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Innjured leg, bone chip?

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1 Innjured leg, bone chip? on Fri Aug 30, 2013 12:40 pm

uno

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Seeking input, opinions, experiences.

Daugther bought off the track TB over two years ago. He has been a good boy, trying hard to learn new things, except for the fact that he will not tie and goes ballistic when tied. He even went ballistic in the trailer, fell down and was kicking and flailing around while Horse Daughter hunkered in the corner and hoped to not be killed by a waving leg.

He does not live here, lives at stable.

Something happened, we do not know what, he hurt his hind leg, he was very lame and it swelled up like a balloon from ankle to thigh (yes, I know, wrong terms, but you get the picture).

Was given bute, separated from herd buddies and cold hosed. Swelling came down mostly, but right over the knee joint the swelling has remained. It has not gone down in over 7 weeks now. Looks like a huge football of squishy fluid. Vet poked and prodded and said it was not an infection, was not a blood clot, was not tissue swelling. THe sac over the joint is filling with fluid and the fluid is not leaving, for whatever reason.

The lameness comes and goes. Swelling stays, but some days the horse is fine, other days the horse is lame. Vet ventures guess at a bone chip. No x-rays or ultra sound are done at this point. Vet grabs horse by leg and yoinks it up in the air for a minute then drops it and makes the horse run around the round pen. Horse did not bob head or miss a step, so that day he was doing fine. Vet says it's anyone's guess if ti is a bone chip and if it will be a lifelong problem or if it will never be a problem. Wait until swelling goes down and see how it goes.

Week later farrier is called. Horse Daughter says horse was acting like a tool from the get go. During trim horse lunged forward and knocked HD over. Horse Daughter got him back in place and horse rears straight up in the air Hollywood style, waving his legs around. Horse got in trouble for this. Get horse back on ground when he took a life threatening swipe at farrier who whacked him with the rasp, hard, and told HD he would NOT deal with the horse. HD was mortified, felt bad for the farrier and is now completely unimpressed with tool horse.

All this time no one has ridden horse, obvious, he's lame. But yesterday she decided to get on him bareback in the arena if his leg wasn't bothering him. It wasn't, but his back sure was! HD says he almost collapsed when she hopped on! She got off, what the heck, got back on and same thing, he almost dropped to the ground. Another person was there and said, what is wrong with your horse? They poked his back and he flinches and cringes. Hmmm...now a back problem too. A horse chiro/ acupuncture vet has been called.

At this point HD is thinking about ending it for the horse. NOt because he's injured, but because he's suddenly started acting like a moron. She draws her line at unsafe behaviour and kicking the farrier is a NO GO in her mind. This horse is 11 years old and KNOWS BETTER. He was not being shod, just trimmed. But he was out of sight of his pasture buddies and HD thinks he's so herd bound that he's lost his mind.

She will take steps to treat back problem and see if that fixes his behaviour issues. But the possible floating bone chip is an unknown that we have never dealt with. Has anyone had this in a horse and what can we expect? How likely is it that this is a bone chip? Between refusing to tie, kicking at the farrier, a possible life-long lameness issue, a back problem, and being stupid when taken form pasture buddies, I have to say, it's not looking good for this horse. She was super impressed with him and what a good boy he's been, but something has gone off the rails.

Should add the horse up until injured was also being ridden by a young teen who does not make him be good! Who let's him do whatever he wants, however he wants to. This not how HD rides. She is very bossy and obnoxious, horses must BE GOOD AND LISTEN! We wonder if this lack of insisting on good behaviour has led to...bad behaviour?

2 Re: Innjured leg, bone chip? on Fri Aug 30, 2013 1:02 pm

coopslave

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Pain can lead to worse behaviour than normal.
Soreness in the back can often be directly related to hind limb problems. Sometimes problems in the back legs is not found until the back gets that sore. So my thoughts are that relieving pain in the back may not help things unless the leg is fixed.

Swelling around the joint. There are things around a joint called synovial pouches. They can fill with joint fluid when stressed. Is the fluid around the hock or above it? You usually see this fluid in the fetlock joints, but I know all joints have synovial pouches that can fill. Once the pouches have been stretched they are more easily filled with fluid. Ever heard of wind puffs?

I had a very good event horse with chips in his front fetlocks. Didn't even know he had them. This was a phenomenal horse, much to good for me. I had him sold for decent money as he had 4 star potential. Chips showed up in the prepurchase xrays. Bummer. Removing chips is very expensive, but worth it if the horse is worth it. My horse was sold, for a lot less money of course, and new owner had chips removed.

