Help me make a rational decision!

Birker2020

Well-Known Member
Joined
18 January 2021
Messages
1,934
Someone once said to me that neurological horses are often just classed as “just horrible to ride” he is the horse I want. But, I can’t afford to pay huge bills if the insurance won’t pay out. (
They are horrible but mine was very bad in canter, he used to throw you up in the air, it was like a disunited canter but instead of throwing you sidewards like a disunited does it through you quite forcibly up from the saddle. Of course when I was riding him we didn't know he had wobblers.

In between the ataxia which he displayed on three occasions, he was jumping BS Disco and was fine apart from the odd slip up.

I got Ben Maher once to ride him for me in the collecting ring at the local riding club when I was there at a BS show warming up. I asked him if he knew what the issue was. When he did the funny canter (which wasn't all the time) he was fine. He did it with Ben and he stopped him and reined him back and then asked from canter from halt. This seemed to 'free up' his neck somewhat.

Again and again I had farriers out and chiropractors convinced there was something wrong with him.

In the end he went to Phillip Leverhulme Equine Clinic at Liverpool. He was diagnosed Grade 3, touching on Grade 4 on the neuro tests for wobblers. He had lots of stand up xrays almost like a CT scan where the consultant was able to sections of the vetebrae. He had from memory C4, C6 and C7 and I was told C6 was the worse one to have for some reason I can't remember now.

I was told in my horses case that he was too badly affected and I had to have him PTS - he was only 10.

His ataxia had come on following a fall in the field a few weeks before but the vets I was using at the time were useless and the one woman was convinced he had EHV and wanted to write her thesis about being the first in the Midlands to discover EHV - due to this the wobblers was missed at the time. Anyway after a lot of swabs and lab costs to all the yard as everyone's horse had to be swabbed they decided to let me refer to PL at Liverpool and he was diagnosed with CVM (Cervical veterbrae malformation) and he has to be pts as he was too badly affected to be considered a surgical case.
 

Slightlyconfused

Well-Known Member
Joined
18 December 2010
Messages
9,884
You could try a tail hair test from animal genetics for musclw problems.

To be honest i would either

Turn away for winter

Get a cc and send in saying this is what i want done

There is a place, not sure but i think its centuar biomechanics, that can put sensors on the horse and can pin point subtle lameness etc.

Or go with a thermal imaging company, Vet IR is one i would use, and see if they can help.


Has he been scoped?
 

poiuytrewq

Well-Known Member
Joined
3 April 2008
Messages
12,150
Location
Cotswolds
In your position I would pts.

Somewhere along the line we seem to have forgotten that lame = pain*; it's prevalent in all animals. I see so many limping dogs doing at least twice daily brisk walks around here.

*mechanical lamenesses aside

You've felt him off for a long time. A previous vet said told me that in all but the worst of situations they can't tell/advise pts. That you've had a vet hint so strongly towards that options speaks volumes to me.

The issues that have already been identified are ones that worsen in the majority of cases. It sounds like the vet is expecting to find a lot more if they go looking too.

I know that you are a very caring owner and have had a lot of losses. In the kindest way what you've written reads as if you'll do all that you can to get him back as a riding horse for your sanity after being through so much. I've been where you are, I lost a horse 3yrs in a row and then had 6yrs as vet nurse to a horse with a chronic issue that wasn't bad enough, for him, to pts. That horse was an exracer and an absolute dream too, the kindest horse ever. It was totally heartbreaking.

I don't even think a retirement is much of a blessing these days. Our winters have been so wet and miserable that they are pretty soul destroying.

I honestly do feel for you and I really hope that you get the break that you deserve and a nice, sound horse to enjoy.
This reply has surprised me, not in a bad way! but it’s the one that’s made me think, “ really”
Its the getting him back riding for my own sanity bit. That part is wrong, but, its how I feel like I should feel, I feel like I need to do all this because I’ve lost the last two and even before them I’ve had a string of bad luck. Just genuine crappy luck and I can’t bear the thought of people thinking I just gave up on another one. I have visions of people thinking it’s my fault that another horse went wrong and got pts. This is why I feel i have to do absolutely everything before quitting.

I quite like @Shilasdair idea of turning him away, both chilling out a bit with no pressure and trying again but I do have an open claim and that will write off a further £3000 of possible money for certain because by the time I restart him the year window to claim will be up. It’s an idea though. I can’t turn away properly, he’d still be coming in part of the day etc as do my others who are retired (Hence not wanting another really)

He hasn’t been scoped. We can’t rule out anything neuro, neuro has been confirmed.
 

