Lame at trot, slight heat in fetlock - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 07-28-2013, 09:10 PM Thread Starter
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Lame at trot, slight heat in fetlock

First off - I am calling the vet tomorrow- I am just writing this post to get some ideas/thoughts in the mean time in regards to what this might be.

I have a 5 year old horse who came up slightly lame around a month ago. We had gotten substantial rain and his hooves were soft. I treated the soft hooves, and he progressively got better. It took around a week.

Fast forward a month and he has come up lame again in the right front (same as before). He is not lame at a walk - only a trot. His hooves are not as soft - though when he came up lame there was a hole in his sole. Our outdoor arena does not have good footing and I suspect that he may have stepped on something while being worked outside to cause this. There is a small amount of heat in his fetlock.

Has anyone had this before? I'm not sure if its bruised soles, an abscess (though he is not as "ouchy" as I would expect him to be for this), or something worse.

I am calling to book x-rays tomorrow. I just need to hear some ideas in the mean time of what it could be to help settle my brain.

I really want to help him.
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post #2 of 9 Old 07-30-2013, 12:57 AM Thread Starter
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So I know no one posted a response - but I thought I would follow up. In searching for information I found most people posted until they saw the vet and then never posted again - which doesn't help others. SO here is what happened to us:

I took him in to the vet today and got a full lameness test done. He was obviously lame in the front right, but didn't really show anything in the flexon test. We proceeded to block the nerves. I was seeing a specialist who started at the bottom with the tests and slowly worked his way up. We eliminated things like the coffin bone and nevacular bone in the first test. What happens is that they block the nerves and if the horse trots fine it means the injury is in that area (which helps when it comes to x-rays). My horse ended up not showing any improvement until we got to the 4th block. It ended up being in his fetlock (he didn't respond to the lower fetlock test, but he did to the upper - I was very nervous so I don't remember the name of that block). We then found out that the injury was in the fetlock and proceeded to take X-rays. The x-rays confirmed that there was no fracture or break. In the end the x-rays helped to discover that it was a fetlock sprain.

I was told to put him on stall rest for a month with bute for 5 days. He is also getting ice baths daily and his leg will be wrapped daily.

All in all I am relieved as I was prepared for much worse. We miss a show - but there will be many other shows if this is handled properly. I'm in it for the long run, so the time it takes this to get better and recover properly is time well spent. We will head in for a month for follow up x-rays. I will try to remember to post the results then.
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post #3 of 9 Old 07-30-2013, 01:03 AM
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Nothing to add I just love hearing about people taking real care of their lame horses - at every level!! Love that you took him to a lameness specialist and proceeded to no-nonesense diagnostics immediately!!

Your horse is lucky to have you!! Have you worked out a stall rest plan? When will the horse be allowed hand walks? Do you have some oral sedatives for "just in case"? Etc..
Personally, I would develop a plan and hopefully start handwalking once the bute is finished. Twice a day for short periods is what I have been told is ideal.

Good luck!
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post #4 of 9 Old 07-30-2013, 01:26 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you so much for your kind post - it means a lot to hear that. He is a wonderful horse who tries his little heart out - taking care of him when he is hurt is the least I can do for him. Seeing the vet in cases like this is something I can't stress enough. It allows you to know exactly what you are dealing with and as a result you can be effective when it comes to treatment. It may cost a bit of $, but it's far less in the long run than the emotional cost and financial cost if you put it off.

He will be stalled during the night and put in a very small turn out area (basically with only enough space to walk a little) during the day. The vet was ok with him being outside as long as it was in a small pen. I know my horse well enough to know that his mind will be in a better place if he gets to be outdoors (though if the vet didn't think it was a good idea I would 100% keep him in).

As far as hand walking goes - he didn't mention it - but I have his card and will call tomorrow to find out when and how much he feels should be done.

It was a lot to take in and a lot to remember on a stressed and emotional brain. My coach came with me as well - which is wonderful because she is at the barn all of the time (she lives there), and since she heard the instructions and diagnosis I trust that she knows exactly what needs to be done while I am not there.


Thanks again!

M
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post #5 of 9 Old 07-30-2013, 01:54 AM
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Yes, as long as he can have some exercise, even if it's the turnout, that is good!
I would definitely want to make sure he doesn't get pent up and crazy as that can cause him to inadvertently re-injure himself.
Good luck!

They say money doesn't buy happiness -- well happiness doesn't buy horses!
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post #6 of 9 Old 07-31-2013, 12:26 AM Thread Starter
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SO he ended up outdoors in a small paddock. He threw a fit in the stall and they were worried that he was going to hurt himself more. I thought this would happen. It's not something I enjoy or want to be right about - and we are working on it. He can now do a few hours in a stall (it's taken time to get there), but a whole night is still asking a lot. Plus his stall buddy went out for a lesson - which is the point that he started to go crazy.

When I went to see the specialist he didn't seem to think an ultrasound was necessary. He said it would be interesting to look at, but wouldn't really tell him anything more. He is the best of the best - so I know he would tell me if he thought an ultrasound was necessary. BUT in reading other people's experiences it sounds like an ultrasound is necessary to tell if the ligament or the tendon are strained. I'm concerned now that I should have gotten an ultrasound. It was $250 more - and I would have happily paid that if I knew at the time what I know now from reading. Is it worth trailing in for an ultrasound, or would waiting a month for the follow up be ok?
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post #7 of 9 Old 07-31-2013, 01:04 AM
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You might have to tranq him for the first week of stall rest, lots of horses need a little help with getting used to a lower activity level.
The ultrasound can wait - or get them to do it at the barn
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post #8 of 9 Old 09-01-2013, 12:00 AM Thread Starter
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So I thought I would update again - since we went back to have everything checked out as the vet requested after one month.

What I did during the month: I followed the vet's directions to the "t", minus having him in an indoor stall. The outdoor stall was not much bigger than an indoor stall and it kept him happy - so that worked out well. I wrapped his legs for two weeks. I also iced his legs twice a day (once before work and once after work) for two weeks. I also put him on Recovery EQ and eased him into it as directed on the package.

What the vet did/said/found: I am happy to say that the vet was thrilled at my horse's recovery. When I brought him in originally he was level 3 lame, and this time he was completely sound. We did the lameness test (flexion test) and put him in the round pen as well. I pushed for an ultrasound even though it wasn't necessarily needed. Everything in the ultrasound came up completely clear and healthy :)

Next steps: I chose a very conservative recovery process (which may not be necessary, but he is young and I have time - so why rush it right?)
*For the next 3 weeks we will do walk/trot for 30 minutes (5 minutes walking, 5 minutes trotting, etc.).
*If all goes well we will add the canter into the work out and increase the time to no more than 40 minutes with the same pattern - walk 5 min, trot 5 min, walk 5 min, canter 5 min).
*In 3 months if everything is going well we will slowly start adding jumping back into our routine.

That's it for now. Hopefully this helps people out with similar problems - though I still stress the importance of going to the vet. Well I cannot say for sure that it helped, I am a big fan of the Recovery EQ, and now that my horse is on it, I will continue to use it.
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post #9 of 9 Old 11-15-2013, 02:53 PM
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I know this thread is old, but I wanted to comment on how nice it is to have detailed follow ups! I'm surprised you didn't have more comments at the time.
Good for you, glad he is doing well.
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