Need input on a horse that I am working with - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 11-07-2011, 04:10 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Central Coast CA
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Need input on a horse that I am working with

Hey there,
I am a trainer in Central California and one of my clients has brought a horse to me with a variety of musculoskeletal symptoms. I will share with you the symptoms and behaviors and what my suggestions were, what has already been done by the vet. I would be very grateful for any input or observations as I may be missing something. His behavior and body mechanics suggest neurological malfunction, but before suggesting this to the vet or the owner I want to get a few people's input to either verify my conclusion or to debate it.
The vet seems to think it is a minor hock issue.

16 year old TB gelding, 16.2 hands.
Former Plasvac Horse.
Had "lameness issues" as a youngster but non-defining

Thorasic inflammation
Reactive to spinal stimulation
Steps far across himself with the right rear, but the step is short and not equal to the gait of the left.
Head tossing under saddle
No obvious inflammation of any of the joints in the legs.
Self-supplication of nursing on his own tounge (not just sticking it out, but actually suckling)
Flexion exercises reveal very tight musculoskeletal reactions in the croup. More lameness post flexion, hard limping.
Drops the left shoulder regularly at a canter
Trips over his own feet regularly whether walk, trot or canter, regardless of flat ground or terrain
Reluctant to flex neck towards right side, more reactive though the spine after any stimulation.
15 minutes into riding all symptoms worsen regardless of workload.
After 20 minutes of work whether under saddle or on the ground the gelding will start to buck at the halt and at the transition to the canter.

Vet has done acupuncture and horse has not improved. Also hock injections of a corticosteroid.

Any observations you could give me would be greatly appreciated. I have always believed that wisdom is found in a multitude of counselors.

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post #2 of 5 Old 11-07-2011, 04:54 PM
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post #3 of 5 Old 11-08-2011, 02:50 AM
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What makes you think neurological and not purely physical? I don't know about the sucking the tongue thing - only horses I've known to do this are x-racers. Has he seen a good chiro or such?
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post #4 of 5 Old 11-08-2011, 02:04 PM Thread Starter
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Head shaking, tripping over his feet, excessively reactive to pressure stimuli along the spine and lack of any improvement with 2g of bute 2x/day are all suggestive of neurological. If it were purely physical, the bute would have helped, the hock injections would have helped, the acupuncture would have helped, I would suspect.
Sucking on the tongue is self supplication and though it is not in and of itself a symptom, it is abnormal for this particular horse.
The chiropractor has come out and said that he is good to go, no adjustment necessary. Physically he is in good shape. but that's why I am asking.
Do you think it could still be purely physical? and if so please elaborate. As I said I am looking for the input. I am not a vet, just a trainer, that's why I am asking.

Thank you!
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post #5 of 5 Old 11-08-2011, 06:03 PM
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I'm not a vet or anything either, just questioning, because yes, all those symptoms IME could be purely physical, so wondering whether there are other reasons that make you doubt this. When you say neurological, are you thinking a brain prob or some other nervous system issue? I've also only had dealings with one horse with known neurological issues & she died of a brain aneurism(?) about 2 hours after I met her, so not very knowledgeable at all about that side of things. Don't know what tests a vet may be able to do to ascertain this, but if possible, I'd want to find out/rule it out.

I missed where you said before that he hasn't responded to bute. Depends what's wrong whether anti inflams would be helpful, or the hock injection(it sounds a lot more than just the hock). The tongue sucking could be the same as windsucking. I am not familiar with how effective or all encompassing acupuncture may be as a 'cure'. I've also had chiros & other bodyworkers out to horses who were clearly not right, but were given the all clear by these professionals. Tripping, head shaking, etc doesn't nec. mean neurological either, but if the physical prob is to do with pinched nerves for eg, it could be classed as both. So, sorry, no answers at all, just more questions to ponder.
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