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Discussion on Long term plan for TB with detached Suspensory ligament

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chris harvey
New Member
Username: charvey

Post Number: 2
Registered: 10-2007
Posted on Tuesday, Oct 23, 2007 - 8:41 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

My TB broke his cannon bone on the track in early 2003. A few months ago ultasound/xrays at UC Davis confirmed his suspensory ligament did not reattach correctly. He has showed progression in healing very slowly over the last few years and appears less frequently “off”and can run and play for longer periods before looking “off”. I haven't ridden him but he turns out and runs, bucks, plays really hard with no swelling. Goes "off" after 10 min of trotting during lunge but will gallop for 30 min when turned out without pain/swelling and ready for more the next day. I've had mixed reports on if I should ride him or not. I was told that injections, perm nerve block and then light trail riding would be ok. His healing is "done" and not well enough in my mind to prevent reinjury because he still is off. Common sense seems to tell me that a nerve block would take the pain away and also make it so he doesn't know his limits which could cause reinjury. I’ve been told he’s as sound as he’s gonna get and as along as he’s happy and not swelling, go ahead and ride him lightly. I will not risk him getting worse so I can ride. I don’t believe in that. Am I being over protective? Forget riding for a second- what is the best possible life I can give him? Flat pasture so he can move or stall bound? Are the odds good that he would not get reinjured if I ride him? Why would he still be slowly getting less off if I’m not doing anything different? I turn him out 3 times per week, he runs bucks and canters for 10 minutes straight with his buddy 9 times out of 10- he’s not off at all. But as I watch him, I wonder if he was blocked would he stop after 10 minutes or keep going and reinjure himself.
Thank you for your time and great website!
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 19415
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Wednesday, Oct 24, 2007 - 8:24 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

The key to your main question is that you do not feel the healing secure enough to prevent reinjury. As long as you feel this way you should not ride him no matter what others say. I also do not recommend nerving a horse with demonstrable instabilities in the musculoskeletal system, precisely for the reason you express. The question remaining is, "Are your feelings justified by the presence of unstable lesions?"

Unfortunately there is not enough information above for us to make this judgement however the fact the horse worsens with exercise does support your feelings. The suspensory is a complex structure with many attachments to the bone at its origin, middle, and end. Is the only lesion still present a unattached branch of the suspensory lig? Where is it not attached and how much is not attached? Is the fetlock dropped on this leg?
DrO
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chris harvey
New Member
Username: charvey

Post Number: 3
Registered: 10-2007
Posted on Monday, Oct 29, 2007 - 12:55 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thank you for your advice! Unfortunately, I don't know the answer to your additional questions. I had my vet out again this past Tuesday and he looked great. She did the flex test and longed him in tight circles both directions and he was perfect! She cleared him for light riding after a period of time to condition him and get his muscles built up again from being out of shape. Despite this AWESOME news, I think it's best he spend some time in pasture with other horses for a while and then maybe revisit riding. Even though he looks great physically, he still has no clue how to exist beyond his stall and needs some life experience. It was just yesterday he was off in his gait and no reason to push it. Thank you for your very validating post and advice. I will ask further questions and dig deeper into specifics of his injury but for now, I'm feeling confident a flat pasture would be alright. Little by little...Thanks, Chris
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