Sore Warm Leg--Advice Appreciated
This morning I went out to care for the horses, and I noticed that Kubie was walking funny. His front left leg was warmer than his right, and it feels like there is some swelling. When he stands still, he doesn't put as much weight on it as he does on his right. He will walk around, but is much slower than usual (he is usually the horse that trots up to the gate every morning). I called the vet, but am waiting to hear back.
Kubie doesn't have a fever and his appetite is good. He is still underweight, but is slowly gaining. Could this weight gain have hurt his leg? It also has been muddy during the day, then freezing at night--could he have pulled something then? He is going to turn 28 in May.
I've never had a horse go lame on me before, so this is all new to me. What sort of things might the vet recommend? How worried should I be?
This isn't something you would put a horse down for, is it? I just got Kubie last April, and I feel like we've barely spent any time together.
Where is the heat and swelling? Does there seem to be an area that the heat and swelling is radiating from?
I am going to guess that you are new to horses? If so, calling the vet was a great move. When they get there, ask lots of questions, listen to everything they have to say and get them to show you how to feel the leg, the joints and tendons for swelling/inflammation.
Unfortunately there is no way any of us on here can help you without further information such as site of swelling on the leg or how lame the horse is.
To put your mind at ease, lameness is usually not life threatening and very treatable. The type and severity of the injury will determine recovery times, but the vet will be able to diagnose this for you.
In the mean time, invest in an equine medical encyclopedia, in particular one that has an extensive section on causes of lameness. Read it cover to cover, study the structure of the leg and familiarise yourself with the tendons, ligaments, bones and joints and the conditions that affect their function.
The heat and swelling is around his cannon bone. The vet is coming out to take a look at 12:30 today, so hopefully we can find out what went wrong here!
I actually have owned horses since 2005, and consistently worked around them since 2003. I've never had a horse colic or come up lame before--I guess I have just been lucky.
Thank you for your replies--you have helped me to calm down a bit. :)
It may be something pretty common and easily treatable like a splint, or could be something more complicated like a tendon or ligament injury. Good move calling the vet. In the mean time try cold water hosing it to get the swelling and heat down. 20 minutes, two to three times a day. Giving him bute will help with the inflamation as well.
Hmmm, if the swelling is around the back of the cannon bone and a firm swelling it could be a slight bow. If it extends UP the cannon bone and is more of a puffy swelling it may originate in the fetlock. Likewise if it is more of a puffy swelling extending DOWN the cannon bone it may originate in the knee. If there is a puncture type wound or other abrasion it may be an infection. If there is a lump/bump on the side of the cannon bone it may be a splint.
Didn't mean to suggest that you didn't know anything, I made the assumption after reading this statement:
I actually wouldn't give him any bute or icing until the vet arrives, unless they tell you to. Often times, vets want to see the injury as is, not masked by bute. If he seems uncomfortable and you want to give him something, call your vet first. Good luck and let us know what they say!!
I also agree that you shouldn't give a horse bute or treat an injury when the vet is on the way unless the vet specifically said to. Bute doesn't do anything but hide the pain!
Thanks for all of the advice everyone!
The vet came out yesterday, and carefully checked out all of his tendons and ligaments. They noticed most of the swelling was around his cornet band, so they used a hoof tester on his foot. There was a concave area on the sole of his hoof and they suspected it was an abscess (first suggested laminitis, but only the one hoof had this), so they used a hoof knife to see if they could drain it. There was some capillary bleeding, so they diagnosed it as a very large bruise. He is currently on some bute to help with the pain until the farrier can come out and see him. She will help us to decide if front shoes with a pad would be a good option for Kubie until this giant bruise heals.
I did learn that his right "knobby" knee isn't arthritis--the vet thought it was more likely part of his joint capsule since it isn't hard. Most likely caused by an old injury that didn't heal right. It certainly explains why he has been sound with it!
So the swelling in the cannon bone went away and the pastern was swollen instead? Or is the cannon bone area still swollen?
But diagnosis was a bruised sole?
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