Results from vetting, should I stay or should I go?

Orchard14

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Exciting-ish news. I am in the process of deciding whether or not to buy this horse. He's a 16.1hh ISH, bloomin' beautiful looking thing, 7yo, low mileage only competed up to 90/100 unaffiliated, I have a mutual friend with the people who currently own him and he's a nice price. Sounds good so far.

I like this horse so I sent him to the hospital for a vetting including deep x-rays and scans, he trotted up 100% sound including flexion tests, everything normal until we x-rayed the feet.

Copied from the vet report:

"There are a series of small concavities extending into the navicular bone from its lowest, or distal, horizontal border. These are described as synovial fossae and are considered to be within normal limits for size number and shape in this case. In addition to this there is some flattening to the contour of the joint, or articular, surface of the short pastern bone within the coffin joint. The cartilage surface of the joint appears to be intact and while this finding is likely to reflect low-level arthropathy within the coffin joint it is of questionable significance. "

Has anybody heard or experienced any of these things and if so, would you stay or walk away? I can barely understand what all of this means let alone make a decision from it.
Vet basically said - in fewer words - it's low level, it's not causing a problem now, it might do in the future or it might not...He would be with me to event, which is where my concern is.

Sorry I don't have an actual advert for this horse as he isn't officially "on the market". Owner has given me some time to think it over before he goes on the open market as they aren't in a rush to sell. I haven't asked about dropping the price but it's not my main concern.
 

ester

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I'd interpret that as 'nothing much really' especially without any additional pathology and presumably no previous xrays to compare them too, particularly with the joint surface flattening (ie it might have always been a bit like that).

I would take into account what his hooves look like in real life too, and what the insurance implications of the report are.
 

Pinkvboots

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I have no experience of the issue with his feet, but considering you want this horse to event and this issue has come to light when his only 7 I wouldn't go for it, I have a horse with very low grade navicular but his 14 and we don't jump but I don't do fast work on hard ground.
 

Roxylola

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If it is sound doing what you want already that's a good start, that said I suspect you'd find you might have difficulty with an insurance claim relating to the front feet
 

chaps89

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Eek, that's the gamble with x-rays. It certainly doesn't sound like a problem now if he passed the flexions, trot up etc so had you not x-rays you'd be none the wiser.
However the fact stands x-rays have been done. I would see if you can get hold of another vet for a second opinion reading of the x-rays or maybe even see if Rockley would take a look.

From my own experience, when my mare went lame we started with hoof x-rays. They showed significant high and low ringbone in all 4 feet. The vets comment was if it was a 20 year old ex competition problem she'd be unsurprised but in a lightly worked 4 year old it was impressive - and not in a good way.
Yet 4 years on I've never had a moment's bother with her feet (*touches wood) and when we bone scanned her (still lame and couldn't work out why as didn't seem to be her feet) her feet didn't flag as problematic. It's not to say they won't be problematic later but based on the vets initial response we've had a pretty good run so far.
 

sportsmansB

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Don't suppose the current owner has xrays from when they purchased that they could share with your vet? If there was no significant change in a year or two then I might well take a chance.
It all comes down to whether you can afford to take that chance- you could have a perfectly sound lovely horse for 10 years or you could have a field ornament in 2 or 3. Only you know if thats something you can cope with.
Insurance may exclude however their vet could take a different view (i've seen that happen lots of times!).
 

Orchard14

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That's a good point re previous x-rays, I hadn't thought about that. I will get hold of the sellers and ask on the off chance they took any and if they still have them. That's probably a good place to start.
 

gallopingby

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Hi, this sounds exactly like the vets interpretation of any X-ray should be. All they can do is describe what has been shown on the plate, they say it’s not likely to be of significance? All vettings are subjective to what’s seen on the day, that’s as far as anyone can go! All / any X Ray would come with a similar type of description. It you’re worried you could consult your insurance peeps prior to purchase.
 

windand rain

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If he is sound and doing and the xrays only show insignificant changes and as long as he is fairly priced I would go for it. After all as a very famous lady once said to me when trying to buy my horse "he could fall down and break a leg tomorrow" sadly her prediction came true a few months later when he was hit by a car and broke both his front legs
 

splashgirl45

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when my mare went lame her feet were x rayed and the vet was surprised that her coffin bone looked normal for a 10 year old but my mare was 20 !! her lameness was due to soft tissue damage....my vet said that if you x rayed lots of sound horses they would show more change than mine so the changes may be insignificant, but whether you take a chance depends partly on how much you are paying and how much you like him...
 

ycbm

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Have the horse walked past you on a flat hard surface and take a video. You stay still, the camera needs to be fetlock level or below.

Watch the resulting video frame by frame. If the horse is landing heel first or without a shadow of a doubt flat, buy it. If it is landing toe first, walk away unless you can both get a price reduction and take the shoes off for three months, it's already giving itself repetitive strain injuries in the front feet with every step it takes.
 

