Locking Stifle? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 05-21-2010, 08:06 PM Thread Starter
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Locking Stifle?

*sighs* It never ends. I'm getting out of horses. I am so done with this crap.

Does anyone here have to deal with locking stifles, also known as upward fixation of the patella? My dollface of a 3 year old Paint filly has magically decided she needs to be a horse that has this problem. She was eating in the arena quietly tonight with the others, and all of a sudden Shay-la is hollering because there's Jynx DRAGGING her right hind leg behind her. She spent probably 10-15 minutes dragging it around, with it popping back into place every couple steps and then dragging again. Someone told me to back her up - every step the leg would lock, twist and then pop violently back into place.

We spent about 30-45 minutes walking her around and we finally got it to stop locking - but now every 5th or 6th step she takes, the leg buckles out backwards at the stifle joint. This is weird - a girl at the ranch owns a horse with locking stifle and they said they've never seen that before - once it unlocks, he's good to go. Jynx flat out isn't walking normal - the stifle and hock keep buckling every few steps.

Any advice? I've called the vet, no answer, it's late and a long weekend and I'm not paying hundreds of dollars to have him out on an emergency. I'm just beside myself - from what I understand, this isn't just a "fluke" occurance, she's going to have this problem for life. AND it's genetic.

I just developed a WHOLE new beef with backyard idiot breeders.

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post #2 of 26 Old 05-21-2010, 08:15 PM
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Ugh, I am so sorry. I wish that Vida were still on here, she has experience with that in one of her fillies. I don't know of anything to help but I hope it can be fixed without surgery.

Always remember that feeling of looking at a big, open country over the ears of a good horse, seeing a new trail unwind ahead of you, and that ever-spectacular view from the top of the ridge!!! Follow my training blog: http://robertsontraining.blogspot.com/
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post #3 of 26 Old 05-21-2010, 08:25 PM Thread Starter
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I've done some reading and APPARENTLY it can be a somewhat bothersome but not life altering problem in young horses. Jynx definitely has weak stifles, we can thank her glorious conformation for that, and apparently there are a few issues that can cause it such as trim angles and mineral deficiency. That made me stop and pay attention as Jynx is on a general electrolyte/mineral supplement for her tying up problem - makes me wonder if I'm not facing a totally different problem that's actually stemming from the same source. I was only giving her the electrolytes on days I rode - maybe she needs to be getting them every single day.

I freaking hope anyway, this is ridiculous. She's got a week to clear up before she's getting shipped off as someone elses problem. She's a sweetheart but this is just to many flipping defects in a short time for me to want to risk her dying on me before I can recoup SOME of my losses.

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post #4 of 26 Old 05-21-2010, 08:39 PM
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I personally don't consider the tying up thing a defect at all, several of my horses have done it at least once in their life; Dobe, Pokey, Bessie, and Flash. She only did it once and that doesn't exactly set a pattern LOL. There are so many different things that could cause it in any horse. I think if it was me, I would completely forget about that and just focus on figuring out the stifle problem before you make a decision you may regret later on.

Always remember that feeling of looking at a big, open country over the ears of a good horse, seeing a new trail unwind ahead of you, and that ever-spectacular view from the top of the ridge!!! Follow my training blog: http://robertsontraining.blogspot.com/
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post #5 of 26 Old 05-21-2010, 08:41 PM
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I don't know how it works in horses, but my sisters cat has that. I think they called it a Luxated Patella, though. There are four grades of severity. Here is part of an article on it:

Grade 1:
Intermittent patellar luxation - occasional carrying of the affected limb. The patella can easily be manually luxated at full extension of the stifle, but returns to proper position when pressure is released.
Grade 2:
Frequent patellar luxation - in some cases luxation is more or less permanent. The affected limb is sometimes carried, although the dog may walk with the stifle slightly flexed.
Grade 3:
Permanent patellar luxation - even though the patella is luxated; many animals will walk with the limb in a semi-flexed position.
Grade 4:
Permanent patellar luxation - the affected limb is either carried or the animal walks in a crouched position, with the limb partially flexed.

I think that if it gets too bad then they will need surgery and they are at a high risk for early arthritis and other joint issues because of it.

Proud owner of ~Mana: 6yo Arabian gelding~Pearl 13yo Arabian~Danzer 14yo Arabian mare~ Tiny mini filly
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post #6 of 26 Old 05-21-2010, 08:43 PM
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I know I just read about this, I'll have to look it up, I can't remember what it said.

I'm so sorry this is happening. I just can't imagine. Looks like you got stuck with a lemon of a rescue, huh? ::sigh:: I'll let you know what that book says when I can find it. =|

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post #7 of 26 Old 05-21-2010, 08:44 PM
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The Luxations can be trauma induced, hereditary, or I have heard, caused by a mineral deficiancy.

Proud owner of ~Mana: 6yo Arabian gelding~Pearl 13yo Arabian~Danzer 14yo Arabian mare~ Tiny mini filly
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post #8 of 26 Old 05-21-2010, 08:59 PM
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When it locks, try backing her up several steps to unlock it.

There is a surgery, I don't know what the success rate is, where they cut one of the patellar ligaments.

I have only ever seen one horse with this, and it was an older horse with lots of other soundness issues.

Sorry, and good luck.
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post #9 of 26 Old 05-21-2010, 09:02 PM
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Sorry about the stifle issue!

A possible clue to me is that this is a 3-year-old, and youngsters need time to develop before they are required to do any work in small spaces, like longeing or round-penning. (I don't know what you've asked her to do.) OTT's are at risk for developing stifle issues due to changing from forward running to small-space work. On a job, I had to round-pen a young mare whom the boss said locked up, and it happened during the circling.
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post #10 of 26 Old 05-21-2010, 09:50 PM Thread Starter
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What's funny about that is I've actually done quite a bit of round penning work with Jynx, but almost nothing since last year. The circles were very large and we did almost exclusively trotting and not for massive amounts of time or anything.

She doesn't get round penned or lunged anymore and hasn't really much at all for the last six months. She's docile enough I just get on and ride - and our rides are quite light. Maybe half an hour, mostly walking, lots of big loop jogging and a couple big canter circles (using whole arena). I REALLY don't think it's work related. Her last ride, we hit the trail - 5km of almost totally walking and jogging (no cantering).

Jynx is very post legged and that's the number one factor in this - she's already ultra predisposed to it. I'm going to give her the weekend, and then I'm calling a vet early next week if this doesn't sort itself out to see what diagnosis I'm looking at.

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