WWYD - Lame!

fairyclare

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wish I was in the USA....
Ok, I will try not to waffle on and make this too long and waffly......

Background info - Dutch bred mare, 20yrs old, I have owned her 14yrs. We have done pony club, riding club, affiliated SJ, local level XC and a bit of hunting, she is by no means high mileage!
Never had a day lame in the 14yrs I have owned her, does not look or act 20!

So..... Hacked her round the farm fields on 6th May, she felt stuffy and kept going disunited in canter, pulled up and finished our 20mins, just assumed she was feeling a bit bloated as they recently moved to their summer paddocks.
The following day she had the farrier, she was a bit snatchy with her hind feet with him and he mentioned she looked rather stiff coming out if her stable, joking saying 'what have you been doing with the old girl'. He finished shoeing her then, as I turned to walk her away he and I looked, stopped her and almost at the same time said 'she isn't right'. Trotted her up and turned her etc and both agreed she looked ever so slightly lami in the turn - sound but stiff looking on the straight.
He said that he had not seen any evidence of lami in her feet as he was shoeing her and advised that she is restricted and to keep a very close eye on her.
I put her muzzle on her and put her out in our 'sick' paddock and rang the vet.
Trotted her up in the eve, sound on the straight but quite lame on off fore and I level on near fore.

Decided to take her to the vet as we don't have the best facilities for trotting up and also had decided that we would probably want x rays doing.
So, vet nerve blocks off fore, she is now lamer on the near fore but nothing major, block the near fore and she is sound, sort of.
Vet x rays both front feet, all clear no sign of anything like navicular or pedalosteitis etc, it did show the minutest 'spot' on the laminae, I struggled to see it on the off fore, looked like a hair on the screen - vet assured me that it wasn't anything to worry about.
He suggested to treat her as if she was laminitic and that she may just been feeling sensitive in her feet due to the weather changing and the grass coming through, better to treat as if laminitis and it not be than to ignore possible warning signs (just to clarify, she is an ideal weight,no pulse, minimal heat in the foot, no laminitic stance and no crest!)
Vet also suggested pads to help support the foot.
Farrier rang vet later that day and discussed it, phoned me and said he'd order the pads and get back to me ASAP.
She was barefoot in front whilst waiting for her pads to arrive.
Turned out for reduced hours in a green guard muzzle in a sick paddock with a little pony for company.
Finally got him back with pads and packing on the 22nd(!!!!!!!) once pads were on and packing was in I asked if he would watch her trot up so he could see for himself, LAME! As lame if not more so, looking stiff on off hind too.
Farrier now stumped as to what is causing it, he has suggested possible concussion higher up but said that was just a guess.

So, the dilemma is what to do next, I am insured, initially told vet I wasn't because I was sure as eggs I'd cancelled it, when I looked a few days ago I hadn't I'd actually renewed it DOH!!
However, I do not want a massive bill run up with excessive nerve blocks, x rays, scans etc.
as I see it I have 3 options -

1) Leave it, let her rest, let her enjoy being out and not working (still restricted just incase of lami)
2) Go back to my local vet and do more diagnostic tests and hope something materialises or take her back to my old vet in Surrey for him to do the diagnostic's.
3) Ask to be referred straight to Rossdales or AHT for a specialist to diagnose.

Although this is not about the money I do have to factor that in, ins is £3500 with £500 excess I have already spent £400 on the initial trip to the vets.

Also, she is 20, she is my horse of a life time, she owes me nothing, I owe it to her to look after in in her advancing years. I would not be looking to put her through any op's and box rest is out of the question, she would do more damage than good!

Prior to this bout of unspecified lameness we were hacking regularly, having lessons, jumping 3ft/3'3" she is reasonably fit.
Both my regular instructor and the jump trainer I go to once a month comment on how well she looks for 20 and how supple she is, on our last vist to the jump trainer he suggested I show her in the veterans class as she looks so fantastic and moves so well!

Ay suggestions as to what might be the problem, any similar experiences, and advice to offer? Please.....

M&S cookies and a cup of tea for those completing this epic tale, sorry I waffled! I have probably forgot bits and made little sense - I'm on the iPad so no editing either, eeeek!

Gutted of Essex
 
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Has an abscess been ruled out?
Is her hoof balance correct?
Has she slipped in the field (or in the stable or while ridden) that you know of?
Has the possibility of navicular been discussed?
Arthritis?