Antw23uk

Well-Known Member
Joined
3 October 2012
Messages
3,918
Location
Behind you
I havent read the replies but my initial thought is, god you have put him and yourself through too much already and you need to call it a day. I'm amazed no one has said this to you!

In your situation i would not be riding this horse again, he would be retired and either given a nice life as a field ornament or pts to secure his future.
 

Willow1306

Well-Known Member
Joined
20 December 2007
Messages
656
Somewhere along the line we seem to have forgotten that lame = pain*; it's prevalent in all animals. I see so many limping dogs doing at least twice daily brisk walks around here.

*mechanical lamenesses aside
I struggle with this too. It seems that people don't hear lameness and automatically think 'pain', which is what it ultimately is. I think it would be more beneficial if vets used the term 'in pain' more regularly, to try and underline that the animal isn't choosing to move awkwardly, it is doing so to compensate for pain somewhere in the body.

(This is a general musing, not directly targeted at the OP).
 

Antw23uk

Well-Known Member
Joined
3 October 2012
Messages
3,918
Location
Behind you
I struggle with this too. It seems that people don't hear lameness and automatically think 'pain', which is what it ultimately is. I think it would be more beneficial if vets used the term 'in pain' more regularly, to try and underline that the animal isn't choosing to move awkwardly, it is doing so to compensate for pain somewhere in the body.

(This is a general musing, not directly targeted at the OP).
I agree and disagree with you. I will try and dig out the article that said there must be a change in terminology because 'lame' is such a wide and far reaching term that it doesnt always mean 'lame=pain' ... let me try and fin dit before i go too far off topic but im with you on the saying, im just not convinced on how we throw the word around.
 

milliepops

Wears headscarf aggressively
Joined
26 July 2008
Messages
25,083
We can’t rule out anything neuro, neuro has been confirmed.
this is the part that would make me draw a line in the sand and effectively give up - a neuro diagnosis is generally a one-way street sadly, you can sometimes patch them up a bit but on the whole you're just hoping that they don't deteriorate too fast. I have 2 so i know how much it sucks. it really sucks.
They can often present as lame when there's nothing wrong with the legs because of proprioception issues, i think that supports the lameness moving around with no particular reason to it. i think they look better when trotting or cantering because the momentum hides it a bit.
 

poiuytrewq

Well-Known Member
Joined
3 April 2008
Messages
12,150
Location
Cotswolds
Oh ok, I mean I honestly don’t think I’ve put him through a lot 🤷🏻‍♀️ He’s had X-rays and lameness work ups etc.
Hes pretty much been out of work since about January this year, the occasional bit of hacking until I thought something wasn’t right again.
The lameness is so mild that it’s making everything difficult.
He looks amazing, holds weight, loves his food, is really shiny and well in his coat. As above he canters round bucking and playing like any horse.
He’s definitely not a straight forward pts case hence my confusion as to what to do.
 

poiuytrewq

Well-Known Member
Joined
3 April 2008
Messages
12,150
Location
Cotswolds
this is the part that would make me draw a line in the sand and effectively give up - a neuro diagnosis is generally a one-way street sadly, you can sometimes patch them up a bit but on the whole you're just hoping that they don't deteriorate too fast. I have 2 so i know how much it sucks. it really sucks.
They can often present as lame when there's nothing wrong with the legs because of proprioception issues, i think that supports the lameness moving around with no particular reason to it. i think they look better when trotting or cantering because the momentum hides it a bit.
That makes sense. He canters beautifully in a straight line. The faster the better he seems. Guess that’s why.
 

milliepops

Wears headscarf aggressively
Joined
26 July 2008
Messages
25,083
That makes sense. He canters beautifully in a straight line. The faster the better he seems. Guess that’s why.
yeah when the vet came to my gelding he said he thought he had raced with this neck injury that he has and been pronounced sound to run in a straight line, but when i tried to use him for different things, it showed up as a problem.
Mine is occasionally unlevel behind, you never see it when he's lit up because he's a lovely mover and i think that disguises it. I mainly see it when he's quiet after some zoomies, just occasionally he will take a short step. it doesn't stop him setting off again... :rolleyes: We agreed to leave him be rather than start many investigations because he's comfortable at leisure when he chooses what he does, and also he's on borrowed time because I accept the need to have him PTS, i can't collect any more retirees as I'm overstocked. it feels callous and I feel like I'm betraying him but hand on heart i think at the moment he has a good life, he looks ready to go for a ride which is why i know I must PTS to secure his future :(
 

