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Old 03-14-2011, 03:44 PM  
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Sudden lameness

In the last 3 days, Vega has become almost totally lame in her right front leg. She has the beginnings of thrush from all the rain (we are in a valley and all our pasture land are soggy) which I am treating with Koppertox. However, there seems to be a lot of stiffness and heat in the lower half of the limb along with obvious pain that I wouldn`t associate with the thrush. I gave her a dose of Bute with breakfast and I am antcipating a farm call from the vet tomorrow but any ideas?
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Old 03-14-2011, 03:49 PM  
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first thing that came to mind was abcess. Time to call the Vet or Farrier.
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Old 03-14-2011, 03:54 PM  
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I'm seconding the abscess thought as it is the season. i had a horse that I thought her leg was broken, she wouldn't put any weight on it, it was warm and turned out to be an abscess. Hopefully that is what you are dealing, better than some other possibilities.
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Old 03-14-2011, 03:57 PM  
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I would get a vet/farrier out and have them put hoof testers on her. Probly an abcess. In the mean time, wrap the foot to get some cushion and see if that helps get her some relief.
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Old 03-14-2011, 03:59 PM  
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From personal experience... I agree with everyone else. My gelding scared me to death last week because of his limping, had the vet out just a day ago and low and behold, an abscess. Today he's back to normal.
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Old 03-14-2011, 04:04 PM  
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If you have Lysol household cleaner, mix as directed for regular cleaning and soak your horse's foot for about 20 min, preferably 2x daily. It only needs to barely cover the hoof. Putting hay in front of her will help keep her distracted. Or you can make a soaking boot with two smaller garbage bags (white ones, one inside the other) and make a boot out of that securing with duct tape or a bit of vet wrap. Bring it up above the fetlock so it doesn't slip down.
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Old 03-14-2011, 04:06 PM  
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The vet will be out tomorrow morning, I didn`t get to speak with my actual vet but the girl that makes all the appointments so I didn`t get his opinion on it. I appreciate the input, I wanted to get an idea of what to prepare myself for.
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Old 03-14-2011, 05:04 PM  
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Sounds like an abcess to me too. Once had a friend phone me just freaking out that her horse had broken it's leg. It was an abcess. At least they usually feel better quickly once it is opened.
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Old 03-21-2011, 07:20 PM  
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Update

Vega has been diagnosed with EPM.
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Old 03-22-2011, 12:38 AM  
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Oh heavens, not expected after your description!! I'm confused, EPM doesn't usually cause heat and swelling, and tends to cause more issues in the back and hind end... After seeing other EPM threads here, maybe you want to get a second opinion.
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Old 03-22-2011, 04:41 AM  
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Wow, EPM was not expected. Sudden lameness in front is usually not a symtom. I had a mare with EPM she was lame in the backend and very weak while walking and wobbly. Maybe get a second opinion.
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Old 03-22-2011, 06:03 AM  
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The heat in the front has still not be explained to me, the first vet visit actually led to a farrier visit that was unproductive. Within 2 days of the initial vet visit she was acting like a drunk. Wobbling, weak in the hind, lethargic, and seemingly disoriented. I immediately called the vet back out and she ran a full panel of bloodwork and a couple neurological tests and that is what she came back with. I am floored, I wasn`t expecting anything of this magnitutde. Last night we had a real scare when I walked out to feed and she was sitting on her butt weaving her head back and forth. We are starting her on an anti-inflammatory, an anti-protozoal, and an anti-microbial, if I understood the vet correctly.
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Old 03-22-2011, 06:19 AM  
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OMG my thoughts are with you and your horse. Hoping for a speedy recovery!
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Old 03-22-2011, 07:30 AM  
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Oh no, I'm sorry - not what I expected at all from your first post.
Good Luck with your poor mare.
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Old 03-22-2011, 08:15 PM  
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my previous horse was aslo diagnosed with EPM. he didn't show any large symptoms like your mare is, but we treated him. He got better but he never put on the weight correctly in his hind end. He had other preoblems too, so he had to go be someones trail horse =[
i hope your mare gets better =]
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Old 03-22-2011, 08:18 PM  
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This post is coming with mixed feelings, so forgive any rambling. Vet A calls me today, says she is in the area and would like to stop by and talk...I assume there is something miserably wrong and go into full panic mode. She arrives and begins profusely apologizing, there was some kind of mix up with the bloodwork, Vega's was actually NEGATIVE for EPM. So I immediately ask, what about the neurological tests you did? She says maybe she had assumed all signs were pointing towards EPM and jumped conclusions. Now I have gone from panicked to very confused and a little mad.. We continue to talk, she assures me it is NOT EPM and offers to do another evaluation, I thank her and decline.

