Thoroughbred Low Fetlock - The Horse Forum
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  • 2 Post By Rialto
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post #1 of 7 Old 09-10-2014, 12:40 AM Thread Starter
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Thoroughbred Low Fetlock

Hello,
I have a question regarding a low fetlock on my racehorse. The horse is a 7 year old mare who has been a good racehorse. She has earned over $100,000 in racing. My dad is the trainer of the horse and shes the first one that I own. Several months ago she got a spider bite on her back right leg. This caused her to keep it raised until we could heal the wound. The bite has been healed now for about 2 months but her fetlock has dropped. I know that there is a disease where horses fetlocks drop but I don't think thats what she has. My vet mentioned that her tissue would have to be rebuilt after the bite and that this may happen. My concern is that it has been 2 months and we have kept her turned out and the fetlock has not raised much. Is it normal for it to take this long for the fetlock to heal? Also, is there something I can do to make it heal faster? I was hoping to have her ready for the end of the Turf season but I don't think that is possible now. I would appreciate help from anyone who has dealt with this problem before. I will also talk to my vet again about the horse but I wanted to see what you guys thought first.

Thank You.
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post #2 of 7 Old 09-10-2014, 04:57 AM
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I have no idea about your particular problem. I'm a little more familiar with racehorses being 'down on their bumpers' from race strain. Interested to hear what the vet has said. I imagine it may be to do with muscle wastage or changes above, or scar tissue inhibiting the tendon, and am thinking low impact exercise would be good... but as I said, no experience, so just a guess. What sort of spider? What damage did it do? Bleh! I hate spiders!
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post #3 of 7 Old 09-10-2014, 11:30 AM
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"Low" fetlocks sometimes indicate trauma or deterioration of the suspensory ligament that runs down the back of the limb. This structure is what helps to keep the fetlocks upright. Not sure if a spider bite could cause this (maybe a venomous spider?), but I would have the vet take a look to be safe.
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post #4 of 7 Old 09-10-2014, 11:37 AM
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I think you need to have more information first on what is/was damaged and how extensively...
Ultrasounds, MRI...or any other tests done to solidify the diagnosis and what exactly was the diagnosis...

A dropped fetlock could happen from many things even if it started from a "spider bite"...the question is what damages occurred during this time...

I would sure want a lot more information before putting the mare back to work.
At this point you have no idea what she can withstand or have any inclination of where she may come apart...
Personally, I would be looking for some tests to make a determination if she can ever go back to racing conditions and the stresses put on the body with that lifestyle....before going any further.

jmo...
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post #5 of 7 Old 09-10-2014, 12:11 PM
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The condition you are concerned about is called dsld or degenerative suspensory ligaments.

I've never seen a horse recover once the fetlock drops with the exception of foals.

Mr. Prospector had the condition in later life. A foal of his developed it as a 2 yr old and was put down from it. I suspect the problem is much more common than most people hear about.

My thoroughbred has it. She has had lameness issues for most of her life, and it wasn't until her ankles dropped, that I realized what was wrong. First it was one ankle, than a few months later the other dropped.

I doubt your horse will return to racing sound even if it is not dsld. If the ligaments have weakened so much from the spider bite, they probably won't go back to normal.

If you want to use the horse for breeding purposes, I would wait a year to ensure it isn't dsld.

Do you have pictures?

Dsld is not uncommon. I know 1 paso with it, one qh, and 2 saddlebreds.
http://www.drf.com/blogs/fond-farewell-two-punch

I know there are some better pictures of Mr. Prosecutor's back legs but I can't seem to find them.
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post #6 of 7 Old 09-10-2014, 01:35 PM
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This happened to an approximately 16 year old OTTS in our barn recently. He was raced into the ground because he had won over $200,000 and everyone wanted their piece of the pie. He passed from hand to hand being raced by cheaper and cheaper trainers until he was finally rescued and adopted.

Although he was very lightly ridden for years he became lame quite quickly and it was obvious that one of his fetlocks had collapsed. The vet prescribed turn out but only with supporting wraps for about a month to see if there would be any improvement. No such luck. He can now walk without too much pain but is markedly lame when he trots. The vet said he should not be ridden again so lives a nice life as a pasture pet.

Agree with 4horses, it is not likely that this mare will ever race again.
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post #7 of 7 Old 09-10-2014, 08:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chasin Ponies View Post
Agree with 4horses, it is not likely that this mare will ever race again.
...Altho that's not a bad thing for her...
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fetlock , injury , racehorse , spider bite

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