Shoulder Injury--Advice needed~Support welcomed! - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 6 Old 09-26-2013, 10:43 AM Thread Starter
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Shoulder Injury--Advice needed~Support welcomed!

OK...so my horse has had a bad fall and injured his shoulder. The vet says he "might" be sound as a pasture ornament and he might even surprise us as rideable at the walk only. She has offered IRAP/PRP and other like treatments......my question is this:

How would I know if he was in pain?

I have made it clear I don't want him to suffer and I have been told he will never have a "normal" gait because he has torn ALL the muscles, ligaments, and tendons! And about using food as an indicator......my Equine Vacuum Cleaner.....within 5 mins of the injury he was grazing--where he stood--3 legged--without even putting his toe on the ground! NOTHING stops his appetite and he will eat anything......yes the meds were 15 pills per feeding. He ate them from my hand like they were M&M's!

I seriously think I will have to have him PTS....The treatments are so expensive and with no guarantees...is it right to make him suffer through the treatment? Right now he is sooooo unhappy stuck in his stall.....and it would be months before he could get out at all. He is getting a little "uppity" as well, and that is not good for a family barn. He is only a baby--at four years old......what kind of life would he have? The vet has already discussed it would be shortened with the Arthritis. Is it selfish to have him PTS now rather than give him a chance?
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post #2 of 6 Old 09-26-2013, 12:11 PM
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I like it is a very personal decision, and only you know your horse. But, I think I would be willing to invest what I could afford, as well as giving him at least 6 months to see where he ends up. Worst case scenario - no improvement, and you end his suffering then. Best case - he can be a trail companion, light riding, pony rides, etc.

If I was in your shoes, I'd give it a good 6 months. With winter coming, you won't be missing that much in terms of riding. He'll get more used to his stall rest. I'd give him things to keep him entertained in his stall, if he likes stuff like that. I'd try the treatments the vet suggested, within reason/affordability. If he was only ever pasture sound, I'd likely try to find him a new home, place him with an adoption agency if I could find one, or find a "retirement-style" boarding arrangement. Around here, those type of boarding situations are around $200 a month or less (especially if you provide grain - there is one nearby that is $100 a month). You can look in areas farther away, as well, since won't be visiting every day to ride or anything.

To answer your last question - I do think it is a little selfish to have him PTS now, without being given a shot. Check out the unwantedhorsecoalition.com - They have a lot of farms listed that offer retired/disabled/abused horses permenant homes.
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post #3 of 6 Old 09-26-2013, 11:06 PM
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There is a good article on shoulder injuries in this month's Practical Horseman. I cannot tell where you are, but if you can't pick up a hard copy, maybe it is available online. Might help you figure out a good plan for your horse.

You just have to see your distance...you don't have to like it.
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post #4 of 6 Old 09-27-2013, 01:05 AM
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Horses can adapt really well to being lame. Especially if it is only in one leg.

I would give him 6 months to a year, maybe even 2 years and see how he does. Soft tissue injuries take forever to heal. I tore a ligament in my foot and it took a full 2 years to heal before the swelling finally went away.

I would start with stall rest for the first 6 months, with hand walking. After that small turnout in a round pen depending on how he does.

As for stall rest- get a powder vitamin and give no grain. Horses on stall rest do NOT need grain. Get hay nets- the small 1 1/2 inch net. Check ebay for lacrosse netting. Make sure to call and ask if it is strong enough for a horse as the pictures on netting can be very misleading. 1 3/4th inch netting is too big.

Try checking with any equine hospitals or universities. You might be able to give stem cells a try. I've certainly heard some promising results to stem cell therapy.
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post #5 of 6 Old 09-29-2013, 10:43 PM
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My thoroughbred suffered a severe shoulder injury last year... I hate to say it but she is not sound yet. Some days I think, "oh wow, she is looking good!" Only to come out later and find her lame again. The vet told me she may never be sound again and if she was, it would take a very long time.
In her case... stall rest did NOT work. She hated every minute and paced and reared all day long. It was better in her case to be out.
In my opinion... I want her happy. If she cannot get used to being stalled, and does better outside than she will live outside. That being said... she doesn't hurt anymore... she does not require pain pills, and is good for a pasture horse.
I have room on my land for her. I don't pay board for her, she is just and extremely expensive pasture puff. If I had to pay board for her I don't know what my options would be... well actually I know what I would be forced to do, but I LOVE this horse!!
Do I think it is selfish if you make the desicion to put him to sleep? Absolutely NOT. My mare will probably never be sound. She is 15 years old, and was my show horse. I am so extremely dissapointed every time I watch her when she is lame. If your horse is like mine and is never sound, can you afford to keep him a pasture pony? I know what would happen if I tried to sell my mare, if I needed to get rid of her I would put her down. She is not sound, and in my area lame thoroughbreds don't have much of a chance.
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post #6 of 6 Old 09-29-2013, 11:11 PM
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I had a yearling that fractured his shoulder. He was not 3 legged lame with the initial injury but limping lame.Thought he pulled & strained muscles but limp didn't improve that much with week rest. We ended up xraying & found that he had a fracture.We did end up putting him on paddock rest for a couple months he did improve then he went out to live with other horses. Vet advised us to try the rest & see how he did,he was young,not dead lame & could heal to a functional state.Said he may always have a bit of a limp but differentiated between a acute/pain lameness vs more a mechanical lameness[chronic}. Liken it to a person that has an old healed fracture or muscle injury that has left them with a limp. My gelding acted like any other horse running playing in field with the herd kept good weight,acted happy & healthy not in pain even though he did have a mild limp you could see in some gaits. He went on to a new home, to be a pasture pet & give leadline rides to kids.
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