Hock Injury?

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Hock Injury?

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  • Hock injury
  • My horse has a dented skull from being kicked

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  • 1 Post By Lakotababii

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    03-12-2012, 01:37 PM
Hock Injury?

So I had the vet out for Onyx. He has always had a gimp in his back right leg. I saved up some money to get a full diagnostic done while I worked on his ground manners and attitude. In the meantime he has been on a supplement consisting of HA, Glucosamine, and MSM, which seems to help a little bit with his moving around.

He consistently takes a spin around the pasture for fun, so I wasn't too worried. But I took it really easy on his in the meantime, warming him up for longer than normal and cooling him down, plus only working him for about half hour at a time.

So anyways vet comes out and tells me a few things that help me put together the picture of Onyx's life. 1. He thinks Onyx is 7, not 10. I got Onyx last April as a 10 year old. He had horrible teeth, and I had them done, vet estimated no older than 8. When I had this vet out (different guy) he said he would say 7. This horse was sold to me after being sold at least 4 different times previously... as a 10 year old. So that means the people who owned him before me owned a 6 year old, not a 10 year old. And they had him for a year. They were pure beginners. He had already has his injury by then. He had at least 2 previous owners before them. I have a video of him with one of them, and he still had the gimp. So at that point he was only 4 or so... He must have gotten that injury young. That and his dent in his head and the missing tooth.

Okay so why is that relevant? Simple, the vet suggested this may be arthritic. In a seven year old. SOMEONE ruined my horse as a youngster, hurt him and then threw him w/o treatment and sold him as a 10 year old. I suspected this a while ago, but now I am fairly convinced. I have a young sweet horse despite his hard past.

So back to the injury. If anyone wants to see video I can show you. The vet came out and did an initial diagnosis of either hock or knee joint injury. He is not sure which one. He told me to take him to his clinic later this week. I am planning on doing that Friday when my husband is off so he can help me. He is going to do x rays of both the hock and knee. Then he is planning on numbing the hock and having me work my horse to see if he extends better. Then he will do the same with the knee. He said that way we can pinpoint the problem. I asked, of course, if this could damage him further. My vet said he will rule out all other issues first, but he believes the extension problem is just pain, and not skeletal or muscular or a tendon/ligament issue. He believes the problem is within the joint. He palpitated the area, no heat, no swelling.

So he said basically if these numbing tests work, he will pinpoint the problem and start him on hock injections. He said they are basically a steroid shot directly into the joint, done in 3 separate shots. I do not mind having it done, but I want opinions on this diagnosis and procedure. If he does need hock injections/knee injections every 4 months for life (vet said they last around 4 months and that you give them during spring-fall and then let them have winter off with just Glucosamine and aspirin if you don't ride hard in winter) can I give them or do I have to have the vet do it? He said they run 100 dollars a piece, which isn't bad, but I was wondering if any of you give your own or buy your own injections? Or is anyone here has any experience with an injury like this in a young horse? Vet said I would most likely have to retire him early (once again I'm okay with it, as long as my horse is not in pain), but I would like opinions.I wanna do the best I can for my boy. He deserves better than what he has had in the past. I am obviously going to be in this one for the long haul, and I want to be as educated as possible on the issue. If I can treat him on my own, I would much rather give him the injections myself that then have the vet do it every 4 months for life.
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    03-12-2012, 02:21 PM
Usually with joint issues, the injections are given directly into the joint (intra-articular). This is something that the vet must do for you. Joint injections can be corticosteroids (potent ant-inflammatory), hyaluronic acid (natural joint lubricant), and/or polysulfated glycosiminoglycans, sometimes just one of these and sometimes a combination of these. The vet will have to clip and clean the injection site and surrounding area with betadine or similar skin cleanser.

Hyaluronic acid can also be given in the vein and polysulfated glycosominoglycans can be given in the muscle.

It sounds like the best way to go with your horse is going to be intra-articular, it will be much more effective for him then.
    03-12-2012, 07:45 PM
As said above, all joint injections must be given by a vet, preferably under ultraound guidance.
Make sure they shave the injection site and thoroughly swab it before they nerve block him - my horse contracted a joint infection in the hock, which then also developed cellulitis and effectively ruined what was left of his joint.

As for outcomes, it really depends on what it is. If it is fusion of the lower joints within the hock, he'll have a pretty good chance of coming good. My horse was raced until he was 7, with 32 starts under his belt, it ruined his hock, he developed arthritis, it began fusing, and also developed a bone spur. I was treating him for over 18 months, sometimes he'd come sound, then he'd be crippled, then he'd be alright again. He ended up having a paddock accident and being put to sleep, but in my heart of hearts I don't think he would ever have come sound enough for much ridden work.

Wait to get the x-ray results, and go from there before stressing!
    03-13-2012, 01:53 PM
Thanks Guys!

Never dealt with anything like this before, I wanna do it right so we can help the little guy. I am very hopeful (and the vet sounded that way too) that he will be sound as long as we keep him out of pain. I'll keep you all posted, I'm going in on Friday morning so I will update after I get the x-rays and tests done.
    03-16-2012, 02:22 PM
So update:
Took Onyx in today. Vet did a flexion test and provoked the hock to be sore, just to be sure. He then took 2 xrays of the area, and his suspicions were confirmed. Onyx has arthritis and joint fluid loss. He said probably the result of a traumatic injury (kick, fall, etc). He said eventually the joint will most likely fuse. He said he hopes this happens, because the area where he has pain is mostly static as far as movement goes. He said basically that the pain is a result of the joint being inflamed. So until the joint fuses, we will be giving him an anti-inflammatory directly into the joint. He did that today and I am already impressed with the results. Onyx is less timid with his foot and looks to be more balanced. Vet said wait a week to see how it works, work him tomorrow in the meantime, and then let him know. He also said we will do a follow up shot next month if this works out well.

So I'm a happy camper. My horse did very well for the vet and I am so glad it is not anything more serious! Big sigh of relief for me!
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    03-16-2012, 10:49 PM
Glad to hear the news is good. I hope the joint fuses quickly for you, my boys never fully fused unfortunately.
    03-17-2012, 12:35 AM
Happy to hear it went well at the vet's today!

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