Stifle Lock Surgery

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Stifle Lock Surgery

This is a discussion on Stifle Lock Surgery within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • Stifle lock in horses and treatment options

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    03-21-2014, 07:22 AM
Stifle Lock Surgery

My filly has been having problems with her offside stifle on and off. I had the vet out today and he confirmed as thought that she has a moderate case of stifle lock. We had a chat about treatment options with his recommendation being surgery to cut the tendon. The vet was fantastic about describing the procedure to me in detail however I'm not 100% sold on going straight to surgery. Does anyone have any experience with the surgery and any pros and cons?

Bit of background on my girl. She's an unbroken 3yo standing ~15hh. My plans for her are low level eventing for fun, trail riding and harness further down the line.

Off to google for more info now
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    03-21-2014, 08:32 AM
I would recommend not cutting the tendon, while it is common practice that does not make it right, and sets up for problems later on. The muscles and tendons work together, your disrupting the system of checks and balances by severing the connection. Locking stifles seems common in young horses. When my QH was right around 3, 15 years ago, he had the same problem. My vet told me to strengthen the muscles in the hind end by doing lots of long trotting going straight, back up hills, climb hills and the problem took care of itself. It took about a year for the problem to permanently go away but I was in no rush. In my opinion take the time to let her muscles develop and see if she grows out of it.
    03-21-2014, 09:57 AM
My gelding had his tendon clipped when he was 5 or 6. I barrel raced him, and when he was 12 he went lame and vet did xrays and never found anything wrong. I opted out of nerve blocks, and turned him out for 6 months. He was sound but couldn't turn a barrel , and vet speculated on whether or not it was due to his stifle being clipped. I still use him to sort cows, and trail ride, And he is fine. I know back them it was common practice, now they try to stay away from doing it from what I have seen and heard. I would try the strengthening exercises first, and use surgery as a last ditch effort.
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    03-21-2014, 11:00 AM
Green Broke
I'm dealing with a stifle issue on my gelding right now. He is 8 and I have had him for about 2 years. Was basically green-broke and fat when I bought him. His right stifle does not lock fully but it catches.

I just noticed issues last fall on the barrel pattern when we picked up the speed. He was cross-firing in his turns.

My vet first advised hill exercises to strengthen it. Well I rode pretty much EVERY day last year and he still came up with the problem, so I just wasn't convinced it would be enough.

We injected the stifle on Wednesday, to see how he does with that.

My vet said he is young and he may "grow out of it". Tendon-splitting surgery is an option, but we are certainly going to try other things first.
    03-21-2014, 08:50 PM
Thanks for all your replies. I was sceptical of surgery straight up when my girls only 3. I'll get started on an exercise regime for her today and hopefully it'll clear up when her muscle increases. I've also got the option for spelling her over winter at a friend's place which is very hilly which would be better than my flatter pastures. Thanks again :)

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