help... My horse has been lame for 4 months - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 01-03-2012, 04:13 PM Thread Starter
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help... My horse has been lame for 4 months

My horse is lame at the trot after pulling back while tied, I now use a tie ring that releases if he pulls back. Upon speaking with the veterinarian I believe that he pulled the shoulder out of socket because he was lame instantly and swinging his leg way out away from his body at a walk. I too have sought chiro and veterinary advice (my vet is qualified in both fields)

The vet adjusted him and then put him on b12 pellets which is a natural anti inflammatory and told me to ride him and strengthen him. She came back out after the first month for a recheck and readjusted him again telling me to continue riding and strengthening.

He is fine at a walk, and can trot as long as it is a straight way. I cannot ride him in the arena or lunge him because he is very lame around the turns, with the shoulder on the inside of the curve. He would rather canter than trot. He's not as bad going the other way. We have been 4 months into this injury (Sept. 9, 2011)
We have a pond to ride around so for 3 months about 2 or 3 days / week I've been lightly riding and strengthening him...sure to stop when he shows signs of discomfort.

I havent seen any improvement, so since the weather has gotten cold and it's difficult to ride him outside (the ground is soft and slippery around the pond) I've decided for the past month to rest him and just hand walk and stretch him for awhile. I rode him down the road for a short distance last week (after 2 weeks rest and hand walk) and he seemed to be feeling really good. I let him trot for a short way just to see if there was any improvement. He did not seem to be nearly as "gimpy" .... he's been back on rest since.

Any suggestions?
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post #2 of 20 Old 01-03-2012, 07:44 PM
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I would be calling another vet for a 2nd opinion.
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post #3 of 20 Old 01-03-2012, 07:51 PM
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I am not sure I agree with your vets advise to continue riding him, but I am not an expert, nor do I play one on the internet.
I too would recommend a second opinion.
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post #4 of 20 Old 01-03-2012, 08:01 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you Melanie...

I had a lenghy phone consultation with another vet, and I read him the notes from my current vet. I told him that I had been riding him lightly and making sure to stop at the first sign of pain.

The good thing about my horse "Clark" is that he is still pretty young...he's 7...and he is extremely good at communicating himself...good bad or indifferent...

the vet said that it sounded like we were doing everything right. He basically said...if it hurts...don't do it...if it doesnt hurt go lightly...and increase a little at a time. He also said that shoulder injuries were uncommon in horses and that when they DO occur if soft tissue is could take anywhere from 6 months to a year to heal.

I took it upon myself to rest him due to the fact that riding in the arena does hurt and riding outside is difficult right now...if he doesnt improve after another week or two I will no doubt have to have someone come out for xrays or ultrasound.
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post #5 of 20 Old 01-03-2012, 08:14 PM Thread Starter
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I have to agree with you...He rides fine for about the first week or so after she adjusts him and then we are back to limpy again. That's why I opted to rest him for awhile.
It isn't impossible that he might be restressing it out in the field too...he does have a buddy that he plays with out there. The vet I talked to on the phone asked about his "play habits" ...they don't play rough...but a little "King of the Hill" (no rear or buck) is always on the agenda, at least first thing during morning turn out. And I will say too that he "hauls butt" out to the pasture in the morning.

Unfortunately separating him isnt an option, neither is leaving him in his stall...he is 3/4 Arabian and 1/4 Saddlebred (yes a bit high strung) ...and I'm afraid he would do more damage in separation.

Last edited by sisbarbo; 01-03-2012 at 08:17 PM.
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post #6 of 20 Old 01-03-2012, 08:20 PM
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Can you split the paddock in half? so they can see each other but can't really "play"? Also, if these injuries take 6-12 months to heal, it will probably take that long to see improvements.

Not sure I agree with the advice on riding, however on the flip side of the coin- if you don't ride him he may not heal correctly (if the vet is correct) or with as much range in motion/strength as he should..

I would do a second opinion (on site) and if the vet agrees with treatment, then maybe have your (personal) vet come out and do adjustments more often?
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post #7 of 20 Old 01-03-2012, 08:40 PM
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It sounds like he should neither be ridden nor worked hard, if anything, I would maybe paddock him, maybe... That would give the shoulder easy access to exercise without being able to run out in a field or be contained in a stall. That would be an easy way to help the strengthening process. I would definitely go to a second vet, just for a second opinion, because fresh eyes can see more than sore eyes :). I hope all goes well, and take it easy! :)
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post #8 of 20 Old 01-03-2012, 09:27 PM Thread Starter
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Drop your reins, I believe that you hit my vets train of thought on the head! When I brought Clark home 9 months ago I had him at a different boarding stable....he didnt adjust well to his initial move (basically went nuts) and he lost some weight and some muscle tissue.

She said that the reason that the shoulder pulled out when he pulled back was because he had no muscle tissue to keep everything when he over extended himself....he basically fell apart. Therefore the riding to strengthen.

Unfortunately I board him and so I am not able to make changes to the way things are set up. And he receives the absolute best of care so I would never consider moving him. I occasionally go out early, because I love to watch him in the morning. He is out in the pasture with 17 other horses...all pecking orders have been established. He does high tail it out, but they settle into their individual hay piles pretty quickly. When they play he keeps his feet planted, but he'll occasionally "push" with his hind quarters but mostly they play grabbng with their mouths and not hard because he rarely comes in with any marks. He has exceptional range of motion in his neck (only horse I've ever seen that can scratch his own butt)

I am new on here but I will try to post some pictures and I have a video of him doing "Clark's physical therapy" we stretch and flex.
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post #9 of 20 Old 01-03-2012, 10:51 PM Thread Starter
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okay this was filmed December 3, 2011 and is pretty much the stuff that we have been doing for the past month. Kind of made his ground work into a game. He's learning to trot next to me without a lead line which is the primary goal of the video (he does get it after only 5 attempts)

the filming isnt very good but you can see some of the flexibility and range of motion that he has in his neck. The injured shoulder is the left.

You'll see that he doesn't demonstrate lameness at a walk, and even though he's not very enthusiastic to trot...he shows more lameness if he is on a curve or turn while trotting. Sometimes under saddle he will "jet his chin out" that's when I know its starting to hurt.

Last edited by sisbarbo; 01-03-2012 at 10:56 PM.
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post #10 of 20 Old 01-04-2012, 01:33 AM
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Oh what a cutie! =] Do you have access to trails? I think just plain walking up and down hills would help him out a lot! He looks fine to me at the walk, I caught maybe one instance of instability but it could have been a fluke. He is definitely stiff (and reluctant to trot) at the trot. I would be nervous to push him past his pain threshold, so if I sensed reluctance to trot, I would just walk a lot! Maybe, trot a tiny bit towards the end (as you did in your video) a few strides and end it on a good note.

But I would be looking for some hills to walk up and down for him. Good Luck! =]
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