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Carla McKenzie
Member
Username: Jivete

Post Number: 6
Registered: 6-2005
Posted on Wednesday, Jun 29, 2005 - 12:34 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

My 3 year old Spanish Norman filly hasn't ever really been lame (she's taken an off step here and there but nothing consistent) but she tracks a little shorter left than right on the lunge and under saddle.

I probably would ignore it and chalk it up to imbalance and that she's blind on the left and maybe just more reluctant to move out but her mother started with a lameness in her shoulder that was barely discernable but now she can barely walk. It started the same way. She just didn't feel right and finally even though everyone thought I was crazy I took her to MU. She did have a very slight head bob at the trot going the direction of the bad shoulder. The vet nerve blocked her as far up the leg they could and decided the lameness was in her shoulder and was probably OCD but it was never confirmed.

So now I'm paranoid. One thing about this filly is she stands with her legs spread out and sometimes with her toes turned in. She also doesn't like to put her front feet on the hoof stand although I've been working with that the last couple of weeks and she's better. She's definitely still very awkward. Her rear-end has just recently gotten to the point where she seems to know where her feet are.

I don't know if I'm looking for stuff that isn't there because of her mother or if I'm seeing a real problem. Another lady at my barn watched her yesterday and noticed that yes she was slightly shorter to the left, but not off at all. She thought it was just because of her blind left and probably just a defense reaction, an unwillingness to flex that direction. That would be a nice answer but I'm more of a pessimist than that. Is it time for the vet? Or do I continue to work her and wait for her to actually be lame?
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 13262
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Thursday, Jun 30, 2005 - 8:13 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Much of what you describe sounds like typical 3 year old stuff but with a head bob at the trot and shortened cranial phase your horse is lame, for more see Equine Diseases » Lameness » Localizing Lameness in the Horse. What I don't understand is why the vet who felt it was OCD of the shoulder did not radiograph the horse to prove the lesion. This would be the logical next step.
DrO
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Carla McKenzie
Member
Username: Jivete

Post Number: 7
Registered: 6-2005
Posted on Thursday, Jun 30, 2005 - 10:09 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

It was her mother who had the head bob. She was a Percheron mare with a lot of shoulder mass and they mentioned having to lay her down to get a good x-ray. This was about 8 years ago and her lameness at the time was very mild so she was sold as a broodmare. She is now so lame she can barely walk.

The 3 year old filly I have has not been lame per se, she's just a little shorter moving to the left than right. Because her mother started off just feeling wrong to me I'm a little paranoid of every misstep my filly makes. I just don't know if I'm paranoid for good reasons or just plain paranoid.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 13271
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Saturday, Jul 2, 2005 - 9:45 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Got it without a head bob lameness is uncertain. Shoulder lameness does shorten the stride but I have not seen one without a head bob at the trot.
DrO
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PKB
Member
Username: Pkb540

Post Number: 2
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Saturday, Jul 2, 2005 - 12:12 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Here's another one shorter stride in right hind leg--
My four to five-year old thoroughbred horse had a bad wound on his left front radius. The first vet said it was fine, but it did get infected, his whole leg swelled, and needed antibiotics for a week. (I asked the vet if there could be bone damage, and he said no.) The swelling went down a lot, but there was a hardness there. I feared a bone problem. Three weeks later, it was still the same.
I rode him for the first time and he seemed fine, albeit excited to do something fun finally. Second time I rode him, I felt like a drag in the right hind. He was sort of dragging the right hind and it was short. I lunged him for someone to observe and at times it seemed like the left was off and others the right definitely dragging. very strange.

Called the first vet again. He xrayed the hind LEFT hock, but did not see the right drag. He said he thought my horse had arthritis and he'd have to inject. I asked him to xray the left front where the wound had been since he had the machine there, but he would not for some reason. He didn't agree with me that it may have to do with the wound--horse compensating for soreness in the left front or maybe I had overdone it when I started riding him again.
I got a second vet out right away. She did radiographs. She said his hocks were "beautiful." She did discover that the bone under the wound in the front was reacting and he was sore if you rubbed his radius. She also discovered a slight bruise on the front of his sole of the right hind, and his toe was slightly worn.

Her theory is that he is compensating for the injured left front, by trying to bring the right hind down early (trot is diagonal, of course). I think this is not a bad hypothesis. Of course I'm very worried about the left front leg now. The vet said to watch for any draining or signs of dead bone fragments.

