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Discussion Starter #1
Well, my 20 y/o mare Gypsie has a popped knee... and it's bad enough that the vet has told me to retire her from riding for the rest of her life. The vet has also put her on 8 over-the-counter aspirin daily, a double dose of her joint supplement, and prescribed 2 grams of Bute on her really bad days.

She's only pasture-sound now... she's lame and favoring her knee/leg on anything other than soft grass and dirt... and she has a permanent swelling on her knee...

She's hesitant to move out and her joints crack and pop when she walks... She's stiff and, though the medicine is making things a bit better, she's never going to be 100% again... We didn't catch things in time for the vet to be able to do surgery or anything to help her... The vet also said that he was glad she aborted her foal back in December/January, as if she had carried it full term, he said the extra weight would have done so much damage to her knee that as soon as the foal was weaned we would have had to put her to sleep...

I have already gotten a second vet's opinion, too, and the second vet gave me even worse news than the first... The second vet told me that the medicines will work for a while, but eventually my girl's knee will get to be so bad that nothing will work, and I will have to make the decision to have Gypsie put to sleep in order to keep her out of pain... The time-limit he gave me was roughly two years...

I never thought I'd have to start thinking about having my beautiful mare put down... I always figured she'd die of old age in our pasture somewhere...
 

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So sorry to hear of this.

My old mare had a bum knee (don't know what you mean by popped and don't know the technical diagnosis for my mare) it was hugely swollen and arthritic. We got her from my riding stable because she wasn't up for the heavy use. She was sound for light riding, as we got older we stopped riding her, then we put a 100lb weight limit on her. Then she was completely retired. She wasn't a super active horse (she was older) but wasn't running around. Started having A LOT of trouble with the farrier. Got to the point he trimmed what he could without really picking her leg up more than a few inches. We tried giving her devil's claw and such but she wouldn't eat it (she was a very hard keeper to boot). We would bute her for the farrier but after awhile even with the bute she was rearing back on that leg and just couldn't bend her knee (and this horse was as close to perfect as you could ever want. She physically could not do it, she wasn't trying to be bad). Her weight went down further (separate issue but she looked like a rescue case) she went down several times and couldn't get back up and finally stopped trying. One day in January we did everything and couldn't get her up and knowing even if we rigged up a sling or something she would just go back down we decided to euthanize. She was 26 and that was the "younger" estimate.

Now our mare was older and had other issues as well, I'm not trying to scare you, but she had that bum knee since we got her (~19) and the arthritic changes are something that I'm sure would apply to you as well. Especially concerning the farrier. It sounds like your mare is barely pasture sound, and unfortunately it sounds like it will only get worse, maybe sooner than later. Remember though, it took many years before my mare's knee got bad and even then she will still mostly pasture sound (not that she ran around really).

Just take it a day at a time. I'm so sorry, I know how hard this is, especially when it comes so suddenly.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Another name for it is 'Carpitis'.
 

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I'm so sorry to hear this :( Unfortunately they very rarely do they just go to sleep in the pasture and not wake up, they seem to hold on even in immense amounts of pain:( Be thankful that your girl will spend her twilight years loved by you and spoilt rotten until she tells you it's time to go and you can make the decision to have her go in the way you feel will be the most peaceful for her. Again, so sorry to hear this. Take care *hugs*
 

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Discussion Starter #8
We have guessed that what caused my girl to get this was when we fell several years ago and she banged her knee up real well on a sharp rock... neither I nor the vet who came out to see her when that fall happened thought anything of her knee, as it was cut a bit, but not badly... but after talking about any old knee issues and injuries she's had in the past, the vet is thinking that when she hit her knee that time it was worse than what we thought and caused trauma to the internal structures of the knee...

And when both she and I were younger... well, I'm afraid I wasn't too gentle with her when it came to riding for hours and hours on end at all gaits... daily...


On another note, she felt well enough at feed-time that she performed the 'buck, fart, gallop' routine on her way to the barn (after trying to drag me across the pasture and finally succeeding in ripping the lead from my hand)... Lol...
 

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This is such sad news. I know it will be very painful to watch her decline and I know you will do everything in your power to make her life comfortable for as long as possible. It isn't easy to take on the responsibility of deciding when to say farewell, but it is the last gift of love we can give to those who have served us so loyally for so long. Sad, sad news. My heart goes out to you.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
HagonNag, thanks so much for your kind words, you truly don't know the effect they just had on me.

I stopped on the road earlier in my car to watch my horses, Gypsie especially... she was moving around ok, but was favoring the leg every now and then... Ever since talking with the vet and having her knee issues diagnosed, I've been taking time to just watch her just out in the pasture or yard, or when eating, etc... and just take in her beauty and reflect on how she made such a difference in my life... I know i have at least two years left with her, if the medicines keep effectively treating her pain, but with me finally accepting that she isn't going to die peacefully in the pasture like i had hoped, nor is she going to eventually be the horse who teaches any children I have to ride (as I had hoped, even though i'm not married/don't intend on it anytime soon, etc...)... well, there's no time like the present to truly cherish her and lavish attention on her and reflect her presence in my life...
 

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I'm so sorry, your post was beautifully written. As hard as it is for you it is good that you can be so involved and have time to say goodbye and cherish her before she goes.

She is obviously very loved.
 
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