Dealing with a horse that keeps hurting himself - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 03-08-2013, 07:07 AM Thread Starter
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Dealing with a horse that keeps hurting himself

How do you deal with a horse that keeps going lame? I am beyond frustrated with this with my Arab. He was off for a month in December due to an abscess in his RH. We finally starting working him again for a month, and then he went lame again 3 1/2 weeks ago because he strained a tendon in his LF. He healed pretty quickly, and after a couple weeks I started riding him again for 15 minutes at the walk. A couple days ago, we actually rode for half an hour and did some trotting and he was sound as could be. We started turning him out a week ago during the day with his friend Maxi (who is actually a mini), and yesterday when I got to my barn from work he was completely dead lame on his RH. I mean, he can barely walk and he won't put ANY weight on that leg (I have the vet coming out today). There's heat on the front of his RH from under the hock down to the stifle, but I didn't feel any swelling (most of the heat is a few inches under his hock). I live where we have fairly hard winters, so the paddocks are a lot of snow/ice and hard ground so we think he gets playing too hard with Maxi and hurts himself. It's just so disheartening and frustrating that as soon as he's sound, he goes lame again and I don't know how to deal with this. Has anyone else had any similar experiences?
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post #2 of 26 Old 03-08-2013, 08:26 AM
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Some horses are more sensitive then others, it's just a fact. But I would stop turning the horse out on ice to start. It doesn't take much for any horse to slip of the smallest patch of ice and injure themself. Snow is one thing, but horse's dont walk/run around looking at their footing, they just go. They won't think "Oh, there's a patch of ice, I must go around it" unless they have already hit the patch of ice once or twice before.

Abscesses happen. Unless your horse is a repeat offender, I wouldnt worry about that. A lot worse can happen.

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post #3 of 26 Old 03-08-2013, 10:10 AM
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RH and LF are compensating type lameness. I would guess the abscess was not 100% healed thus horse was moving differently to compensate for the pain.

The vet will give you your best answers!
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post #4 of 26 Old 03-08-2013, 10:27 AM
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Mudpie is the most accident prone horse on the planet.

The first winter I had him (2010), while I was extremely ill with a bad case of whooping cough, Mudpie was fence fighting with another horse... There were panels leaned up against the pen (I was completely unaware of all this) that weren't tied to the fence. One of the panels went over on his pastern. We thought it was broken, but it, miraculously, was not. Then, during this time, I was still to sick to walk the 1,000 meters or so up to the paddock, and so my step father at the time was "caring" for him. Mudpie ended up getting a puncture wound in his hock, and because the pen was muddy and filthy and nobody bothered to clean it, it became infected. When I finally got better, Mudpie was able to come out of that just fine, but HOLY MOLY it sure was an ordeal!

Now after that there were some problems with lamenesses involving being barefoot and shoers, etc...

Then, winter 2011, I got home from school to find Mudpie standing near the upper gate alone (a herd of 13 ran on 200 acres) holding his right leg in the air. SO, this time we weren't sure what had happened (there was LOADS of stuff to get hurt on out there) but he had this swelling in his upper inner right leg that went out to his sheath, as well as swelling and heat in the left hind lower leg, topped off with various bleeding lacerations over both areas. Turns out he had fractured his left hind splint bone, but was standing on it because his right leg hurt worse. So after 6-7 months, he healed, and that was good.

Then we had a hoof bruise. Then at the end of summer he went mysteriously lame in his right hind. The vet blocked up to his hock, and we found that the lameness was above the hock. In order to avoid OD'ing him on the numbing drug, he didn't block any more, but Mudpie had 45 days off and got better.

And most recently, this January, so winter 2013, Mudpie tore his suspensory ligament. 4 months of strict stall rest before re-evaluation, then, if he's given the okay, very VERY slowly back to work. Also we pulled shoes after we found out about his injury and he went dead lame for something like 2 weeks.

So.

That topped with my mother refusing to take him to the vet and making each injury a huge, traumatic ordeal...

I get it.

;)

The hills were bathed in moonlight, the shadows not so stark;
Silver light reflected off his brown hide as he held me in the dark
I love you, Mudpie!
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post #5 of 26 Old 03-08-2013, 04:29 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wetrain17 View Post
Some horses are more sensitive then others, it's just a fact. But I would stop turning the horse out on ice to start. It doesn't take much for any horse to slip of the smallest patch of ice and injure themself. Snow is one thing, but horse's dont walk/run around looking at their footing, they just go. They won't think "Oh, there's a patch of ice, I must go around it" unless they have already hit the patch of ice once or twice before.

Abscesses happen. Unless your horse is a repeat offender, I wouldnt worry about that. A lot worse can happen.
I'll be sure to tell mother nature to leave us some paddocks without any ice in them. If everyone in my state left their horses inside 24/7 because the paddocks had a few icy patches, we'd all have some crazy horses. Plus some boarders just can't afford the $200-300 jump from pasture to stall board.
And I know a lot worse can happen, but it doesn't make it any less frustrating.
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post #6 of 26 Old 03-08-2013, 04:33 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mls View Post
RH and LF are compensating type lameness. I would guess the abscess was not 100% healed thus horse was moving differently to compensate for the pain.

The vet will give you your best answers!
I got clearance from both my vet and training to start riding him again after his abscess, and he was perfectly sound. We just think he hurt himself playing too much on the hard ground outside.
Today, the vet said he either has another abscess or he strained something in his leg slightly from playing too hard outside. So when he's sound enough to go outside again, we're going to have to separate him from his friends for a little bit. He never really had horsey friends that he got along with before, so I think he's just getting way too excited about it.

