When to call a vet? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 07-05-2010, 02:37 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: British Columbia
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When to call a vet?

Ugh! My boy and I were going along well FINALLY, he was moving forward at the walk, trot and canter, responding to my aids, and all because he was knocked down rank-wise by the new gelding we've just put into the field.
But they're still fighting, and today I brought him out, walked him around, he was fine, picked up the trot, two steps, then he nearly fell on his face he was limping so badly, literally hobbling on his front left, I got off, checked him out, he wasn't in pain to touch (that he responded to, anyway), no wounds I could see, cheeked his feet, there's a bit of a 'crack' in his hoof- not far enough up to be anything but superficial, and the other foot was worse (after they've settled their disputes we need the farrier in ASAP), so I got back on, walked a bit more, no problems, picked up the trot and BAM! Big limp. What the heck? Walked him back to the barn, hopped off and threw him in the field, he 'speed walked' off the gravel run, started to trot out to the girls and stopped because he was limping again.

I don't know why, maybe he's stiff, maybe he got a kick to the leg, maybe he tore something, but I DON'T KNOW, I'm going to go out again tomorrow and hop on to see how he is, maybe lead him around a bit, watch him out in the field, but at what point do you call the vet? What should I be looking for? Aside from a bad trim we've never had any lameness issues, so I'm at a loss.
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post #2 of 3 Old 07-05-2010, 06:18 AM
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Orange County, NC
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Lameness can be one of the most difficult and frustrating things to diagnose because they are so many causes.
Sudden lameness is often caused from an abcess or stone bruise. They can cause a horse to go three legged lame very quickly, and once they pop the horse returns to normal very quickly, too (though they can take a long time to pop).
Sprains usually take a day or two to get worse as the swelling increases and can then take a 5+ days to slowly start to get better.
Typically, we'll wait a couple days to see if it is getting better or worse before calling anyone.
If you have a farrier that you trust, I would always suggest calling the farrier before a vet to get an evaluation, as they see a lot more foot problems. A good farrier will suggest a consult with a vet if needed.
I would also not ride him, limit movement to a small paddock, and ice/cold hose the leg in case it is a sprain (it won't hurt anything if it's not) until the source is identified.

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post #3 of 3 Old 07-05-2010, 03:52 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: British Columbia
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Ugh, my internet crashed as I sent my reply.
Thank you for the response!
Our only paddock is gravel... I can't imagine that being too comfortable if it is something like a stone bruise or abcess?
I'll head out today and cold hose his leg, check for swelling and discomfort, and I'll probably give our old farrier a ring, see if he can sneak away from the track any time soon.
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