Stall rest, how long?

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Stall rest, how long?

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  • How long should horses be in stalls
  • How long should horses b kept in the stall?

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    05-22-2010, 05:34 AM
Stall rest, how long?

My mother and I seem to be in disagreement over how long our Thoroughbred mare should be on stall rest. My mother went up to the barn to clean the horse stalls and what she found was not a pretty site. The young TB had some how managed to rip her off her entire freaking shoulder. If anyone cares to see the before and afters of her wound I have photos however I don't want to post them here as I doubt Im allowed. They're gorey.

She had to have a lot of stitches. She apparently damaged a nerve. The vet was there from 5pm till 9pm fixing her up. He said she'd be feeling like garbage for awhile, gave her an oral medicine to have twice a day and an injection she needs once a day and said she should be on stall rest till she tells you she's ready to go out. He went away for the weekend. She is on a small amount of bute for the pain.

Well this filly is not feeling like garbage. The morning after she wanted out of her stall. She was very obviously lame but wanted to walk. Mom and I agreed to leave her in. Today was day two. She got out of her stall and unlocked the barn door and was walking her gimpy butt around the field with only a slight limp when I got up there this morning. Quite happy to be out. I put her back inside, fed her and left her inside till later. She got handwalked for 15 minutes before her dinner as she was full of beans.

So here is where the disagreement lies. I dealt with a similar issue with another horse and stall rest did not do him any good. It made him so much worse. So I am thinking limited exercise is a good thing. My mother thinks she should be on stall rest as it's too soon for her to be out and about.

The mare is mine so really my say is the end all but I would like more advice from those who have experienced something like this. My vet is away on vacation for the weekend but will be back Monday to come look at her and see how she is doing. Stall rest till then? Or limitted activity?
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    05-22-2010, 05:58 AM
Seeing as I can't edit that post I thought I'd add Herman, my vet, said I should expect a good 4 months before she seems back to normal, with a possible permident limp. This mare seemed more lame when a new farrier trimmed her hoof too short. That's what I am finding so baffling. Her eagerness to get moving already.
    05-22-2010, 06:27 AM
Originally Posted by Cougar    
...and said she should be on stall rest till she tells you she's ready to go out.
What your vet said is really the answer. If your horse is eager and ready, being out in a paddock or manageable area is certainly better than being in a stall.

Three years ago one of our mares cut her flank on something (never found out what) and had 30 stitches, including a drainage tube in for a week. We stalled her for 2 days and in a paddock for a couple weeks just to make sure she didn't rip the stitches out. After the stitches were out, we had her back pretty much on her normal routine even though it was a good couple months before she was completely healed up.
    05-22-2010, 06:39 AM
Good to know! The only horse I have experienced with an injury as bad as hers did not go as well as she seems to be. Im just worried that my gut instinct may be wrong. My biggest worry being it'll be too early to let her out as she is on painkillers and she'll end up worse off than she is now.
    05-22-2010, 07:02 AM
Originally Posted by Cougar    
My biggest worry being it'll be too early to let her out as she is on painkillers and she'll end up worse off than she is now.
We use pain medicine like bute very sparingly since (sadly) making them feel 'too good' does increase the chance that they will be too active and cause more injury.
As long as the stitches are in, the main items are to keep a good eye on it for any torn stitches, signs of infection like swelling, limit too much movement, and not mess with it too much (although it can be tempting).... what our vet calls 'benign neglect', I.e. Nature does a pretty good job of healing if we don't get in the way.

Good luck...

Progress with these injuries comes in weeks, not days, they happen all the time, and any permanent reminder like a scar or limp will only bother you, not your horse.
    05-22-2010, 07:13 AM
Thank-you for the words of reassurance. That's what I'd say to anyone else, but it always seems different when it's your horse you're worried about. And hey, I limp too. If she wants to limp for the rest of her days at leasts she'll be in good company.

    05-22-2010, 08:24 AM
I'm curious though, if there is quite a few stitches, if she gets running could she not just tear them all out?

Is it possible you could sedate her a bit to go out, I know theres a sedative that can last for up to 6 weeks. This way at least she gets out, can move around, but its a little "doozy" so she's not running around tearing stitches out. Either that or put her in a smaller pen where she can still move.

Its likely going to be worse to keep her inside if she's kind of freaking out because she's more likely to tear stitches moving that way.

If you can do the things one of the above posters said you'll likely be fine turning her out.

Movement might even help reduce some swelling.
    05-22-2010, 08:35 AM
I stay away from those 30 day sedatives. I've seen bad bad things come of them. Most people in the horse circles down here avoid them too. When we have TB on stall rest we hand walk them several times a day and if there is another horse on the property that they like it is moved so that they are next door to the injured horse. Do you have another horse that can be put with her so she isn't by herself? Or is she usually on her own? Stall toys are also helpful. Horses not use to being stalled all the time bore themselves into a frenzy.
    05-22-2010, 10:56 AM
Green Broke
Is there any way she could be kept in a small paddock/yard outside? She may be happier in the open where she can see/hear other horses however it sounds like her movement needs to be restricted as the injury is in an area that will be under pressure whenever she walks or moves.

Careful with the administration of Bute, I hate to use it for more than 5 days. Yes it helps with the pain and inflammation but unfortunately they are natural responses and there are reasons for them. Pain is natures way of telling the horse they shouldn't move too much and inflammation is a sign of a healthy immune response where white blood cells are recruited to the site of injury in order to begin the healing process.

Good luck with her recovery, sounds like a nasty injury and there is nothing worse than when you know your horse is suffering in some way, all the best to both of you.
    05-22-2010, 12:08 PM
A few things I want you to consider. Is this horse on grain? Be very sure you limit grains and other carb feeds when you want to limit activity. Is she normally a quiet minded horse, or an energetic one? Makes a big difference when you take them for a walk. Do walk often and allow a bit of turnout or hand grazing as often as you can. Keep an eye out for any kind of overdoing it. Give the horse enough low energy hay as you can to keep them occupied during stall time. Bute should be used sparingly as mentioned. Just take the edge off the pain, don't try to make her pain free. That is when they will overdo things.

When my mare hurt her leg/hoof she was to be on total stall rest for weeks. She is a quiet mare but no way could she do this. She was handwalked (I think she grazed mostly) daily and when it was clear she was not going to rip around she was allowed supervised out time in a small yard. On days she could not be let out she would really tear up the bedding. That isn't good for a hoof/leg injury at all, thus the time allowed out was very important for her. Vet didn't like it much but sometimes you have to do what you feel is best. If she'd been a nut on turnout it would not have worked.

So, do your best to confine her but do try to get her out often for walking/grazing. It keeps their minds healthy.

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