Recurring Tendon Injury - Long!!!

Dolphin

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Joined
23 January 2006
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81
I have already posted this in veterinary but did not get a huge response (although the ones I did get were very much appreciated). So I am risking a telling-off by posting it again in here! I have almost made my mind up what to do but am still dithering a little
which is why I am posting again.

I would appreciate any thoughts on the following which I will keep as short as poss.

My mare injured her inferior check ligament approx 3.5 years ago. As she does not box rest well (runs round and round box) she was turned out for 6 months and was then successfully bought back into work (although I took it very very slowly - 18 months in total).

She was then kicked in the field right on top of the scar tissue, which my vet thinks weakened it, and managed to sustain the same injury a couple of days later whilst turned out. This time round she had 9 months of field rest, and I commenced ridden work 10 days ago (albeit it just 5 minutes in walk!) after a good scan and on the advice of my vet.

Last week, I got her in for her walk and she had "done" her tendon again. My vet came and the scan showed that she has ripped the ball of scar tissue away from the rest of the tendon, i.e. she has not damaged any healthy tendon, just scar tissue. However, she is sound on it!!!! The vet thinks this is because the only injured tissue is scar tissue which does not have many blood vessels etc running through it. As this is the third time she has done it now, the vet gave me 3 options:

1) Turn away for another 9 months although she said this is exactly what I have just done, and it hasn't helped a bit in that I am back to square one.

2) Have a op to remove the inelastic scar tissue completely. She would need 8 weeks box rest after and my vet said her leg would be "extremely vulnerable" during these 8 weeks. Due to my mare not being able to cope well with box rest, we have ruled this out.

3) Give it all a month to settle down again, and then ONLY if she is still sound, commence my ridden walking work very very cautiously. The idea behind this is that gentle exercise during the healing process as opposed to after the healing process may promote the injury to heal in a more elastic way than it has previously.

My vet has gently swayed me towards option 3 but I would really appreciate any opinions/advice as this really is the last chance for her. I did ask which option would be better for her long term health as opposed to being able trying to get her back into work but my vet said whichever option I took was irrelevant - my mare should be able to live a happy life retired and turned out if need be whichever route I took.

Sorry this is so long!
 

RachelB

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Without actually knowing you or the horse, I would tend towards option one but I would up the rest to 18 months... mainly because when turned away, theoretically the horse is doing its own gentle walk work. My horse with a recurring tendon injury (second time injured we think) was turned away for a year in total; 17 months off work. I was advised that nine months would be enough for me to then start walk work but Maiden had other plans and kept going lame for apparently un-related things. In the end she dictated when she came back and I am positive the extra time off did her the world of good. Time really is crucial in the healing of tendons, all these new technologies and therapies cannot replace 18 months off work IMO.
However, if your vet is advising option three, I would personally go with that. My vet gave me three options when my horse was diagnosed only because she HAD to give me the options. She was very relieved when I opted to forego the surgery and everything else and just stick her in a field for as long as possible (and told me so). She tried her best not to sway me too much and just give advice but I could tell she was against the surgery anyway. I trust my vet implicitly with my horse's life so I trusted her to know what was best. Luckily for my vet we haven't had to call it a day yet and Maiden is sound walking out for 15 mins a day in hand, much to my and Maiden's delight

Good luck, sounds as if you'll need it!
 

hellybelly6

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24 June 2008
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3,303
Last time I said 3 and am sticking to it, because when my horse had split his DDFT and surrounding tissue, it was gentle, light regular exercise to avoid adhesions and to align the tendon fibres which was recommended.

My thoughts are with you. Its not a nice position to be in.
 

Dolphin

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Joined
23 January 2006
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81
Well I'm about 99% decided on option 3 now so thanks for the replies. I'm so bl**dy indecisive when it comes to my own horse!
 

dozzie

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29 November 2006
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Location
Hampshire
Go with your vet. Thinking on ligament injuries has changed and gentle, controlled exercise is recommended for some injuries as it will help the ligament to heal better.
 
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