TPO

Well-Known Member
Joined
20 November 2008
Messages
6,955
Location
A ray of sunshine 🌞
This reply has surprised me, not in a bad way! but it’s the one that’s made me think, “ really”
Its the getting him back riding for my own sanity bit. That part is wrong, but, its how I feel like I should feel, I feel like I need to do all this because I’ve lost the last two and even before them I’ve had a string of bad luck. Just genuine crappy luck and I can’t bear the thought of people thinking I just gave up on another one. I have visions of people thinking it’s my fault that another horse went wrong and got pts. This is why I feel i have to do absolutely everything before quitting.
If I've got the right end of thr stick then I think I've felt fairly similar with my last ex racer.

My ex practice changed his record because the vet I got to do a pre purchase examination cocked up. They then lied but I was no match for them and it came down to my word against theirs. So whilst I'd never keep a horse going doe my sake Doobie was never acutely bad to needs pts. It was a low grade chronic thing that rumbled on undiagnosed despite three different practices, a vet hospital, 2 surgeons and 2 surgeries as well as numerous on site procedures.

So a part of my really wanted to prove the original vets wrong and show them how I'd fixed what they'd lied about 😏

The differences I see is that your horse has had a few things diagnosed already that are bummers on their own, never mind if there are also other factors at play.

I truly get the feeling like you have to try every option. Some vets keep.offering options to people when a day should have been called a long time ago.

Being totally pragmatic the money that you could up spending on investigations and treatments to still have a retiree could have bought you a sound horse to enjoy.

I know it's easy from the outside to say pts and it's much harder when it's your horse. After all I'd been through with Doobs I said that no way would I do that again. 6yrs made no difference that if I'd pts the first time I said "if it happens again" he was also such a nice horse/overgrown lap dog that it was so hard not to keep trying for him. It all ended up the same way but with me much worse off financially and mentally. Its wasn't even the surgeries or vets, once insurance ran out, it was the constant need for supplies like poultice, vet wrap and duct tape, switching to cheaper alternatives didn't help that much.

One thing I didn't factor was the emotional costs. The decision to pts was finally made because mum's horse needed pts. Doobs hadn come out of winter as well as normal and I detected a slight heat in a knee along with an occasional short step (that no one else did). I dont have xray eyes but I'd guess at arthritis starting. It sorta dawned that this would be the best he would be before he started going downhill and I'd rather pts a healthy (relatively speaking) horse than have the decision made for me.

Having 2 pts on the same day wasn't fun. I did mum's horse first then doobs. After D went it was like a weight lifted. Don't get me wrong I was heart broken but there was a totally unexpected relief too. Until he was gone I didn't realise how much daily stress I'd had wondering how he was each day and when he might have another flare up etc.

I can only project myself into your shoes but knowing about the neck and neuro I know I'd have the same constant worry that I did with D. That's just me though and thankfully not many others are wired like me!

Again I get it's easy to say and After D I said I was never doing anything drawn out again then (4yrs later) mum's ex racer got really ill with cellulitis. Our vets knows us well and can be straight but even he thought V had a realistic chance so we done everything possible, 24hrs a day at times, for 5wks under vet instructions/advice. At that point the infection worsened and that was it. So really if we'd called it a week in it would have saved an exhausting month of heartache and thousands of pounds (not insured) it is just so hard when you are in it the moment have a relationship with the horse.

I'd worry about neck arthritis going into bad weather season too, but then I'd worry about anything given half a chance 🙄

Just really sorry that you are in this position. I hope you can do whats right for you and your boy without having to consider what others might say.

