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Discussion on Mare drags/scuffs toe at the trot

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Sondra
Member
Username: sondra

Post Number: 30
Registered: 11-2005
Posted on Monday, Jul 21, 2008 - 5:16 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Dr. O, because I don't know what this problem is stemming from I put it in this forum but feel free to move it if necessary.

Our 6 yr old mare is sound and healthy but we are concerned as she has started to drag her left hind toe at the trot (not at the walk or canter). The other thing we notice is that she almost always rests her RIGHT hind foot, sometimes over on the toe, when on cross ties and in her stall often too. Like most horses, she has a stiff side and that is while tracking left. The dragging subsides somewhat (not totally though) when she gets moving very forward and in a frame (she's on the lazy side).

We had both a lameness vet and a chiropractor examine her. This horse jumps very athletically/correctly, does her changes, is completely sound at the walk/trot/canter. She is shod well and has large healthy feet and cannon bones.

She passed neurological tests (on the ground) with one mild concern - she left her hind legs crossed when placed across each other...but she had been worked that morning so it could be because she was tired. She's been blood tested twice for EPM, both came back negative.

When she was 4 we did an internal blister on her stifles to help the left stifle which was developing at a much slower rate (like 50%) than the other. It helped even things up a lot. Just putting that in for the sake of some history.

Thanks for any thoughts on this.
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Ann
Member
Username: dres

Post Number: 1888
Registered: 10-2000
Posted on Monday, Jul 21, 2008 - 5:41 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Sondra, could her hocks be sore.. ? Have you x rayed them lately? Dragging a toe can be sign of a sore hock ..

On the first day God created horses, on the second day he painted them with spots..
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Sondra
Member
Username: sondra

Post Number: 31
Registered: 11-2005
Posted on Monday, Jul 21, 2008 - 8:28 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Ann, thanks for your thought -- I didn't realize that... I will mention this to my vet though I did once previously and he didn't think it was hock related. I'll revisit it with him anyway.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 21065
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Tuesday, Jul 22, 2008 - 8:03 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hello Sondra,
Without any evidence of lameness observed during a careful exam by an experienced lameness veterinarian, I think it is unlikely to be a typical lameness issue. The way to check this would be to use a logical progression of local anesthesia to see if the toe drag could be eliminated. I would not recommend radiographs unless such a spot can be found, for more on this see Diagnosis of Lameness.

Though I have no concrete evidence I do conjecture that the earlier condition and/or treatment might change the mechanics of the leg in such a way as to decrease flexion of the leg. I am interested in the statement, "the left stifle which was developing at a much slower rate (like 50%) than the other". What does this mean? How do you appraise such a condition and why would treating the patellar ligaments with caustic substances be indicated?

Finally some horse just drag their toes Sondra and it would best be referred to as a bit of a "fault". Because such horse tend to trip I recommend you rocker and square the toes hard. This sometimes limits the toe drag. Others might recommend training over caveletti to teach the horse to raise his feet higher.
DrO
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