"I think it's the shoulder"

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"I think it's the shoulder"

This is a discussion on "I think it's the shoulder" within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • Horse lame but no heat in shoulder
  • horse kicked in shoulder

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    11-24-2009, 01:02 PM
"I think it's the shoulder"

This is a common phrase that I hear ALL THE TIME, and it drives me NUTS.

It seems that every time a horse goes off it's because they hurt their shoulder. Of course, the owner hasn't called the vet out to get it diagnosed...

When people actually DO get the vet out, I have never heard of a diagnosis involving the shoulder. Except for once when a horse got kicked in the shoulder by another horse with slider shoes, but that was a pretty obvious injury.

Right now there are 3 lame horses at my barn who have a hurt shoulder... None of the owners have had a vet out...

How many of you have had a horse with an injured shoulder? Legitimately diagnosed by a vet? How many of you get driven up the wall by this "injured shoulder" stuff?
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    11-24-2009, 01:16 PM
That is so strange, I don't hear that often but I find that if a horse is actually sore in the shoulder it is secondary to something else.
    11-24-2009, 01:18 PM
I think that it is relatively easy to pin forehand lameness on the shoulder if there is no other symptom aside from the lameness itself. If there's no obvious injury, no heat, no swelling, etc., the shoulder is convenient. There's a lot of "stuff" in there to be sore, muscle, bone, tendon, that are not immedately visible and can be assumed to be a hidden cause.

It is certainly very important to correctly locate lameness, and a vet is probably the best (excepting perhaps the rare old timer with years of experience, common sense, and a good eye) to say where the pain is actually coming from.

My personal philosophy on lame horses is to try to find a reason. Find the injury, heat, swelling, whatever. If I can't find it, I'll assume the horse slept wrong (shoot, I do that and wake up stiff), and keep an eye on him. If he isn't better by the next morning, I check the horse again and think about calling a vet or other pro if I still can't find the cause. To blame lameness on anything you can't directly observe without being a vet or extremely experienced person with lameness seems like taking quite a chance, IMHO.
    11-24-2009, 01:21 PM
I knew one horse that had some sort of...muscle spasm type thing in its shoulder. It would randomly seize up and he'd be stiff for awhile.

A farrier diagnosed my horse with a shoulder issue,but the vet told me it was white line/seedy toe. The lameness went away after getting his feet done so I'm not sure what exactly was going on.(Long story short but I couldnt get a farrier out. When I did, he got trimmed short and was off). I don't think he was off because of his shoulder though. I think he was probably sore because of his crappily done feet, and the shoulder thing hadn't helped. He had t-boned another horse and I can imagine that would cause him to be sore in the shoulder. As far as causing lamenes...not so sure.

Seems like everyone is diagnosing their horses without their vet ever coming out these days.
    11-24-2009, 01:26 PM
Seriously there are people with horses who are lame for days, weeks, even MONTHS who have "a shoulder problem". They will pay money for a massage or chiro, but never get the vet out.
It absolutely baffles me.
    11-24-2009, 01:33 PM
I've never heard of a horse having a "shoulder problem"....in fact the one time my horse was lame, it was his back end (he was in a new stall, clipped his butt on the waterer, got mad and kicked at it, and hit the cement wall which bruised his sole). I think that the chiro/massage therapist is more of a first line of defense....if liniment doesn't work and then having work done on the "shoulder" doesn't work, that would be my cue that its not musculatory and I would need to get a vet out.

Since I'm only going to school to be a vet technician, I can't actually diagnose problems, lol
    11-24-2009, 01:44 PM
I call my vet and farrier out first.
If it turns out to be something I think that can be helped with a chiro, etc then they come later.
    11-24-2009, 03:28 PM
I guess it has to do with what barn you're at to some degree. At my barn, people usually assume it's an abscess or other hoof problem. When lameness is suspected, most people consult their vet. My barn isn't big on chiropractors and massage therapists (although we have them), so people usually look at the hoof and leg with the vet before they look at the muscle soreness. Personally it makes more sense to me to start with the hoof and then keep working up the leg to the shoulder/hind to find the lameness, maybe other people, like the ones you mentioned say shoulder lameness, like to start at the top and work down the leg.
    11-24-2009, 05:00 PM
We get it all the time here too Anabel. Usually the lameness ends up being in the hoof, but it's always blamed on the shoulder. Even when it's blatently obvious that there is alot of heat in he hoof, it's still the shoulder!!
    11-24-2009, 05:34 PM
When I have a lame horse and I don't know why I call a farrier first fo a couple of reasons. 1. It's much cheaper than calling a vet 2. 90% of lameness is in the hoof and farriers generally now more about hoofs than vets do.

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