"minor" lameness? When to call the vet...?
Poor Lacey. She's had quite a the spring, summer, and now apparently fall.
Basically, for the last little bit (maybe a month or so) I've been wondering if Lacey was slightly "off" gait-wise but I had no real proof besides a feeling. Then, on Thursday, I took her for a ride and on the way down to the trails (on asphalt) I asked her to trot in-hand and she was definitely headbobbing. We walked the rest of the way down to the trails and by the time we got there, she seemed to have worked it out and was no longer bobbing, at all, while trotting.
THEN, yesterday she really tripped with one of her lesson kids and came up a bit off at the trot. She was still totally happy to trot, just a bit "off" while trotting (on grass).
This morning when I went to let her out of her stall (been stalling her overnight for the last week in preparation for winter+keeping her off the slick mud) and she was obviously sore on her right front. The fetlock area was a bit swollen on the inside but there was no heat.
I let her out, she walked around for probably 30 minutes, brought her back down to the stall to eat "breakfast", and while ouchy going downhill (was using the left front leg to support most of her weight on the downhill) the swelling was less and she was more all around comfy.
She's fine with me poking and prodding the fetlock area and she's not hesitating to move around at her normal pace (however, she is trying to avoid putting a bunch of weight on that leg).
Anyway, I'm not sure if I should get the vet out for a lameness exam. My gut says I should but at the same time, maybe I should give it a few more days...
The other thing is that due to her eye issues, she's on a bunch of natural painkillers/anti-inflammatories (Devil's Claw+Yucca and twice the normal dose of MSM) as well as a few other things to decrease inflammation. Therefore, whatever she's done to herself MAY be something that is causing her less pain/is less inflamed than it might be if she weren't on those drugs...
The other twist in this is that I've never stalled her overnight before. All the incidences of this mystery lameness have occurred within an hour-2 hours or less of being out, after a night in. She is 27 so it seems reasonable that she has some old stiffnesses that might be being exacerbated by being in overnight...
However, she needs to be in off the mud, when it happens, and her stall is the only place that can happen... I would just wait but she's the type to really dislike sudden change and I won't have the time to ease her into it when it gets muddy like I do now...
The OTHER thing is that she's had some terrible farrier work this spring/summer. Her last farrier let her hooves get pretty bad, angle-wise, and I'm having to fix it myself. It's slow going but we're getting there. However, her joints have been under unnecessary stress from that...
Anyway, with all that^, would you call the vet?
I'm thinking I'll probably just call on Monday and get advise, if nothing else... It would be good for Miss L to get a once over from the vet prior to the winter anyway.
Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzaner gelding
Hazel - 14 year old Angora goat
Atticus - 4 year old LaMancha/Alpine cross goat
Rest peacefully, Lacey.