Upward Fixation of the Patella *Saro update #2*

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Upward Fixation of the Patella *Saro update #2*

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  • Surgical cost for upward fixating parella
  • Releasing upward fixation of the patella

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    09-15-2009, 07:33 PM
Question Upward Fixation of the Patella *Saro update #2*

My poor Saro has been having problems for the last few weeks with her stifle locking up. When she stands for any length of time and then walks forward the back leg will lock up anywhere from just a slight hitch and a pop, to the dragging of the leg and foot. I've done the research on the net about doing easy exercise, so that's what I have been doing. No more than 5-10 min. In the round pen. I lunge her loose so she can make a large circle and just walk-trot (slow gait). I also started her on some Anti inflamitory for about a week. I've been putting off having the vet come out, I know my bad I figured she would start to come out of it, she hasn't.
I finally called the vet today. He wants to come out to see her tomorrow. He's talking surgery
Has anyone else had any luck with just doing exercises to cure this? I'm afraid to jump at surgery if there is another way. Has anyone had a horse that had the surgery done? What was the outcome?
Just FYI she is a 3 year old Rocky Mountain horse that was started this spring under saddle.
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    09-15-2009, 10:05 PM
Vidaloco I'm sure I've heard people on here saying that you should do hill exercises to help with a locking stifle. Apparently it helps the supporting muscles somehow.

Here's what my horse bible says for treatment:
Treatment, regardless of severity, is relatively simple. In young, out-of-condition horses, feed and exercise will take care of it in most cases, unless the horse is genetically or conformationally predisposed to the condition. In a horse that must be stalled for a prolonged period, deep bedding and/or shoeing with raised heels reduces the liklihood of upward fixation of the patella.

In those horses in which ready release does not come, backing the animal will usually bring about release. In more stubborn cases, it has been suggested that the release can be attained by manually pushing the patella upware. The guy who can do this can also leap tall buildings in a single bound; it has never worked for me. (that's out of the book, not my words -- really!)
    09-15-2009, 10:08 PM
Another suggested treatment is the injection of both the medial and the middle patellar ligaments with a counterirritant. This is difficult as the dickens to do, does not always work and is rarely a permanent cure in the ones in which it does work.

The cure -- the one that works and works forever is surgery. It's a very simple surgery: the medial patellar ligament is sectioned (i.e., cut). It is performed on the standing, tranquilized horse with a local anesthetic. After surgery, the horse needs four to six weeks of stall rest and then a gradual increase of exercise. In those cases where the locking becomes chronic and is severe, surgery is mandatory because in time damage to the stifle joint is inevitable.

... then some blah, blah, blah and...
The only disadvantage -- and I do not consider it to be one -- to surgery is the horse can no longer sleep on its feet.

Hope that helps. Good luck, V.
    09-15-2009, 10:16 PM
Can't sleep on her feet? Wow that normal for her. Saro has had a hard time standing up since she was a yearling especially on 3 legs. I wonder if that has been part of the patella problem since then. It seems she has always had a hard time locking her legs to stand while sleeping and has fallen down at the hitching post when she dozes off.
Thank you for the information, I feel better about the possibility of surgery now.
I'll be sure to post an update after the vet looks at her tomorrow.
    09-16-2009, 12:35 PM

Well, the vet just left and I'm still worried He put her on some bute for the short term. He doesn't do the surgery, but he's going to check at OSU and K-State for information as far as prognosis and cost. He thinks we should have it done at a university. Fortuanatley we are within an hour or so drive from both Oklahoma State and Kansas State.
He thinks the light exercise is OK but until something is done, she will be too dangerous to ride because of the falling issue.
I'd still like to hear from anyone who has dealt with this before.
    09-16-2009, 12:56 PM
A friend of mine had a reiner that started to show signs of this. They went with the injections and lots of hill work. She's fine for regular riding but they don't rein with her anymore. Not sure how progressed hers was. If your vet is confident that Saro needs surgery I think I would do it.
    09-17-2009, 08:59 AM
The vet could see Saro's patella "catching" with almost every step. It actually locks when she has stood for a minute or so and then either walks out or turns sharply. It will lock completely and she drags the leg often enough that it didn't take to many times around the round pen for the vet to see it.... I'm just sick about it. She is really becoming a good trail horse. I hate to say it but her fate is going to come down to price and prognosis
    09-17-2009, 09:49 AM
I have no advice at all but I just wanted to say I hope that she gets better.
    09-19-2009, 08:09 AM
Thanks AussieDaisyGirl I told my mom about Saro's possible surgery and the cost. I got calls from my sisters last night all offering money to pay for it definitely got the tears flowing. Still haven't heard from the vet. We're calling him today.
    09-19-2009, 07:16 PM
What a wonderful supportive family! Good luck with everything on this, V. It sounds like this is a problem since birth, so that would lean to the surgery also. Let us know how things progress. Remember the prognosis is good after surgery, so if the price can be managed she may remain your baby for many years to come! Again, good luck.

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