I think xrays and ultrasound are the only things that may tell you what is actually going on. If he passed the flexion test not sure if there is anything wrong with the joint. Sounds more like infection, but you said the vet ruled that out.

My philosophy is very different than many. I believe there is so many really good horses out there I am not interested in the idiots!

3 Re: Innjured leg, bone chip? on Fri Aug 30, 2013 2:00 pm

appway

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My philosophy is very different than many. I believe there is so many really good horses out there I am not interested in the idiots!
Well said Coop

4 Re: Innjured leg, bone chip? on Fri Aug 30, 2013 2:15 pm

uno

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We are mostly of the same philosophy.

What is unclear here though is what came first, the injury or the idiot?

This recent behaviour is OUT OF CHARACTER for this horse!

The not tying issue is a glitch that came long before we had him.

HD is having dark thoughts about the boy. I am coaxing her towards trying to solve the back issue and maybe see if the chiro/accu vet can help the joint too. I suggested bringing horse home, away from his buddies, and spending some time making him be good, even if it's just ground work. Even leading he tends to barge and gape around like a moron. So if all he is able to do is walk nicely on lead, then that's a step towards getting him back in the mind set of being good. Other young rider has let him get away with murder.

Plus, every horse can have an 'off' day. Yes, he took a shot at the farrier and that is not good! BUt he's never even threatened to before! So, who knows? A bee sting? A pinched back? A headache?

Coop, I do know about stocking up and wind puffs. This is neither. This is like a monster case of water-on the-knee. Like a water filled balloon beneath his skin. Not hot, not painful, just watery and huge all over the rear knee joint. Looks awful.

Vet suggested NOT doing x-rays or ultrasound unless we decided to operate. Also said x-rays do not always detect a bone chip and surgery does not always help the problem. So...no point going further unless we are sure we want horse under the knife. Have decided to wait and see what the leg does, but we are going to treat the back pain.

5 Re: Innjured leg, bone chip? on Fri Aug 30, 2013 2:40 pm

coopslave

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When you say knee, do you mean the hock or the stifle?  The stifle of the horse is actually their knee, like on a dog, but most people call the hock the knee. Or when you say rear knee joint to you mean back of the front leg?

I said wind puff to help with what synovial fluid can look like, but on different joints it looks different and their are various degrees of it for sure.  Just used the wind puff for a visual cue. Does the fluid come down with work?  

I will say I disagree with the vet.  Xrays and ultrasound are tools to find if a horse has an issue that may need surgery.  Once you find out what it is then you make the decision. I have to say your vet sounded very wishy washy to me.  Chips do not always need surgery except in the case of high performance or position.  I have to say I have never heard of a good vet doing xrays and not finding a chip if it is there and suspected.  More likely it is like my case and they are not suspected and found.

My cutting horse has been having some fluid in the offside pastern.  Both above and below.  Getting quite large after hard work, and coming down with work.  Not lame.  It concerned me and he was not himself at the last show I was at so we took him for an ultrasound.  Wanted to rule out a suspensory issue.  Both suspensories and deep flexors scanned fine.  Just a little strain on the fetlock and fluid accumulation.  Just telling you this to show it can be used as a tool to find out what could be wrong.

I agree, horses can have an off day.  I suppose it depends to the degree you are happy to put up with as off.  For me an off day is horse reaching for grass as I lead it, or not moving over when I ask, when I am saddling.  Leaping at HD and attacking the farrier is more than an off day.  From what you have said in the past this horse has more issues than an off day, but that is my personal opinion.  You have to do what you think is right, it is your horse.
If I am having a off day, from a headache or sore back, I do not punch hubby in the head and push him over and I think our horses have the same responsibility to us as they are very large, dangerous animals.

I thought that you wanted opinions and outside thoughts.  I know I do not always come across in the right way.  My personal thoughts on some things are strong and can seem harsh.  I was truly trying to be helpful.  Hope you find the answer you want.

6 Re: Innjured leg, bone chip? on Fri Aug 30, 2013 3:22 pm

uno

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Coop, I DO find you helpful! That is why I posted here, for help!

Re: right name for right part, it's the hock. (had to Google a horse map) The middle joint on his hind leg. THe knee, or what I think of as his knee.

