Help with rescue TB w/old bowed tendong that just won't heal

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Help with rescue TB w/old bowed tendong that just won't heal

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    05-14-2009, 10:13 PM
Exclamation Help with rescue TB w/old bowed tendong that just won't heal

Okay so here's the story. We are a horse rescue at my barn (I am trainer and have boarders but that's an entirely separate business than the non-profit to avoid any confusion). That said, in November we took in a horse to help another rescue that had been sent to brokers and was supposedly being sold to slaughter. Was told he was 5 or 6 and sound. Well turns out he's got an old bow - was mildly tender on it when we got him but couldn't put him on stall rest as he had to be at a quarantine barn which is a medium sized field with a run in. Did the SMBs on day/off nite and monitored the leg which seemed to have little heat and mild unsoundness. He was relatively quiet in the field.

Since coming to the barn here, we tried stall rest and he panicked and paced and made the leg worse, so we tried keeping him in the barnyard at nite and in a stall during the day and the leg seemed to get MORE aggravated, despite cold hosing and wrapping. Gradually with him living in the barnyard instead (about 30x 50) he became sound and we let him out with the group b/c he started to pace the fencline, even with a buddy in there with him, once his leg started to feel better. He stayed sound most of the winter (but was in no work as we wanted to let the leg completely heal).

Come spring and with spring fever and some mud, it's been on again off again. However recenlty we've redone the paddocks and did a LOT of mud removal and drainage and now it's pretty much dry even after it rains, and he's more unsound than ever. Tried stall rest again - same result as before - and even tried poultice/standing wraps, and then cold hose/SMBs and he's WORSE. I'm beyond stumped. Vet says stall rest and cold hose, the typical, and keep him drugged if necessary, but I disagree as he's already not holding weight well (slightly ribby despite good quality pellets 11% protein 6% fat 3x/day and hay 24/7) and I'm pretty sure daily ace will just make ulcers worse. He won't eat bute (likely b/c it also makes his stomach worse) and is a picky eater and won't eat ulcer supps. I'm at my wit's end, with limited resources as donations are few and far between in this economy, and a waiting list of horses needing rescue coming out of my ears...

The hard part is we are a rescue, and just don't have the means/resources to have him handled and worked with 4x a day and constantly wrapped and drugged (let alone the kind of life that would be for him), and some days he's great and total doll to handle, and other days he's a total bear to handle on the ground, let alone cold hose or wrap (rearing, backing, panicking, screaming), and acts herd bound and like a total spaz. I'm SURE it has to do with poor track handling, and I DO have a working student working with him a few times a week, but I'm really looking for more ideas or help on getting that leg to heal. Unfortunately as a 6 year old, if he isn't even pasture sound, it seems cruel to me to keep him like this, though I just don't see why a simple bow just won't heal unless there some degenerative joint disease going on....any ideas?????

ANY thoughts or help would be appreciated.

Also - yes, my mare did recently foal, and no she is not a rescue nor is she a part of the rescue, she's a well-bred TB mare that I personally own and train, that was bred to an incredible Oldenburg stallion. Just wanted to make sure people were well aware that my personal mare wasn't a rescue that I bred! I hate hearing about stuff like that....anyway sorry...back to the horse - ideas anyone?!?!?
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    05-14-2009, 11:31 PM
My horse bowed both of his front tendons last spring (baddd free lease situation), and I know what a nightmare it can be. I'm confused by the post a little, though - are you leaving the SMBs on all day? If so, this could be a problem. The SMBs are not ment to be left on for long periods of time; in fact Professionals Choice recommends taking them off if your horse will be standing for a while during exercise. Otherwise, I can only tell you what worked for me. I've had my horse turned out in a smallish pasture with another quiet horse since he became injured. I would have prefered he be alone but he's incredibly herdbound and wont tolerate being by himself. He's never been on stall rest. I gave him about 5 months off, and massaged his front legs with liniment everyday. I also put him on SmartTendon, which I think helped a lot. I started him slowly again back in the fall, but it was mostly walking and then he had the whole winter off due to the weather. Now he's perfectly sound, but he'll always need to wear his SMB Elites when he works and I still massage his legs and put liniment on them after every workout. I've also noticed that even though he's sound, if he goes a few days without working, his legs stock up and the bow is more prominent. After working, his legs are totally flat, so exercise seems to be a good thing for him. Good luck with your horse, bowed tendons are the worst. I'd just give it time and try the liniment massages. They really worked for Chance!
    05-14-2009, 11:34 PM
We stopped with the SMBs b/c they didn't seem to work and when they were on it was on days (when he'd be more active in the field), off nights (when he was quiet/sleeping). I was considering trying them again b/c I'm truly at my wit's end here....
    05-14-2009, 11:36 PM
And thanks for the advice. He's not my horse, he's one of the rescues so I'm trying to make him as adoptable as possible, even if just as a pasture pet. It's been since November with no improvements and several setbacks that just don't make sense. The linament sounds like a good idea and I can certainly suggest that to the girl that is volunteering to work with him.
    05-15-2009, 03:57 AM
I have a rescue OTTB as well and I share your pain! I wish a bow is all I had to deal with...

