lame. swollen hock

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lame. swollen hock

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    08-14-2010, 05:04 PM
Question lame. swollen hock

My tbx 4yr old came off the field to weeks ago lame in his rear leg and striff in his back end. He has slight swelling in his hock at the back so as you look at him from the back its straight in front of you at the chestnut level going slightly down. He's seen a vet and it was just a waist of money, no answers. Im resting him on pain killers and ice packing ?????? Im worried
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    08-14-2010, 06:34 PM
Did the vet do any nerve blocks, x-rays, or ultrasounds? It could be a number of things, a capped hock or bone spur is the only thing coming to mind right now. Perhaps a different vet would be of better use? Until then, stall rest, stable wraps on his back legs, and cold-hosing or icing [but only if it is still hot and swollen, otherwise it just makes you feel better]. Does he do better or worse when he moves, or after some exercise? Movement is usually a very good thing, it gets things circluating. You can try hand-walking him daily and see how that changes his condition. And phone calls are always free, you can call other vets, explain the situation, and what the first vet said.
    08-14-2010, 09:31 PM
My boy has just been diagnosed with a bone spur, and showed similar symptoms to what you're saying your horse has. Very stiff behind, and when put on the lunge he would 'hop' in trot and canter. No swelling though, and took him over a week so show any specific site lameness.
Took him to the vet, and had to have nerve blocks and xrays done to diagnose it. I would either call the vet you saw and ask for this to be done if he does not improve within a week, or go to another vet.
I wouldn't leave it too long, particularly with a hock.

If it IS a spur, movement is very good as long as you're not pushing him through too much pain. I was recommended to continue working my horse VERY lightly (no canter, no tight circles, no lateral work) for up to 6 months, and after that IF the joint fuses I may be able to start working him properly, but not to expect to be out of preliminary/novice level dressage for at least another 12 months. However my vet, farrier and second vet are all quite dubious as to whether my horse will continue a successful ridden career.
Get it looked at, you have nothing to lose, nerve blocks and xrays do cost a fair bit, but you'll feel better in yourself for doing it if they come up with a problem that needs fairly intensive treatment to get your boy sound again.
    08-14-2010, 09:33 PM
What is a capped hock and bone spurr?
    08-14-2010, 09:44 PM
I don't have any personal experience in dealing with capped hocks so here's a google article for you, as I don't want to tell you the wrong thing!
Capped Hock

As for the bone spurs, a bone spur is a formation of extra bone that the joint starts to grow, where there is some damage to the joint. In the case of my own horse, he was losing some joint fluid from a joint in his hock (onset of arthritis) and this causes the bone ends to come together and start to rub, causing irregular bone growth.
There are other causes, but this is most common.
Often you won't notice anything different about the horse, and then one day they'll be lame and swollen, totally out of the blue. And it's extremely common for them to have it flare up as they're being brought back into work after a spell.
Some bone spurs don't cause any problems and go totally un noticed, others will give the horse grief to no end.
There's a few different methods of treatment, the vet can surgically remove the spur using keyhole surgery, they can use shockwave therapy (an instrument that sends shock waves into the joint and essentially breaks up the spur from outside the leg), they can chemically inject into the joint under surgical conditions, to encourage fusion of the joint which will leave the horse out of pain and in most cases, able to return to full work without any soundness problems.
In the end, it depends on which joint is involved (the hock is made up of multiple small joints) as to what treatment can be administered. I got very unlucky with my horse, who developed the spur on one of the smallest joints in the hock, meaning they cannot surgically remove it or perform shockwave on it, as the risk of damaging the joint itself even further is too great.
So now I am stuck playing a waiting game, sitting back with my fingers crossed that the joint will fuse naturally and I'll be able to get my boy back into work in 6 months.
I hope for your sake that this won't be the case with your horse.
    08-15-2010, 12:09 AM
Thanks so much! I never knew about either of those conditions and I too have a lame horse. My vet thinks navicular but she is in such pain in the hind end also. Her hocks are fatter than usual and warm/hot when we do supple excerses and stretches. I am not loping her as she can't keep her back lead, she crossfires. When she was rested she got worse though. The farrier has just been out and chiro is here on tues. When I lead her off after she has been tied up she is wobbly like, she has to move her hips to the left of her front feet to get going. Does this sound like a bone spavin? Sorry for the ramble. My vet is getting a new x-ray in 1-2 months. He wont do anything now. I could go to the university. So sorry to hear of your horse, It feels devastating when you are going through it. All the best for Hugos recovery.
    08-15-2010, 12:15 AM
Possibly it could be, but you can't diagnose them without xrays. It could be a number of things, when we were trying to work out what was going on with Hugo, it was narrowed down to his hock, or stifle/pelvis/hip which is a very common symptom of hock spurs as well - they look like the lameness is stemming high in the leg.
    08-15-2010, 12:24 AM
Thanks, I think Ill get her in for X-rays, then Ill know for sure, I don't want to wait too long, she's a good horse.

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