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Old 12-21-2007, 09:01 PM  
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Will my horse ever be sound again???

I've been off HT for a little while dealing with lameness issues with Scout, my gorgeous and wonderful 12 year-old APHA gelding. I'm hoping someone out there has some advice or at least a "been there, done that" comment or two.

We got Scout in March and he was great. Maybe a little stiff in the back with his gait at a walk, but the vet thought that was just his normal gait. Normal vet check, etc. No known history of lameness. We noticed a couple of things about him right from the start, mainly that he's stiff when he gets up from lying down for a couple of steps, and a little awkward when he pivots on his hindquarters when he's not moving.

He got stiff after a long trailride in September, then got better after a chiro adjustment. Then in October he went lame, was diagnosed with a stone bruise in his left front, and got better over a couple of weeks. (Normal X-rays by the vet, no navicular). Just when he got better from that, I moved him over to my trainer's gelding pasture, a 12-acre pasture which is a little hilly and icy, and he became the boss man after lots of fights and challenges. He promptly became extremely sore in his hindquarters and the chiro thinks he spread-eagled on the ice at some point.

This is frustrating. Will this horse ever be sound? Will he ever be ridable? Should a 12 year-old be this prone to injury????? He's the best horse ever in temperament, responsiveness, and looks. My other horse is a 27 year-old (without soundness issues, BTW) but his enthusiasm for work is, shall we say, limited.

Scout will be taken to the vet next week but I'm not sure what they'll be able to tell me. Right now he's improved again after a chiro adjustment, but at this point he's so stiff everywhere that it's hard to pinpoint.

If you've gotten this far, thanks for reading. Any and all input appreciated!
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Old 12-21-2007, 09:06 PM  
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Wow, sounds like he is up to some shinanagans. I would say limit his activity see if that helps at all. But from what I had been told when I found out that one of my horses (few years back) had a stifle stiffness problem. He told me to keep him out and let him move around non stop. So that is conflicting isnt it. I guess maybe keep in a big enough area, larger than a stall, but keep him out of areas where he is going to be combative or challenge other horses. Let us know what happens with the vet. I would also think about putting him on some supplements too. www.smartpakequine.com has some good supplements to help heal him faster as well.
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Old 12-21-2007, 09:14 PM  
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No advice-he sounds like a lovely horse-sorry you are going through this with him. Perhaps it's just a bad patch.
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Old 12-21-2007, 09:34 PM  
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Maybe ask for some muscle relaxers, Adequan/legend, bute, and give him some stall rest w/ hand walking? I know when my back gets sore it keeps perpetuating itself unless I rest and get the muscle relaxers. The I'm right as rain in a few days. If something hurts, he'll adjust his body to compensate, which makes him sore in a new area, which he then adjusts to, which makes him sore in another area, etc.
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Old 12-22-2007, 08:00 AM  
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I am sorry Scout is having all these problems! It really sounds like it may just be a run of bad luck, hopefully, instead of something chronic.
How are Rooster and the pony doing (Rosie, right?)?
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Old 12-22-2007, 08:34 AM  
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Great ideas, everyone. We'll just keep working through each problem. I think he probably went down on the ice because he wasn't 100% after his stone bruise, so he was compensating. Today he's moving better, just a little stiff in his right front. (Go figure.) He's also happier now that he's back "home" with Rooster and Rosie (good memory, Carri!). He got depressed over at the riding stables and it was sad to see his body language so unhappy.

My 27 year-old gelding is fine, no soundness issues, surefooted, and still grumpy as ever. I love him to pieces. The pony is as amusing as ever, follows the big boys around and tries to get into trouble. She's a sweetie.

Thanks for everyone's suggestions!
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Old 12-22-2007, 08:48 AM  
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Hey MG! I have been wondering where you were!? Glad to see you back, but sorry you are having so many problems with Scout! Hopefully it is just a rough patch-Jade had a rough winter last year with hoof problems too, and back to her normal personality disordered self. I hope the same for Scout! (Well, minus the personality disorder!)
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Old 12-23-2007, 06:40 AM  
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I can sympathise. Went through this kind of thing with Liz.

The vet insisted she always had lameness issues, was navicular and her feet must be done every six weeks, kept short and shod. Then said she had a b one spur (saw the xrays) and that she had always had one.

The farrier disagreed about the trimiing and shoeing, but I went with the vet as she had been her vet for 13 years prior to me getting her. (although she told me before buying she was sound and healthy)

3 years of it. I traded her for Riley, the vet at the new place and farrier met, looked over the 2 sets of x rays. Bone spur had not changed in over 5 years, navicular, so mild as not to be worth mentioning. The problem..... should not be shod and not trimmed often. In a year, her feet were never trimmed, just shaped. Not a day's lameness since.

