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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’m wondering if some of you guys might have some thoughts about what’s going on with my Pony.

I’ve had him for almost two years, and he’s never had one physical problem, except one time he got a little tender footed after a bad trim. Two weeks ago Saturday I rode him in a lesson. The focus of the lesson was to get him to drop his head into contact at the halt, walk, and trot. He did very well. I don’t think we cantered at all in that lesson. I turned him out into the grassy area in front of the barn for about an hour afterwards, to graze, and didn’t notice any problems.

I came out the next morning, and he was hanging back at the gate, and the second he started walking in, I knew something was wrong. He was obviously in pain, and although he wasn’t clearly lame in any one foot, he wasn’t walking too well. I put him in his stall and picked his hooves (also to check for heat / tenderness). His front right, which is the foot he always holds up for me by himself, he couldn’t pick up at all. I got him to pick it up maybe a few inches, and he almost fell over on me. I tried again after half an hour, same thing.

I called the barn owner, and while waiting for her to come I hand grazed him and kept an eye on him. Both his back legs seemed shaky, but the back right seemed really off. She thought so too, when she came. She guessed stifle injury. We put him in a stall.

The vet came out the next morning. He was already better, had no problem picking up that foot, not walking funny. She examined him and said that both stifles seemed tender, his back hurt, his front right foot seemed tender and might have an abscess brewing, and he was off at the trot. She wanted him on bute and stall rest for three days. We also poulticed that hoof.

She came back after three days. No sign of an abscess, she didn’t feel his stifles, but his back was clearly still sore. She prescribed bute, muscle relaxers, and (at my request) gastro guard. And more stall rest. She approved him to be out in a small (about 20 x 20) pen in the daytime.

We did that for a week, and the last few days he’s been out in a bigger pen. Same medications. There is absolutely no change. Back is still extremely sore. Vet is coming back out Friday, and chiropractor on Monday. The bodyworker may be coming as well. But one other thing I’ve noticed is that he’s nipping at his flanks a lot. Like there were flies there, but there aren’t. I took a picture – you can see all the spots he’s been nipping at. Not drawing blood. I don’t remember him every nipping himself like this, although it’s possible that I’m just noticing it now because I’m spending more time with him.

Do all of these symptoms paint a picture for anyone? Is there anything else anyone would try? Any thoughts at all? The vet spent maybe 20 minutes with him the first time, and 10 minutes the second time. I’m hoping the chiropractor (who is also a vet and who also does acupuncture) will spend more time, and maybe I can get some answers. But in the meantime I thought I’d ask you guys. Any thoughts?
 

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Something is absolutely wrong...
I would be wanting a second opinion and eyes to look Pony over.
Those random bite marks are not random but indicative of a problem.


You said body worker is also a licensed vet with current license?
I would not be waiting but making a phone call and appointment...
To much time passing with no improvement, not even a bit.. makes me nervous..
:runninghorse2:...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
@horselovinguy thanks for your response. The chiropractor who's coming on Monday is a licensed vet. She also does acupuncture. Monday was the earliest I could get her out.

I'm not happy to hear your opinion that those bites aren't good, but at the same time it's good to get some validation that they may indicate something else going on, and it's not just me. I will point this out to the first vet when she comes back Friday, and to the chiropractor vet when she comes on Monday.
 
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Hopefully the vet/chiro/acupuncturist has an answer — too bad you have to wait until next Monday:(.

Generally when a horse won’t pick a hoof up, it’s because the opposite hoof is the one that’s sore - or - it’s because it’s not the hoof with the issue, it’s further up - in that leg or in that shoulder.

My initial thought was laminitis, until I read the rest of your post. It sounds as if he is stalled at night? If so, I’m wondering if he might have cast himself and did put himself out, royally, struggling to get unstuck.

If he is out all the time, he could have spooked at something, done some spinning and knocked himself out of place.

Biting his sides could mean he hurts anywhere, he just can’t reach it. When my foundered horse bites his sides, it means ulcers. When my other horse bites his sides, it can mean his digestive system is off because he ate a weed in the pasture that didn’t agree with him, or that h3 has beans up his urethra.

