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Discussion on Confusing intermittent lameness

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Heidi M.
Member
Username: heidim

Post Number: 204
Registered: 1-2005
Posted on Friday, Aug 14, 2009 - 1:43 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I purchased a wonderful 14YO QH gelding, likely a retired ranch gelding given the brand on his flank. I bought him from a home-schooled teenager who buys and sells horses as a side business. She got "Dooley" from a horse-dealer friend of the family who sometimes passes along good ones to her. He had shoed Dooley shortly after he arrived, and admitted that he accidentally trimmed the right hoof longer than the left (maybe a quarter inch difference), and that the horse stopped picking up his right lead due to the shoe job. The teen left the shoes on and rode Dooley regularly for three weeks. When I went to look at him, he was lame on the right front. She said it was the first time she'd noticed it. Given our history, I have good reason to believe her, so let's assume that is true. Because it was easy to see the difference in hoof length, and because my vet (over the phone consultation) agreed this very well could be the cause of the lameness, I bought Dooley, pulled his shoes and gave him a few weeks' rest. The lameness went away in about three weeks. In fact, my daughter took him to a 4-H clinic, and he took all gaits with no trouble. We rode him regularly on the trails with no problem. However, within a few more weeks, he came up lame again, most noticeably at the trot. It's possible he stepped wrong in the mud or something, but it's been three weeks now and I'm wondering if something else isn't at work here. My farrier found no heat or swellings, nor did I. She's wondering if it isn't something related to his shoulder. Or, again, maybe it's something more temporary. If he does have, say, arthritis in his shoulder, what would his symptoms be? I did read the article on localizing lameness. It mentioned something about the horse bobbing his head and also not wanting to reach forward as far as the healthy foot. Is there anything else I should be looking for if he does in fact have a shoulder issue?
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leslie645
Member
Username: leslie1

Post Number: 950
Registered: 8-2006
Posted on Friday, Aug 14, 2009 - 5:41 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I hate to say it but Navicular or Heel pain can present that way too. intermittant lameness...including one foot smaller, head bob and short choppy stride.
Im not saying thats whats up in your case but a good lameness exam should pinpoint where its coming from.
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Heidi M.
Member
Username: heidim

Post Number: 205
Registered: 1-2005
Posted on Saturday, Aug 15, 2009 - 12:52 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Would he take slow baby steps going downhill? I ask because I assumed this was just carefulness on his part, but maybe not. I do plan to have the vet out next week. Just thought I'd try here first for possible causes.
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Aileen
Member
Username: sunny66

Post Number: 2227
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Saturday, Aug 15, 2009 - 6:31 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

If there is hoof pain it is possible the shoulder is related. But I've found massage and chiro to help with that and sometimes eliminate it after the hoof pain is relieved.

When you turn him in tight circles, does he hop around with the front feet or step one foot in front of the other? Do it both ways and see if you there is a difference in the way he moves. This is a red flag for the navicular or heel pain Leslie mentioned.

If he's not been shod properly this would be my first guess to rule out. Balance the feet - but sometimes it's a long process.

Dr. O has some great articles on hoof care, function and form for you to review before your vet visit (if you haven't read them already). Good luck! :-)
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 23582
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Sunday, Aug 16, 2009 - 3:16 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Heidi, while I find many shoulders give characteristics appearing lameness, it is not the same as a diagnosis. To continue to look for such "signs" will not answer questions of "what is this?" and "what should I do to address the problem?" with any certainty. A complete examination with localization being the first step is in order.

I think a important consideration at this time should be will the seller consider taking the horse back if the soundness issue is serious since she agrees the horse was lame at that time?
DrO
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Heidi M.
Member
Username: heidim

Post Number: 206
Registered: 1-2005
Posted on Sunday, Aug 16, 2009 - 3:40 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks, Dr. O. I'm planning to have my vet come this week, hopefully tomorrow. I don't feel experienced enough to decipher symptoms outside the head bob, which Dooley does have. He is lame at the walk now, too. I have considered the idea of asking the seller to take him back if the problem is serious. And, yes, it's a quandary given the lameness was present at the time of sale. I'm hoping that having sent her a lot of business will make her at least consider a trade.
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Vicki Z
Member
Username: vickiann

Post Number: 1317
Registered: 3-2005
Posted on Monday, Aug 17, 2009 - 4:28 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

One of mine had this problem with going down hills at times in the past when his feet were unbalanced.

And after a farrier cut one foot shorter than the other on a horse of mine as a means of dealing with a toe crack, it took a really long, long time for the horse to move smoothly or completely soundly again.

