Talk to me about suspensory injuries, stall rest, etc...

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Talk to me about suspensory injuries, stall rest, etc...

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  • Horse upper suspensory recovery
  • How much would stem cell therapy for horse suspensory cost?

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    02-01-2011, 09:52 AM
Talk to me about suspensory injuries, stall rest, etc...

So, the vet did an ultrasound on Zee's leg yesterday and found a very small tear in his suspensory, right at the split in the ligament (about three inches below the knee). He will remain on stall rest, with 10 minute gentle handwalking every day, and standing wraps at night. We have a follow up ultrasound in 60 days to see how he's coming along.

Our two options, in addition to basic rest, are shock wave therapy and stem cell injections. I am waiting for the full report and treament details (including estimated costs) to be faxed over to me. Has anyone tried either of these therapies?

Also, I'd love any suggestions for helping him deal with the stall rest. At his age, I worry about his overall physical condition, his joints, gaining weight, ulcers, colic, and all the other fun stuff that comes with stall rest. I'm looking at adding SmartRepair and SmartCalm to his supplement routine, and reducing his Purina Sr. Grain by a pound a day (reduce half pound in am, half pound in pm). I believe he's currently getting 3.5 lbs at each feeding.
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    02-01-2011, 11:15 AM
I just spoke with the vet and we are leaning heavily towards PRP treatment. Please share any experience you've had with it!
    02-01-2011, 01:34 PM
Bump... Anyone?
    02-01-2011, 05:37 PM
Green Broke
Hey there! So sorry to hear that your boy has injured himself, suspensory injuries are not nice! The vast majority of suspensory injuries I have seen have happened in the pasture and I even saw a horse recently (not mine) that injured his suspensory in his stall somehow! So whilst they are not nice, rest assured that they are one of the more common injuries and generally have good recovery rates, albeit sometimes slow.

So, first things first, did the vet give you any idea of the size/scope of the tear? It says ‘very small’ which sounds like the tear is relatively superficial in terms of how ruptured the ligament is. It is my understanding that the location of the tear is also a contributing factor and the fact that the tear is so close to where the ligament anchors to the joint makes it a little more susceptible to further tearing. Both good and bad news there.

Everyone has their own opinion as to whether to give stall rest or not. I have done it both ways for suspensory injuries and seen full recoveries from both methods. If your horse is stalled you really have to make sure that you are hand walking regularly and as appropriate to keep ligaments and tendons healthy, moving but most importantly to stimulate the circulatory system – a huge factor in the healing process.

Assuming that this is a small tear, you are probably looking at at least two to four months rest, providing there is no re-injury and the healing process moves along at a reasonable rate. Your next ultrasound will give you that information. It may be up to six months, impossible to say at this stage. For your sake I hope it isn’t that long. Bear in mind though that when they are ready to come back into work, it will be a very slow process there too!
One other thing to consider, and you may want to talk to your vet/farrier about this but one other piece of advice I received from my vet with a horse that was recovering from a suspensory injury was to keep the toes of the front feet nice and short during the initial healing stages. He actually suggested gently filing the toe back each week and slightly rolling the edge of the toe. The reason for this is that if the toe is kept a little short and just off the ground, it encourages a slightly shorter stride and reduces the break-over point on the hoof. Having a shorter stride puts less tension on the ligament so that it is still being strained, but not over strained thus reducing the chance of re-injury. With suspensory injuries, the rate of re-injury is very high so if at all possible it is good to avoid further tearing. Hence the slow and steady recovery! But, your vet/farrier would have a better idea of if this would help your situation at all, just thought I would mention it.

If it makes you feel any better, ALL the suspensory injuries I have seen have recovered to full health. The first horse I ever owned tore his suspensory. He was about 19 at the time and the vet just advised me to leave him turned out in the paddock for a few months. He had anti-inflamatory meds for 5 days then nothing else. Three month holiday. He was good as gold after that and I never had a problem with the ligament again.

Hope that makes you feel better and I hope he is OK!
    02-01-2011, 05:56 PM
I have to agree with Sarahver that letting the horse move around is better than the complete stall rest. Stalling a horse for long, long periods of time is so hard on them. I had a horse with this problem and I put her in on of our smaller paddocks . She was not the kind of horse to run around, she was much happier to be able to move around freely. I made sure there was always some hay or grass for her to munch on and she did recover nicely.
    02-01-2011, 08:46 PM
Green Broke
Sorry but I disagree entirely and I'm talking from personal experiance a Suspensory will heal better if no strain is put on it and that means complete stall rest.

My connemara put a hole the size of 2 pence coin in his suspensory and a small hole in his check ligament when he was 18 years old (slipped at a show). Stemcell therapy failed and my insurance wouldnt shell out for shockwave therapy (though I have heard amazing things from friends who's horses have undergone it). The Vet said he would never be ridden again and best thing would be to turn him away permanantly.
Got a 2nd oppinion and whilst not much better the 2nd vet did give me hope. We stall rested him for 6 months, turned him away for anouther 12 months, then it took me 6 months to get him super fit (we spent 3 months at walk, seriously building him up). I also got him swimming to help strengthen him. I had him back out and competeing to the same level! Took me 2 years but I did it.
In the first 6 months I iced his leg for 20 mins every 2 hours, right through the night as well, I also put him on Global herbz Tendoneze for the entire 2 years!
When I first brought him back into work he wore tendon support boots.

My experiance of Stemcell therapy was unfortunate because stan was older and his cells refused to divide but I do know of several people who have had wonderful results with it. You are time limited, any more then a couple of months after the initial injury and stem cell therapy is useless.

Shockwave on the otherhand is not time limited. Again I've heard of realy good results from first hand accounts.

Personaly I would go for the stemcells and if they don't work then go for shockwave.
    02-01-2011, 09:00 PM
Thank you faye! I actually do agree. I will be keeping him on stall rest until the ultrasound shows that he has healed enough for limited turnout. Stem cell therapy is a bit out of our price range, and from what our vet says, has the same effectiveness as PRP. We're going to give the PRP a shot, see how he is in 60 days, and try the shock wave if the PRP doesn't produce great results. Luckily, Zee does pretty well in his stall and doesn't stress too much. It helps too that he has a large open stall with buddies around him during the day.
    02-01-2011, 09:10 PM
Green Broke
I maxed out my insurance on stans leg and paid 2000 on top with all the swimming and extras he had to have, on top of the failed stem cell therapy (insurance paid for that part).
    02-01-2011, 10:06 PM
Ok that's the selfish side of the horseworld, I like to treat my horses in a kind a patient manner and give them a happy space while they heal. Whatever works for the particular animal is what you do. I really do not like the opinions on this site, but then again horse people have all kinds of different opinions, it is supposed to be a "helpful" site so you can get advice from different sources, not a pissing contest. DO WHAT YOU WANT, I try to get advice from this site, Not anger.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    02-01-2011, 10:11 PM
Originally Posted by faye    
I maxed out my insurance on stans leg and paid 2000 on top with all the swimming and extras he had to have, on top of the failed stem cell therapy (insurance paid for that part).

So why don't you let us all know about the future of your "loving, caring, giving horse" now that you have maxed out your insurance, where is this horse going to end up???????????LET US ALL KNOW

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