Sorry this is going to be a long post, but I want to be as descriptive as possible so you might be able to help me.
I currently manage 36 head of horses at a dude ranch, so I have to know my stuff, but this guy's got me stumped:
"Dan" is an aged Arabian gelding, around 20 years old. He's was in pretty good health, other than the fact that he's a narcoleptic. (Stange, I know..) One day I saw him in the AM and he was a little sore on his right leg, and it looked to be in the knee. He has had some problems with that leg before and just worked out of it in a couple of hours, so I didn't really pay much attention to it. I went to feed again in the PM and noticed that he was barely weightbearing on the leg, so I caught him and brought him into the barn. He was shaking all over and sweated up something fierce. He was non-weightbearing on the front right with a lot of heat in the shoulder. But another issue had arisen - his left hind stifle was also stiff and very hot. His breathing was hard and fast, temp was 99.5*F and pulse was just above normal. We gave him some intravenous bute and waited to see what would happen. He got slightly less sore on his knee, but started walking like he was drunk, just putting his feet wherever they would go. His breathing was still laboured.
It was a Saturday night, and we tried calling 3 or 4 different vets, but none could come out. The one vet told us to give him more bute and leave him until morning in a box stall. We felt bad just leaving him, but we were stumped as to what caused this acute pain. But we had no choice, and put him up in a box stall for the night, telling the vet we'd call him out in the morning if there was no improvement.
I went and checked on him the next morning and he was still shakey on the shoulder and hot in the stifle, but otherwise he was doing much better. His temperature was still slightly elevated at 99*F. I gave him some oral bute and left him. The next day we came back and he was weightbearing on the legs and sound at a walk. At a trot he'd get sore, but nothing too terribly bad. The only thing really wrong with him was that he was all sweated up - but only on the left side. Well, it's been a week and a half since then and he's been on box-stall rest since, with a few hours' turnout lately. Every morning we go in it's the same thing: he's sweated up from the left stifle to his girth line and to his back in a triangle shape.
Any idea what it is/what might have caused it? I am at a loss, I have no idea what's wrong. The vet says it might be a pinched nerve, but my teensy budget at the ranch (I just work there, I don't own it) and my mean non-horsey bosses won't allow the vet to come out. What do you think?