Ongoing subtle lameness, suggestions for next steps welcomed!

Jango

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I've had ongoing lameness issues with my mare since April. She's a 5 year old 15hh Irish mare. It's pretty subtle, but ultimately means she can't do anything I want to do. I thought I'd post on here to see if anyone else has anything else we could try... either medically or ridden. Sorry this is very long!

She has been diagnosed and treated for mild hock arthritis, she has 2 kissing spines and we found healed collateral ligament damage in her foot. She was scoped for ulcers and was completely clear. 6 weeks ago she went to the specialist vets and we blocked her whole front leg and back and she was still 1 tenth lame on a circle on the right fore and showing the discomfort with the nerve blocks in. She has had foot MRI and x-rays on that leg. She is miserable in canter on a circle (field or arena) ears back, swishing tail. Specialist vets suggested bar shoes in front, but that hasn't helped. On a hack she is ears back in the transition but perfectly happy cantering on the straight.

The physio agrees she isnt happy on a circle and the issue is coming from her right foreleg. She said her back is soft and moving well and back end is good. She's sound on the straight, but 1 to 2 tenths lame on a circle. The physio is fantastic on lameness and I really trust her.

Any ideas on what could make a horse very unhappy to canter and bend and slightly lame that isn't ulcers, back or foot ligaments?! I've ran out of insurance money, but happy to pay for additional cheaper diagnostics. We x-rayed her shoulder but nothing here.

My options are: give up, full loan out as a happy hack. This is fine for her but pretty dire for me as I already have one loss of use horse out on loan.

Turn away for 6 months. She's been pretty much exclusively light hacking for 6 months now and that hasn't either made her any worse or better, so I doubt this will change with turning away, but you never know? Negative is it will prevent me from claiming loss of use, also rubbish for me as I won't have a horse to look after and ride, no point getting a loan for 6 months and due to covid/more time nobody at my yard needs their horses riding.

Box rest her for 3 months or something, in case there's another soft tissue issue somewhere that needs to heal. Negatives of this are it will be bad for her hocks and horrible for her.

Other options gratefully recived!! Would be happy to send away to somewhere like rockley, I couldn't do barefoot rehab on my yard and there isn't anywhere better I could move to from that perspective locally.

I can't keep her and just hack, I love hacking twice a week and I've tried this year to enjoy it but it's not enough. I've worked out for myself I need to be able to train and work towards something. I wanted to event and dressage with her, I'd be happy to do something else... (Not endurance) but everything I can think of involves cantering circles. E.g. workers. Could do le Trec but there doesn't seem to be much here in the northwest. Other ideas would be good! It would need to be ridden, I'm not interested in clicker training or anything.

I won't sell her, she would be drugged up and sold on as she's a super, talented little mare. Everyone on the yard thinks I'm mad, a significant proportion of the horses on my yard are more lame than her and their owners just crack on obliviously. She would go and get 70% in an unaff prelim tomorrow. But when you know they aren't right you just can't ignore it.

So lots of ramblings but open to any suggestions on anything really. I'm heartbroken and I don't know what to do for the best for me and little Goosey.
 

FFAQ

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Elbow? I recently watched a dissection of a young horse who had a lot going on, and both elbows were very arthritic...
 

CMcC

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Everyone on the yard thinks I'm mad, a significant proportion of the horses on my yard are more lame than her and their owners just crack on obliviously. She would go and get 70% in an unaff prelim tomorrow. But when you know they aren't right you just can't ignore it.
Sorry, nothing helpful to suggest. Just wanted to say well done for doing the right thing by her. It is awful when you see horses that are obviously lame and when someone comments the owner says “It’s OK he/she is always like that”
 

Flicker

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Argh what a horrible predicament for you.
My only experience of mild ear back, tail swishing lameness turned out to be SI related and I ended up PTS in the end.
It’s really tricky to suggest potential treatment or management options without a diagnosis.
I am really sorry you are in this situation. Hope you get some answers.
 

ihatework

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If you have insurance money left I might bone scan, but you’ve probably only got limited areas left to flag something up on. Definitely definitely isolated to right fore? No chance you are seeing a subtle diagonal from the left hind (thinking psd or the like?).

But honestly at 5 years I’d be thinking a bit of a croc. Ultimately I’d probably turn away to see if Dr. Green sorts it out.
 

Jango

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Thanks everyone! Some really helpful responses.
Sorry, nothing helpful to suggest. Just wanted to say well done for doing the right thing by her. It is awful when you see horses that are obviously lame and when someone comments the owner says “It’s OK he/she is always like that”
Thank you ☺️ Sometimes I wish I wasn't so soft but it's better for her!

How much money is left on the insurance
500 quid or so, I can also pay for things too. I would say another 1k from me on diagnostics.

Elbow? I recently watched a dissection of a young horse who had a lot going on, and both elbows were very arthritic...
I think the elbow was included in the shoulder x-ray and that was clear of any pathologies but I will double check thank you
 

Amymay

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But honestly at 5 years I’d be thinking a bit of a croc. Ultimately I’d probably turn away to see if Dr. Green sorts it out.
In an older horse, individually each issue could mean retirement (or certainly a much shortened ridden career). Combined at any age I’d say it was game over. You’ve nothing to loose by turning away until spring. But I’d be prepared to give her the summer and then say au revoir. (Sorry if that’s a bit cold).
 

fredflop

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Think I’d be tempted to throw out in the field until spring. Also could be worth speaking to Rob Jackson, he can find issues that others can’t.

apart from that could it be that your horse could do with a good “rehab” type programme? Building up muscles in all the right areas to help the body move properly?
 

