Severe bowed tendon - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 05-11-2015, 09:15 PM Thread Starter
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Severe bowed tendon

Hi there!

I am brand new to this site and have a 12 year old QH that has a bad leg conformation on his front left leg. Along with that, he has a severely bowed tendon on that same leg. This happened last October.

The first 3 months he was on 100% stall rest. During that time he colicked, and he has never done that before in the 3 years I've had him. I think the stress of stall rest, along with the pain in his leg, was the perfect recipe for colic.

My Vet said that he could be in the pasture as long as he didn't run. Well...I can only have him in the pasture by himself, otherwise the other horses get him running.

I had a decision to make...keep him on stall rest with the possibility of colicking again, or let him out in the pasture by himself.

I decided to keep him in the pasture during the day, and the stall at night. He has done great but has to have corrective shoes to give his leg more support (due to his poor conformation).

He has a level 4 bowed tendon, per my Vet. He will be checked again next month, but as of a few weeks ago, he wasn't healing & still in pain.

I never wanted him to "never be a horse." I want him to be able to run again out in the pasture and enjoy himself, even if I can't ride him anymore. The problem is he can't.

A couple of my friends feel I should put him down if he isn't healing. Thoughts? I am not the kind of owner that will keep him around just for my benefit. I don't want him to be in pain the rest of his life and have constant problems.
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post #2 of 15 Old 05-11-2015, 09:26 PM Thread Starter
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Click on image to see it upright.

Last edited by ptejhe; 05-11-2015 at 09:27 PM. Reason: Needed to explain how to view it upright
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post #3 of 15 Old 05-11-2015, 10:27 PM
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He doesn't necessarily need to be running free to enjoy himself but sounds like he may be in constant pain and can't even enjoy just putting around.

If his conformation caused or helped causing it I don't see it ever fully healing. Some things you can't change.

Keep him by himself in the area you think is best for him. I would not put him in a stall. Area large enough he can move freely in but small enough to discourage "overmoving", depending on the horse that could mean pretty much anything. Keep a quiet buddy next to him so he's not alone.

I'm no expert on bowed tendons but I know tendon injuries can take quite awhile to heal.

I would suggest talking to your vet about this. A good vet will be honest with you about long term outlook and what is best for the horse. I will always ask a vet (that I trust) "what would you do if this was your animal?"
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post #4 of 15 Old 05-11-2015, 11:39 PM
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that's a bad one, from the photo. I wish had some good advice, but I don't know anything about treating a bowed tendon.
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post #5 of 15 Old 05-12-2015, 10:14 AM
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Hi, Welcome to the forum! Sorry you had to come here due to such an awful injury.

That's definately a bowed tendon! I have seen worse, believe it or not. A pair of those on the fronts of a lovely Standardbred gelding my boss and I were trying to get to the track. (over 30 years ago) We didn't injure him. My boss (who had 5 horses he was trying to race) took him to the now non-existant Brandywine Raceway and left him with someone to work him there, at the track. We didn't get to visit him for two weeks. When we finally went to check on him, he had 2 bowed tendons, was standing in the stall with his head down. According to a trainer in the barn where we stalled him, the guy just took him out one day and sped him around and around the track, brought him back and stuffed him in the stall. He had never taken him out before that day. He was suffering, broke my heart. I cried and cried. Sweet horse.

Anyway, he eventually healed. Scar tissue and calcium build-up finally made him able to walk sound again. Sound enough for a lawn ornament, but not much else. I'm not saying that this is going to be the outcome for your horse. I knew of someone who had a retired STB that had two bowed tendons that stayed sound enough for her to take small trail rides on (walk only). She just had to be very careful how she rode him and was very diligent about the farrier, and she always rubbed his legs down with liniment afterwards. Once in a while he would need a poultice to cool them down and relieve some swelling. Discuss his future with your vet. If it's possible that he may just be a lawn ornament, and you don't want to be saddled with that, maybe you would be able to find someone to take him?
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post #6 of 15 Old 05-12-2015, 10:58 AM
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My old barrel horse had a pretty obvious bow. I can't recall now whether it was as bad as this one, but he was sound when I bought him, and being young at the time, I gave him no special treatment. We ran barrels, trail rode at all speeds, did everything. He went on to my friends, who rode him for years all over the US on trail rides in the mountains. He was hardly lame a day in his life that we had him. I don't know that your outcome will be that successful, but if he heals and has time, he may wind up at least sound enough for light riding.
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post #7 of 15 Old 05-12-2015, 11:44 AM
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This article explains options pretty well. They take a long time to heal but many do.
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post #8 of 15 Old 05-12-2015, 12:00 PM
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At our barn that happened to one of the lesson horses. The BO put him out in a paddock, but put up tape in kind of a maze, or like a line at a bank, so he couldn't run anywhere. He could walk about four steps before he had to stop and turn a little to go around the tape. So that might be a solution for having him outside but also kind of on stall rest.

“When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. ” ~ William Shakespeare
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post #9 of 15 Old 05-13-2015, 09:55 PM
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^Neat idea. Or you could make him a stall sized paddock but some horses will find a way.
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post #10 of 15 Old 05-15-2015, 02:48 AM
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The most ridiculous thing I have heard is to put a healthy horse down...He's not on death's door. He just hurt his tendon. We don't kill people when they tear muscles lol. I know it's tough. My mare was on stall rest for 10 months for a torn RF suspensory ligament. It has been 11 months now, she only gets 10 minutes of turnout max. in a 30 x 30 paddock. It'a not fun for either of us. One person told me to send her to slaughter and he was lucky he said it over the phone so I couldn't reach him.
It takes a long time for these types of leg injuries to heal, and you have to realize that leg always will be weaker because of it. But don't write him off yet! He'll heal, he will probably even be rideable. Just give it time and make sure he's not being silly during turnout. Put him on a long-lasting tranq or some calming supplements. He will be okay. But you do need to help him through it. Cold hosing, poultices, and wraps will be your new best friends. Do not give him bute, he needs to feel the pain so he doesn't make it any worse.
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c'est la vie
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