Rosie is off...fused fetlock?!
   

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Rosie is off...fused fetlock?!

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  • Fetlock fusion in horses
  • Fusion of fetlock on xray no pain

 
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    09-05-2010, 04:24 PM
  #1
Banned
Rosie is off...fused fetlock?!

Ok...just call me mrs webmd. Rosie (see overweight draft for her story) has been off for about a week.

Since I have known her, she has had an odd looking boney growth on her left, hind fetlock. It never seemed to hurt anything...it isn't hot or cold and feels like bone.

I started riding her about 5 weeks ago 3-4 times a week. We were making some serious progress on her obesity when she started not wanting to trot going clockwise. If you would ask for the trot, she would canter. Not a full out canter either...more like a western pleasure half lame lope. Going counter-clockwise, she would do as you asked. I chalked it up to her being a brat and we worked on other endevours.

Today, I saddled up and was prepared to ride. When I was cleaning out her feet I paid special attention to her 'lump'. It seems that it has grown a bit. She still has flexibility in her though it does seem a bit compromised. I figured I would try her out and see how she did.

She did terrible. She was walking without a limp, not even a faint one. No head nod, no nothing. When I asked her to trot going clockwise, she threw her head up and jumped into her canter. I stopped her immediatly and walked some more. I turned to see if it was any better going the other direction. It wasnt. She did the exact same thing...which is a new progression. Just 3 weeks ago I was trotting her 15 times both directions with NO problems. I asked for the trot and this time, she kicked out and then popped into a canter which I stopped immediatly. When she walked off after this, I noticed a slight limp.

Ofcourse I stopped riding. I considered lunging her to see the extent of it but decided to just let it be. I gave her a massage (her first ever...that was interesting!) rubbed her leg down with some linement and turned her back out. I watched her in the field and didn't notice any more lame steps.

I let her owner know and she is setting up an appointment. So heres my question

Does anyone know anything about fused fetlocks? I have been doing a ton of research on the computer and have found that most bone hard lunps on the fetlock indicate a fused (or fusing) fetlock. Does anyone have any experience with this? From what I have read, drafts have a higher incidence of this because of their weight...and with rosies EXTREME weight...I can see it being a problem. The other two options that show up are Ringbone and Sidebone. But the lump is in the wrong place for both of them. I will try to get pictures as soon as I can. If anyone has any suggestions on where to look or what to look for...that would be great. Most articles are suggesting x-rays but I know that's just not possible with this horse. She hates vets and really hates needles...shes totally afraid of everything.

Please let me make this clear. I am asking for help and opinions. Her owner is scheduling with the vet! I am just looking for information on the prognosis if she is indeed fused.

Thanks guys!
     
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    09-05-2010, 04:27 PM
  #2
Green Broke
Do you think it was too much riding to start off with?

The only thing I now is the x-rays. I had to get Solon x-rayed a couple of years ago. Luckily it showed up nothing. But I can't imagine being able to diagnose it any other way. Yes, it is expensive, but again, one of those well worth it expense.

Hope it turns out well.

ETA: they can sedate her for the x-ray. Solon didn't need it, he just stands but other horses at the barn have been sedated for them.
     
    09-05-2010, 07:37 PM
  #3
Banned
The expense isn't the problem. Its Rosies darling personality with vets that's the problem. She wont take a sedative (or anything for that matter) in her food. She just wont. She wont even take her supplements. As far as IM or IV sedation, no way. She is scared of the vet and very scared of shots. Her reaction to you trying to give her a shot is to pin you up against a wall. We usually have to walk beside her, one on each side and get her with her vaccines every year. She usually ends up breaking free of who is holding her and runs around the farm...very dangerous for a sedated animal.

I don't think its from too much too soon. I think its actually from too much standing around and her excessive weight. She's had this 'lump' for several years now but because no one ever rides her, she's never had a problem. So in that case, working set it off...but the problem started years ago.

I am just beside myself here. I don't want her owner to be upset with me.
     
    09-05-2010, 07:52 PM
  #4
Green Broke
Dang, that is a tough dilemma. You've probably done all this but what about empty syringes or applesauce in the food?

How is she about lying down? Maybe they could take x-rays that way?

I was just cruising a couple of articles that mentioned 'high ringbone'. Could it be something like that?

Is this the horse in your avatar? I love that picture.
     
    09-05-2010, 07:52 PM
  #5
Trained
I think all you can do is get the x-rays. I "think" if its fused, the horse usually isn't lame for long...don't quote me on that, though. They just don't have a ton of flexibility. Ringbone, however...that would not be a 'good' diagnosis.

As far as her fear of needles, there are exercises that can be done, to desensitize them to the sensation, but if she's not your horse, I would be very careful about what kind of extra training you do with her...I've used Clinton Anderson's exercises to desensitize horses to 'needles', and it does work. The biggest thing to remember is to stay calm yourself, and NOT anticipate the actions that are going to take place.
     
    09-05-2010, 08:00 PM
  #6
Green Broke
Found this reply from a Vet on another forum:

The fetlock joint is probably not fused (arthrodesed) in the strict sense. I suspect the ligaments around the joint have scarred in and lost their elasticity resulting in a fetlock with decreased flexion, maybe remarkably decreased flexion.