Orchard14

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What would it mean if a horse is landing toe first? Is that indicative of heel pain? Noted, I think that's a plan and easy enough to do, might be an interesting watch too.
 

ycbm

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It means that the ddft is being given a repetitive strain injury at each step and that sooner or later the horse will almost certainly become unsound because of it. It's caused by heel pain, which can be caused buy a number of thoughts including something as simple as thrush, but most often by lack of heel stimulation.

You can see videos on this blog from a rehab yard. Nearly every lame horse arrives there landing toe first and leaves sounder and landing heel first.

Rockleyfarm.blogspot.com
 

ihatework

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Basically all this says is that the xrays aren’t perfect but it is unclear if the changes seen are just normal variation or could be an early indication of a problem in the future.

This is a very common situation to find oneself in, and the answer boils down to how much you like the horse, how much the horse is and your attitude to risk.

The main impact this will have is on insurance if you intend to insure.

Personally I’d buy if the clinical exam was good and you get ‘that feel’ at the thought of turning him down. If you aren’t gutted at the thought of not having him then walk on by.
 

holeymoley

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I agree with Ihatework, I think it's down to a personal preference and how much you really like the horse. I'd personally maybe try and tear myself away from it, as at 7, it is a young age for any potential issues to happen with the coffin joint.
 

Orchard14

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He is £5,550 so not extortionate but not cheap either. I am very keen on him and the thought of walking away does make me feel a bit glum so I’m going to do what I can to make it work. I just rang my insurance company who have said that they would exclude his front feet apart from external injury for one year and after that year I can ask for the exclusion to be lifted if the vet xrays again and says it’s still insignificant which is promising - they will however not consider covering loss of use at all which I don’t usually take out anyway. Also sellers did not get xrays done when they bought him, they only did a two stage vetting and hasn’t had any xrays before with them which I guess is a good thing. I was sent his veterinary history for the past 3.5 years that they have had him and he’s only seen the vet for vaccs. I’m leaning towards yes but I am arranging to go and see him again later this week/early next week so I will take a video and report back. Thanks chaps!
 

sportsmansB

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At that price it might be hard to negotiate any kind of a reduction on price as many buyers wouldn't be x-raying, so they could continue on and sell elsewhere.
Good luck - it sounds like you like him :)
Be aware that some canny sellers will use a different practice for routine jabs than they use for lameness workups etc for this exact reason. Not saying it applies in this case but I've heard of it being done...
 

Red-1

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I would buy without bother, I would see the vet's comments as positive. No horse is perfect, this one has already been competing 90/100, it was 100% sound including flexions. But then, I don''t X ray for purchase as if the horse is sound then I would rather be able to insure.
 

Orchard14

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Yes he is a nice price and I’m not interested in haggling on it, he’s certainly the cheapest horse I’ve ever viewed. Apparently he would go on the open market for a bit more but owners are more interested in a good competitive home than a profit. I probably was daft to xray and half of me wishes I hadn’t now but to be perfectly honest I’d still rather know than not know. At the end of the day it’s £5.5k for a field ornament if it goes wrong :confused:
 
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oldie48

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I think you have already decided to go ahead and tbh I would too. That is a very fair price for what is clearly a lovely horse that you have fallen for and from what the vet has said, it doesn't seem a significant find. I hope you hae uears of fun with him, good luck.
 

splashgirl45

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if he is landing toe first i would say walk away but if not he sounds lovely and you have already fallen for him so it looks like you might be buying a horse:p good luck and have fun with him
 

Orchard14

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Went back to see him this evening. Fair to say there was no way I was going to walk away so he will be coming to join my clan on Tuesday :) I did have a little wobble moment where I doubted I was doing the right thing when I stood next to him and realised how small he looked, maybe I’m just used to taller horses. The sellers say they have measured him with a stick but he looked more like 15.3/16hh to me and I do think people tend to vastly overestimate their horses height but at 5’5 and 9stone he’s perfectly fine for me. He can be my little pocket rocket :D. Took him for a hack and bless him he is so very green - even for his age. I paid more attention to his feet and came to the conclusion that his heels were slightly low and he was a little longer in the toe than I would like so I will get my farrier to have a look and most likely whip the shoes off for a while to grow a good heel. Thanks for your comments and advice - now I just need to break the news to my parents that I’ve ‘accidentally’ bought yet another one :oops:
 

Goldenstar

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Good luck .
Get the shoes off and spend the time getting him stretching over his back from the ground .
He’s young take a bit of time now over the feet and it will pay you back later , it may be he needs to without shoes three months a year if so it’s easily worked in .
 

Orchard14

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Thank you for the luck. I will take pictures when he comes home I only have videos at the mo! Definitely agree with your comment Goldenstar, the shoes will only go back on if he truly needs them :D
 
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