Swollen Knee - please help! - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 13 Old 09-02-2011, 10:18 AM Thread Starter
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Swollen Knee - please help!

Ok, Berdi is 20 years old and a couple of years ago had an injury on a cattle feeder. Ever since she has had a bump on her knee. The people that had her before said she was sound on it and when I got her she was fine. Just recently however her knee has swollen. There is no heat and she doesn't flinch when I touch it or put pressure on it. She is a little reluctant to pick up her front feet and has not wanted to canter at all. I thought she has some arthritis and have started her on a joint supplement. However last night I took her for a short ride and she seemed off at the trot and even a little at the walk. However it seems like a stiffness - not actual lameness if that makes any sense.

So I need help! If it is arthritis than I'm going to get a better joint supplement - maybe even injections. I also read that mildly arthritic horses should be kept lightly ridden. Does this sound like arthritis to you or something else? She is overweight too - so I wonder if that would affect the arthritis if that is what it is. I have to get her muzzle back on. She had it off for a while since it was rubbing her.

And advice would be much appreciated!
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post #2 of 13 Old 09-02-2011, 12:46 PM
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Well that's a little tricky. You are correct, arthritic horses do better when they are allowed to move, and get stiff when they stand still for too long. But at the same time if its an injury, like a tendon or something, the last thing you want to do is make it worse. I am going to say be safe and call a vet, especially if a supplement doesn't seem to be helping. How long have you had her on the supplement?

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post #3 of 13 Old 09-02-2011, 02:29 PM Thread Starter
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I've just had her on the supplement a few days. What is worrying me is her walk is getting a bit stiffer -however the swelling is not changing. I think I'll see if I can borrow my friend's trailer and take her in to have it looked at. Then I guess I would know. Are they going to be able to tell without xrays what it is though?
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post #4 of 13 Old 09-05-2011, 08:43 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, so I'm going to be calling the vet tomorrow. Over the weekend of course they are closed except for real emergencies and today was a holiday. So I'm phoning tomorrow. She does not really seem to be in pain. She walks and even does a little trotting (on her own, I'm not riding her!), but her trot is off.

So, in the meantime I've been putting DMSO on her knee, doing salt wraps (drawing out fluid if there is) and cold hosing. I'm also giving MSM/Glucosamine in case it is arthritis. She is such a good patient and lets me do anything to her! She is such a sweet mare!

I got some pics today though. Have any of you seen this type of swelling before? The last picture is of her knees before the swelling. Maybe it isn't obvious but she always had a bump on her knee from her cattle feeder accident. However she was completely sound on it for three years. As you can see her knee now is very swollen.

I'm going to have to figure out (when I call) whether I will take her in or have them out here. I think its better to take her in though, I just hope our friend will let us borrow his trailer as soon as possible. Can any of you tell me roughly how much lameness exams run? I know if she needs xrays it will be more but just a normal lameness exam. Also, do you guys know if vets let people do payment plans or not? Depending on the cost I may want to do that if at all possible.

Thanks!
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post #5 of 13 Old 09-06-2011, 08:56 AM Thread Starter
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Just bumping this up - interested if anyone has any ideas from the pictures.
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post #6 of 13 Old 09-06-2011, 09:17 AM
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I don't have much to add regarding a diagnosis, the vet will tell you that. However, I want to warn you about mixing anything with DMSO. The salt poultice (or anything) can be drawn into the body with the DMSO, even though I'm sure you're not actually mixing them together.
I'm not sure you could ever get all the DMSO off before applying the salt.
Good luck with the vet appointment. Some vets take payment, others don't.
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post #7 of 13 Old 09-06-2011, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Equus_girl View Post
I'm going to have to figure out (when I call) whether I will take her in or have them out here. I think its better to take her in though, I just hope our friend will let us borrow his trailer as soon as possible. Can any of you tell me roughly how much lameness exams run? I know if she needs xrays it will be more but just a normal lameness exam. Also, do you guys know if vets let people do payment plans or not? Depending on the cost I may want to do that if at all possible.
Glad you are taking her to see the vet. I always like to err on the side of caution especially when it's joint related.

As far as costs that will vary with location, individual vet & services required. I dealt with a knee injury in one of mine last year but it was pretty severe. His initial visit w/farm call and scans ran me just shy of $400. That was the cheap visit, le sigh :(

Life is like a camera. Focus on what's important, Capture the good times, Develop from the negatives and if things don't work out, Take another shot.
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post #8 of 13 Old 09-06-2011, 03:04 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, so I phoned the vet and talked to her. She asked how lame she was and I told her all I knew. She said that at her age she suspects arthritis and she reccommended since she isn't very lame to treat her for arthritis for another week and then bring her in if she has not improved. Then she would do a soundness exam and pinpoint the problem. She said that since the leg has really got no better or worse it sounds like it could be arthritis to her.

And, I will definitely be taking her in if she needs to see the vet. The farm call I was told would be $250!!!! That is just for her to drive in the yard!! I only live 35-40 minutes away too. But the lameness exam is only $100 so if I trailered her in that would save me a lot of hard-earned money!!

So, I'm just really hoping that she will improve - if not though, it most likely is an injury and I'll have to have her checked. I'm going to keep up with the DMSO though - it can't hurt!
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post #9 of 13 Old 09-06-2011, 11:07 PM
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That's a crazy farm call bill!

I'm not sure that the swollen knee and the general stiffness are related--are you? Is it just that one leg that's giving her trouble, or is it a more widespread issue?
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post #10 of 13 Old 09-06-2011, 11:37 PM Thread Starter
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I don't know - she sometimes drags her back toes a little just before a trim. However she's never been like this. She does seem to certainly favor that leg. However she walks out in the field and even tries to trot after our llama - its really wierd. And yes! I thought that was crazy too for the farm call bill. Yikes!
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