stifle injury- Torn Meniscus
My horse was just diagnosed yesterday with a torn meniscus. The vet said that he is still ridable as a pleasure horse, no dressage, limit circles, limit hills. He said he can still do some jumping and that he can be maintained with medications (hycoat, glucosamine, etc...) and some bute when needed. He will be on partial turnout for a while (~4 hrs a day). He said I can go ahead and start light riding this weekend. I was feeling very positive when leaving the vet yesterday but today I started doing some research and found some articles that were not so postive. I have no real asperations of competing anymore and know that if I decide I want to do anything heavy, I will need to get another horse. Does anyone here have any experience with this type of stifle injury?
I am following a very good vet's recomendation but just wanted to know if anyone out there has had any experience with this type of issue.
Just a gut reaction, it sounds a bit like a hurried recovery to me.
That is the thing. He really did not recomend stall rest, as I expected. He said that he did want him moving around, but not running too much. So, I decided to turn him out for the first few hours of the day when the horses still have hay (she puts out piles of hay in the morning). That way he will not be running around but will get to move a little. And bring him in about noon (as the hay is about done at that time and that is when they start moving around and playing more). I dont' want to put him in one of the small paddocks because they get a little too muddy and I am afraid he will walk the fence line because he wants to be with his friends (which he can see from all the small paddocks). I would think that walking the fence line in a paddock that may get muddy would be worse on his hocks and stifle. When I asked about riding (i.e. when to start), he said that my weight on his back would not make any difference and that I could do light walking, that it may be good for him. He gave him a shot of polygly... something (hycoat (or hylornic acid) with glucosamine) and wants him to get another shot (IV) in another two weeks. He wants shoes on the back feet. The more I am reading (mostly related to humans since there is very little about horses) the more I am confused to such a conservative approach. I know that really rest is the only thing that can be done (there is no way I can afford surgery). But I am thinking that even walking around the ring or field may be a little too much for at least a couple weeks. I guess it would not hurt for me to just not ride, continue with everything else and waite about a month, see how it is and go from there? He did say it was a small tear and it was most likely caused due to his hocks bothering him (just had them injected due to arthritis).
my guess is that the vet is trying to avoid muscle loss. In alot of stifle injuries...if you can avoid muscle loss the muscle can literally "hold up" the structure. Your weight is probably insignificant...and won't matter if you are riding. Should you be running around or doing dressage...absolutely not. But walking on good ground...probably keep it to flat...will be beneficial. By the way dont go overboard every time he seems sore with the bute...if you bute him to much he won't know his body's own limits.
Thanks for the advise! I will do some walking with him a few times a week. He is also getting turned out in the morning, so that should help some. I work durring the day, so unfortunatly it is hard for me to do much other that ring work this time of year durring the week. But I can walk around the ring, no circles, just a nice relaxing walk and then on the weekends go for a walk around the hay fields (I live in DE, there is no such thing as a hill in DE, so it would be a nice flat walk). I will also watch how often I bute him. A friend of mine has told me I can ride her horse, so I can get some other riding time in too, which is great. I was going to give him a good 6 weeks before I started to ask him to trot at all. I am already seeing some improvement in his walk when out in the field. He was crossing over behind pritty bad and he is a little straighter now.
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