks and stifles xrayed, and they were beautifully clean. Not even a hint of arthritis yet or degeneration (and I thought for sure we'd see something, since he's so very large and long bodied)
Here's a pic of the left hock:
Here's a pic of the right:
So that left us with "what now?" Vet checked out his back (where I have felt enormous amounts of stiffness lately), but he was all clear. Palpated his pelvis and SI joints, no problem. So then, on a hunch, the vet asked if we could xray his front feet.
Now, Rico came to me with absolutely horribly feet. I gather that he was turned out in a large pasture and likely only seen once every 4-5 months, so we've been trying to correct the problem. But he's got a very flat foot and quite a soft sole, so the farrier has always been rather hesitant on trimmings, afraid that he would lame him.
So, the xray of the left front proved to be quite interesting. First of all, it was determined that there is actually quite a lot of toe that can be taken off and rounded out-which you would never really guess just looking at his feet. But it also shows how very flat his angle is...the vet mentioned that it was almost a zero p3 angle (which after googling, means that the coffin bone is nearly parallel to the ground), which would put enormous amounts of stress on his legs.
But, and perhaps more interesting, there was some indication of a slight degree of seperation at the toe where the laminae is that happened about 2-3 months ago (when I started feeling this stiffness). the vet called it a hoof wall seperation at the point of the toe, where infection got in, and weakened the laminae to the point that it started to rotate slightly putting even more pressure on his feet. (at the time, he had an overall infection because of how he ripped his ear, so it wouldn't surprise me to know that this was when it started)
So they did that sensor thingy that lights up where heat is showing, and sure enough, it was his left front. They gave him a small injection to block it, and **** if he didn't start trotting much freer.
So the vet's theory is that he's been ouchy up front, so he hasn't wanted to move with much impulsion (because obviously that would put more weight on his front legs as well), so he hasn't been rounding his back like he used to, hasn't been stretching his hind end, so its gotten stiff and sore
So I've gotten in contact with a farrier that specializes with these types of problems, and with the vet's notations of the angles that he wants, and we can work on correcting it.
So keep your fingers crossed for me!