You are doing the right thing by treating her as a laminitic, even if you just end up ruling it out as a cause.
 

intouch

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19 February 2006
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534
I have an old girl, started going pottery last autumn, various diagnoses were back, stifle, abscess etc none of which fitted, so I sort of resigned my self to retiring her. To make her more comfortable I started giving her a desert spoon of turmeric in her evening feed, about Christmas. Whether it was that, or she just got over it with a few months rest, but she is now happily back in work and getting fit again. I'm now taking it myself, hoping for the same results, no chance of a few months off here. Turmeric seems to be a cure all, comes highly recommended by a lot of authorities. Give it a go, I buy mine in tescos at £1.99 a half kilo.
 

fairyclare

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wish I was in the USA....
Faracat - hoof balance is correct, vet was very complimentary on her feet and the angles etc.
Abscess has not been ruled out but farrier has had a good look and poke around, vet did the usual with the hoof testers when I went up for the x rays and nerve blocks.
She could very well have slipped whilst in the field, she is a wall kicker in her box, usually with the off hind!!
Navicular has been discussed and ruled out as per the x rays.
Arthritis has been ruled out in the foot however it's is likely there maybe some arthritic changes higher up.

Intouch, I have heard about turmeric, worth a shot especially at that price!!

She is currently on Global herbs laminitis prone, pysillium husk, haemolytan milk thistle and a vits and mins supplement.
 
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If she has been shod for many years in a row without a break then it could be the soft tissue type of Navicular which would not show on an X-ray.

If it is an abscess, it might need to brew for a bit longer before the Vet or Farrier can locate it.

Could you try field rest and see if she improves? (This would be good if she is arthritic).

I hope that you get her sound soon. Horses are so worrying when they aren't right.
 

fairyclare

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wish I was in the USA....
Such a worry, I am turning myself crazy with worry and the indecision of what to do that will be best by her!

She has had long periods of being barefoot, she has brilliant feet and I am a fan of barefoot where possible, she was barefoot behind until recently because I increased her work and she became footy from doing lots of road work.
I will discuss then soft tissue navicular with the vet tomorrow, although farrier has said he doesn't think it's navicular, the wrong kind of lame....... Apparently.

She has been on field rest since 7th may, no improvement.

Would an abscess brew for this long with no deterioration in her lameness?
She is only really lame on a circle on the concrete, she is almost sound on the surface in the ménage on a big circle.

Really appreciate all your help, it is nice to be able to get someone else's perspective on things, I am finding myself getting one track minded with it how ever hard I try not to!
 
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I was always told that lame on hard = bone problem, lame on soft = soft tissue problem. I know that this isn't a concrete rule, but is worth considering.

I did have a horse with an abscess that niggled away for ages, it was moving sideways around the white line. However she did not have good hoof balance and therefore had a stretched white line. So this doesn't sound likely for your girl.

To give you hope - I used to ride an elderly ex showjumper that had been written off by the Vet and retired due to low level lameness and the cause was never found. He was turned away and after 6 months he was sound and returned to full work, although he didn't compete anymore he was hacked, schooled and jumped.
 

fairyclare

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wish I was in the USA....
I can, if someone could tell me how to from my iPad :S
I don't have any pic's of just her hooves but I have a plentiful supply of her!

Faracat, I was working on that theory too, although I know it's not always strictly true.
She is quite happy in herself, whatever it is doesn't affect her wandering around the field.
 

SusieT

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Having had her 14 years without a day at the vets I reckon you owe her a good work up. If she is insured you would imagine that the next step is to run a more thorough diagnostic (with a different vet if need be as a second opinion can be v. helpful). IT may be something that means retirement or it may not.
 

Wilbur_Force

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Ditto SusieT, you should count your blessings at 14 years unscathed veterinary wise. I'd get a work up done and go from there. Without a diagnosis you are just treating possible symptoms and not the cause. Good luck :D
 

fairyclare

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I will go down the route of having more diagnostic work done, I was more aiming at what to do re local vet or going to a specialist, closest places to me are Rossdales and AHT.
I was just toying with the idea of rest in the first instance, she has now had the best part of a month off.

Regarding being unscathed veterinary wise, unfortunately not - we have had a fair few drama's along the way, just never legs/lameness!

I will ring and speak to the vet now, as luck would have it he is also at the yard today!

Thanks all for your input
 

fairyclare

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wish I was in the USA....
Small update, we are off to the vets tomorrow morning for more specific nerve blocks, navicular burser and coffin joint. If this is the problem area then he is suggesting medicating the joint.
If these prove inconclusive then the next step is MRI, I will update further tomorrow!
 
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