Upward fixation of the patella
Just before thanksgiving, my gypsy vanner came into the stall dead lame, dragging his back leg. The vet came straight out and said that it was upward fixation of the patella. He said it is not uncommon in young horses (my horse will turn three April 2013). He suggested cutting the ligaments if it became a repetitive issue. He used his hands to get the knee back in place and I gave my horse bute for a few days. Online articles suggested hand walking him to build strength and then trotting up hills...but avoiding lounging or round penning. So, for his first walk, it was very short, but as soon as the ground sloped down he started crow hoping and acting up. The next day I chose a very level short walk and seemingly out of nowhere he exploded ...crow hopping, bucking kicking etc and finally bolted. In the process he kicked me in the face, knocked me out and landed me in the ER. I was lucky...got away with just stitches all over my face and nothing broken, however, now I'm concerned about walking him. He is a very sweet, dead quiet horse and has never ever done anything like that before. My vet felt quite certain that he may have taken a longer than normal step, causing the ligament to lock up. When this happens the horse feels like they could fall and they panic. He suggested, again, cutting the ligament. I really don't want to jump into cutting the ligament. He seems fine and has not had any other "locking" incidents (that I'm aware of). I tripled the size of his paddock to include some hills and hope that more exercise on his own will help. I read that as he continues to grow and the bone lengthens the ligament will stop slipping off and locking the leg. Some articles suggest blistering or making tiny cuts in the ligament and it will shorten as it heals. He is young and I want him to be my little dressage pony someday and am really worried about cutting ligaments in his hocks. I have to do something though...at this point I'm not riding or walking him because I'm afraid wither he or I could get hurt. Any thoughts or experiences that anyone can share will really help me in this tough decision making process.