Question about lameness again - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 02-14-2011, 05:14 PM Thread Starter
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Question about lameness again

So yes as most know Lola is lame. I had someone check her out. They put her on Bute. her bute dose finished today and she is lame again!

I am getting a vet out on wednesday. But before then I would like to ask a question..Maybe two...

She does not bob her head when she trots..She only looks lame every couple of steps. Like she can trot about 5 steps looking perfect then her leg with drop and look lame again. There is no heat or swelling anywhere in her hoof, leg shoulder etc. No stone bruise as that would be gone by now.

So what causes lameness that does not cause swelling and heat? Could it be her back maybe?
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post #2 of 13 Old 02-14-2011, 06:59 PM
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I would suspect a hoof. Next on my list would be a shoulder. Both are above or below areas that show swelling easily and both can be intermittent and can be affected by how a horse steps, particularly a hoof.

I would go out very early in the morning and compare the temperature of each hoof by feel. Even a slight difference can be felt by your hands. This is only true early in the morning when the unaffected hoof is cold as both SHOULD be. I would go on up the leg and check the temperature of the rest of both legs. I have found 90% or more of injured areas this way. Then, the Vet can concentrate and spend your money on the right thing.

Is this horse very fat? Is this horse a very easy keeper? How is this horse stabled?

I am not a fan of giving Bute to an undiagnosed lame horse. Lameness is how a horse 'babies' a hurt hoof or joint or??? When we take that pain away, we are asking for a horse to injure something even more and it can take much more time to resolve itself. They have pain for a reason.

Be sure you do not give this horse Bute for 48 hours before a Vet is going to examine it. His examination will be meaningless if the horse has been given any pain killers.

I know we think we are doing them a favor to take away their pain and discomfort, but they need it to take care of themselves.
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post #3 of 13 Old 02-14-2011, 11:44 PM
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Do you have a video of the lameness?

~ Starline Stables ~
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post #4 of 13 Old 02-15-2011, 03:46 AM Thread Starter
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Nope no video sorry.

She is not fat. Actually she is getting a tiny bit thin again because she is due a wormer. She is not an Easy keeper. And she is not stabled she usually lives out 24/7 but she was in a stable these past few days.
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post #5 of 13 Old 02-15-2011, 07:42 AM
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My advice? Wait for the vet (hope it's a lameness vet who specializes in lameness diagnosis and treatment, because not all vets are good with lameness). If you ask on the internet you'll get a different answer from every single poster, none of them are likely to be right, because they can't see the horse or put their hands on him...and most of them aren't vets, either. They'll just think it's something they've run into before.

There is absolutely no way anyone can tell you what it is from your description - even if you supplied a video. Lameness is just not something anyone can diagnose over the internet. 'It's the foot', 'it's the shoulder'. There is no point. The vet needs to get his hands on it and do a good workup/diagnosis.

Lameness is a change to the stride due to pain. The pain can be just about anywhere. About 75% of lameness in the front legs is caused by a problem below the fetlock. About 75% of lameness in a hind leg is in the hock. Your horse could be in that 75%. Or not. The vet will sort it out.

If the horse is looking ok, then every few strides takes a bad step, it is in pain. It needs to not be worked and not turned out unless it is a very small area where it will not run, turn, twist, or get chased by other horses.

If a horse is still lame like that after a course of bute, I honestly would be very concerned; I'd be taking the horse into the clinic for a complete lameness evaluation. If the guy you have coming out Wednesday is a good lameness vet, that's good.

Flexion tests and xrays are generally used to diagnose lameness. I'm not a fan of nerve blocks. That's a lot of pain and swelling (and guessing) to put the horse through because the vet doesn't have a portable xray machine that would sort it out a lot more accurately.

There are a great many causes of lameness that involve no swelling, no heat, and no obvious signs other than the lameness.

Arthritis, ligament injuries, an abcess that just doesn't create any heat you can feel on the surface of the foot, etc. Lots of different possibilities.

Last edited by slc; 02-15-2011 at 07:45 AM.
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post #6 of 13 Old 02-15-2011, 01:00 PM
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i agree with slc that no one can make a diagnosis over the net, but its still no harm in asking, someone might tell you to check somthing you hadnt thought of etc.
i would definatly stay away from bute untill your vet has seen him, it can mask alot of symptoms that the vet may need to see to make an accurate diagnosis.
i had a horse go lame a couple of weeks ago and got the vet out, who couldnt find the problem, he prescribed bute for a week. the horse got better after a while. a couple of weeks later i had the farrier out who told me that he had infact had a large abscess, and while the symptoms seemed to get better with the bute the abscess was actally making its way to the back of the hoof where it eventually burst out at the heel. he pared it all back and we soaked/poulticed to make sure theres no infection left, now the horse is fine, except for the large hole the abcess left. we should never have given him bute without getting to the route of the problem, as it masked what was really going on. sometimes an abscess is too deep too feel outside heat, but your vet will probably have a hoof tester etc, and will probably be able to diagnose the problem. anyway i hope lolas okay. btw, what part of ireland you in?
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post #7 of 13 Old 02-15-2011, 04:03 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys!

The Bute did work but she got lame again the next day.

I was thinking abscess but that last horse I seen with an abscess could not even walk! So I was thinking maybe she would be a bit worse than she is now. But of course all abcesses are different. They terrify me though because that horse is still lame after four months of box rest.

I am in westmeath =)
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post #8 of 13 Old 02-15-2011, 05:28 PM
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"The horse is still lame after 4 months of box rest"

I feel a little bit like Adam Sandler in 'The Wedding Singer'....LOL.

What was the diagnosis from the veterinarian that required 4 months of box rest? How did the post-stall rest evaluation go? And how long was the horse back in work before it became lame again, or did it never stop being lame?

Whatever the initial diagnosis was, there's no way to tell whether this is due to the same cause as the original lameness or not.

Abcesses can cause a lot of pain or not.

Vet....xrays....flexion tests...sorry....
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post #9 of 13 Old 02-15-2011, 07:18 PM
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Hey Sarah if your vet is anything like mine he is most likely a famr vet specialising in cows etc!
One of my guys is an expert at lameness and you could hunt and hunt and find nothing to cause it heres what id do
1-bring out a scissors cut all the hair right down as close to the skin as pos around the fetlock ensure there is no nicks or cuts if nothing get a bucket of water and dandy brush and scrub her hoof in and out untill its spotless and look for colour changes if you see anything call your farier as your looking at bruising or absess
if still nothing starting at the fetlock close your eyes and run your hand really slowly up the leg feeling for any changes as you get closer to the shoulder start poking with your finger watching her reaction

To give a horse your heart guarantees a love that will last forever undamageable
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post #10 of 13 Old 02-15-2011, 07:56 PM
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If you give a lame horse bute and haven't treated the issue, of course it's still going to be lame when the bute wears off. Tylenol doesn't take away your headache, it just masks the pain.

Have you thought about muscle pain (neck, shoulder, back, jaw, etc.) or joint issues? There isn't always heat in a sore spot. If the vet doesn't see anything, try a massage therapist and/or chiropractor. They do wonders for horses and humans!
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