locked stifle vs. ligament tear

Joined
24 December 2006
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Ontario, Canada
Hello, I have a 3 yr old thoroughbred mare, last raced Nov this year, sold as being sound, bought her 2 weeks ago. Her 4th day here I found her in her stall stumbling, one time extended hind leg back with toe under- vet dx locked stifle. Then this was not seen again. Now she has spasms in that leg (like shock waves going down her leg intermittently). No heat, some swelling to gaskin and stifle area, sometimes pain on touch, did not seem lame. 2nd vet dx same or could be partial ligament tear. Rural area so no xray or ultrasound available. Treatment for both is very different. Any suggestions??
 

Llwyncwn

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16 November 2006
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Muckheap
Really sorry to hear about your new mare and I cant really offer any help. Is it possible for you to box her to an equine clinic for xrays and a scan? Have the vets recommended box rest at all? Please let us know how you get on.
Welcome to the forum by the way.
 
Joined
24 December 2006
Messages
17
Location
Ontario, Canada
The 2nd vet recommended 2 weeks in the stall with bute and see what happens. Not a problem if its a ligament tear, but if it's a locked stifle she should be exercised to build up her hind end. I am realizing I need the tools to dx her. Hard when your in a rural area. For now she is being stalled.

By the way, thanks for the warm welcome.
 

Allykat

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13 March 2005
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Kent
My gelding had a locked stifle when he was younger. He presented the same as your mare. It soon clicked back into place and he was a little sore for a couple of days. He was stiff rather than lame. I don't remember him having any of the other symptoms that you are describing your mare to be having.

Could it also be possible nerve damage radiating from the stifle?? I think I would be inclined to box rest for a couple of days and then start some gentle exercise. Just monitor it closely for any signs of change throughout the rest period and the exercise. If it is just a locked stifle resting wont do it any harm for a few days. If it is more serious it will be more apparent after a litle bit of work.

Good luck and I hope your mare feels better soon
 
Joined
24 December 2006
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Location
Ontario, Canada
Yes, I have been resting her inside for the past 2 days. She came with a bad case of mud fever as well, so the dryness of the stall is good for her. The vet said stall her for a minimum of 2 weeks and put her on bute. I stayed away from the bute and have been applying MSM gel to the gaskin and stifle area. And the swelling has gone down and she has lost some sensitivity to that stifle. Took her for a short walk down the driveway, and when we were done the leg started exhibiting the spasms again. Just a couple times and if you blink you'll miss it. Merry Christmas everyone!
 

seabiscuit

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30 July 2005
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6,228
What is her racing name- have you got the number for her trainer? As this problem happened two weeks after you bought her I would not doubt that she has not had these problems when she was racing and has already had every kind of test/investigation...I would try and get in touch with her trainer and get her to tell you more about her whole story...Would shed some light on what the specifics of her problems are...
 

annie02

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Joined
13 November 2006
Messages
141
It is pretty hard to tell the difference between the two w/o an xray or ultrasound. However, my vet showed me a nifty trick to help rule out stifle injuries...or at least bad ones.

Stand behind your horse, have someone else back her up, slowing but not to slowly. If it is her stifle she will have a very hard time backing up straight. She will swing the injured hind leg in which will make her swerve to the side. With a ligamnet in the lower part of the leg or even higher you will see short steps as she backs up but she should be able to back up straight.

Dont take this as an alternative to an xray or ultrasound but it might help guide you until you can get one.

Also, it sounds like your horse is getting the spasms after she uses the leg....Try doing some streches before and after.

There are 2 good ones. First you can slowly strech the stiffle and and hind quarters by placing your hand on the heal of the horse and under the fetlock (on the back side) and guiding it toward the front leg on the same side. Dont pull but guide it diagnally down toward the front foot. Becareful, if she streches when you arent ready you may get your fingers pinched between the ground and her hoof. Eventually you will be able to strech her right to her front foot a couple inches off the ground.

The second strech is backwards. Hold her foot like you would if you were picking out her foot, again with your hand under the fetlock on the front side guide her foot backwards and slightly down. She will eventually give.

The key is not to force it, just guide. You may want to have a massage therapist out to see her. She/he would be able to tell you which ligament/muscle it is you see spasm and some streches to help.
 
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