It messed my horse up big time.
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Heidi M.
Member
Username: heidim

Post Number: 207
Registered: 1-2005
Posted on Monday, Aug 17, 2009 - 2:12 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Well, the vet came out and diagnosed navicular. What a sad sentence for a sweet horse. Yes, I know there are treatments available, but none are practical for us, financially and otherwise. The vet suggested I approach the seller about a trade. I agree it is worth a try. Wish me luck.
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Vicki Z
Member
Username: vickiann

Post Number: 1323
Registered: 3-2005
Posted on Monday, Aug 17, 2009 - 2:51 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Heidi --

What tests did the Vet do before making this diagnosis?

I had a hoof and leg specialist make this diagnosis in my old paint horse many years ago and shoed and treated as for navicular with very mixed results and frequent lameness.

Once I found a good natural farrier who respected the horse's natural way of going who properly balanced his feet he became sound for the first time in many years and has gone very well ever since.

But if you can make a trade, that might be the best answer for you.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 23590
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Monday, Aug 17, 2009 - 6:19 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Heidi, "navicular" is not a diagnosis but a localization. The long term prognosis depends on what is wrong with the navicular bone. For more on this see Diseases of Horses » Lameness » Diseases of the Hoof » Navicular Disease / Chronic Heel Pain Syndrome.
DrO
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Heidi M.
Member
Username: heidim

Post Number: 208
Registered: 1-2005
Posted on Tuesday, Aug 18, 2009 - 4:36 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Good point, Dr. O. Given the circumstances, we're going to pursue a trade first. If that falls through, I will look at ways to treat Dooley's lameness. That seems the best option at this time.
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leslie645
Member
Username: leslie1

Post Number: 952
Registered: 8-2006
Posted on Tuesday, Aug 18, 2009 - 6:00 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Heidi
I hope things work out for you and Dooley...I have a horse with mild nav.
Heres my thread, with some great advice from people on HA and DRO
http://www.horseadvice.com/horse/messages/4/319496.html
My mare has been 'retired' to pasture (it was an option). However I believe she could be brought back into work --- with some good,regular farrier work, boots or shoes and a little bit of bute or naproxen. So if the trade doesnt work out (hopefully it will) remember there is always hope. Ive heard great things about a 4 week trim and a set of boots or Yasha shoes. Not too terrible expensive.
Leslie
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Heidi M.
Member
Username: heidim

Post Number: 209
Registered: 1-2005
Posted on Tuesday, Aug 18, 2009 - 12:41 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks, Leslie. That's nice to hear. To be honest, he's such a sweet horse and so well broke that if the trade doesn't work out, I'll likely keep him rather than try to sell. He was so good for the initial exam that the vet saw no need to twitch or tranquilize him to perform the nerve block. I've purchased healthy horses that later turned out to have behavioral issues beyond our reach. I prefer Dooley's problem over the others any day. If you don't mind my asking, why do you prefer to retire your mare rather than treat her? Is it the extra expense? I know that's a consideration for us, given the long term outlook.
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leslie645
Member
Username: leslie1

Post Number: 954
Registered: 8-2006
Posted on Tuesday, Aug 18, 2009 - 3:04 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Heidi
She is completely pasture sound, She is not however, completely broke....I started her last year (age 7) and didnt get far before she went gimpy. She is green broke LOL. If she was broke enough to just get on her and dink around the trails or whatever I would definately continue riding her. But I barely got her w/t before we detected a problem.
I had good luck with the Naproxen(which cost about 18 bucks a month and they seem to tolerate very well)
I guess Im just too lazy to finish her...especially since it is progressive and will eventually catch up to her.
But she is sure a beautiful, sound-looking pasture puff <grin> If she starts being gimpy out in the pasture then we probably with progress to shoes and meds but till then she is pasture sound with just a regular trim.
best of luck..
L
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Heidi M.
Member
Username: heidim

Post Number: 210
Registered: 1-2005
Posted on Tuesday, Aug 18, 2009 - 3:21 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Vicki, to answer your questions about the exam, the vet asked about Dooley's breeding and history, watched his way of going, applied pressure to his heel and the back of his foot (Dooley responded to the pain despite having a high threshold for it), and did a nerve block. His head bob disappeared with the latter. We opted against radiography due to the expense and because the other tests offered enough evidence to warrant contacting the seller again. It would be a different matter if this was a horse I'd owned for years and so wanted to get an assessment for treatment. Yes, treatment options are available, and some are fairly reasonable for the short term. But from what I've read in Dr. O's articles and elsewhere on the Internet, navicular requires long-term attention, which can add up over time. Also, due to the natural springs and clay in our pasture, it is next to impossible to keep shoes on for more than a few days. In fact, we've gone out of our way to buy horses with tough feet to avoid shoes all together. For the few rocky trail rides we hit, we bring along Old Macs. I believe every horse owner needs to decide where to draw the line when it comes to financing veterinary services. We may need that radiograph if we end up keeping Dooley. For now, we just want to build our case for a possible trade.
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Vicki Z
Member
Username: vickiann

Post Number: 1329
Registered: 3-2005
Posted on Tuesday, Aug 18, 2009 - 3:45 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Heidi,

I think that you are doing the right thing.

