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Discussion on Filly with tight tendons, now very lame

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Deanna Barry (Cassey)
Posted on Wednesday, Aug 7, 2002 - 12:20 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hello from a Canadian subscriber,
I have read the appropriate articles, and almost every posting, still had a couple questions that I could use some help with.We rescued a sweet Percheron cross mare last November, turned out she was pregnant (3 months) when purchased. After soul searching, decided to keep her and see her through the pregnancy, and did manage to get some info re: sire (registered paint, if the dealer is to be believed.) I monitored her diet throughout the pregnancy, had read and researched everything I could get my hands on, so knew the importance of balanced, proper nutrition.
Had a beautiful filly born on July 2nd, and in spite of my being aware and careful with what the mare ate, the foal was born very big, with tight tendons in both front legs,confirmed by vet and farrier. Her right foot seemed to come down OK within the first couple weeks, maybe still just a little tight. The left remains very upright,walking on tip toe, almost vertical, even after tetracycline at the age of three weeks. (It probably should have been given sooner, but my vet was ill.) A few days ago, after normal mobility, she presented with lameness in the left leg, in obvious pain with every step.(Dead lame and crippled seem to be the descriptive phrases when people don't know I'm within hearing distance.) Xrays and consult with a surgeon are pending, but my fear is the coffin bone has rotated or dropped. What is the prognosis for such an early onset severe lameness, especially if the coffin bone has become involved? And, according to most of the postings and articles, rest seems to be the treatment of choice, but other resources (including the "experts" at the barn where I board) say exercise is the way to go. What are your thoughts? Thanks in advance for any advice or info
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM (Dro)
Posted on Wednesday, Aug 7, 2002 - 6:58 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

First, the most likely diagnosis is bruising and possible abscessation of the tip of the toe of the left fore, and second most likely would be fracture of the tip of the coffing bone. But all of these conditions, including the less likely founder scenerio, would be treated with stall rest without a doubt. Exercise would just do further damage to the already damaged tissues.

PS Dee, when you post a new question about your horse you should not put it at the bottom of someone elses discussion, you should start your own. The Start a New Discussion Button is at the bottom of the list of discussions in every subtopic. For more on this see the READ THIS FIRST beside every ADD a MESSAGE.
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Deanna Barry (Cassey)
Posted on Thursday, Aug 8, 2002 - 10:05 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Dr. O,
Thank you for your prompt reply to my original question. Followed your instructions and will post this message as a new discussion. I do want to hear from others who may have encountered this situation. Re: five week old filly born with tight tendons, now very lame in left front leg. She received tetracylcine at about three weeks. You had suggested either an abcess or broken tip of coffin bone could be causing the extreme lameness. The vet and farrier checked out all four feet, no abcess. The farrier trimmed her feet, trying to correct the angle as much as possible, but couldn't do much. She is even worse on that leg today, after the trim. My question now is what is the prognosis for her if she has any kind of coffin bone pathology (a break, rotation or sinking) at this stage of the game? The surgeon had suggested we give three more huge doses of tetracycline before we do anything else. The third will be given tomorrow. We got slight relaxation after the first dose, but then she went lame.It is tough to assess if the second dose had any effect, b/c she is so lame, she never stands square. Should we bother with the next two doses? They are holding off on doing xrays b/c it means transporting her to the clinic, and putting her under a GA for the procedure. Can't they just sedate her and do a portable on-site?
Look forward to hearing from anyone who can help me understand.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM (Dro)
Posted on Friday, Aug 9, 2002 - 9:27 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Most excellent Dee, you will more and quicker responses here. I have moved the other discussions here so we have a contiuous thread. Let's see now...

There is too much we do not know Dee to accurately prognose the outcome of the acute lameness. First we do not know what is wrong and even of the things I mentioned as most likely it will depend on degree and treatment. If you are asking should I pursue this or give up, just statistically you have a good chance of fixing the acute lameness but I suspect it will have to follow the correction of the contracture. Without examining the foal I do not know what the prognosis is on the contracture but assuming it is just the DDF contracted and the front of the foot is vertical she will have to have the DDF transected. The literature gives a guarded prognosis of being athletic as a adult, but I have been lucky with very young foals and have had two that went on and were trail and dressage useful.

I do not know why they cannot do radiographs in the field and the TC, in my experience, is most likely a waste of time at this stage.
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Denise Bryant
Username: Contilli

Post Number: 2
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Tuesday, Mar 23, 2004 - 9:48 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I have had foals with contracted tendons. I use a Certified Journeyman Farrier and a VERY experienced vet. First – what has worked for us is complete stall rest. Absolutely no excitement….. Then do NOT trim the heels of the foal or add toe extensions. This is everyone first instinct. This will cause more pain in the tendons as you have already seen. The tendons need time to stretch. My shoer (whom) specializes in DOD disorders says this is the only thing that will help. Also, in extreme situations a shoe with a wedge in the heel to release the pressure of the tendons. Do not bed the stall deep. Keep it shallow so the foal cannot stab her toes into the ground and stand on her tippies. In addition, of coure a regimine of Oxytetrocycline. One other thing I use is a product by Buckeye Feeds. It is a drench and full of Copper etc to promote equal growth of tendons and bone. It is specifically designed for this purpose. Large breeds usually have troubles like this. Their address is – and look for Foal Aide. If you cannot find it call them directly and they will mail it to you. I would not have foals with out it. My colt which was very contracted recovered and is now 17.1 at 2 years old and has the cleanest bones you have ever seen! X-rays to prove it. I live by the above and hope you find some relief with this information.

If she does have severe pain and is three legging it them you’d better consider a pain management medication. I had a filly at 12 days she hurt her shoulder. Probably on the stall door. She was as lame as your filly sounds. She stood, and ran on three legs. This caused her to use her other front let in a different way. She had to put it under the center of her body to balance her. Therefore causing that let to turn out badly. If we had reacted sooner with pain meds we could have limited the disfigurement of the weight bearing leg. Leesburg Hospital could not find anything in the x-rays nor nerve blocks. She was lame like this for over three weeks.

I hope all gets better for you. Keep your chin up.

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