Sacroiliac injuries

Joined
13 January 2020
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5
Hi all,

Does anyone have success stories for sacroiliac injury rehab? For horses to go on and have something of a productive life?

I have an 4yo OTT TB mare that I was given by the trainer - I don't know how or when the injury occurred, she arrived looking horrendous, mainly severely lacking topline (I was thinking OMG how can this have raced?)
We redid her feet as they looked like they were causing some HQ issues, had our muscle man treat her, and after a couple of weeks she was lunged a few times, ridden twice gently (while medicated in the hope we could loosen up a few stiff muscles) and has been turned out for 8 weeks since. She has put on weight, and does have a shine to her coat but her topline (although improved) is still fairly terrible.
She definitely has some SI area problems - reluctance to move forward, difficulty standing for farrier, large prominent hunters bump on both sides.
I had hoped with 8 weeks out, she'd be able to return to some gentle work and eventually build up the strength and much lacking topline, but now i'm not so sure it's not a more serious chronic problem
The horse doesn't really seem happy, does seem a bit miserable on the world

My vet will be around to do some other things in a week or so, and I'll ask her opinion, however I'm not sure that she can diagnose much more than we've already established without getting into scans etc.
I'm reluctant to throw a lot of money at a horse that has never been proven as a riding/performance horse, that is worth very little, on scans for something which is on the whole quite poorly understood where i'm not really sure that a good outcome can be achieved. I realise there are things like acupuncture which can still be tried, has anyone had success with that?
For a horse so young to be in this bad a shape which 8 months hasn't seem to helped, I feel a little as though I'm setting up a career of very difficult management *if* she can have a ridden career at all.

Has anyone successfully turned around this sort of injury? What did you do, how long did it take?
 

Nudibranch

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21 April 2007
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Up North
My own story is not one of success.
In your shoes I'd either turn away for 12 months providing she is actually comfortable enough to do so, or get at least a workup from a vet so you know exactly what extent of an issue you are dealing with. Acupuncture etc without initial vet advice is not going to cut it.
Or pts; SI issues are rarely straightforward and you may well end up needing to throw a lot of time and money at it, with no guarantee of a good outcome.
 

Lurfy

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28 June 2016
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Canberra, Australia
I didn't have a great outcome with my TB's SI problem, he basically had to retire from competition and only have light work. He has been comfortably retired the last few years. Your horse may have a very different problem I would want to investigate further with a good vet rather than spend money on acupuncture etc. You need a diagnosis to know what to do.
 

cornbrodolly

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20 November 2011
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near York
I m another with an unsuccessful outcome. Injury had been caused before we purchased , and to cut a long dismal story short , a years rehabbing costing much £ , and still a pts at the end. Sacro iliac injuries are the worst.......
 

Flicker

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18 January 2007
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3,902
I’m really sorry, but my mare’s SI journey ended in heartbreak and I had her PTS in December. My vet and I tried steroid injections, structured exercise and cartrophen. All gave some short term relief, and her topline improved dramatically from when I bought her, but she was never comfortable. What you describe is what I observed in her.

I think with SI, even if you can get the balance right and keep them comfortable enough to build the requisite muscular support, you will be playing ‘keepie uppie’ in the long term to maintain it - no holidays or time off for them at all because you’d have to start all over again.

So sorry I can’t give more positive response. Please feel free to PM if you want to get any more info on my experience.
 

be positive

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9 July 2011
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19,399
Mine was more successful but we knew when and how it happened so although it had not been treated for 18 months, horse had been treated for another injury in the same incident, the SI was missed, vets had declared him sound and fit to work despite him being lame as far as I was concerned so I turned him away for 6 months, changed vets who immediately picked up the problem from the history I gave, he had injections scanned to be done which confirmed the injury.

i was told at that time it was a one off go that may well fail as it was 18 months since the injury occurred, the rehab was done very carefully, he got back to full work, became and remained level, he was definitely wonky prior to the steroids, he is now retired for another reason but is still level and although is currently lame in front the back end has been fine, he was lucky as it was not related to other issues, it was directly from a one off accident, I spent literally the whole summer working on his rehab, doing something with him twice a day 7 days a week, I had good hacking companions to go out with, we did hours of roadwork, and a good physio involved.

I am not sure a young tb with what is probably a long standing issue that is likely to be more of a repetitive strain injury than a one off accident is going to have a successful outcome.
 

Flicker

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18 January 2007
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It is also worth noting that SI is often secondary to another issue, so the process of treating it is not always straightforward. My physio and I had a long talk about my horse’s issues, with physio explaining that identifying the primary source of pain would likely involve a prolonged investigation process and no guarantee that whatever was found would be treatable.

By that stage my insurance was depleted and, if I’m totally honest with hindsight, my psychological resources were zero after a year of it. Which is why I made the decision to PTS.
 

SEL

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25 February 2016
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Buckinghamshire
I've just had a rectal ultrasound done on mine and it isn't particularly expensive if you want to know if there's something serious there.

Rehab was going OK until she decided the enjoy the Spring weather and have a bucking fit in the field. Now back to square one without the means to get a physio on the yard for a few weeks. Vet says prognosis is 'guarded'
 

TheHairyOne

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18 January 2012
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586
Location
Berkshire
I have a good news story, though I am sorry for all those that havent. My pony was undiagnosed for 6 months as vets initially thought something else so was turned away. Improved a bit with rest, but still couldnt canter at all correctly, and was 'off' in trot and over all just didnt feel right.

Didnt bother to diagnose, vet said it was very hard to get a decent image and just went for injections in both sides and stricy rehab. He came back and went on to do more. Doesnt jump much anymore, but didnt do much before, and is only working at novice, but he has been sojnd and happy for 5 years with no further treatment needed until he did a front check ligament in the disgusting field this winter. Rehab is going well though and he is now 16!
 
Joined
13 January 2020
Messages
5
Thanks all,
This is about what I expected really.

Think we’re going to do 4 weeks general strength work, with while we have grass, then see how much improvement there’s been and make a decision
 

Flicker

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18 January 2007
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3,902
We built my mare’s topline through:
Long reining in walk over slightly raised poles;
Walking up and down hills;
Belly scratches to make her engage her core;
Bum scratches to make her engage her glutes;
Carrot stretches to both sides and to the floor.

Loads of You Tube videos available for SI strengthening exercises. They worked inasmuch as she bulked out nicely, unfortunately in her case whatever damage had been done meant she was still lame.
 
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