Intermitent Lamness!! Help

Fello

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14 October 2004
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My horse has been intermitently lame for about 8 months now. Only very slightly, 1/10th in the off fore leg and only on a circle with that leg on the inside, he trots up completely sound on concrete in a straight line. Unfortunately he threw a rather huge splint on that fore leg several months ago and when he was not quite right again, I put it down to that. I waited for about 6 weeks and he was stilll on and off not right so I took him to the veterinary clinic for nerve blocks and x rays. They blocked out the coffin joint and navicular separately and he was still unsound but when they blocked the foot altogether he was almost ok. We took x rays that showed good bone and no sign of any problems or abnormalities. The vet said that he was led to believe that the very mild lameness my horse was showing was probably down to bruising of the laminae area as due to the blocks and x rays that was the only other area the problem could be in. I was advised to carry on working him (as it was so mild, some people could not even recognise it) but only on a soft surface and my farrier was advised to carry on shoeing him but be aware of giving good heal support and keeping the toes short. Within two weeks my horse was sound and we have been doing great until.........................Saturday i was riding in the school and he didnt feel quite right again on the right rein. I am at the end of my teather and really dont know what to do next. Has anyone had any similar problem or any ideas as to where to go next? I am going to ring my vet again tomorrow. I already use a remidial farrier and I am just worried that my horse is never going to stay sound. The only coincidence I have is that the splint has flared up again but if it was the splint causing the problem in the first place then why did he go sound when blocking out the foot. Many thanks for reading and I look forward to recieving your replies.
 

Jemayni

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I think the splint is a scapegoat. If he bocked out in the foot, it is obviously unreted to the splint,. Moreover once fully formed a plint is unlikely to cause further problems

And yes I constantly have problems with intermittent lameness. The best thing I ever did in an attempt to get to the bottom of the problem, was change vets. I had a youngish vet, who kept giving me random excuses & chasing random possibilities. I rang the vet practise and said I didnt want to cause offense, however I wanted a second opinion, from a specialist. I took my horse to the vets & he was seen by one of the partners in the practise, who gave me a temporary solution to the problem & provided me with a long term prgonosis. The best I could ask for.
 

dozzie

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Have you had your horse's back checked? My horse has just been diagnosed with sacroiliac disease and shows slight intermittent lameness on a circle so could be a back problem.
The back prob can cause concussion probs in front feet, just a thought.

PS Not saying its the same as my GG.
 

Bess

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I'm not disagreeing with the other posters but I don't understand why nerve blocking a FOOT/HOOF would rule out splint soreness a second time? My horse was out of action for about 4 months last year with a recurrent splint problem.

I had a similar problem with my first horse, he felt unlevel but no-one else could see it. It was not a happy outcome because he had DJD in both front forelegs on both lower joints.

That is obviously not the case with yours as you've had xrays done.
 

JLav

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If I'm reading the OP's post correctly I think the nerve block to the foot improved the lameness therefore it wouldn't be the splint making the horse lame. If the splint was the problem then a nerve block to the foot would make absolutely no difference to how lame the horse looked.

I would second the poster in New Lounge who mentioned MRI scans as alot of soft tissue damage in the foot is only diagnosed this way. If the x-rays are ok but there is definately pain in the foot somewhere then the MRI should show up the problem. You would need to go to a specialist equine clinic for this as not many places have them.
 

dixie

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If it's not the splint causing the lameness then it sounds like it could be the end result of something else bothering him.

Could you ask for a referral and get him properly checked out - 8m is a long time to not be quite right and to not know why? I'm going through a similar thing at the moment where my horse goes sound for 5/6 months then hopping lame but only on the right rein for several weeks and then sound again.

I initially had the Physio out to check his back as it was definitely sore. when he was still lame both the Vet and Physio came out together to look at him.

We've decided the next route is to go for a bone scan, which I think covers the whole body, and then go from there. I am sure it is very expensive but with any luck we'll get to the end route of the problem.
 

Walder

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not being experienced in this sort of thing and not wishing to 'nick' someone elses post - i didnt know that a back problem could cause lameness (im a bit dumb!) mine has been slightly lame for a little while now - had her back done last week she was sore under saddle) trotted her out a little bit yesterday and she seems a bit better - thanks you guys you learn something new all the time on here - great help!!!
 

Fello

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14 October 2004
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Thankyou for all your replys, please keep them coming!!
Yes Amy May the splint is near the knee, if you think of the biggest splint that you have ever seen and times it by 100, that is how big it is. Golf ball size outwards and it is twice as long as a golf ball. Do you think that could be significant even though he blocked out sound in the foot?? Many thanks
 

Amymay

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I would say it was hugely significant. Call your vet for a look at it - but I would say you're looking at a good period of time off (months not weeks) and extensive treatment if it's that big.

No wonder the poor love is going lame.
 

BethH

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Just to make you feel a bit better, mine threw a splint took ages to settle and would flare up from time to time, each time he went slightly lame. I was advised to keep working him quietly and quiet turn out (as he was young box rest would have made him more likely to cannon around!) It did settle down after a few months and we were able to carry on. It has gone down loads and 2 years on it is much less noticeable. I think splints are very sore for horses and the ground in the fields has been very hard the last few weeks so he may have a little bit of concussion making him a bit tender, just take it very easy, I think the splint could be the cause if it is as large as you say it could affect the whole area around it.
 

Fello

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Why would he go sound when they block out the foot if it was the splint causing the problem may i ask? Many thanks for taking the time to reply.
 

Amymay

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Splint development can change rapidly - and they can have good and bad days with them.

Did your vet examine the splint when you had the investigations done? How big was it then, and how long ago were the investigations done???
 

JLav

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Although I agree with what you say about splint development etc if the lameness improves significantly when the foot is nerve blocked, as the OP stated, it's unlikely to be the splint causing the pain.
 

Amymay

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By the description in the OP the nerve blocks etc. were done months ago when the splint was small or non existent. So my money would still be on the splint if it is where she says it is.

But obviously the vet is the man for the diagnosis ultimately - for a splint to be that huge and untreated is bizzare.
 
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The splint was in existance with the first bout of lameness but has grown twice the size within days. I have spoken to my vet and I have arranged to bring him back to the clinic. The vet does not recommend having the splint removed but may inject it with steroid to help settle it. What would you expect the vet to do with it please Amy May?? Thanks again for your replies.
 
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