Opinions about buying a horse with arthritis
   

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Opinions about buying a horse with arthritis

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    11-13-2012, 07:08 PM
  #1
Foal
Exclamation Opinions about buying a horse with arthritis

I've been working towards buying a horse that I have been working with for about 2 months now. We went on a long trail ride in the beginning, and she came up lame. The vet said that she believes she has arthritis due to a positive flexion test.

The good part of this situation is that this horse belongs to the daughter of the woman I've been leasing from for 3 years, so it is a very informal purchase (or attempt at a purchase)

She is a 10 year old paint mare
She is a teensy bit overweight, which we're working on now
She was broke and spent 90 days with a trainer, and then training continued for the years after that by the woman I lease from (who has owned and trained horses for 40+ years)
This woman birthed this mare, so I know where she's been for her whole life, which seems to be a good thing based on some stuff I've read on here.
She's extremely intelligent and very light on the cues. She has wonderful ground manners, comes when she's called from the pasture (even without grain) She's very smooth and she's a total sweetheart. I'm torn because I'm totally in love with her, but I don't want to get into something I can't afford.

I've been doing massage with her and feeding her apple cider vinegar, and she's been on MSM for the past 3 days. Overall, she's showing improvement every day. The past week or two she has been totally sound, with only slight signs of discomfort at a trot with a rider. However, I can tell she is not limping with a rider, just uncomfortable, so I've been working her lightly at a slow walk instead.

My use for her would be pleasure riding. The most intense stuff I would ever do would probably be 5-6 hours of trail riding. I mostly like to play in the arena and go for a good lope in the open pasture for fun. I have never shown and don't plan to.

Am I crazy? She was originally asking $1,500 for her and I said no way. I bargained with her for $1,000 over a 6 month payment plan, but that was before we knew she had arthritis.

In my mind I have a mental goal of having her completely sound, and be able to ride her without discomfort at all gaits by January 1st. We're taking her to a chiropractor/vet to get a second opinion next week. I've been doing massage, and I plan on continuing the MSM and ACV.

Should I walk away? Can arthritic horses make good trail horses over rough terrain for multiple hours if their arthritis is under control? Should I push to pay less money since she has arthritis? If so, how much should I ask for? This would be my first horse and I feel like I'm fortunate to get to work with her because what if I were to buy another horse that seemed fine and turns out to have arthritis or something worse later? I feel like buying a horse is a little bit of a gamble no matter what...I don't know.

I've attached some pictures

Thanks for all the help.
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    11-13-2012, 07:16 PM
  #2
Yearling
Aside from the flexion test, was there anything else done to confirm arthritis?

A horse should take a couple odd steps right after having their legs held. As someone said on another post, think about how you would feel if you had been sitting on your leg for a period of time and then tried to run on it. Now, if the entire run she was moving oddly then I would do other tests to confirm arthritis. I would also be more inclined to pass on a horse that moved perfectly the entire time, as that could point to the horse being drugged.

She's gorgeous.

And even if she does have arthritis, if you take care of her properly it doesn't have to be debilitating. We have two 20+ Andalusian geldings with arthritis at the farm I board at. One of them had a fractured hip when he was younger as well. BOTH of those boys are still getting high 60s in dressage and we never come home with worse than a red ribbon. So if these old guys can still do that, this mare can definitely handle trails.
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    11-13-2012, 07:27 PM
  #3
Foal
I skipped the x-rays because I know they are expensive and I wanted to talk to Pattie (the woman I mentioned previously) about what the vet said and she what she thinks about it.

Her and I both are fans of holistic type treatments, which is why we're giving her ACV and MSM right now with her grain. In the past 2 months she has only improved, which is why I feel hopeful. Also, she was only lame in her hind left leg and only slightly visible at a trot. She hasn't been lame this week at all though, which is encouraging, and I'm still riding her lightly.

I'm now wondering if I should get the x-rays done to confirm arthritis or show something else. Her joints do pop periodically which is another reason I think it is arthritis.

About 3 years ago she had an abscess that got REALLY infected and popped open on the leg that she's stiff on, and I can feel the scar tissue, which is something else I wonder about.

Thank you Reno_Bay for your kind comments.
     
