Thursday, January 31, 2013

I've talked to two vets now about Bella's lameness.  I'm starting to get a feel for what we're going to have to do to figure this out, and it's a little daunting (the money part) but not impossible, thanks to the sale of one of my good saddles.  (Not The good saddle.)  I can't do it right away because I'm taking payments on it, but that's okay.  I have instructions to mess with her tendons every day for a while and see if I can feel anything or see a reaction on her part.  No luck so far.  Her legs are very hairy!  And she tends to hide her feelings, even about pain.  I also need to get her hooves trimmed up and ready for radiographs.  I didn't trim her last week.  I'll get that done on my days off this week, along with home surgery on Pedro's neck.  Fun times ahead!


But back to Bella.  If it is a tendon affected by the splints on her legs, the vet I work for can't really do anything about it but she thought one of the other vets in the area might have ideas, or I could go to WSU.  I love having so many options.  The other vet I talked to mentioned that navicular is often the culprit in front leg lamenesses, and he's had a lot of (temporary) success with injecting the navicular bursa with cortisone.  My boss also wants to see if there is any evidence of P3 rotation, especially because of that bump of sole in front of her frog.  So we have some ideas where to go.  Can't wait to see what we find.  I'm a little apprehensive as well, but it will be good to finally have an answer.  Assuming we find an answer...

9 comments:

Kara said...

I'm hoping that navicular is less likely, since you've never worked her very much with long toes that would put excess pressure on the tendons in that area (usually what precipitates navicular). Plus, navicular is pretty difficult to "cure" if at all. Is she lame on both fronts, or just one? You said she has enlarged splint bones that might be rubbing on some tendons in the back...like maybe the suspensory tendon? Have you ever tried a trial of Bute to see if it decreases the lameness? If so, it very well might be some inflammatory condition. I really hope they can figure it out. Bella is too nice a horse to not ever be able to be ridden. She'll make a good partner.

Kara said...

Question - have you ever gotten any opinions about the fact that you trim your own horses? Just curious if your vets have ever made comments. Most equine vets around here sort of shake their head at the "barefoot" owners that trim their own hooves, making broad sweeping comments about how those people keep vets in business... But see, I've seen both sides and I know that owners can learn anatomy and be effective at trimming their own horse's hooves. And the "barefoot" versus "traditional" farriery actually are based on almost the exact same principles regarding hoof angles, keeping heels low and toes short...it's funny how the two camps sometimes don't understand that they are on exactly the same side and they set up these misunderstandings and broad statements that really only reflect what happens when you have a poor traditional farrier or an extremist barefooter.

Cindy D. said...

Well friend, here we are with our sweet little mares, both with lameness not easily identified. I kind of feel like we are getting ready to travel down different sides of the same road. :)

I'm going start saying diagnosis and healing prayers for these ponies. I am interested in hearing what you come up with.

shoot me an email when you get a chance with your address and I will send you a check to cover the cost of the pic and shipping.

Andrea -Mustang Saga said...

Kara,

I also doubt it's navicular. She doesn't have any any of the factors that would predispose a horse to navicular.

She's lame on just the right front. I suppose she could be slightly lame on the left also, and just doesn't feel it because the other leg is worse. you know how you sometimes fix one problem and another crops up. Both front legs have big splints on the inside.

It doesn't respond to Bute at all, which I think is a little weird. I've tried her on 1g 2x daily for 10 days, a couple of different times, and it didn't make a difference.

I did get feedback from this vet that I work for now, years ago, on trimming my own horses. She said, "Good for you!" Loved it. My other vet never said anything negative or positive about it. My OTHER vet (I have a lot of vets, it seems) has never asked, so we never discussed it.

Andrea -Mustang Saga said...

Cindy,

I hope we both have great outcomes. How come it has to be the ones with so much potential that have the problems?

I'll send you an email. Thanks for reminding me. I get kind of scatterbrained and forgetful about personal stuff when I'm working.

Kara said...

Bute can actually take a while to accumulate in their body before it starts working...you might get a better response if you try 2 grams twice a day for a few days, then drop to 1 gram twice a day for 7 days and see if you get a response. If yes, then try droping to 1 gram 1X a day or 1/2 gram twice a day for a week and see if that level maintains a sound status. I think horses can be maintained pretty well on bute at the lower end of levels for quite a while with few side effects. That's the dose schedule I would give someone if they had an injury or sudden lameness. But since Bella if a chronic lameness, it may not be inflammation...rather a bone spur, or something that just causes irritation when moved just right. Potentially, if it is in the right place, it could be something surgical to fix. Totally depends on where the issue is though. They do sometimes remove splint bones (just the bottom half) if they are causing problems with tendons, I believe. Do you think that she brushes with her hooves when she moves and bumps those splint bones, making them inflammed? Chronic inflammation will result in a big bony lump like that, and once it's that big, it can interfere with other structures on the back of the leg...possibly structures that are deep (there are 2 tendons and then one ligament stacked on top of eachother down the back of the leg) and you aren't quite feeling the deepest structure when you are feeling her tendons? I'm just trying to come up with some ideas about what her issues could be. Splints makes sense to me. I'll be interested to hear what a real vet has to say about it when she gets her exam.

Kara said...

I don't openly publicize at the vet school that I trim my own horses, but I've shown a lot of interest in listening to our farrier at school...I really like him, though he is not gifted in the explaining things well and staying on track department. I don't want to be judged by anyone before I have a chance to form my final opinions about what works and what doesnt' work, so I just show I understand hoof anatomy and then keep my mouth shut about everything else and absorb what they have to teach me. In that way, I've been able to hear multiple sides of the hoof trimming issues without anyone getting defensive or opinionated on me.

Kara said...

Maybe they can use an ultrasound on the tendons on the back of her cannon bones to see if the deep one shows inflammatory changes.

Paint Girl said...

We had a horse (3 yr old) at the Arab farm I worked at that had a splint that was causing his lameness. We sent him off to have the splint removed and he has been sound ever since. So that could be something that is causing her lameness. I am sure with all the vets you have, they will get to the root of the problem. Lameness is so frustrating! But it sure makes it easier on us all if we know exactly what the cause is. Good luck!