Long term lameness.....any hope?!

ellerslie83

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10 April 2011
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127
Location
Windermere
Bob is my partners horse a 16 hand Irish cob probably with shire/draft blood as he has enormous shoulders. He was born in Ireland and is about 14 yrs old. He was previously used for showing and dressage.

In 2004 he presented with general lameness, which was diagnosed as sidebone, in both front feet, worse in the right. At the time, sidebone was the only diagnosis found and Bob continued in light working, waiting for the ossification to finish.

In February 2006, Bob presented with right foreleg lameness, for which the vet decided to use nerve blocks and this improved Bob’s lameness, however a short time later, he presented with left fore lameness, x-rays showed his sidebone was particularly bad on the right hand side, and remedial farriery was recommended and undertaken, in order to see if any difference was noticed which it wasn't. Again, Bob was kept in light work.
In August 2006 Bob was still lame and had a course of three shockwave therapy sessions but by September 2006 no noticeable improvement. This prompted the vet to recommend field rest for at least three months.
By January 2007, he went sound and was brought back into light work while being treated with bute, which continued until his reassessment in November 2007 when his sidebone was found to be more consolidated and the recommendations of light work and bute were continued, though he started to throw in some bucks when ridden.
In January 2009 Bob went lame again, and further x-rays were taken, which showed no further deterioration in his sidebone, and from that they guessed it must be collateral ligament desmitis and he was prescribed more bute which my partner stopped after a while as he retired Bob to the field and took all shoes off where he remained with companions until I came along in June 2011, when he seemed lame some days and not on others!

I found Bob's feet in need of more attention than they were getting and he was very overweight - about 720kg at rough estimate. I got in a massage therapist who found no particular areas of any tension etc, got in a barefoot trimmer who has got his feet back in good shape, and put him on a strict diet and he's now down to around 680 kg and looks just right - he even has a wither again!

Currently Bob is still often lame at any gait except walk, though it varies and with the vets approval I got him fitted for a saddle and as I am only about 6.5 stone I ride him in walk - well riding is an overestimation - I have just been sitting on him and letting him go and he has been loving it going up and down the bridle path next to his field, the most he has been out is about 30 mins and I've never asked him for anything other walk and he is eager to go out.
However I would like to have him reassessed as it has been a long time and I want to make sure I'm not doing him any damage, so recently I put him on bute again a few weeks ago and he's been more active in the field, though feels exactly the same when I've ridden him.
In terms of reassessing him - we're nervous obviously about the cost - as the estimate shows the whole thing could be £1000 but we're nervous that he's had all these tests before and they mostly showed nothing apart from the sidebone which was already known....so not really sure if we shouldn't skip x-rays and ask for an ultrasound as he didn't have one before?! Anyone got any ideas? He is just a big family pet as I know most would possibly have PTS'd him, but he's not hopping lame and appears calm 'happy' all the time and is in good condition otherwise....any advice? He lives out 24/7 as we thought it best to keep him moving.
 

mightymammoth

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Joined
7 May 2011
Messages
2,950
sounds like you have been on an emotional roller coaster with bob and are really trying to get him sorted I admire you for sticking with it, I found 3 months of lameness soul destroying so goodness know how you are feeling!

I've no knowledge of sidebones but in which part of his leg is the sidebone?
 
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ellerslie83

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Joined
10 April 2011
Messages
127
Location
Windermere
Thanks, it is tricky to know what is best to do, especially as we don't have a big pot of money to throw at it and all those expensive tests last time didn't really come up with anything conclusive apart from the sidebone which we knew about. Sidebone is where the cartilage in the foot turns into bone, and is most common in heavy/draft breeds like Bob is.
 

Cazza525

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Joined
31 July 2009
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1,164
Location
south west devon
I have a similar problem, not sidebone but not really 100% sound since march 22nd last year when she got kicked and fractured a splint. She has good and bad days, no two are the same but it is an emotional struggle....mine is 22years old though.

I am also reluctant to spend any more money. I have made the decision to all but retire her totally...just a potter around the block once or twice a week. I use bute, ranging from none, to half to one a day, dependant on how stiff she is. I gage it daily.

Hugs :(
 
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