Take care of yourself
 
Joined
1 July 2004
Messages
57,447
Location
South
What would I do ?
Give him a short but very nice retirement on some nice drugs while I got my head around it and then PTS .
I ( I live with chronic pain ) won’t keep horse in the situation you describe .
So would I. Regardless of what you do he’s not going to become the riding horse you want ☹️
 

poiuytrewq

Well-Known Member
Joined
3 April 2008
Messages
12,150
Location
Cotswolds
yeah when the vet came to my gelding he said he thought he had raced with this neck injury that he has and been pronounced sound to run in a straight line, but when i tried to use him for different things, it showed up as a problem.
Mine is occasionally unlevel behind, you never see it when he's lit up because he's a lovely mover and i think that disguises it. I mainly see it when he's quiet after some zoomies, just occasionally he will take a short step. it doesn't stop him setting off again... :rolleyes: We agreed to leave him be rather than start many investigations because he's comfortable at leisure when he chooses what he does, and also he's on borrowed time because I accept the need to have him PTS, i can't collect any more retirees as I'm overstocked. it feels callous and I feel like I'm betraying him but hand on heart i think at the moment he has a good life, he looks ready to go for a ride which is why i know I must PTS to secure his future :(
They sound pretty similar :(
Interesting to hear from someone else with the same kind of situation.
 

Birker2020

Well-Known Member
Joined
18 January 2021
Messages
1,934
I struggle with this too. It seems that people don't hear lameness and automatically think 'pain', which is what it ultimately is. I think it would be more beneficial if vets used the term 'in pain' more regularly, to try and underline that the animal isn't choosing to move awkwardly, it is doing so to compensate for pain somewhere in the body.

(This is a general musing, not directly targeted at the OP).
It's important to remember that there are different types of unsoundness and they don't all mean pain. I'm not a vet, I've either had personal experience of this (as in the case of the calcification on the suspensory branch causing mechanical lameness) and I've also gained experience from talking to people or from seeing horses effected in these ways:

A horse can be tight in a muscle group for example and because of this he can move in such a way that causes a short stride or a different stride phase that can look like its short striding and therefore lame.

It can also be mechanically lame, calcification is a classic example where there is an issue causing interference with the tendon.

Another example is neck impingement which will cause a different type of stride pattern which may be construed as lameness when perhaps it isn't, again an interference of the stride pattern due to neurological deficit.

So just because a horse looks unsound/lame call it what you will, it doesn't always point to being pain related, although I would admit that in the majority of cases it does.
 

chaps89

Well-Known Member
Joined
8 July 2009
Messages
6,320
Location
Surrey
Honestly, I think I’d stop now.
I spent years and literally thousands of pounds (mine and the insurers) on my mare who had consistent niggles.
I learnt a heck of a lot but I think I also learnt when there’s multiple issues (which it sounds like there are here) sometimes you just you need to say enough is enough. Sorry.
Mine was rarely actually lame but just never quite right, she just had so many issues that on their own were manageable but altogether unfortunately were not.
 

I'm Dun

Well-Known Member
Joined
20 May 2021
Messages
677
It's important to remember that there are different types of unsoundness and they don't all mean pain. I'm not a vet, I've either had personal experience of this (as in the case of the calcification on the suspensory branch causing mechanical lameness) and I've also gained experience from talking to people or from seeing horses effected in these ways:

A horse can be tight in a muscle group for example and because of this he can move in such a way that causes a short stride or a different stride phase that can look like its short striding and therefore lame.

It can also be mechanically lame, calcification is a classic example where there is an issue causing interference with the tendon.

Another example is neck impingement which will cause a different type of stride pattern which may be construed as lameness when perhaps it isn't, again an interference of the stride pattern due to neurological deficit.

So just because a horse looks unsound/lame call it what you will, it doesn't always point to being pain related, although I would admit that in the majority of cases it does.
A tight muscle does hurt though. I also cant see how calcification interfering with a tendon doesnt hurt? And as someone with a neck impingement at c3, I can tell you it really does hurt sadly. Not all the time, but enough that I wouldnt want any horse to live with it.
 

ycbm

Well-Known Member
Joined
30 January 2015
Messages
39,837
I havent read the replies but my initial thought is, god you have put him and yourself through too much already and you need to call it a day. I'm amazed no one has said this to you!

