Hind End Lameness... what to do? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 01-21-2013, 08:57 AM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Hind End Lameness... what to do?

My horse is lame.

It started about three weeks ago when I took her out to try a new saddle on and I noticed she was a bit "off" at the trot in the hind, not quite "lame" but not quite right. The previous few days we'd had a fair bit of rain and she can tend to run around in her paddock, so I figured she'd slipped or something and was a little tender, so I decided to just give her a few days.

With a few more days of rain and such she seemed a bit worse but there was no heat or swelling, and then I game out and there looked like there was an abscess burst on the hind leg so I attributed to lameness to that and let her rest up while I was away for a few days and got my mother to keep an eye on her/feed her).

Came back and she was still lame, worryingly so, and I got a vet out today (which cost a fortune) and he was very thorough and checked her a lot and he has not a clue what's wrong. He suspects its in the hip, or perhaps the hock but there was no swelling, no heat, no tenderness, will pick up both back feet, seems okay at the walk, but super lame at the trot. He was pretty confident that the lower leg/hoof is completely fine. He recommended I give her three more weeks off and if she's not better get Xrays, which won't be cheap and will involve having to truck her a fair way, so all in all it will probably cost more than the horse is worth. I know all of you guys are really pro-vet etc, but I don't want to spend possibly thousands on a $700 horse whose condition might be permanent. That sounds harsher than I mean it.. I adore Rosie but I have no idea what to do.

Obviously I want to fix this... but without knowing what it is I can't proceed. I was wondering if any of you have experienced anything like this? Or have some idea of things I could do? The vet pretty much said "try anything at this point". I just have not a clue what is wrong. She hasn't been in proper work for years, she doesn't share a paddock with horses, and she's only seven.

Any advice greatly appreciated.
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post #2 of 10 Old 01-21-2013, 09:24 AM
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Where was the abcess located? A hoof abcess usually percolates for several weeks or longer before it blows near the coronary band. That is the soft tissue above the hard hoof wall. The horse will be quite lame and once it blows the pain stops. Some vets will try to dig it out and one usually finds the pocket of pus near the heel as it seeks the path of least resistance. One gal whose horse had a hind hoof abcess waited 6 weeks before it blew. I don't know why the hind seems to take longer than the front.
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post #3 of 10 Old 01-21-2013, 09:27 AM
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If the vets not sure, Id get a well rspect chiropractor out and take a look. She may have slipped and now something is out of place. Having a chiro out will at least give you somewhere to go from.
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post #4 of 10 Old 01-21-2013, 09:32 AM
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Possible hip fracture?
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post #5 of 10 Old 01-21-2013, 10:03 AM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Nothing wrong with the hoof. Abscess (if it was that - is healed now) was at the hock on the now not lame leg.

I was thinking about chiropractor - do they work?

Hip fracture... what's the deal with that? What can I do about that? Is it likely?
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post #6 of 10 Old 01-21-2013, 10:09 AM
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If it was very muddy and slippery it isn't hard for them to do the splits. If that's it I think it's very unlikely she will ever be sound. Try the chiropractor first. Hopefully she just knocked something out of alignment.
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post #7 of 10 Old 01-21-2013, 01:12 PM
Green Broke
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Sometimes.. sometimes.. we have to make hard decisions and cut our losses.

Call a chiro and if there is no help there, try the stall rest. If there is no improvement you can try a course of bute and stall rest. If there is no change again, then it may be time to make the hard decison and either send her to the knacker or put her down.

As much as I always wanted to know "why" I also learned, from my vet, that why can be found but may take a lot of money. He said that even if I knew why, the treatment or outcome would be the same.. so we often treated and re-evaluated. If treatment worked, great. If not, we would talk and often cut losses and never learn 'why' the animal was sick etc.

There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man. ~Winston Churchill
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post #8 of 10 Old 01-21-2013, 01:24 PM
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All sorts of soft tissue injuries can be very difficult to diagnose, and as mentioned above, you may never know. Around here, we look for/treat the more obvious (bruises, sprains, etc) and let rest and nature fix the rest. Over the years, the most effective treatment has been to separate the horse and limit movement (small paddock). Even a lame horse will limp around a pasture all day to graze and be with the herd and this greatly increases healing time. Also, don't be surprised if it takes a couple months of rest.
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post #9 of 10 Old 01-21-2013, 06:35 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Its so tricky - i've never had a seriously injured horse.

To be honest I don't think i could put a horse down unless they really were suffering, and both the vet and I think she doesn't seem that bothered or in pain at the walk. If this was permenant I guess i would try to retire out somewhere big and cheap where they look out for them.

Her paddocks under an acre and she's alone (horses on 2/3 sides) so I don't think its worth locking her up any more.

I'm going to look at the chiro. It just sucks that you can spend so much on vets and nothing gets fixed :(

And she's just coming good

Thanks for all your help though.
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post #10 of 10 Old 01-21-2013, 10:47 PM
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Without expensive diagnostics, you might never find out *exactly* what is bothering her, but the cure for many different injuries in horses is to just rest them. If her movement is limited in her paddock, she may be fine out there. I'd let her rest, limiting her movement for at least another month, then reassess how she's doing. Three weeks isn't an especially long time for an injury to heal. I've known many horses that needed to be on stall rest for longer than that for injuries that weren't career-ending and certainly weren't worth euthanizing over. There's nothing wrong with euthanasia as an option, but I'd personally think it premature at this point.

I personally wouldn't think it was a fracture at this point, as she's sound at the walk. Fractures tend to cause very severe lameness, that would cause the horse to be non-weight bearing on the affected limb.

Soft tissue injuries can take a long time to heal; up to a year of limited to no turnout is not unheard of, but rehabbed properly, a horse can return to full work after such an injury.

Good luck with your mare, I hope it's something minor!
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