Update on Ricci's swollen leg. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 04-09-2010, 08:12 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Washington, USA.
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Arrow Update on Ricci's swollen leg.

It's long, please bear with me. I tried to include everything.

For reference, please see Swelling along tendon? Please, please read. =|.

The vet looked at her leg, and said her tendons felt fine. I showed him the line that would swell up, it started on the inside of her knee and ran down to her fetlock. He told me it was a vein and it was just more prominent. He felt around some more and said that that vein on her right leg was just moved back a little bit, over the tendon, making it look more "swollen" then it is, but underneath it, it felt fine.

So then we brought her outside and did some lunging at the trot. He said she was more lame on her left leg than her right, but she was sore on both of them. That means that the swelling was from her over-compensating, carrying more weight on the right to relieve the extra pain in the left. This is a very minor lameness, by the way, it was very, very subtle. He told me that generally, when a horse is lame on both front legs, it's hoof/feet related. He used that pinchy-thing to test her hooves and got no reaction. Then he suggested we do a nerve block on her left foot. He said it would stop the pain in that foot and would tell us if she's still lame on the right [something like that.] So we did that, and then brought her out to lunge again. She was fine going to the left, but a good degree more lame on the right, showing she was lame in both front legs. At least I think that's what it was meant to show. o_O

He told me that considering how subtle the lameness was, he believed it was the soft tissue surrounding her coffin bone. He told me that if the coffin bone were crooked or if it was navicular, she would be significantly more lame. Not to mention navicular would likely show up during the hoof test. But we took three radiographs to make sure it wasn't the bones, one from the side and one from the front to check the coffin bone, and one from above to check the navicular bone.

He said that most likely, the problem will be solved with a different trim or a shoe, maybe a heel wedge. He said that usually the soft tissue injuries [which can only be seen by MRI, which I definitely can't afford] are caused by the way the hoof is trimmed, making it... uneven? as it lands. Something like that. He gave me the number of a farrier and told me to talk to him, and at least figure out what Ricci needs done so I can tell my current farrier if I don't have him out. I probably will though, even though I'm sure he'll be

Overall, I feel much better. I didn't screw her up by waiting. Nothing I was doing helped, of course, but it didn't hurt. I just need to get her trimmed and shod and that should fix the problems. And I just got a call from my vet and he said her x-rays looked great, the coffin bone looks great, the navicular bone looks great, but that she has very little sole and very thin walls so shoes are probably the way to go. I'll pick up the x-rays and have them with me to show this farrier.

God, I'm just so... relieved! Relieved beyond belief! For now, he told me that keeping her outside would be fine, but not to ride her until after she gets her feet taken care of. Things are looking good! And I'm only out $300. I even got a discount, because "I was so nice" and "my horse was such a GREAT patient, just a star." His words. =D =D =D

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."
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post #2 of 9 Old 04-13-2010, 08:01 PM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Ontario
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Well that's awesome that you found some answers. Now you can move forward. I'm not sure that shoes would be the answer, but take that with a grain of salt as I am a huge barefoot advocate. The main reason I am saying it in this case is because if she has thin walls, then shoes will only damage the walls further and not encourage wall growth. Plus, how long will you end up keeping her shod... When you talk to a farrier/trimmer (can you get in touch with a trimmer in your area?) ask them how they feel about boots for when you are at a riding stage with her again. Pics of her hooves would give you more insight from members here, but you'll likely have to be tolerant of some criticism of course.

Awesome news that her foot bone structure is unaffected, but how low did your vet place the nerve block? Is it possible that the pain is in the fetlock I wonder? Ah, I suppose anything is possible...

Something doesn't ring true here about her hooves, but maybe pics will enlighten my thoughts. Certainly if they are very uneven that would affect her, so perhaps just a better trim is in order. I'd love to see pics.
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post #3 of 9 Old 04-13-2010, 08:46 PM
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This is great to hear! I'm glad it's nothing too serious. :)
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post #4 of 9 Old 04-13-2010, 09:37 PM
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I am glad to hear the news, and I am glad that you are able to lift that load off your shoulders!

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post #5 of 9 Old 04-14-2010, 02:11 AM Thread Starter
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He did the nerve block right above her feet, so it's not her fetlock, or even her pasterns. It's most definitely her feet.

Right now, her toes are very long. Longer then they ever get, which is odd because it's only been 4 weeks since her trim. But I noticed the day after her trim that it looked like they were trimmed two weeks earlier, not 24 hours ago.

Ricci is usually shod, and I have no problem keeping her shod. It's never going to be year round, I don't ride as much in the winter so she goes about four or five months barefoot. But the rest of the year, we ride HARD, and even if I stay in the pasture to ride, we really wear her shoes down to the point I could almost bend them by hand. And then there's the amount of chipping that goes on when she is barefoot.

I haven't gotten ahold of the suggested farrier yet, but I'll have him out and see what the options are. But personally, I was going to shoe her her next trim anyway. I'll take pictures of her feet in the morning, but I do some I posted in an old thread right before her last trim. Calling all farriers!!.

I'm really hot happy with the last trim. Her feet are really flat, and like I said, her toes are really long. It seems like the first time she may have taken too much off [the evening feeder said she was ouchy] and this one she barely trimmed at all.

She's also got this wave thing going on, I'll try to see if I can get a picture to show it. But if you put your hand on her hoof, it has this wave going from top to bottom. I don't know. It's weird, and new. She never had it with my last farrier. [I stopped using her because she was a little... off. And never showed up on time and would often say "I'll be there in 20, I'll be there in 20..." and after she does that a few times and is already an hour late, she says "Well why don't we reschedule.] ::rolls eyes::

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."
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post #6 of 9 Old 04-14-2010, 10:38 AM
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this is excellent news! I am so happy, and that was definitely a very sweet discount he gave you too. I'm glad you're going to go ahead and have her shod. I think barefoot is a great option for some but you need to go on a case by case basis, not making blanket statements about which is better. I'd definitely go with the medical expert who has taken X-rays and given you their medical opinon, rather than trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, so to speak! Also, you know your horse and what works best for her. Awesome news!
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post #7 of 9 Old 04-14-2010, 11:42 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you! I did think it was rather sweet of the vet. He comes off as kind of a jerk most of the time, but Ricci really does adore him and he's so good with her that I don't care.

And I feel the same about shoes VS barefoot. Ricci does really well with shoes, but my little one has the toughest feet I've ever seen, and I wouldn't dare put shoes on her to risk ruining that. Just because I prefer shoes on my mare doesn't mean I'm shoe-happy. =]

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."
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post #8 of 9 Old 04-14-2010, 09:18 PM
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I don't know how I missed that other thread about her hooves. That definitely would have an impact. I hope you have success with your farrier. Give us current before and after pics when you do get someone out.
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post #9 of 9 Old 04-15-2010, 12:45 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you! I'll have him out in the next week, so you may have to wait awhile. I shall title it "Ricci's feet" so watch out for it. =]

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."
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