Second Opinion?

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Second Opinion?

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    12-20-2012, 10:47 PM
Second Opinion?

Long story short, my horse tried to jump something he did not clear and hurt himself. He had immense swelling in the hock, so I took him to the Iowa State University Large Animal Clinic. There, they confirmed that he had fractured a part of his tibia way up in the hock, the distal malleolus. There are bone chips settling around the area. They tell me there is evidence of arthritis and there is probably joint damage down below.

Basically, they told me that surgery would probably not fix it, that hock injections would wear out fast, and that Rusty would probably never be ridden again. Rusty is out in the paddock now. He doesn't seem to be in pain, and he's still beating up on his pasturemate and even trotting to come get his food without a gimp.

Should I get a second opinion? This just seems unreal to me. Where would I get a second opinion if I went to Iowa State already? I have x-ray pictures and their report.

For more info, I also have a thread All But Lost My Boy in Horse Talk. I'm just not ready to give up on my best friend and partner.
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    12-20-2012, 11:29 PM
Oh man, I am sorry. This really stinks. So, I am not a vet or anything, but if it were my horse, and I could in any way afford it, I would want a second opinion. You have a lot of decisions ahead of you: medical, emotional, financial, lifestyle... and it doesn't sound as though you are satisfied with the information you have now. I don't think I could believe it either.

As to where to seek a second opinion... in the Northeast we would probably go to Rochester or Tuft's, but others will surely know of a good place to get a knowledgable opinion. In the meanwhile, why don't you continue to observe him and write stuff down, take photos, and a video or two of him moving.

Even if those things don't prove useful for the vets, it will add to your information, and you can often observe things in photos & videos that you miss in real life. Good luck, this really sucks, and keep us posted.
Corazon Lock likes this.
    12-20-2012, 11:33 PM
What are your goals? Do you want to ride him again or just have a pasture puff?

Can you adapt your plans?

The reason for getting another opinion would be if you disagreed with them somehow. If it's just that you don't like the news, then I don't think it's worthy of a second opinion especially as this one came from the Uni.
walkinthewalk likes this.
    12-20-2012, 11:39 PM
Originally Posted by AlexS    
What are your goals? Do you want to ride him again or just have a pasture puff?

Can you adapt your plans?

The reason for getting another opinion would be if you disagreed with them somehow. If it's just that you don't like the news, then I don't think it's worthy of a second opinion especially as this one came from the Uni.
Yup, I agree with this.

If you say he's trotting around and such....then leave him to spell for six months and rest and heal.....then see how he's doing. Stranger things have happened.
Red Cedar Farm likes this.
    12-20-2012, 11:47 PM
Ditto the above 2 posts. If you really have to have a second opinion, you could always take him down to MU in Columbia, MO. I know that's a haul from where you are, but that's another good veterinary university and probably closer than Manhattan KS (KSU).
Either way, I wouldn't give up on him. Not yet, anyway.
    12-21-2012, 12:03 AM
It's not like two vets stood and looked at him and poked around when they came to their conclusion. It was thro the use of sophisticated equipment and what they saw that brought them to this conclusion. The horse may be pasture sound but add the weight of a rider and that might quickly change. Perhaps give him more time and have him re xrayed at 6 mos.
    12-21-2012, 01:02 AM
Sorry, I may have worded this in the way that I disagreed with the's not that I disagreed with their diagnosis at all. X-rays are indeed x-rays, and there's no fooling that Rusty has a fracture and bone chips. I know Iowa State is very sophisticated and I'm sure their vets are very knowledgeable.

I guess I just want a second opinion on the prognosis, not the diagnosis. I really don't like the news, who would? But I guess I would like to see if there's more options on what to do.

Ideally, I want him to be sound enough to ride again. Just plod down the road or the trails. It'd be lovely if he'd fully recover, but I know that's a longshot. I'm sure I'm still in denial - that's why I was asking whether or not I should get a second opinion or just give up. He was my first horse - I've had him for 2 and a half years and he's 11. I taught him to jump and he taught me everything. There were so many times I thought he was a lemon, but it was just last year I got smart enough to figure out what a prize I had.

I guess words just can't explain how much he means to me. I can take him as a pasture puff and still love him to bits, but he would be much happier as would I if he could be ridden even lightly.
    12-21-2012, 01:29 AM
Get more xrays about 6 months post injury to see how the bones are healing. Then you may have more answers.
Depending on where the chips are, how everything is healing and what's going on in there, you will get a more accurate prognosis.
Likely, the original prognosis is correct. I would definitely want new x rays and a vets clearance before riding in fear of doing more damage. Your best bet if you aren't getting new xrays is to let the horse be a pasture puff, manage his pain and be prepared to make a tough decision down the road. Arthritis will set in quickly.
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    12-22-2012, 11:53 AM
Thanks Anebel, that was very informative.
    12-22-2012, 12:20 PM
Green Broke
I am so sorry You've received some great advice.

Regarding prognosis, there may be some things you can look into that will help delay the onset of crippling arthritis.

IRAP therapy might be one - at some point down the road.

Keeping his hocks warm is important - especially in Iowa winters.

I have Back On Track hock wrap and Quick wraps for two different horses. I think they are "earning their keep" for the money they cost.

Get Back on Track -Therapeutic Horse, Dog, People Products

Did the vet say whether or not wrapping him would help?

I have one horse with torn ligaments and sesamoiditis on the front. I have been keeping his legs wrapped 24/7 since that Loser Farrier cut him too short and the result was those torn tendons. The vet said keeping his legs warm was largely instrumental in saving him.

I wrap with felt, then quilts, then the standing wraps and change them twice a day. The only time he is out of wraps is the few hours he wears the Back-On-Track Quick Wraps. He is on turnout 7 - 12 hours daily, depending which season we are in. He is also my horse that never grows a winter coat, so he wears a blanket when the sun isn't out, it's windy, and the temps are below the mid-40's. It all helps keep him warm, which in turn reduces pain stress and weight loss.

It would be difficult to wrap back legs but not impossible if the vet thinks the added warmth would be beneficial

I hope this helps and the very best to you

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