Something's wrong with Lacey? Maybe...? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 03-29-2011, 08:10 PM Thread Starter
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Something's wrong with Lacey? Maybe...?

So yesterday something seemed a little "off" with Lacey. She seemed a little draggy, if that makes sense, in her hind end. Like, usually She's pretty bouncy on those back legs of hers but yesterday her gait seemed a little different, from the ground.

So, I figured that since I had been keeping her in the lower pasture and that her back fetlock/pastern area was basically caked in mud, perhaps that caking was pulling on her hairs and feeling weird. So I tacked her up (I figured the best way to let her legs dry off was to go for a gentle ride), rode down to my house (her place doesn't have a hose, it has an automatic waterer, and no hose), and washed off her legs. I would have just brushed it off but the mud was wet.
I didn't notice anything weird on her legs, like nothing I would think of as scratches or something, but at the same time, she has some weird scarring on her back legs which makes it difficult to be sure what is normal and what's not.
Then I noticed that her pasterns seemed a little swollen. She didn't act like they hurt, they just looked swollen. So I took her for a short ride and she was basically being a beast. She kept wanting to canter, so I let her a little bit, just to see, you know? And she was fine. At first she had seemed a little stiff (usually she's pretty not stiff) but she was definitely loose, limber, and ready to go by the time we got back. Also, her gaits felt fine and she was perfectly happy to go, she just felt a little stiff to begin with.

I opened up the upper field and closed the gate to the lower one so that her legs would have a chance to get+stay drier, in case the mud is the issue.

Today when I went up to feed her, she seemed more uncomfortable... It might have been just because it's supper rainy today and her pasture is a little slick but I'm not sure... Her pasterns looked mildly swollen again so I took her out of the field and, at a walk, lunged her in a circle around me so I could listen to her hoofbeats to make sure she's walking fine (since she looked weird in the hind end at a walk in her pasture) and they sounded normal (and looked normal)... So I took her back in the field and walked her around for a bit (in the rain, she was mad) and when I took her back to her run in/the shed, the swelling in her pasterns was noticeably lower... Then, I thought of checking them for heat and her fetlock/pastern area was noticably warmed than her front feet. Her front pastern/fetlock area was normal, cool rain, temperature but her back ones were warm to the touch...

She's eating with gusto and her personality is normal, she just seems a little...extra careful with her back legs. I'm about 100% sure she doesn't have a fever, I didn't take her temperature but she didn't feel extra warm at all. Just normal Lacey temperature.

I did work her pretty hard last week, perhaps it was too hard... And I had started to give her two of her glucosamine cookies just to see if that seems to do more for her, perhaps the mollassses in them is too much like I just gave her one today.

Should I be worried? How many days should I let this continue before I call the vet and have them come figure it out? Right now I don't think it's an "OMG call the vet" thing yet but I'm thinking that if she's still like this by Thursday/Friday I should get the vet over here? Or if she gets worse? Do you have any suggestions?

Could it be scratches? That would be weird if it was since she lived with much deeper, nastier mud at her last place of residence and she was fine... This mud is just like 20 feet of impossible to get around swampy-ness. But she liked to go hang out on the other side so her legs dried out regularly...
I would give her some bute or something but I don't have any...

Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzan gelding

Rest peacefully, Lacey.

Last edited by Wallaby; 03-29-2011 at 08:13 PM.
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post #2 of 8 Old 03-29-2011, 09:31 PM
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Sounds to me like it's just a bit of mud fever. If she has been in a muddy, soaked paddock, then it is most likely just some mud fever. My own horses get it (sucks having a wet season :P) just try and see if you can keep her out of the mud as much as you can really, keep her legs dry. What happens is that their legs pretty much get 'water logged' i guess you could call it and they swell up a bit, and can get a little stiff. Sometimes it just takes a good walk out in the dry to walk off the stiffness. You can get an ointment of some sort to put on their affected legs, and there is a clay sort of poultice you can get that helps well with the swelling (will try and remember the name of it). But best to try and keep her legs clean and dry when you have her out of her paddock and then try your best to have her in a paddock that is the dryest and where she can escape the mud for a bit. :)

Not sure if any other will have any ideas of anything else, but to me just sounds like mud fever. Hope she feels better soon :)
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post #3 of 8 Old 03-30-2011, 10:38 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks! That's very reassuring. :)
So how long is it reasonable for her to continue being "waterlogged"? It's been super rainy here so it's a little hard to keep her legs dry, but they are cleaner so hopefully that'll help. And I assume that it's probably a good thing to get her moving enough everyday that the swelling goes down?

Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzan gelding

Rest peacefully, Lacey.
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post #4 of 8 Old 03-30-2011, 07:24 PM Thread Starter
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Well, miss Lacey officially has scratches now.
Or at least, I'm about 99% sure it's scratches. Around her right back pastern the hair is flaking off in chunks that are attached to scabs... and underneath said scabs it's bloody... D:

So now what do I do?