Call in another local vet for a second opinion. He arrives looks Vega over for maybe 10 minutes, checks her feet and does some kind of hoof tester on it and says she has founder in both front feet. The butt tucking, hind weakness and shakiness are from compensating for the pain in the front & trying to take pressure off of them. Then the questions arises, how did my farrier miss that? There is separation of the hoof wall, heat, lameness and a slightly pudgy horse. Although I did not make the connection because I was under the impression founder comes from some kind of gorging on rich feed or luscious grass, how could a farrier and a vet miss it? Needless to say, I am having another farrier out tomorrow to double check this analysis and changing vets.

I am so astounded that a vet could not only jump conclusions and tell me straight faced she knew FOR SURE that the horse had EPM (while leading me to believe her tests were conclusive and undisputable) but also have a some kind of lab mix up (which I believe is an excuse for her giving me a diagnosis before having evidence of it). Vega is currently resting comfortably in her stall, nestled in fresh poplar bedding after a IV dose of Bute given by Vet #2.
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Old 03-22-2011, 08:24 PM  
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Wow ... I would be making noise about that ... how horrid!! I'm sure she felt awful about it but ... wow. That's just completely unacceptable ...

I should add, thank goodness it isn't EPM ... founder can be managed and improved and even almost completely healed ...
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Old 03-22-2011, 08:32 PM  
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Did the vet recommend cold soaking the lower legs or is it too late for that. You are going to need a real good farrier to look after her hooves. Perhaps Mark can offer you some good advice.
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Old 03-22-2011, 08:48 PM  
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He did not mention cold soaking but did recommend having her confined to her stall with deep, soft bedding as well as adjusting her food intake to contain minimum grain and more good quality hay. He talked about a grazing muzzle when she is turned out again, we live in a valley and the grass comes in very lush from all the water that runs off the mountain. I did not make a scene with Vet A but I will not be recommending her to people or using her anymore myself. I worry about the long term affects of the founder going undiagnosed and therefore untreated for almost 6 days though..
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Old 03-22-2011, 09:49 PM  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OhBaby,Vega View Post
He did not mention cold soaking but did recommend having her confined to her stall with deep, soft bedding as well as adjusting her food intake to contain minimum grain and more good quality hay. He talked about a grazing muzzle when she is turned out again, we live in a valley and the grass comes in very lush from all the water that runs off the mountain. I did not make a scene with Vet A but I will not be recommending her to people or using her anymore myself. I worry about the long term affects of the founder going undiagnosed and therefore untreated for almost 6 days though..
Cold soaking may help. The value is in reduced inflammation and subsequent improvement in circulation. Soaking is less important if the vascular bed is compromised due to rotation related pressure on solar tissues and specifically the circumflex artery.

Deep bedding is a very good recommendation. It allows the horse to "sink" their toes, elevate their heels (reduced DDFT pull) and, of course, provides soft cushioning to the solar surface and minor support to the caudal aspect of the foot.

I'd take the vets recommendation one step beyond "minimum grain". I'd argue "no grain". Hay only. No sense risking any additional carbohydrate intake beyond what may be in the hay.

Sixty Four Thousand dollar question. Did the vet who diagnosed the horse with laminitis take xrays? Radiographs (xrays) are, in my view, one of the most critical diagnostic tools used in determining early onset laminitis. The rads tell us if rotation exists, if sinking exists and how much. It defines the current bony column and palmar angles for the farrier which are critical in correct installation of orthotics. Most important, the xrays tell us how much sole depth there is under the solar margin of the distal phalanx (the coffin bone).

Time is an important aspect of successfully treating laminitis. Once the diagnosis is made and the extent of damage determined, it's important to have the farrier provide supportive orthotics. The farrier and veterinarian should collaborate in this effort.

I wouldn't be too hard on vet #1. If the horse is bilaterally laminitic, but not showing the classic "founder stance", it is certainly possible to confuse symptoms. People make mistakes, including lab test results. Sounds like the vet owned up to her mistake and tried to make things right. That she missed the laminitis diagnosis is not shocking, particularly if she is not an equine specialist. A general practitioner (large animal) vet may have very little experience with laminitic horses. I've seen diagnoses of unilateral laminitis that turned out to be an abscess. It happens. What matters is whether or not the practitioner (vet, farrier, whoever) is willing to step up and own the mistake and try to make things right.

In summary, get a farrier experienced in laminitics as soon as possible. If radiographs were not taken, get some. Stall rest only; no exercise at all. Deep bedding. No grain... hay only. Plenty of water. I'd put my own horse on a daily regimen of bute (1 gram AM and PM) but can't do that for you since I don't know your horse. Ask your vet.

Finally, make sure you have a good vet and farrier team that are willing to work together.

Best luck and as always...

Cheers,
Mark
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