So, have a farrier check the trim etc. Maybe it is just that simple? for your boy too. Good luck, I was so frustrated, even more so, when she never had a moment's stiffness or lameness after she left me.
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Old 12-23-2007, 05:27 PM  
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I don't know, but I sympathize big time! My mare has been lame for a year now, and has been to the vet 5 times, and still not really sure what it is . I sincerely hope Scout will be sound again one day...
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Old 12-25-2007, 07:38 PM  
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Sorry about your horse...I'm wondering if it could be some kind of 'systemic' issue????....EPSM??...tying up?...just a thought!
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Old 12-25-2007, 09:24 PM  
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Ever had his hips x-rayed?
May not be a leg problem. Sounds like its in his hips.
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Old 12-25-2007, 10:01 PM  
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I was thinking along the same lines and InstigatorKate. I would atleast give him a joint supplement and daily Bute. It may help take the edge off, and help him recover.
I would also have to agree with Snickers, and check his hips.
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Old 12-25-2007, 11:43 PM  
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Just finished going through something like this, and it took almost 3 years to figure out our problem. Intermittent stiffness, awkwardness... Thought it was the back - bought a new saddle, had acupuncture, but that didn't work. Thought it was the hocks - started Legend/Adequan (still on it), but that helped intermittently. Whenever the horse was off, I'd give him a rest thinking it was the hocks, but the problem never went away. Then we got him on video while I was working him, and saw that it's the stifles - and giving him rest only made the problem worse, because more of the muscular support atrophied with the additional rest! It took video to convince our vet, because the horse was never 'off' when he was around. Now, with advice from some of the folks here as well as suggestions from our vet, we're working on a consistent rehab work schedule, and it's doing wonders. If you can, get a video of your horse being worked as well as doing stuff during which he shows the most stiffness, and then look at it in slow-motion, maybe even with your vet. Hopefully you'll see what the problem is. Good luck!
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Old 12-26-2007, 09:26 AM  
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I would definetely look into stifle issues for this horse. The chiropractic is great and you may want to add some massage into his therapy as well (this will help all the way around). Plus you can add a daily liniment wash to his routine too. This will help brace his muscles and ease any soreness he has too.

At 12, it would not be unheard of for him to have some arthritis either. Yucca is a good natural supplement that will take down swelling and ease joint pain. It's less expensive than a lot of supplements and more palatable to most horses.

Have you done nerve blocks going up the leg until he goes sound? Sometimes this is a good way to isolate which part is exactly the origin of pain and rule out the lower extremities. Obviously, you need your vet to do this, but it can really be worth it to know for sure.

Good luck, hope he's getting some relief soon.
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Old 12-28-2007, 09:43 AM  
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There's an update on Scout that's been posted, but I wanted to reply to some of this great advice.

I, too, thought it was a stifle issue, but yesterday the vet did nerve blocks and as soon as his front hooves are blocked, his gait is perfect. The vet said he probably was acting awkward in the hind end because he was avoiding weight bearing in the front end. Make sense? So it seems to be a hoof isssue. I'm wondering about Dreamcleaner's experience here--he always seems to be a little more sore after a trimming. Maybe he needs padded shoes?

The vet seemed a little pessimistic about the outcome, but on the other hand since the X-rays didn't really show anything bad, there are some different options out there. I"m going to be optimistic and keep going. I'll definitely have the chiro out again and maybe some massage for him as well. And I'd better work some more hours to pay for all of this!
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Old 12-28-2007, 09:50 AM  
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The foot issue makes perfect sense. When dealing with lameness, always look at the opposite end of where the horse is actually showing discomfort, because they are almost always likely to be compensating for something. I would try some pentoxyphyline or Isoxysuprine for his feet. It increases the circulation and I have had good luck with it in horses with chronically sore feet. I would also try putting some sort of pad under his shoe providing that he is not flat footed and can handle the pressure on his soles. Good luck and keep us posted.
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Old 12-28-2007, 10:12 AM  
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Thanks for sharing that, Montanagirl. One of those good news / bad news situations! Too bad there's an actual physical problem, but I guess the good news is at least you know what the problem is, and can start helping him feel better. Hope he's feeling better soon! Good luck!
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Old 12-28-2007, 10:19 AM  
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Well if its front hoof issues, hopefully the farrier can do something to help with that. Also, any chance its the start of laminitis and a change in diet would help? Some horses are insulin resistant and have problems with what is fed and a change in diet does wonders for them.
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Old 12-28-2007, 10:39 AM  
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Funny you should mention after the trim lameness, or issues. We have had a post about this before.

I was selling a horse and had her trimmed up bout 4 days before the lady showed up. Well, our farrier decided that he should trim 2 inches off the horse to keep her nice and low. As she had a growth spurt cause of all the moisture we had in May. Well, lady shows up, and I follow her up to her vets for a pre-purchase exam. On cement came up almost 3/4 lame on one leg. But completely sound on the sand areana for lunging and exam. Same on grass and soft dirt. So they chose to do Xrays. Well, I could have killed that dang farrier. He almost not only lost me a sale (to a wonderful home), but almost made my horse lame for life.

There is a cushiony area inside the hoof and if the horse is trimmed to low it cuts into that. Which will make the horse seem lame. It grows back but takes a week to a couple months. Depending how hoof growth, or re-growth.

So I had to pay $185 bucks extra, out of my pocket for pads and shoes. Within a day the horse showed improvement. Then 2 months later when they had the farrier out at the vets. Per Xray and a small trim, she was 100% again, or close to it.

So I would look into that. If they have found that it isnt bone, or injury that way. It just might be to close of a trim.
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Old 12-28-2007, 11:44 AM  
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Your horse may be thin soled as well. You can try painting the soles with Venice Turpentine or 7% iodine to help toughen them up. I have one horse with very thin soles and every once in a while my farrier will get him a little close - then out with the Venice Turpentine.

One time we actually shod him with a light rubber small wedge pad and packed pine tar stuff under the pad to help toughen the soles. When the shoes came off in 6 weeks, my horse was sound again. I only shod because I had some shows coming up that I didn't want to miss.
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