In your situation i would not be riding this horse again, he would be retired and either given a nice life as a field ornament or pts to secure his future.
This. I would not knowingly ride a neuro horse, it's a dangerous enough sport anyway and my experience is that they can go catastrophically unstable at any time. The fact is that they have issues which have been spotted because they don't know where their feet are. I wouldn't get in a car that doesn't know where its wheels are.
.
She also mentioned a few times it might be better to quite while I’m ahead and cut my losses
My experience is that when vets say that they mean "if this horse was mine I would call it quits now and that's what I think you should do too"
 

FestiveFuzz

Well-Known Member
Joined
5 January 2008
Messages
4,320
This reply has surprised me, not in a bad way! but it’s the one that’s made me think, “ really”
Its the getting him back riding for my own sanity bit. That part is wrong, but, its how I feel like I should feel, I feel like I need to do all this because I’ve lost the last two and even before them I’ve had a string of bad luck. Just genuine crappy luck and I can’t bear the thought of people thinking I just gave up on another one. I have visions of people thinking it’s my fault that another horse went wrong and got pts. This is why I feel i have to do absolutely everything before quitting.
This part really resonated with me as having already lost one youngster and now facing a questionable future with my 3yo I absolutely know what you mean when you say you worry about what others will think.

I am exactly the same, but you have to trust your gut with these things and think fudge it (or words to that effect 😉) to what anyone else thinks. Don’t let your fear of what others may think cloud your decision making. I think for the most part in these cases we often don’t truly know what we’d do until we actually find ourselves in that situation. I know after losing my mare I said I’d never put myself through it again with a youngster if the prognosis was poor, but here I am 10 weeks into box rest, having spent several thousand over our insurance limit and now footing a stonking rehab livery bill each month as the vet herself admits it could go either way with my boy and I know right now neither myself or my boy are ready to give up (although I have put in a failsafe of a few close folks who have promised to step in if they ever feel I’ve gone past the point of acting in his best interests as I know I’m far too emotionally invested to necessarily realise if and when I’ve reached that point).

In your case I’d say there’s no harm in seeing what you can find out with the remainder of the insurance money and then going from there with the facts available to you, if nothing more it might ease your conscience somewhat.
 

motherof2beasts!

Well-Known Member
Joined
17 March 2021
Messages
115
I would get his back X-rayed , mine passed the flexions, etc chiro thought maybe issue with hind legs. Had X-rays on legs nothing major found , asked for back X-ray he had severe spondylitis , kissing spine and new bone formations but had passed all the back checks.
 

Trouper

Well-Known Member
Joined
11 May 2015
Messages
1,476
Well I had to put my 6-yr old ex-racer to sleep for multiple issues which we never managed fully to identify - but it was enough to make him a very unhappy horse.

However, that was before I had heard of Tom Beech. In your shoes now, I would write up his case, provide as much vet info as you can get your hands on and let Tom have a look at it. If he thinks there is something he can do well that will be great. If not, then I would pts for his sake, for yours and for all the reasons others have outlined on here.

I am so sorry that this is such a struggle for you as I know how conflicted all this makes you feel.
 

Peglo

Well-Known Member
Joined
1 June 2021
Messages
338
Sorry I have nothing helpful to input other than send best wishes OP!

as for the lameness/pain convo, not sure it applies to horses but I damaged my knee and had to wait a long time for surgery. In that time I fashioned myself a new walk to help evade the pain. A year now after surgery i still have the new walk. It has become an unconscious habit and probably makes me look lame even though it’s fixed. Would be interesting to know if animals would do the same.
 

SEL

Well-Known Member
Joined
25 February 2016
Messages
7,482
Location
Buckinghamshire
Any reason why you couldn't still send him to Sophie as per your original plan and see what she thinks? Might be delaying the inevitable .... but you never know
 
Joined
27 December 2011
Messages
5,341
Location
Shropshire
OP I really feel for you, it sounds like a rotten, soul destroying situation to be in :(
I'm afraid, as someone who also suffers chronic pain, I would very much agree with GS here.
What would I do ?
Give him a short but very nice retirement on some nice drugs while I got my head around it and then PTS .
I ( I live with chronic pain ) won’t keep horse in the situation you describe .
Personally I wouldn't ride a horse with neurological issues, I'd be too scared of potential disasters.

Regardless of what any of us would do though, you know your horse, go with your gut. He's a lucky chap to have such a caring owner xx
 

pistolpete

Well-Known Member
Joined
29 July 2009
Messages
1,857
My old horse was written off by Liphook as a suspected wobbler aged 12. He lived to 22 having time off regularly but also being a really happy hack through the summers too. I sent him to Rockley Farm to go barefoot which definitely helped. He couldn’t bend for toffee and was dangerous to lunge. Had the most peculiar trot but lovely comfy canter. Never bucked great on long rides. Hocks injected a couple of times. Bute in last six months when he needed it. Died of a twisted gut had been for a hack that morning.
 
Top