    11-13-2012, 07:34 PM
  #4
Foal
It's very odd that she has it at 10 years of age, it only occurs if they've worked very hard. Like constantly turning at high speeds like when you play Polocrosse. I say it's odd cause if she is really 10 she's in her prime. My suggestion would be that if you do buy her keep her in steady work (keeps her joints and muscles firm) and to feed her a supplement. Also in winter I've found it helps to keep their legs wrapped or put floating boots on them (not the ones that go above the knees though) and to not stable them because that will mean they won't move much and stiffen up. Also as mentioned above I'd get someone else's to look at her. Also if you can get her for $1000 you'll have yourself a steal ;)
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    11-13-2012, 07:38 PM
  #5
Green Broke
I probably wouldn't because my mare has it and she is supposed to be ridden or lunged everyday to stretch her out because she gets very stiff. I have her on previcox and cosequin and she's only 13. She's only servicably sound and has her days that are off. She does better if ridden everyday but I haven't ridden her since summer due to a different issue with her hoof. She still tears around the pasture like a maniac but it is quite expensive to keep up so me prepared.

Goodluck!
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    11-13-2012, 07:39 PM
  #6
Trained
I'd get xrays to be sure. They're not that expensive, and definitely worth it for piece of mind!

Which joint/s does the vet think is arthritic?
If it's only mild boney changes, she may be fine with ACV/MSM and some magnetic therapy (boots). If it's more severe, or combined with bone spurs, then you'll be looking more towards regular IM injections, or joint injections depending on the severity, to keep the joint lubricated. When they're at that stage - ACV and MSM will barely help at all. MSM is also more of a preventative measure, than a treatment. My 2 year old has been on MSM since a yearling as a preventative.
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    11-13-2012, 07:52 PM
  #7
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by CattieD    
It's very odd that she has it at 10 years of age, it only occurs if they've worked very hard. Like constantly turning at high speeds like when you play Polocrosse. I say it's odd cause if she is really 10 she's in her prime. My suggestion would be that if you do buy her keep her in steady work (keeps her joints and muscles firm) and to feed her a supplement. Also in winter I've found it helps to keep their legs wrapped or put floating boots on them (not the ones that go above the knees though) and to not stable them because that will mean they won't move much and stiffen up. Also as mentioned above I'd get someone else's to look at her. Also if you can get her for $1000 you'll have yourself a steal ;)
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I was thinking that it was odd that she would have arthritis at 10 years old as well. She has only done trails and arena work, and nothing extremely strenuous, and she had never been lame before aside from when she had that infection, up until after the trail ride. I keep wondering if maybe it's something else...like getting kicked and knocked out of place. That's why I'm hoping the chiropractor will help.
     
    11-13-2012, 07:56 PM
  #8
Foal
Try muscle therapy as well cause it may be both. If you can I would also once you've bought her recommend if its still bothering you and her and you still haven't found out the cause get X-rays. Another thing to remember is she is a mare so you can breed from her. Also do you no for sure what joint it's in?
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    11-13-2012, 07:59 PM
  #9
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kayty    
I'd get xrays to be sure. They're not that expensive, and definitely worth it for piece of mind!

Which joint/s does the vet think is arthritic?
If it's only mild boney changes, she may be fine with ACV/MSM and some magnetic therapy (boots). If it's more severe, or combined with bone spurs, then you'll be looking more towards regular IM injections, or joint injections depending on the severity, to keep the joint lubricated. When they're at that stage - ACV and MSM will barely help at all. MSM is also more of a preventative measure, than a treatment. My 2 year old has been on MSM since a yearling as a preventative.
The hock for sure and I don't remember if she said the stifle or the fetlock. Since she's not consistently lame, could that be a sign that it just the beginnings? Would bone spurs cause chronic lameness with no good days?

She's kept on pasture for about 8 hours a day, brought in with grain and spends the night in a pen with 2 other horses with plenty of room to move around, just no food.

Right now, with school and a full time job, I'm out there 3-5 days a week. I get my degree in December, so after that I'll likely be able to go out there every day. She's very playful with the other horses, cantering around in the pasture.

Since the chiropractor is a vet as well, I'm thinking about asking her to do x-rays. She also does acupuncture so I'm going to ask her about that as well, maybe where the scar tissue is from her old wound.
     
    11-13-2012, 08:21 PM
  #10
Foal
If its the stifle steady work keeps it loose and they are generally fine as long as they stay in steady work. My aunty has a gelding with a stifle problem and he is just uncomfortable if he's not worked and just pulled out of the paddock for a joy ride. It doesn't hurt him he's just not as balanced and it pops sometimes. I'd def. Get someone who doesn't no either you or the current owner to take a look. As their less likely to lie to you to promote the buying of the mare. Also they won't have an interest in either the saler or the buyer in the situation. I'd also google different remedies once you know what is wrong. The mare that I have previously posted about that has the one working ovary has ring bone in both her front feet. It doesn't hurt or effect her as long as we roll her toes and feed her a supplement called proflex. We've also had her specially treated where they break away the calcified bone and break it up with a special machine. She is perfectly sound as long as we do these things and keep on top of it. I will attach photos of the mare in a different post :)
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