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Discussion on Locking patella in mini colt

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Angela Graveline
Username: Whs1

Post Number: 47
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Thursday, Oct 16, 2003 - 8:54 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I have a 6 month old mini colt that has a locking patella. I am unable to find out much about it. I have been told that he will eighter improve and get better, or require surgery to fix it. I was told by my vet that it could take over a year for him to get better and not rush the surgery factor. While he is hopefully getting better, I am keeping him out with the other horses so he gets the exercise he needs to help him get better. What I would like to know, if any one has had any experience with this and if there is anything I can do for him. He just seems so depressed any more and drags his leg around unless he is made to trot or run and then it snaps back and he can take a few steps until it goes so far back and locks up again. I really feel for the little guy and would like any advise. Tanks, Angela
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Username: Swarnick

Post Number: 48
Registered: 1-2003
Posted on Thursday, Oct 16, 2003 - 11:08 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Angela,

You are not alone in this that's for sure. It is a very common problem in minis and your vet has given you sound advice about waiting for surgery. I too have a colt with upward fixation of the patellas and he is doing great now as a yearling. Once they put on a little weight and get more muscling it tends to improve quite a bit. I spent all last winter in the snow and rain walking my colt up and down hills just to keep the bouts of it at a minimum. He hasn't had one for many months now. I do suggest that you geld him as it is generally a genetic predisposition when it surfaces when they are young. Although it can occur when they are older it is usually a result of injury. As long as your colt doesn't lock and stay locked you have a really good chance he will out grow it. If he does get really stuck there are maneuvers you can perform to unlock it for him and I believe it is mentioned in and article on this forum. Sometimes it only takes backing the animal up to unlock it but it can get really locked up good! The surgery is a last ditch effort and may produce low grade lameness. Just happens to be one of the possible outcomes but many horses also do fine with the surgery. There are other treatments like iodine injections and can be considered before surgical intervention. Free exercise is good and the more he can move around the better. Being stalled can aggravate the problem. Cold weather may exacerbate the symtoms but I found that massage can help a bit as well as range of motion exercises.

Good luck with your boy, I'm sure he can do well with an increase in weight, some exercise and a little time.

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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Username: Dro

Post Number: 9296
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Friday, Oct 17, 2003 - 10:56 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hello Angela,
My guess if you have missed the article and the whole section on this disease because we have dozens of discussiojns, see Equine Diseases Lameness Diseases of the Upper Rear Limb Diseases of the Stifle Stifle Lock: Upward Fixation of the Patella.
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