Marigold4

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My young horse has subtle intermittent left fore lameness. I had his back xrayed before I started him so I know it's not to do with any kissing spines. Completely stopped riding when first noticedthe lameness. Xrayed foot and changed foot balance based on the xrays. Xrays showed concussive inflammation in both fronts. Treated with bute. Nerve blocked foot. Nothing. Flexion tests very good. Xrayed shoulder and elbow. Nothing. So sounds similar. Tom Beech osteopath is coming today - I'll let you know if he finds anything.
 

HobleytheTB

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I was also going to suggest left hind could be source of the problem, and then making right fore sore by overloading it. If you have the money left you could scan hind suspensories, stifles etc.
 

jj_87

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I notice you are in the North West, i wondered if you had been to see Peter at Hirds? It may be worth getting a second opinion/ work up from a new set of eyes. You absolutely are doing the right thing for her, sending lots of hugs, these horses are the worst emotional roller coasters!
 

Annagain

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I was also going to say elbow - we had a problem with my share horse and it took us 5 months (and a bone scan) to trace it to his elbow. I don't think shoulder x-rays do show up elbow issues - or his didn't anyway. It would be consistent with her still showing signs of discomfort with nerve blocks too as (so the vet told me) the nerve block for the elbow is very specific - nerve blocking the leg completely doesn't affect the elbow and nerve blocking the elbow doesn't affect the leg. The good news is his was medicated 4 years ago and we haven't had any recurrence - he is 24 now though.

I think if you can afford it, a bone scan would be the quickest way to find the problem - after 5 months of chasing the issue (his was intermittent so not straightforward and we had a major set back when he reacted to a nerve block and it took 3 months to get him back to a stage where we could work him enough to get him lame enough to try again) we had our answer within 2 days of being in hospital. If you can't, blocking / x-raying the elbow would be the next port of call for me.
 

Hallo2012

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honestly with all that at 5......i wouldn't throw any more money at her.

Id PTS before winter.....shes never going to be sound enough to do anything you want and is a huge risk of being pushed unless you can loan as a hacker or companion but close to home/see her weekly.

Realistically with all this still causing issues in very light work, even with treatment anything else you find wont go away either.

sorry :(
 

Griffin

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Sounds a little like my mare who had an SI injury.

I had an osteopath out to mine (three times over the course of three months) and put her on a high spec joint supplement. We are now six months on and she is sound and much happier to work than she has ever been. However, we did follow the osteopath's recommendations to the letter of building her back up gradually over two months (in hand walking, then ridden walking, then ridden trot, then ridden canter).
 

Barlow

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That’s a lot going on for a five year old... if you think it could be SI then there’s quite a good video somewhere on here showing top 5 or so indicators that horse is uncomfortable in SI.

I think I would be inclined to either turn away for a few months or get a second opinion from a vet. But I’d be mentally preparing for news which may mean turning away isn’t an option.
 

HayleyUK

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Having been where you are now twice before, save yourself the heartache.

I spent 4 years back and forth to one of the best lameness vets in the country - did everything we could but ultimately she had too many conflicting pathologies to manage and as soon as we fixed one thing, we unearthed another. She’s field sound after a DDFT injury to a foreleg, KS, PSD both hinds and will stay with me now being a very dramatic lawnmower.

The pony that was meant to take over from her and be my ridden horse was a bit of a train wreck. Bought her direct from the breeder at 3, backed her and she was brilliant. Started cantering and she started rearing.
Vet, jabbed stifles and turned away for 6 months at 4, 3 months hacking and then back into light work in the school. Rearing again. Got to the point I couldn’t walk 4 steps without it going up. She wasn’t field sound so was PTS at 5.

If you’re of that mindset and can afford to keep her as a field pet along side something you can ride, great - if you can’t, I’d consider if she’s ever going to do the job for you - and if she’s unhappy popping up into canter, if it would be kinder to let her go rather than risk her being passed around or pushed to do something she physically can’t.
 

ycbm

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honestly with all that at 5......i wouldn't throw any more money at her.

Id PTS before winter.....shes never going to be sound enough to do anything you want and is a huge risk of being pushed unless you can loan as a hacker or companion but close to home/see her weekly.

Realistically with all this still causing issues in very light work, even with treatment anything else you find wont go away either.

sorry :(

This in spades. Sorry I can't be any more positive.
.
 

Asha

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Issues with the neck can also present as lame in the forelimbs.

What a shame for the mare , she sounds very uncomfortable.

Hope you find the answers
 

Trouper

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After I had been through every veterinary test known to man for my boy and still could not be certain what the centre of the problem was, I was put in touch with Tom Beech (the Osteopathic Vet). His holistic examination identified a number of things - sadly not treatable - but I pts with a calm mind knowing that I had gone that extra mile for him and that the final decision was the right one.
 
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