I cannot say if swelling goes with work because since first being lame, no one has been on him. Just the last day when HD hopped on bareback and almost knocked him down. I do know that cold hosing it does not change the swelling.

Most of the vets we deal with here are, to my way of thinking, pretty practical minded. Not every horse is going to be worth the cost of surgery and that is a horrible truth. SO instead of pushing us to go ahead with diagnostics, they say leave the diagnostics until you have decided if you want to go forward or not. IF you decide to go for surgery THEN they'll start with x-rays or ultra sounds. But if taking the wait-and-see approach, those tests are still there when you have decided whether to have surgery or retire horse or destroy horse.

Horse Daughter is firmly in your corner on what is a bad day. In her mind a horse is allowed to yank his foot away from farrier during a bad day. He is NEVER allowed to take a kick at the farrier. I asked, was it a half hearted kick, a little warning swipe? NO! It was a full blown attempt to knock the farrier's head off. She was mortified and does not blame the farrier for refusing to continue.

I do not believe in keeping animals that clearly should not be kept. We have done what we can to make sure the leg is not in chronic pain, now we are treating the back and I think I have talked daughter into giving him one more chance to pull himself together. But as far as she's concerned she doesn't know if she can trust him. He has never kicked at her or anyone else in the time we've had him. This is a first.

We've owned 8 horses and 3 of them have left here dead. I don't want anymore dead horses in my life! AAAGGGHHHH! Sad 

7 Re: Innjured leg, bone chip? on Fri Aug 30, 2013 7:46 pm

Echo 1

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I think you should rule out pain as the cause of his change in behavior before making any drastic decisions. Horses are not human and therefor do not react like we do. No I would not punch my hubby in the head if I was in pain BUT I am not a horse. If lifting the leg caused a back spasm or a shooting pain from a pinched nerve the horse will lash out.....Horses are reactionary. I might stop and think "hubby didn't cause my pain, it's not his fault"..... but I don't believe a horse has that ability. We had the most wonderful, sweet dog that would come into a clinic where I worked YEARS ago. A more delightful pet you would not be able to find often. She went to the care home where her owner worked and was fantastic with all the residents there! One day she was hit by a car. Her pelvis was broken in several places and because of the pain she had savaged her owner's arms. She was only trying to help her and bring her in to the clinic. I agree that a truly nasty animal should be put down but please make sure that there is not a reason first!

8 Re: Innjured leg, bone chip? on Fri Aug 30, 2013 7:55 pm

Echo 1

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I would also like to add that when under stress horses will do crazy things....our mare had twins at 22 years of age. She is the most delightful sweet mare you could ever hope to meet. Having the foals stressed her to the point where she came at me, pinned me against the fence and was (in my mind) going to rip me apart.....if not for my hubby's ninja like fence climbing skills she may have. He scaled the fence and punched her in the head literally as she was about to bite me in the face....yes I saw teeth. I was with that mare when SHE was born, imprinted her and raised her. My kids climbed her legs and pulled on her tail. If ANYONE had told me she could be so vicious I would have ordered them off our property....she simply didn't have it in her, or so I thought until she was placed under so much stress she could not deal with it. That was the only time she ever acted like this EVER!

9 Re: Innjured leg, bone chip? on Fri Aug 30, 2013 8:29 pm

uno

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Thanks Echo. Glad Ninja Hubby saved you from mother mare! Yes, animals react in ways we do not, they do not share our thought processes. From living in bear country I have learned that injured bears are Bad News. Why should it be different with other animals?

We will get another vet in to look over the back and see if that can be helped.

I hope before Horse Daughter makes any drastic decisions, she attempts to find out if there is an obvious cause and obvious cure to this change in personality. And I do believe she is making that attempt by calling in the local horse back vet. (the vet does not arrive on horse back, the vet works on horse's back. You know what I mean Question  )

10 Re: Innjured leg, bone chip? on Fri Aug 30, 2013 9:33 pm

coopslave

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You are right, they are not human, but it is a respect thing. In the horse herd there is respect and a pecking order. There is a thought process, although not the same as ours, and decisions made with every action, don't fool yourself about it. Teeth and feet are pure aggression, no question about it and you can make all the excuses you want. I don't personify my animals, I suppose it was a bad example.
A horse that respects you will not try to dominate you. It is a survival thing. People think what they want about horses.
Many people treat them like pets, they are large dangerous animals. Anyways, I will stay out of it now. Good luck with the gelding I hope it is a good outcome for you.