If you had owned this horse for a few years and were attached to him that might be a different situation.
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leslie645
Member
Username: leslie1

Post Number: 956
Registered: 8-2006
Posted on Tuesday, Aug 18, 2009 - 4:36 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I think so too heidi. I hope the girl(seller) does the right thing.
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Heidi M.
Member
Username: heidim

Post Number: 211
Registered: 1-2005
Posted on Wednesday, Aug 19, 2009 - 2:14 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks for your words of support. I'm really hoping this girl agrees on a trade. Her dad is "backing" her in this business, so his input carries weight, too. I admit to taking a risk on a lame horse, and believe a trade is fairer than asking for a refund. Plus, Dooley is the second horse I've purchased from her (the first has worked out well). I've also sent a lot of business her way this summer, which resulted in more sales. Hopefully, all this will figure in my favor. I will keep you posted on what transpires. Sometimes the best "horse advice" comes from the learning experiences of others.
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Angie KJ
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 109
Registered: 6-2009
Posted on Wednesday, Aug 19, 2009 - 4:52 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Heidi,

I have a horse who's had lameness off & on for all the years I've owned him, which is 6 years now, bought as a yearling. He is going through an extremely sore spell now and it's heartbreaking. I believe in part I caused some of his pain, as a self taught barefoot trimmer. I do believe though that with getting proper hoof form, and doing lots of massage work, possibly chiropractic if I can afford it, he will be sound enough for what I want him for.

These situations are always tough calls. Even a diagnosis of one thing, may not be the whole story. One area of soreness leads to another area as they compensate. Be prepared to give that one lots of attention if you keep him.

If only they could talk!

Leslie,

Could you explain to me about the Naproxen? Are you using in place of Bute? OTC? Or from a vet?
Dosage?

Off subject, but we give our lab generic Benedryl for skin allergies. $4/bottle, 100 caps, our cost is $8/month vs vet visits, cortisone(?) and seems lisk risker than cortisone.

Thank you.

Good luck Heidi.
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leslie645
Member
Username: leslie1

Post Number: 957
Registered: 8-2006
Posted on Wednesday, Aug 19, 2009 - 5:05 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Anj
Yes, in place of bute. dont think its safe to combine the two.
I gave her 5000 mg. OTC. generic what ever was on sale and equaled to cheapest.
Dro has article on it and the threads under the article talk as well. You can also get your vet to give you a prescription for the 500 mg if you want to give less pills otherwiser just give otc.
I just used otc 220 mg and gave her 22 pills LOL. mixed it in a small amount of that licorish flavored calf manna and she gobbled it up. <grin> simple.
Its tolerated better than bute acoording to the article.
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leslie645
Member
Username: leslie1

Post Number: 958
Registered: 8-2006
Posted on Wednesday, Aug 19, 2009 - 5:06 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Make sure to read the article for loading dosage and interactions with other NSAID meds tho:-)
L
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Angie KJ
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 110
Registered: 6-2009
Posted on Wednesday, Aug 19, 2009 - 5:34 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I found your post, and the article. Thanks again, going to Wal Mart today.

Heidi,
If you search Naproxen, you'll find Leslie's discussion after DrO's article. Nice to know if do end up keeping the horse.
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Heidi M.
Member
Username: heidim

Post Number: 212
Registered: 1-2005
Posted on Wednesday, Aug 19, 2009 - 11:24 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks, Angie. I did check out the info on Naproxen. Even if I end up trading Dooley, it's good information to tuck away. In fact, I have a friend whose horse may benefit now. Finding this kind of stuff out makes me glad I'm a HA member.
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Heidi M.
Member
Username: heidim

Post Number: 215
Registered: 1-2005
Posted on Saturday, Aug 22, 2009 - 7:22 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

The girl agreed to the trade. She plans to keep Dooley for herself as she really likes him and has lots of room. Her friends ride her horses sometimes, and he really would make a nice guest horse. Good to know he's going (back) to a good home.
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leslie645
Member
Username: leslie1

Post Number: 963
Registered: 8-2006
Posted on Saturday, Aug 22, 2009 - 5:28 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

sounds like a great outcome for you and Dooley
...I am glad.
Cheers
L
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