Last edited by JustImagine; 03-08-2013 at 04:40 PM.
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post #7 of 26 Old 03-08-2013, 04:36 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mudpie View Post
Mudpie is the most accident prone horse on the planet.

The first winter I had him (2010), while I was extremely ill with a bad case of whooping cough, Mudpie was fence fighting with another horse... There were panels leaned up against the pen (I was completely unaware of all this) that weren't tied to the fence. One of the panels went over on his pastern. We thought it was broken, but it, miraculously, was not. Then, during this time, I was still to sick to walk the 1,000 meters or so up to the paddock, and so my step father at the time was "caring" for him. Mudpie ended up getting a puncture wound in his hock, and because the pen was muddy and filthy and nobody bothered to clean it, it became infected. When I finally got better, Mudpie was able to come out of that just fine, but HOLY MOLY it sure was an ordeal!

Now after that there were some problems with lamenesses involving being barefoot and shoers, etc...

Then, winter 2011, I got home from school to find Mudpie standing near the upper gate alone (a herd of 13 ran on 200 acres) holding his right leg in the air. SO, this time we weren't sure what had happened (there was LOADS of stuff to get hurt on out there) but he had this swelling in his upper inner right leg that went out to his sheath, as well as swelling and heat in the left hind lower leg, topped off with various bleeding lacerations over both areas. Turns out he had fractured his left hind splint bone, but was standing on it because his right leg hurt worse. So after 6-7 months, he healed, and that was good.

Then we had a hoof bruise. Then at the end of summer he went mysteriously lame in his right hind. The vet blocked up to his hock, and we found that the lameness was above the hock. In order to avoid OD'ing him on the numbing drug, he didn't block any more, but Mudpie had 45 days off and got better.

And most recently, this January, so winter 2013, Mudpie tore his suspensory ligament. 4 months of strict stall rest before re-evaluation, then, if he's given the okay, very VERY slowly back to work. Also we pulled shoes after we found out about his injury and he went dead lame for something like 2 weeks.

So.

That topped with my mother refusing to take him to the vet and making each injury a huge, traumatic ordeal...

I get it.

;)
Oh dear goodness! That is a lot to deal with. I was relieved last night when I brought Image in and felt the heat in the front of his leg, and not the back where the suspensory is.
I'm sorry it was so much worse because you couldn't get a vet to him . I hope he heals up for you well.

Last edited by JustImagine; 03-08-2013 at 04:40 PM.
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post #8 of 26 Old 03-08-2013, 04:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JustImagine View Post
Oh dear goodness! That is a lot to deal with. I was relieved last night when I brought Image in and felt the heat in the front of his leg, and not the back where the suspensory is.
I'm sorry it was so much worse because you couldn't get a vet to him . I hope he heals up for you well.
I did get a vet to him, it just took a whole lot of work.

So there's heat on his cannon bone?

The hills were bathed in moonlight, the shadows not so stark;
Silver light reflected off his brown hide as he held me in the dark
I love you, Mudpie!
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post #9 of 26 Old 03-08-2013, 04:58 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mudpie View Post
I did get a vet to him, it just took a whole lot of work.

So there's heat on his cannon bone?
Thank goodness you got a vet to him. I'm glad I have my trainer to tell me when I should and shouldn't call a vet him (I'm so overly paranoid, haha).

And yes, there's heat in his cannon bone. He felt and looked SO much better today, though. Last night he was practically 3-legged, wouldn't put any weight on his RH, and could barely walk. Today, he was putting weight on his RH (still resting on his toe a lot when standing, but other times he'd put his hole hoof down) and he's hardly lame. He visibly stabs his leg at the walk, and hikes it a bit at the trot. Last night the heat was all the way from his hock down to pastern, but today there was just a little bit of warmth right under his hock on his cannon bone. He's not swollen at all, though; maybe the slightest bit puffy but I can still feel his ligaments there. We're not sure if he strained something playing, or if it's another abscess so we're treating for both. I'm betting he strained himself playing, though unless an abscess just hit him that hard.
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Last edited by JustImagine; 03-08-2013 at 05:00 PM.
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post #10 of 26 Old 03-08-2013, 04:58 PM
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Been there.
My horse kept going on and off lame for different reasons all the time. Vet be out, fix the problem, be cleared, and the back to lame. It was her turnout causing every initial issue.

I eventually had to suck it up and come with a way that she wasn't being turned out where she was. She went over an hour from me to heal up on footing that was more suited to what she needed and then after that she was moved again, but this time 45 minutes away where she was brought back into work again in the settings she needed. I have also spent hours upon hours hand walking and amusing her in a stall when she couldn't be turned out. She was on 6 months of stall rest as a 2 year old. Fun stuff there.

I now pay more than DOUBLE what I paid when she kept going lame to avoid the lameness situation. Sometimes the monthly jump in pay still outweighs the cost of vet bills and knowing your horse is in pain. But I know she is in a turnout setting where she doesn't get hurt any more. Well, footing related hurt. She is still a horse in group turnout.

And on the compensation lameness idea posted by mls, I highly agree.
I was cleared to start again with my mare by the vet. Everything looked and tested hunky-dory. But in less than two rides she went lame in the front (back was lame before). It also wasn't 'became lame while riding', it was a next day I went out and she was lame.
Vet came out and still said the back leg was fine and she doesn't appear to be compensating, but we went ahead and tried out a chiropractor. Verdict was she started moving differently through her back, more specifically her hips were a mess (not the most well built horse ever). So vet cleared, but then vet back tracked clearance after a second opinion.
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