11 Re: Innjured leg, bone chip? on Fri Aug 30, 2013 10:33 pm

uno

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True about the pecking order! I always seem to be at the bottom of it. They rarely abuse Horse Daughter, but me! I always seem to be in the line of fire. They know I'm afraid of them and they use it to their advantage.

12 Re: Innjured leg, bone chip? on Fri Aug 30, 2013 10:51 pm

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I agree that you need to eliminate the pain before re-evaluating the horse's behavior.

I think that OTTB and ISA Brown hens have a lot in common. Both are meant to perform early, perform well, and then ...? There comes a point in their lives where their usefulness is outweighed by the problems that keep cropping up. An ISA has maybe two good years, an OTTB, maybe four, or six, or ten ... they're not bred to last 30 years, that's for sure.

I have gripes with the racing industry just because of the way they raise youngsters and stick them into training far too early. They raise them in a way that doesn't encourage bone density to form, and then they're riding them before they're two. Is it any wonder that they break down so often, and so early? I wouldn't own one for all the silk in China, though I have ridden/trained them for others when I was young and dumb and apparently had a death wish.

http://www.partridgechanteclers.com

13 Re: Innjured leg, bone chip? on Fri Aug 30, 2013 11:52 pm

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My opinion is seek a second opinion. How can you even decide if it surgical if you dont know what the heck is going on? Did the vet aspirate the swelling? Send it for cytology?

I have a hard time believing it is possible OCD lesions. It sounds like an acute injury to me. It amazing how injuring one body part can affect the rest of the horse. Because they have to compensate it causes strain and pain in places that are not necessarily the source.

I have a mare with ligament issues. She now has severe arthritis in her probably her hips, stifles and hocks due to the stretching of the ligaments and the changing angles in her hind limbs. That causes her the most pain not the actually ligaments.

OTTB are also prone to stress fractures especially in their pelvis. I went to a lecture once that found in post mortom ottb that 80% had pelvic stress fractures.

I would defiantly seek a second opinion. Get some diagnostics. Definitely try chiro and acupuncture. I had a friend whos ottb pelvis locked and it took intensive chiro to get him back to normal and then she went on to continue to compete him for many more years.

http://pauluzzifamilypoultry.webs.com/

14 Re: Innjured leg, bone chip? on Tue Sep 03, 2013 8:45 am

coopslave

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Uno, it has taken me a couple of days to find this again.  It is an interesting book.
Good info on the hock.  I am not sure if the link will come up on the page I was looking at, but look up Bog Spavin, page 204.  Was thinking more about what you were saying you were dealing with, is this what it looks like? Thoroughpin is another thing it may be. Not covered completely in this book online as the pages that cover it are not included, but google it.
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

If you don't think it is that, you may find something else in there that helps.

15 Re: Innjured leg, bone chip? on Tue Sep 03, 2013 9:08 am

coopslave

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Here is a good picture of thoroughpin. It is a fairly big one. Like wind puff, they can be different sizes.

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

From here: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

Funny if it was bog spavin or thoroughpin the vet didn't pick it up.

16 Re: Innjured leg, bone chip? on Tue Sep 03, 2013 9:40 am

uno

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Thank you for the info, Coopslave. I have not been able to get the one page to load, we have internet troubles.

THe swelling does not quite look like the photo. In the photo the swelling is well defined (starts here, stops here). WIth the horse, the swelling is more gradual without the clearly defined edges. With our horse the swelling also covers the rear view of the hock. Looking from behind it is harder to notice that knee bone because it is hidden with squishy, watery swelling.

Whatever this swelling is, it is the result of an acute injury. We've had the horse for 2 years and he's never even stocked up. Then one day he does something in the pasture and is swelled up and lame.

Had vet #1 look at the leg and you all know what he said, might be a bone chip, wait and see. We are now waiting on vet #2, who does acupuncture and chiropractic. We hope she can treat whatever back pain might have caused the horse to try and kill the farrier.

COop, I will try and load that page later. We have better internet service at different times of the day.

17 Re: Innjured leg, bone chip? on Tue Sep 03, 2013 9:53 am

coopslave

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Don't worry about trying to load the bog spavin information as it doesn't sound like what it is anyways. Sounds more like a capped hock really if it is right at the back, covering what you would probably call the knee cap.
If it is Winfield vet, she is good equine vet. Not cheap but good with Acupuncture and Chiro and should be able to fix his back up. I use her husband often.

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