Whether you should attempt to ride this horse should be advised by someone who can examine the horse with experience in these matters. Some horses with decreased fetlock flexion are ridable at reduced athletic endeavors, but an accurate appraisal and prognosis will depend on the degree of impairment, which structures are involved and radiographic evaluation. Note, the problems are not all on the horse side: these type horses have a propensity to trip.


And this was a reply from someone who's horse was diagnosed with a fused fetlock after x-rays:

**** near fusion of the RF fetlock. Calcification as well. Vet said that as it is as advanced as it is, injections are a waste of money and time. The cold snap would obviously pain her, and adding MSM to her Cosequin wont hurt.

So here I am with the mare, whom I may only W-T (80% walk says vet). Trail riding OK, no real rough ground. Keep her out of the deep sand and mud he says. Firm ground is best.
_______

Does she trip a lot? That seems to be a recurring theme with this sort of injury.
     
    09-05-2010, 08:03 PM
  #7
Weanling
What about slipping a small sedative into some apple? Cut it into quarters, take a piece out of the middle and slip it to her.. lol My dog is very smart about taking pills, so we had to keep making up new ways with new food. Just trying to transfer that idea to a horse... haha

We have stocks here at the farm, its good for working with needle shy horses, I don't suppose you guys have some that could fit her in?
     
    09-05-2010, 10:20 PM
  #8
Trained
I have no input regarding the possibly fused fetlock, only needles. Can you poke her in the butt?

To help desensitze her to the needles, you can try this. Take a pen, and ever-so-calmly, half way through your grooming session, tap her in the neck a time or two and give her a treat. The pen shouldn't be similar enough to register, but similar enough to simulate the action. Then you can graduate to an empty syringe. Do you know what part of the injection process she is afraid of? I would try to find the exact part she gets out of control.

Second, you can try Quietex. You can get it in a tube much like de-wormer. Will she accept that? I'd work with the vet about this, but you can perhaps get some Quietex in her [it takes a few hours to start working] and then have the vet out to give the sedation shot.

Third, have you tried sneaking this sort of thing into applesauce? Most horses will eat applesauce. You may have to use a lot to hide the taste for a dose that size, but it's worth a shot. And while I don't normally recomment you feed horses molasses, it has a very strong taste that should hide the med taste without having to feed too much of it.

Best of luck, I hope you find answers soon! Oh, and I do know this isn't your horse, so of course, run these things by the owner and what have you. I hope you two can find something that works. =]
     
    09-05-2010, 10:29 PM
  #9
Banned
Thank you everyone for your responses! We have tried everything to trick her. Even a syringe with it diluted in water she just spits back out...thats if she doesnt pin you to the wall for trying. In all honesty, she probably hasn't been properly wormed for years because of this. I know this year was the first year we were able to trick her into her shots. I don't know if we will be successful again. Even then...our vet would be consumed for a whole day doing xrays on a horse that is only ever ridden once or twice a year.

Solon- Yup! That's Rosies ginormous hiney in my avatar. She's a beasty but a sweet girl...just scared. She's got tons of heart and will keep on trying even when she gets exhausted...thats why I am so concerned that she was refusing to trot. It must be hurting her. While she can be a bit umm "marish" she would rather take it out on you by dragging you around the ring at break-neck speeds than to flat out refuse. Refusing doesn't give her the opportunity to show you how strong she is....in her mind, whats the point! LOL

Ah and alas, she does trip...a lot. She actually almost went down on me a few times. I figured it was her usual 'but my feet are SOOO heavy' thing but if this is another indicator...yikes.

Im going to look into the high ringbone but its a pretty big longshot. Ringbone usually only comes on in the pastern area. This is for sure her fetlock joint. I know ringbone is super common in drafties.

And rogue....we tried stocks. I have heard horror stories about stocks and Rosie. They had a set made for her by the Amish...cost them a bundle...she destroyed them in about 10 minutes. I think her major problem is being claustrophobic (sp?). If you attempt to fly spray her in her stall...she will pin you. If you do it outside...no problem. She will not allow you to handle her feet in her stall. Flat out refuses...and when you push with her, she pushes back..HARD. She is getting better but im afraid that another experience with the stocks could only make it worse.

*sigh* I guess its good for me that I didn't have a saddle made for her. Sounds like any which way you turn, it isn't good. While Im sure that she can return to trail riding (walking and such) she needs 400+pounds off of her. I doubt I could get her up to an athletic enough walk to burn away that kind of poundage. Its a real shame...shes really trying hard. Maybe Ill try buting her (with her owners permission) and see about this limp. As it was, last week she wouldnt even trot in the roundpen going to the right.
     
    09-05-2010, 10:34 PM
  #10
Banned
Ricci...she kicked the last girl that tried to give her a shot. That's a big kick! LOL

We've tried everything. I mean everything. We had to give her electrolytes last year because she wasn't peeing. We put them in her water and locked her in her stall. She didnt drink for a whole day. We eventually had to let her out and let her find her own way. If it aint sweetfeed (ugh) or her GOOD hay, she aint eatin it. She will turn her nose up if she even suspects something extra in there. She will not eat crap hay. Doesn't matter how hungry she is. She'd much rather lay in it. Funny considering she goes around 2600-2800lbs!

Hopefully the vet will have a pretty good answer just by taking a look. I know these things are best diagnosed via x-ray...but its a pretty big lump and its been there for a while. She will let you touch it...it doesnt cause her any pain. Its not hot or swelled. *sigh* Poor Rosie.
     

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