Digital Flexor Damage
Looking for some advice, please!
Biz (my horse) recently gouged a hole in the back of his off-fore, during turn out one day. It was such a mess. Called vet who immediately reccommended an ultrasound, the diagnosis was that he had ruptured the DF tendon.
We're on heat/ice treatment, box rest, pain/inflammatory control and bandaging until the wound heals. Then we have to reassess the damage (our next ultrasound is 4th March). The vet has been quite cautious on his prognosis, and doesn't believe there will be 100% recovery. To be honest, I can't see it either.
I'm heart-broken... more to see how Biz is in himself than anything.
So, a few questions:
- Anyone dealt with something similar?
- What is the quality of life? (expected v actual... and no, I'm not considering euthanasia yet)
- Any alternative treatments/care that people have found useful?
- Any comfort techniques for a very subdued horse? (I visit, fuss, groom, play music, regularly)
I agree with what the vet is telling you except for the stall rest. He should have a small free turnout area where he can walk as much as he wants, but not big enough to encourage anything faster than a walk. If you can't give him free turnout with shelter, hand walk him every day, twice a day. A little at a time and extend the exercise period as he can handle it. My girl had bowed tendons so severe my vet said I was nuts, but recommended stall rest. After a week of watching my girl being locked up and stocked up, I said "enough" and made her a small turnout. She started to improve quickly then. However, she did not have an exposed wound and you also need to consider the ability to keep your horse's leg clean. Even so, with proper wrapping and only small turnout, he's better off being able to move.
I have found photonic light therapy to be amazing when it comes to healing injuries. It is sometimes called LED light therapy also.
I have used it on my horse to heal a ligament injury that just would not heal even after a year of trying everything else.
I now use it in my therapy business as well as on ourselves.
If you are interested in this, I can try to get you some links to the websites that have studies as well as where we got our light from - they are not all the same. Some are much better than others.
Yeah, I'm currently taking him out in hand twice a day, 10 mins each. But I always supervise it... may be I'm being over-cautious, but I don't want to risk anything with it at the moment. I thought about incorporating some non-energetic games, like hunt the carrot and follow the leader to brighten him up a little. What do you think?
qtina - yes please! Anything would be a great help.
Any attention at all is great for him. He's gonna go nuts being locked up if he's not used to it and you can use this time to do lots and lots of ground work with him over the next weeks or longer depending how bad the injury is. Games are great for both of you!
Will you be able to set up a small turn out area for him and him alone? It really is a good thing.
Yes there is an area - it's suffered a bit of winter damage, but the yard manager is getting it rolled beginning of this week, so should be a go-er then.
Hopefully find out more after ultrasound next week... fingers crossed!
Actually, depending on the amount of damage you may not even want small paddock turnout. With severe damage you often start with stalling and 5 minutes of hand walking twice a day for several weeks. Stick with exactly what your vet tells you as he has seen the damage and is going to be reassessing it to see how well it is healing.
Here is a good article for you:
Diagnostic Ultrasound & Musculoskeletal Injuries in Horses
Don't lose hope. werider things can happen.
My stallion to the left ws supposed to be put down two years ago.
It was a freack accident. He was turned out in the arena and being one of those horses that likes to play. Probably reared and came down wrong or did one of his famous three sixty truns in the air, or something
Either way He was put back in the stall and his leg blew up. thank god I came early in the morning to notice. The barn was pretty busy so no one noticed. I knew something was wrong as soon as i came through the door. HE did not turn around and nicker when I looked he would not put his leg down and was in awfull sweat. Either way we called the vet and he brought the x-ray machince. Lucky for us it was not broken. However he managed to rotate his tendon and tear his flexar tendones from the bone. ( this was later discovered at the vetinarain hospital).
From what the vet said he has only seen horses with this type of injury have jumped seven foot fences. there was so much fliud he could not do an ultrasound. So he bascailly had to feel everthing. Mind you if you want ot know what his leg felt like imagine the tendon behind your horses leg. it is tight and yu can see it. Well Figs was not three all that was in its place was something that felt like jello.
Either way Thank god for my husband. the vet wanted to put him down my husband being a good leg man said no. The vet aruged and said if he recovers will be nothing but a lawn ornament. But the hubby said no.
With a couple months of stall rest and me coming up every day and hosing him ( we had to take our time going out side) and my husband doing the bandaging and manipulating the tendon back. it slowly got better.
Eventually we did some exercise. First was just a couple mintue of walking as soon as he limped he went back in.
But the most amazing part of it all was Fig told us when he was ready. WHen he finally was better we knew he was going to be fine is when he wouldn't stop spainsh walking when I was hand walking him.
Now two years later he is being ridden the only reminace is a bit of calcium beside the one flexar tendon. ( thank god it didn't happen below or he would have had to go for surgery).
Sorry for the long message but the short of it all Flexar damages can be tough. Some thourghbreds at the track have gone permently lame.
But if you take your time and treat it now. There may be hope.
I wish you all the luck in the world.
Keep us posted on how she is doing
SP -- Ryle and I often disagree on turnout... so what can I say -- go with what feels best for you and your horse. You have a vet to help you through, but just don't be blinded. If something doesn't seem right, question it. I did and it was the best thing I did for my horse.
Talk to your vet about A cell and/or Stem Cell therapy. I have seen both of these treatments provide AMAZING results in tissue regeneration and wound healing.
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