I cleaned off her legs as much as she'd let me (she was a little goosey about the the affected pastern) with warm water, dried off each one really thoroughly with separate towels (no cross contamination here!), and slathered a triple antibiotic (a Neosporin knock-off) on the affected areas.
I considered blocking her into her run in, but the entrance (that would be part of the closed off area) is the muddiest (not super muddy, but muddy enough to be questionable) part of her entire field. If it's absolutely 100% necessary, I could rig up something so that she'd have to stay inside her run in (which is dry and mud free) but her run in without the entrance is basically the world's smallest box stall. Like, it'd be fine for a 13hh pony but an 1000lb, 14.1hh horse would feel pretty cramped, and since her legs are already getting swollen, being unable to really walk around seems like asking for more trouble...

However, in good news, the heat is out of her left pastern and her left pastern looked pretty good. It was a little swollen to begin with but after some walking, if was totally good.
But, the right one is looking bad. She's seriously off it at the trot (fine at the walk though), it's really warm, and it was noticeably swollen. And it's the one with all the scabs and stuff.

Help? I'm REALLY tempted to call the vet but if they offer to come out I'm gonna be all like "heck yes!" and my bank account doesn't like that idea. However, if the knowledgeable people of HF think the vet is in order, I will call up the vet and tell my bank account to put on it's big girl panties and suck it up.

I'm thinking that since she's off that right leg at the trot, it's very swollen before light exercise (read, walking for 15 minutes, a few 15 second trots), and it's scabby and bleeding, she needs a vet, but I don't really know.

Also, I tried to cut as much hair off of the right pastern as possible with scissors since I don't have clippers... So it's more hairless than it normally is in the winter time but still very hairy.

Alternatively, what should I be doing for her?


Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzan gelding

Rest peacefully, Lacey.

Last edited by Wallaby; 03-30-2011 at 07:26 PM.
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post #5 of 8 Old 03-30-2011, 10:42 PM Thread Starter
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Sorry for the triple post, but no one? Seriously, I really have no idea what to do here.
I'm just going off stuff I've found in random Google searches and I'd really like some advice from people I "know" know?
So if anyone has an experience with scratches, any tips, any feelings on whether to put her in the tiny tiny "stall" or not...etc...I'd love to hear them.

I remembered that my former trainer has clippers and she's always looking for a reason to see me so hopefully she'll let me borrow them so I can get Lacey's legs all clipped up...

Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzan gelding

Rest peacefully, Lacey.
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post #6 of 8 Old 03-30-2011, 10:54 PM
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Get a vet possibly?
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post #7 of 8 Old 03-30-2011, 11:02 PM Thread Starter
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I guess I should say that I plan on calling the vet tomorrow when I get home but I'm not sure if they need to come out or not. I'd prefer to not have them out if I can take care of this myself but I don't know exactly what I need to do to take care of it myself... And I know they'll probably offer to come out and I don't want to turn them down if I should have them out...

Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzan gelding

Rest peacefully, Lacey.
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post #8 of 8 Old 03-30-2011, 11:18 PM
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Wallaby, there's a great article on scratches in the last EQUUS magazine - it gives pictures and walks through the do-and-do-not list for how to care for the horse. In another thread or two on HF, I've written about my mare who had really bad scratches. I used the triple antibiotic and lots of other stuff over the counter when that didn't work. I ended up with a big mess because what happened was that the OTC stuff killed off all the easy bacteria and fungus but not the one that was really tough to kill and it ended up needing IVs - and a huge vet bill. During the regular scratches, my vet recommended Nolvasan ointment. You can buy it at horse supply stores and it comes in generic, cheaper. Use a thin layer, don't slather it on too deep or it traps the bacteria. I used that until it didn't seem to be working (the scratches were spreading, new spots - you'll know in 2-3 days). Then, in desperation last year, after we had them almost cured, spring arrived and she started getting a couple of new scratches spots and the Nolvasan stopped working for us, I bought Vetericyn. It literally was the last thing that I hadn't tried already. And I am a believer now. It kept it from spreading, it's a spray so you don't have to touch or rub the sore places, and it dried up her legs.

The other thing I would tell you to watch for is the swelling. The worst thing about my mare's scratches episode was that the swelling went up her leg. This is serious and it is definitely a time to call the vet. If you think the swelling is increasing, you've got something else going on in addition to the scratches and if not treated properly, it can cause lameness.

Also, scissors yes, clippers no. Anything that rubs the skin is bad - anything that breaks the outer layer of skin, even microscopically, causes scratches to spread - rubbing too hard, clipping, combing, scrubbing, you name it. Less is more in this case!

When the legs are all healed up, okay to use clippers then to trim and keep the legs neat so that they stay drier.

I hope this helps. Buy that EQUUS magazine so you can see what you're dealing with for sure!

Good luck!

Last edited by Ladytrails; 03-30-2011 at 11:20 PM.
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