IMHO, your main focus should be on the other physical signs he is showing. Horses are stoic creatures. Because he is acting better in no way means he is better. I learned that the first time with my rescued Arab who had life-long vertebra issues, and now Joker who has “broke his back” (<—-the vet’s words) TWICE.

It goes without saying to NOT ride him until the chiro sees him next week. In the meantime, study his movements, especially how he turns, if he favors turning one way over the other.

Keep notes and let the vet/chiro decide if you are giving her TMI.

I tell my vet/chiro what kind of tail swishing the horse is doing. If one of the horses tries to give my face plastic surgery, I know something is wrong. Also if they tighten their tails down and won’t let me wipe their butts because they both like the dander & yuck wiped off their butts with Vetericyn.

Sorry for the long drawn out thoughts, hopefully it’s helpful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
@walkinthewalk thank you that's definitely helpful. I think I'm going to copy what I wrote above and send to the chiropractor-vet in advance of our appointment.

He's never stalled, or at least he wasn't until this happened. My best guess is also that he was goofing around out there and fell or something. He likes to run around, spin, canter sideways, jump, and then screech to a halt, when he's out there.

Don't worry, riding him is the furthest thing from my mind right now! He seems to be in so much pain that I'm mentally giving him the whole month off right now. I wouldn't be surprised if it ends up being two. I've been having to ride Teddy more, which has actually been great for both of us (me and Teddy); and I'm going to put in maybe one extra ride on Moonshine per week, which is going to be good for me. Plus Barn Owner is going to let me ride Lesson Pony, who is awesome.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
@tinyliny No, no symptoms of colic, plus this has been going on for a week now. It would be the slowest-moving colic ever.

Thanks for calling me an observant horse owner, but it's kind of hard to miss when he has those nip marks all over his flank. LOL.

Is having a rib out one of those things a chiropractor can fix? It sounds scary.
 
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[

He's never stalled, or at least he wasn't until this happened. My best guess is also that he was goofing around out there and fell or something. He likes to run around, spin, canter sideways, jump, and then screech to a halt, when he's out there.
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I think therein ^^^^ lies your answer:)

Rusty is now a long 25. He still can’t understand why he shouldn’t run toward the fence at Mach 80, slam on the brakes while sliding sideways narrowly missing the fence. Except in his old age this folderol has started costing me chiropractic bills:):)

I know you board but try your best to watch Pony at liberty without him knowing you’re around. If you could get lucky and take some videos, maybe one or two would be good enough for the chiro; they often see something we don’t when a horse is moving at liberty, even just moving to graze:)
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
@walkinthewalk do you think a video of him walking while nosing a treats ball (the kind that has a hole that dispenses cookies) would work? I've been giving him one for boredom, and I can assure you that when he has that ball in there, I might as well not exist. It wouldn't matter if he knew I was there or not.
 

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@walkinthewalk said it all.



If there are no symptoms of colic (like, hows his appetite? are gut sounds normal? temperature? ) . . .



then I would think he may have a rib out , or something out in the lower back. It's really great that you are such perceptive and observant horse owner.
A rib out — yes — I forgot about that, great point to bring up! Joker (my fractured back fella) has had a rib out once or twice.
 

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@walkinthewalk do you think a video of him walking while nosing a treats ball (the kind that has a hole that dispenses cookies) would work? I've been giving him one for boredom, and I can assure you that when he has that ball in there, I might as well not exist. It wouldn't matter if he knew I was there or not.
It would be worth trying:)

Yes, ribs can be realigned - it is not fun for the horse or the chiro but it is not torture either.

Now that @tinyliny Brought it up, I’m trying to remember what the chiro did on Joker, as it’s been a few years back.

I THINK she acupuncture’s him to get him to relax, then spent a very long time massaging him in that area before she attempted a realignment.

To be clear, Joker did not break a rib. He does get stalled at night. We think he did cast himself. His stall is 12’ X 14’ so plenty big fora 15.3H horse. Joker could have a 20X20 stall and still get in trouble:|
 
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