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Discussion on New foal, contracted tendons, conflicting info., need advice

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PalominosRUs
Member
Username: ellebell

Post Number: 33
Registered: 11-2010
Posted on Tuesday, Jun 5, 2012 - 1:44 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I have a filly born yesterday with contracted tendons in both front legs so that she walks on her tiptoes. She can get up and nurse by herself but walks awkwardly and seems to prefer to lie down. I have read the article on tendon contracture, as well as info. elsewhere. I have a few questions.

1. You advise a few days of stall rest to let the tendons relax, but I've read that exercise is important so that the tendons can stretch. Also, soft bedding is advised, but I've read that the foal should be on hard ground to the force the hoof down. So should I allow some rest, then encourage exercise a few times a day?

2. Oxytetracycline injection is recommended. My vet gave a shot but in the muscle rather than IV. He said he doesn't like to give foals IV injections. Are intramuscular injections (as)effective? He gave it yesterday, and I don't notice any change today.

3. I understand that the cause of contracture is not clear and may not be the same in every case. In my case, the foal is a lusitano/quarter horse cross, so I am wondering if the contracture problem could be caused by (a) the size of the foal being a bit big for the mare, and/or (b) a genetic trait of the stallion (in which case I would not breed a mare to him again). Or can it just not be known, so no conclusions should be drawn?

Thank you. Ellen
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Andrea Duncan
Member
Username: babychop

Post Number: 259
Registered: 5-2008
Posted on Tuesday, Jun 5, 2012 - 6:12 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Ellen, if she was down in the pasterns you would want her running around to strengthen them, if they are contracted and she is standing on her toes you want her on stall rest until they relax. Your vet might even have you wrap the legs for support along with those injections.

A dear friend is currently dealing with an extreme version of the same thing and has had to put dynasplints on his filly's legs along with stall rest. It's heartbreaking and so extreme they are considering putting her down.

When my foals have been contracted it's always been IV tetracycline but I'm not a vet, I rely on their advice.
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Andrea Duncan
Member
Username: babychop

Post Number: 261
Registered: 5-2008
Posted on Tuesday, Jun 5, 2012 - 6:35 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Can you post photos so we can see to what extent the contracture is? The times my foals have been tight they've always come around with the IV and wrapping but they have never been up on their toes.

If it was close quarters in there and a fairly large baby I believe (and this is what fellow breeders have said as well) it could be the cause but genetics are always a crap shoot, even breeding to the same stallion you never get the same result twice...
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PalominosRUs
Member
Username: ellebell

Post Number: 34
Registered: 11-2010
Posted on Tuesday, Jun 5, 2012 - 8:24 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks for your responses. I will put her back in the stall then. She gets pretty worn out trying to walk.

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Andrea Duncan
Member
Username: babychop

Post Number: 262
Registered: 5-2008
Posted on Wednesday, Jun 6, 2012 - 11:52 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I would wrap her legs with polo wraps as well for support, the warmth from them won't hurt either. See what your vet says, if he/she isn't that experienced in this I would get the opinion of another vet who is. The important thing is to tackle it NOW. It hurts to stretch ligaments, I wonder if hand stretching (gentle, manual manipulation) would help... Holding each leg out in front of her and gently stretching...

Wouldn't hurt to run that by your vet as well. Though not as severe as my friend's foal this is more severe than any I've had.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 26303
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Wednesday, Jun 6, 2012 - 6:07 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hello PRUs,
Taking your questions one at a time:
1) Andrea has it right above but the reasons are complicated and not completely understood. It is mainly experience that leads to the suggestions which are consistent with what equine orthopods suggest. One thing I know from personal experience is that if you allow these guys free exercise on hard surfaces lameness (from bruising of the toe and ligament and tendon strain) is not far away.
2) It is not believed that IM will achieve adequate blood concentrations to relax the muscles.
3) I don't see any information to draw any conclusions.
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PalominosRUs
Member
Username: ellebell

Post Number: 35
Registered: 11-2010
Posted on Monday, Jun 11, 2012 - 10:15 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Follow up: the university vet hospital splinted her and glued plastic shoes on and she corrected in 36 hours. I took her back today for some fine tuning as she is a little lame.

Dr. O, my question is, can contracture be caused by a foal that is too big for the dam's uterus?
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PalominosRUs
Member
Username: ellebell

Post Number: 36
Registered: 11-2010
Posted on Monday, Jun 11, 2012 - 10:22 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Here is the situation after 36 hours in splints and shoes.
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Ann
Member
Username: dres

Post Number: 2562
Registered: 10-2000
Posted on Monday, Jun 11, 2012 - 10:33 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

looking better ..

On the first day God created horses, on the second day he painted them spots .. .
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Andrea Duncan
Member
Username: babychop

Post Number: 275
Registered: 5-2008
Posted on Monday, Jun 11, 2012 - 11:48 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

SO glad to hear she is doing better! My friend put his filly down today, she was apparently just too contracted to fix, none of the vets he had out would go any further with her. So terribly sad. So so very glad this worked out for you.

Very interested in what DrO has to say.
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LL
Member
Username: frances

Post Number: 1273
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Tuesday, Jun 12, 2012 - 6:53 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

That is amazing - in 36 hours! Great to have a happy ending (or beginning of a happy ending anyway) for this one.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 26313
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Tuesday, Jun 12, 2012 - 5:56 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

That is one of the reasons conjectured but quite honestly we do not know the exact reason. It is probably multifactorial with a combination of genetics and environmental factors at play. When you think about the complicated interplay in an environment that is so different in the uterus and out on the ground, it is amazing they come out anywhere close to right.
DrO
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Vicki/Diva
Member
Username: divamare

Post Number: 25
Registered: 4-2011
Posted on Tuesday, Jun 12, 2012 - 6:31 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Wishing you continued good luck w/ the little one. The last photo is dramatically better isn't it!!
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PalominosRUs
Member
Username: ellebell

Post Number: 37
Registered: 11-2010
Posted on Tuesday, Jun 12, 2012 - 8:47 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks for your comments. Very sad about the severely contracted foal who had to be put down.

Couldn't agree more, Dr. O. I'm always amazed when I see those perfect foals standing nursing the first morning then running alongside a few hours later.

She spent another two nights at the hospital and I'm picking her up tomorrow morning. Will post photos.
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