Dragging hind foot... - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 12 Old 09-27-2010, 08:21 AM Thread Starter
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Dragging hind foot...

Let me start with the fact that he's NOT my horse, so advices on "call the vet" are appreciated but useless. It's up to owner (not me), so I can say it, but I can't make it happen.

I was in ring yesterday watching my next-next neighbor riding, and I noticed the horse is dragging his back foot (just one). I mean really dragging so you can clearly hear very loud "shuuurh, shuuurh, shuuurh" kinda sound when he drags it on blue stonedust arena cover. He doesn't look lame, and he still moves pretty decent, but it's very weird. The neighbor said he "rides out" of it later in ride (may be after 10-15 mins of trotting). Well, my qh used to drag all her 4 feet out of laziness until I started dressage on her (so she has to move energetic ), it's definitely not a case here though. He's 11 years old OTTB.

So anyone run into something like that before? Could it be arthritis? Any suggestions on what can be done?
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post #2 of 12 Old 09-27-2010, 08:41 AM
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Could be a lower joint, fetlock or hock, or it could be higher up in the hip/pelvis/stiffle area. If he's not lame and works out of it, then I'd be more inclined to think it's in the hock or stiffle. If he were mine, I'd put him on some anti-inflamatories, like MSM, and have the chiropractor out. If the chiro can't find anything, I'd have the vet out to do x-rays and nerve blocking to find the cause. I would also not ride him and have him on 24/7 turnout until the issue is diagnosed. Standing in a stall tends to make joint stiffness or inflamation worse.
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post #3 of 12 Old 09-27-2010, 08:45 AM
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Hi Val Since it is an older horse and an OTTB to boot, my guess would be arthritis in the stifle joint.
My Saro has that stifle lock problem and though it's much better she will still "lock" after she has been standing in one place too long. The back leg will drag sometimes on the first step. She does work it out after walking a bit.
Hopefully this owner has her horse on a supplement for arthritis or joint problems.
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post #4 of 12 Old 09-27-2010, 09:14 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you, ladies! I going to share the advices with the neighbor.

He's 24/7 out actually, but he's a cribber, so spend LOTS of time standing in one spot obviously. Arthritis was my 1st thought, but he's just 10 or 11, which is pretty young still IMHO (although I know some have it earlier than others). I'm more concerned if it's an old injury from racing... I'll suggest calling the vet out, may be use mine when I'll have him for the shots.
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post #5 of 12 Old 09-27-2010, 09:23 AM
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I drove about 5 hours one way to work on a trade and the horse dragged it's back foot. She told me the horse was sound.... sorry I don't want a horse that drags his back foot. She tried to convince me to take him home for a week. I told her that was not happening. I wasn't going to drive back another 5 hours one way to return him. Owner was very upset and said " well I might not have liked your horse anyway" well, maybe not as there was not sense in even letting her ride as I was not trading anyway!
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post #6 of 12 Old 09-27-2010, 10:19 AM
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Arthritis is a possibility as well as a neurological issue such as EPM.

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post #7 of 12 Old 09-27-2010, 10:24 AM
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Can also be an old laceration type injury to the tendon, usually located around the stifle area. In these types of injuries the leg heals but damage to the tendon can be permanent and the leg has this 'dragging' effect although the horse can surprisingly stand up to quite heavy work.

One of my friends had a Warmblood mare that had this type of injury and she evented her in lower levels quite successfully, despite the slight dragging of the back leg. In fact the vet said it was better for the horse to stay in work so that the leg didn't just waste away.

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post #8 of 12 Old 09-27-2010, 10:34 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahver View Post
Can also be an old laceration type injury to the tendon, usually located around the stifle area. In these types of injuries the leg heals but damage to the tendon can be permanent and the leg has this 'dragging' effect although the horse can surprisingly stand up to quite heavy work.

One of my friends had a Warmblood mare that had this type of injury and she evented her in lower levels quite successfully, despite the slight dragging of the back leg. In fact the vet said it was better for the horse to stay in work so that the leg didn't just waste away.
Thanks for sharing, Sarah! Did your friend use any supplements on her?
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post #9 of 12 Old 09-27-2010, 10:47 AM
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one last possibility to throw out, though it doesn't quite sound like it- fibrotic myopathy? It is more commonly seen in OTTB's and basically is a big knot of scar tissue that forms in the "ham string" muscle following an injury/tear. My guy has it and he does warm out of it for the most part. It is considered a "mechanical" lameness as it doesn't really hurt, it is just that the scar tissue forms around tendons and within the muscle so they can't physically use it properly.

It is a pretty characteristic movement and once you have seen it you won't miss it again. I describe it as his "nazi stomp" (not intending any offense here, it just really looks like a goose step and this is something a lot of people can get a mental picture of). He kind of drags it as he swings the leg forward and there is a distinctly louder "thud" as that foot is placed. There is a lot less motion than normal in the pastern due to the way the upper muscles interact with that joint.

If you do think this might be it, there isn't a lot that can be done. There's a surgery but it isn't super successful BUT then these horses can also be used normally for the most part. For my TB I am careful to stretch him and warm up thoroughly and after each ride we stretch a little more and I massage the area (it feels like there is a rock in the muscle, easy to find it) and he absolutely loves it. Good luck!
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post #10 of 12 Old 09-27-2010, 10:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kitten_Val View Post
Thanks for sharing, Sarah! Did your friend use any supplements on her?
The only thing I can distinctly remember her using was a Vitamin E/selenium supplement which can help with tissue growth/support. That mare was very agile despite the dragging of the hind leg, she could jump 90cm with ease!

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