Hind leg stiffness/lameness - The Horse Forum
  • 5 Post By walkinthewalk
  • 2 Post By loosie
  • 2 Post By loosie
  • 3 Post By bareback.pnw
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post #1 of 8 Old 06-05-2020, 03:18 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2018
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Hind leg stiffness/lameness

Hi there,

My 12 year old QH/paint mare Dolly, has had a lameness in her hind leg for a while, and only now seems to be getting worse. It is only really noticeable whens she is walking, and doesn't seem to cause her any much pain. Its her right hind leg, and when she walks it is almost half frozen in place and she has to lift her hip up high to clear the ground. Her hock doesn't seem to bend as much as it should. She will w/t/c with no real reluctance to move, and I always kind of let her go in her pace when she needs. Currently, she is not in hard work at all. I got her about 2 years ago, and she had't been ridden in several years so I basically restarted her. I haven't been really riding her, just sitting on her, continuing to get her used to my legs.

To re explain, it almost looks like she has a super stiff hip or something and she can't quite bend her hock or leg fully to walk normally. She doesn't necessarily have a reluctance to move, and walks at any speed, but just doesn't walk normal at all. I will lunge her occasionally through the week to keep her from getting stiff and keeping everything moving. Its almost like its not even there (she acts completely normal) but it is super obvious something is up.

Please let me know if you have any experience or anything to say about what may be the problem.
Thanks so much :)
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post #2 of 8 Old 06-05-2020, 05:12 PM
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1. You really need to have a vet look at her. Hopefully one who is familiar with lameness issues.

2. Donít lunge or ride her until you get a professional diagnosis.

3. When my gelding walked like what you describe, he had done damage to a groin muscle. and that was a diagnosis from a vet/chiropractor.

4. Your mare really does need a formal diagnosis as it could be a couple of other things, besides a pulled groin muscle and treatments are different for each.

To reiterate, lunging and riding are not in the mareís best interest:)

A Good Horseman Doesn't Have To Tell Anyone; The Horse Already Knows.

I CAN'T ride 'em n slide 'em. I HAVE to lead 'em n feed 'em Thnx cowchick77.
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post #3 of 8 Old 06-05-2020, 07:37 PM
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Yes, much experience with hind end lameness. There are many & varied causes. What has the vet said/done about it? I gather they've given no definite diagnoses, considering you sound vague about it.

I'd have a chiropractic vet(or if you can't, other professional bodyworker) out to check/treat her. While vets may be great 'vets', unless they have specialised, just like your human GP, they may not have much knowledge specific to bodywork/issues.

And ditto to Walkin - while if it's been a chronic, ignored until now injury, so further damage may already have been done, don't work her, at least until you have a diagnosis & treatment(hopeful, or just management) plan, in which case the vet/chiro can advise how much/what work may or may not be good for her.
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post #4 of 8 Old 06-05-2020, 11:36 PM
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I might add that frequently when people think it is the hock, it can be the stifle that isn't moving correctly, causing a 'locked' gait.
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post #5 of 8 Old 06-06-2020, 12:02 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2018
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Thank you all for your help. My vet finally responded and said she has fibrotic myopathy. He said its not painful. I will still keep a very close eye on her, and not ride until I am fully convinced she is sound. Thanks again :)
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post #6 of 8 Old 06-06-2020, 03:40 AM
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'Fibrotic Myopathy' is essentially just scar tissue in the muscle, which inhibits it's ability to stretch. I wonder, how did your vet diagnose that, and why did it take however long for him to 'finally get back to you' & give you the diagnosis - sounds a bit strange, as perhaps I'm mistaken & someone else here can correct me, but I thought it could be diagnosed on the spot, with feel & also flexion/stretch tests?? Perhaps tho, he wasn't sure, so had gone off & checked with other vets or such.

Anyway, 'FM' or scar tissue doesn't generally cause pain, unless the horse is asked to stretch more than it's able(or happens to) & the lack of elasticity causes a tear. It also doesn't go away by itself either, so she won't just 'get better' without effort. Myofunctional Therapy or Deep Tissue Massage, I believe can break up scar tissue & help resolve these issues.
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post #7 of 8 Old 06-08-2020, 04:06 PM
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FM - if it is, usually looks like disrupted hamstring muscle. Instead of a smooth curve, there can be a mass of bunched up tissue along the upper back of the leg. Comparing one side to the other side, you'll see the difference. If you google it, there s lot of pictures of what it typically presents like.

My horse had this happen after he tripped on a stall mat, and fell on his face, he must have shocked his nervous system. After the fall I led him out to the sand ring where I thought he would benefit from rolling. He struggled to get up in rolling, and couldnt'. Twice. The third time he must have torn his hamstring muscle - there was a soft lump. Three months later, he began walking stiffly and with the weird stutter step walk.
You can get shockwave for it, which can help. Stretching can help keep it loose. It is a mechanical lameness, not normally painful.
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post #8 of 8 Old 06-11-2020, 01:26 PM Thread Starter
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Due to the covid 19 restrictions, I first asked my vet on the phone, and sent a video. My vet takes a while to respond back, and that's what I meant. The vet is coming tomorrow to give her and exam, but I just wanted to message him to see if it was something very urgent.
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Last edited by bareback.pnw; 06-11-2020 at 01:34 PM.
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