Rehab after Surgery - The Horse Forum
  • 1 Post By squirrelfood
  • 1 Post By Eralune
  • 1 Post By jody111
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post #1 of 6 Old 10-26-2014, 04:41 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2014
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Rehab after Surgery

Hello everyone. I've got an 11-year old Paso Fino mare, 14hh, who has finally finished her last surgical procedure.

Surgery, you ask? On July of 2012, she got kicked in pasture by another horse and fractured the shoulder/elbow area of her right foreleg. All was going well until a parasite took root in her leg a year later and we had to have the plate removed.

Now here's the good news!!! She's just been released from stall rest for the first time in forever. She's quite happily placed in a smaller paddock with access to a larger pasture, but with fewer and smaller, more mild tempered horses that are less inclined to start fights.

The vet has released her and said that her leg and bone are in perfect condition.

However, she has still retained some soreness and/or limping. Her limp is visible before and after I work her. It's a small one, and you can only really see it by the bob of her head and about a quarter of a second's hesitation when switching legs. This limp gets more visible when she walks on concrete or rocky ground, but her stride is almost perfect when she's on grass.

I have been lunging her but have decided to switch tactics to fast hand walking due to some awesome advice. I have not begun riding again and it is important to note that she has not been ridden for approximately two years.

Also, I am considering giving her front shoes. She's never been shoed before, but considering his past medical history and the fact that her limp worsens on rocky ground I feel that it may be in her best interests.


~What should I do to help her rebuild strength and general physical rehabilitation?

~Should I consider shoeing her? She currently does not have, nor has ever had, shoes.

~Please feel free to add any other information that may be beneficial to her recovery.

Thank you everyone.
Eralune is offline  
post #2 of 6 Old 10-26-2014, 05:56 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Oregon
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Since recovering [sounds like you guys have had quite an ordeal!! Congratulations to you both on making it through!] has she had any kind of chiropractic work or massage done?
She may benefit.
My late mare did something to her left front leg in the pastern area about 2 years before she passed away [my vet and I decided that, at her age age -28 at the time- partial/full retirement was an option. We elected not to spend all kind of money doing diagnostics when she was happy and pasture sound].
She was off-and-on lame for about 6 months, then came up sound. She remained sound for some time so I started riding her just a little bit.

Long story short, she started showing intermittent lameness. Sometimes she'd seem lame in the morning and be 100% in the evening, sometimes she'd be mildly lame for a week, etc.
So, of course, I completely stopped riding her because I didn't want to do more damage.
A few months later, I was able to get her a few massages and, after a months of twice weekly massages, she was sound and stayed sound. It turned out that a lot of the "lameness" she was showing originated from muscles memory/muscle atrophy. With massage, she was able to regain use of those muscles and she was no longer lame.
Of course, she passed away from colic 2 months later so there's no telling if she would have gone lame again...but she was sound for a solid 3 months!

It may not work for your mare, but it might be a solid thing to try - if you can.

Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzan gelding

Rest peacefully, Lacey.
Wallaby is offline  
post #3 of 6 Old 10-26-2014, 06:17 PM
Join Date: Mar 2014
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Stop longeing her and hand walk her in straight lines as much as possible. All those tendons and ligaments are going to need to get loosened up and stretched out to get her limber enough to not limp. Longeing will stress them too much at this point. Shoes should not be necessary. It's the TENDONS that are bothered by the hard surfaces.
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squirrelfood is offline  
post #4 of 6 Old 10-26-2014, 11:40 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2014
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Thanks, it's definitely be a difficult journey. On another note, I have not considered massaging. I will definitely look into that!

Thank you. I have stopped lunging her. Today I ponied her behind another horse that a friend let me borrow and we did brisk walking in a large arena for about 25-30 minutes.

General Update:
For some reason, she did not limp at all today! There was a bit of hesitancy on the rocky ground, but she kept up with the other horse just fine and in general seemed quite sound!

Also, I tested the flexibility in her right leg (using her left as a basis) and I found no extra tension. Her right stretched out just about the same space as the other with no extra tightness that I could feel.

I'm hoping to start riding for short distances in a week or two. I just don't want to rush anything just in case.
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Eralune is offline  
post #5 of 6 Old 10-27-2014, 12:28 AM
Join Date: May 2008
Location: New Zealand
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Id take her to a good trusted physio or similar and get a program - or work with your vet to do one - they should be happy to.

Ive been rehabbing my girl 6 months after colic surgery - and we started with hand walking (and built up to lots of it - like 1 hour a day) we included raised trot poles to lead over.

I took her to a physio before riding - then moved into walking undersaddle, slowly building to walking and trot - we focused on things like differnet surfaces and gradients - to get her nerve end workings and also things like trotting over raised trot poles and through water... we also did a bit of lateral work at the walk and then the trot - to get her flexing.

we have just introduced canter after about 7 weeks - and are doing some straight line canters....

Because she had surgery on her tummy she needs things like tummy lifts and such like - so you really need to know what sort of stuff works for them. By the time I started her undersaddle again the physio was so impressed with her tummy muscles due to everything I had done inhand.

slow and steady is the key

If you can id get regular massagers of some form (My friends an equine osteo so I use her) when bringing her back in as she will get "gym" sore
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jody111 is offline  
post #6 of 6 Old 10-27-2014, 12:57 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2014
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That's a good idea. What would be perfect for me would be to get a professional to take a look over her and give my a step by step guide on what to do (lol) but at the same time, there's really no cure-all for anything, and one should build a routine around the horse, not the rider, so I'm doing the best with what information I've got.

I've been referred to trot poles twice now, so I will definitely look into them. Thank you for your help!
Eralune is offline  

lameness , limping , post-suregery , rehabilitation

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