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Old 12-05-2004, 05:21 PM  
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Bone chip

I am looking for info on bone chips....... a horse I looked at has a bone chip in the left front knee. I was told that it was moving outward (away from the bone) so is not as serious as one that would be moving inward (toward the bone), that it causes swelling but not the major damage an inward-moving bone chip would cause. Makes sense to me, but I don't know much about chips. Can anyone help me?

Thanks!
Lily
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Old 12-06-2004, 10:27 AM  
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Lily,

I have owned two horses with bone chips in their ankles. The first one was at a drastically reduced price because of it, but she was never sore on it, was regional hunter champion, and when we sold her 2 years later x-rays showed no sign of the chip at all, and she passed her flexion tests perfectly.

THe next horse also has a chip in the same ankle; she is sound enough to jump 4' with ease, but won't pass a flexion test. The x-ray shows just a tiny dot of a chip, but according to the vet, that only shows the damage to the bone, and not the potential damage to the cartalidge. Doesn't matter to me or her though, we just have to watch for arthritis as she gets older. I could have opperated on her, but it did not seem worth it as she is a horse that will grow old with me and can be whatever she wants to be.

I also used to ride a horse that had a bad chip in his knee as a 2 year old. They had it operated on, and he was fine thereafter.

So I guess what I am trying to say is that I for one am not afraid of a chip, but you have to be prepared to operate on it if needed, or give the horse a lifetime home. The part of the chip the x-ray shows can be only part of the story as the cartilige might have little or lots of damage too. All the horses I worked with that had chips were sound enough in regular work, and only showed as sore when getting a flexion test.

As for moving in or out,...I have not heard of that. My horse's chips stayed the in the same position, just changed size (shrank). Did the vet tell you that or the owner? do they have different x-rays over time to see the movement or how do they know its movement? If they have various x-rays see if they chip is changing size. I would think any movement would be bad, but you should probable get a vet to help you with that more technical info.

I just remember my vet telling me the chip is only part of the story; you have to think about what else might be damaged.

Good luck and I hope you make the right decision, whatever it is!


Karen
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Old 12-06-2004, 07:23 PM  
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Hmm, interesting...... lots to think about. The horse in question will be 15 next year, and his price too is drastically reduced because of the chip. In fact I believe that the surgery to repair it would be more than the purchase price on the horse. (It's not much, lol.) I like the horse a lot (he's a 17.1 hh black Appendix gelding), he's very very sweet and neat to ride, but I'm looking for a hunter (not very high, but still) and I worry that there will come a time when I'd need to operate just to keep him from hurting, and I don't know that it would be worth it. Aaahhh!! It frustrates me to have to say that, but we all know the truth when we see it, lol. Aarrgghh. I can't decide what to do....... the horse is in my price range because of the chip, but will the chip end up being more expensive than buying a more expensive (but sound) horse now???

Lily
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Old 12-07-2004, 10:43 AM  
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Can you get the x-rays from teh owners sent to your vet? Your vet might be able to help you maintain the horse, and give you ideas on its future soundness and as to what things might make the knee worse. Something else to consider, would the horse make a good lesson horse/trail horse if he was no longer able to jump? If he has a back up career then I would be more likely to consider him as well.
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Old 01-08-2005, 09:14 PM  
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Bone Chips


Hi,
I'm Jessica. If you're pretty sure about buying the horse, I would bring your vet the next time you go to look at it, because once I baught a horse, and they said their vet had already checked it before they put it up for sale, but it turned out after we baught it, it had a lot of problems with its teeth. Have you test rode it yet? You might be able to tell if it is or isn't a mild bone chip. I love shopping for horses! Have fun and good luck with the gelding!
Hope this helped, Jessica.
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Old 01-08-2005, 09:32 PM  
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Well it's good for me to come back and read all this, since we did end up buying the gelding (Sammy). The previous owner showed me x-rays, and the chip is loose in the knee and there doesn't look to be any damage at all. Just swelling in the knee which I am assured is cosmetic. He's never gone lame on it, just had it swell up. The vet told the previous owner it would cost about $1000 to have surgery to take the chip out, but I don't understand-- it looks so simple on the x-rays??

Can you guys give me suggestions on managing an old chip?

Thanks!
Lily
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Old 01-09-2005, 10:50 PM  
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I've never had this problem, but I would assume if nothing else he would need lots of hydroing of the joint after being worked. And possibly one of the zillion joint supplements might help. Just my guess. Of course you could always ask your vet, too.
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Old 01-10-2005, 12:04 PM  
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The surgery cost so much due to the risks involved in knocking a horse out completely. It is very hard on them and requires a lot of care, attention, and staff. As well, a large part of what they do is repair the cartilege that may be affected by the loose bone. Tedious work to do.

My bone chip mares did not require any additional care, although I used to give my show horses a shot of Hyonate mid season. I also did regular flexion tests on my show horses just to make sure they were ok. You should do a flex test on Sammy's knee now so you know what his benchmark is and can tell if he is getting better or worse.

I hope he works out and I am glad the chip did not scare you off.
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Old 01-21-2005, 10:19 AM  
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I have also had 2 horses with bone chips, they were both in the ankles. Both horses stayed sound through long show careers. The one gelding was sold, and is showing Prix St George dressage now, no problems, he was 15 when I sold him. The other mare I still have and is now a school horse but was my junior jumper, we never had soundness issues. If your horse is sound now, I wouldn't do the surgery. That may only make things worse. No sense in fixing something that isn't broken.
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