My arab bowed a tendon because the people I had leased him to let his heels get underrun (surprising since he was under a well known dressage trainer in my area). He was heard bound too.. I basically did a DMSO sweat a few times a week but I ALWAYS had a standing wrap on it... I mean like 2 or 3 months and just turned him out with the standing wrap and it worked like a charm. I used fluffy pillow wraps but I wrapped the bandage tight so that it wouldn't unravel and get caught on something.

The one thing is with keeping it wrapped for so long you have to wean them off of it other wise their leg will swell up the size of a basket ball and could cause further injury to the tendon. (This happend when I wrapped my TBs leg to keep a superficial injury clean for 2 weeks... I took it off and the next day his fetlock was the size of a large grapfruit. Oops!) Take the wrap off for an hour or two at a time and increase from there... Cold hosing inbetween the longer stretches also helps. I also used a little bute during this time too.

How are the horses feet? If he has low heels I would consider raising those with a wedge of some sorts but I'm sure you already know that! Good luck!
    05-15-2009, 01:02 PM
OK which feed is he on?? Can you get some buteless or some type of "natural" pain killer??

Thinking on the leg thing cause it sounds like you have pretty much tried everything already ...
    05-17-2009, 09:16 PM
He's on legends pellets 11%....but bad news. He's lame now on both fronts.

I'm afraid he's foundering (yes call was made to vet - pending confirmation on appointment). He was pretty sound-ish until this past week and he was sound this winter so I just thought it was the rain/mud that irritated the old bow. However he came in today dead lame on both fronts (more on the bow, but clearly on both fronts) and the old bow is cold and not swollen. I think the initial reemergence of the bow lameness wasn't that at all, but the beginnings of laminitis..... it doesn't look good. I'm trying to think of what else it could even be, and hoping it's just some abscesses in the hoof or something but it's not looking like it. Didn't feel a digital pulse or too much heat in coronary but he had just been cold hosed by the girl that's been volunteering with him, so that could definitely mask it. He also lost weight this past week - which must be pain/stress related since not only did we up his feed a week ago, he also started getting lunch as well (we did it gradually - actually cut his AM/PM feed and added a small lunch to balance it out and up feed slightly to mitigate founder risk since we knew he's higher risk b/c of the ongoing lameness issues). It very well could be a compensatory founder.

Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers - poor guy is just 6...will update everyone as soon as I hear from vet.
    05-17-2009, 09:43 PM
STOP the feed STOP all grain products... give him only soaked grass hay as much as he will eat !!!
    05-17-2009, 09:44 PM
Do this like ASAP No title
    05-17-2009, 09:48 PM
Originally Posted by Peggysue    
STOP the feed STOP all grain products... give him only soaked grass hay as much as he will eat !!!
He's got a round bale in front of him - and yes I know, dealt with founder before....*sigh* It unfortunately explains the on again off again soundness as of late if he was going laminitic. And still losing weight....

Will keep you posted as soon as vet is out here.

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