Lame horse..What to do next???

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Lame horse..What to do next???

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  • What do i do for my lame horse
  • What to do if a horse is lame

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    07-07-2009, 02:05 AM
Lame horse..What to do next???

My 12 year old APHA gelding, who has never before taken a bad step has been lame for 21 days now. One day he looked fine and the next he is sore in the front. We took him to a very reputable vet clinic and he had a lameness exam, flextions done etc. where the vet suspected the foot. He did a "foot block" and saw improvement so the next step was to do radiographs of his foot. The radiographs showed no abnormalities to explain the soreness so the vet suspected he "torked" somethng playing in the pasture (he does play hard when provoked by our 3 year old) and that he should be fine in about 10 days. I paid for some kind of injection into his coffin bone to speed healing and started him on three days of low dosage bute for any inflamation. We went home with some relief that the vet didn't see any issues and hoped he'd be back in the show ring soon. While on the bute he did improve greatly but when the 3 days of bute were over he started to look sore again. For a few days last week I thought he was showing gradual improvement and was encouraged but this morning he walked out of his stall sore again. I don't know what to do. The first vet visit cost me over 500 dollars and I would gladly put another thousand into vet visits if I thought it would help but they already looked and found nothing. No swelling, no heat, farrier has reset shoes since and all went fine. Horse didn't mind the nailing or anyhing. He has always has issues with thrush because of the way his feet are conformed but neither the farrier nor the vet thought that was the problem. I asked the vet about navicular disease but he said no. It's soooo fustrating. Any thoughts or advice??
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    07-07-2009, 08:26 AM
The only way to fully diagnose or rule out navicular is an MRI. My grandmother's TWH mare went through everything short of the MRI's and the permanent nerve block to deal with what they thought was navicular, and it turned out that she had laminitis, and had had it for years. Fortunately they only got her for a pasture ornament.

I'm at a loss for how to advise you with your gelding, it sounds like you've done all the right things. My sis' QH, Rio, has been similarly lame before, though, albeit not for as long. We once spent 2 weeks epsom-salt-soaking and applying liniment to one of his legs for an abscess. If your guy has an abscess in his foot, that may or may not show up in a radiograph (I'm not a vet, this is only what I've been told). Rio's abscess eventually worked out, and he's fine. He is accident prone, though, and the farrier frequently finds tiny "pockets" when he trims from healed abscesses that formed but never caused lameness. Rio's now on a hoof supplement.

Going by what you have ruled out, I would say look into the possibility of an abscess causing your horse's lameness, especially if your vet has already suspected an injury incurred in pasture play.

Good luck!
    07-07-2009, 09:02 AM
That sounds almost identical to my paint gelding's story. He ended up with a fracture to the wing of his coffin bone but it sounds like you have already had xrays to rule that out. Good luck! I know how frustrating it can be!
    07-07-2009, 09:21 AM
Also, the real origin of an injury that is causing lameness is EXTREMELY difficult to locate. If there's no heat, etc., as you said, a chiro adjustment or equine massage may be helpful to make sure that's he isn't just out of sync, and having that stiffness manifest as lameness.

Wow, paint03! Best wishes to you and your horse. I hope he recovers soon.
    07-07-2009, 09:52 AM
Post some pics of his feet.
    07-07-2009, 09:58 AM
An abscess? I hadn't really concidered that since neither the vet nor farrier mentioned that possibility but I suppose it could be small and way up in the foot, festering? Oh, that would be the best of all problems! I will cling to any hope right now as you can tell.
As for the navicular, the vet thought it looked fine and the sudden onset (he's a show horse and we show him almost very weekend, and lessons from a trainer, and he was a great mover yet) his good feet and confirmation, also made him rule that out.
They took 4 radiograph from all angles so I hope they would have seen any fractures of his foot bones but I suppose that can't be ruled out totally? Do you suppose a horse could hurt himself that badly running in a soft green pasture? Paint03- I read your thread. I hope your cute guy has a full recovery.
    07-07-2009, 10:06 AM
I will see if I can get one of my kids to post a picture of his feet. I'm so bad at that stuff. He does have pretty good feet. Hard hoof wall, perfect angles of hoof and pasturn, with good quarters. He does have somewhat contracted heels, which is why I'm always treating him for thrush but the farrier and vet say it's mild and not a problem.
    07-07-2009, 11:32 AM
He does have somewhat contracted heels, which is why I'm always treating him for thrush but the farrier and vet say it's mild and not a problem.

These are related and so the contracted heels should be addressed with vigor. Best way to do that is to remove shoes and trim often. Low heels, short toes(from the top/front, not the bottom) Contracted heels usually mean high heels, which contributes to heel pain, not to mention unhealthy frogs, thus the thrush..

That's my 2c..
    07-07-2009, 07:08 PM
Is he definitely lame on the foot you have been x-raying?

When my horse was sore, someone suggested that it could be the opposite foot than he looked sore on.

Hope that made sense...

How is he today?
    07-07-2009, 11:57 PM
Yes, he does grow high heels and that may have been a factor in his injury since he has grown fast this spring and after 6.5 weeks his shoes had grown slung under a bit and thus less support while he was goofing around in the pasture. The farrier would like to lower his heels but he says that would mess with his angles (which are perfect now). We have tried setting the shoes back for more support but then he is always pulling them because of his reach. Bell boots don't help either. His feet really do look good overall and for 8 years he's been stellar. If he's not sound then I will try pulling the shoes when the farrier returns and ask him about your suggested trim. It will be interesting to see if that helps.

Solo- We're pretty certain we have determined the correct foot because the vet did a nerve block in that foot and it showed improvement. He looks better today but I haven't seen him trot because I decided to really keep him quiet and will move him from an indoor night stall to outdoor day stall for now and see if total rest helps.

I really appreciate all the thoughts and ideas. THANKS

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