I hope that your vet checked out all of your horses limbs, not just the short right hind. Also, my vet said that the way he moved, though short one way, still would be called sound.
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Carla McKenzie
Member
Username: Jivete

Post Number: 9
Registered: 6-2005
Posted on Tuesday, Jul 5, 2005 - 10:01 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks for the input Dr. O. I'm going to watch her carefully but continue to work her, she might indeed be compensating for being blind on the left side or be out of balance. I'm going to have the vet out at some point in the near future to look at some unrelated items and I'll ask about this too.
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WTG
Member
Username: Angel77

Post Number: 22
Registered: 5-2005
Posted on Wednesday, Jul 6, 2005 - 5:57 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dear Carla,

My horse was recently blinded in the left eye. Although he is doing better. He is very cautious to the left. He did not want to bend to the left until he realized I wasn't going to run him into anything. We have been together for six yrs. He is 11yrs old. The surgery was performed on June 1, 2005. He is a jumper so this has particularly difficult on him and me. It has taken some time for both of us to adjust. He is jumping very well. But he had had this experience for the last five yrs.

So if you have a bilaterally blind 3yr old with out any experience or just a little training I would take all your different vets advice as well as Dr.Os advice and go from there.

Your horse is young. Therefore still growing. When did she go blind? I am not a vet, just want to put that out there. Is it possible with time off and your loving care that your horse will adjust to her bilateral blindness as time goes on?

I have also found that my horse is beginning to have separation anxiety when I take him out for a ride. His girlfriend angel who is 28 yrs old. They will whinny and scream when they feel it necessary. Almost the entire time they are out of each others sight.

Yes, I do know all about paranoia. Two weeks after his surgery I put a fly mask on to protect his good eye. When I showed up the next day he had dirt caught in the mask. I had to flush the eye and triple antibiotic until the vet came. Luckily when the eye was stained it was fine. I am still so freaked out beyond belief that I am over compensating because of what just happened last month. In all of the information I have poured over recently for bilaterally blind horses is, that it is common for them to compensate, possible head bob and or carry their head high for a little while to adjust. I don't know the length of time all horse are different.

I'm sure Dr. O can advise or direct you on the right path.

God Bless all the animals and all of the people who take care of them!!!

Good Luck,

WTG
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Carla McKenzie
Member
Username: Jivete

Post Number: 10
Registered: 6-2005
Posted on Wednesday, Jul 6, 2005 - 10:10 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

She was blinded as a long yearling, before I got her, so about a year and a half ago. She doesn't seem particularly guarded about tracking left and I've watched her turn left on her own in the pasture she just doesn't move out quite as well to the left on the lunge and under saddle, stride and shoulder freedom (although she does this Andalusian snappy thing that I'm not accustomed to seeing). Since I first posted, I worked a little more diligently about encouraging her to track properly with correct bend (instead of letting her do it her way. I haven't been asking for much because of her age) and her stride improved, so I'm inclined to believe it's a combination of balance and hesitation. When I have the vet out I'll ask him to have a look. Although, until I have her in full work and she stays completely sound, I won't be completely convinced. ; )

She's a little clingy, but not too bad. What amazes me is how well adjusted she actually is. She's kept in the pasture and has no hesitation about tearing across it. She also seems to know every tree branch, where to duck, where the fence is at all times, even on her blind side. If her blind eye wasn't smaller, you probably wouldn't know she was blind. She does wear a guardian mask for the blind eye since the third eyelid comes up over it and it needs protection from the sun. I had to take off the eye cap on her sighted side because I think it limited her vision and she got a little goofy. I was super paranoid about the other eye getting injured when I first got her but I've relaxed a little since then.

Good luck with your boy. I've heard a lot of success stories regarding these horses so I'm optimistic.
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Carla McKenzie
Member
Username: Jivete

Post Number: 20
Registered: 6-2005
Posted on Friday, Mar 17, 2006 - 9:01 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Okay I'm going crazy with this. I had a vet out a month or so ago to float her teeth, etc and I asked him to watch her lunge and give me some ideas about what might be going on and he completely dismissed my concerns and never did watch her move but told me to just keep and eye on her.

Well nothing has really changed. I've been riding her a little more because she managed to get really fat this winter eating nothing but round bale hay and last saturday when we went out, she felt a little off, no head bob, just off. The girl I was riding with noticed she was shorter on her right while trotting on pavement. So last night I lunged, and sure enough, she moves much more freer tracking right than left, but the trainer noted that she doesn't stretch as far forward with her right front. I might think it's just stiffness and try to stretch, massage it out but there are a few other "symptoms"

Last night I'd worked her about 15-20 minutes. She was working nicely and then I stopped to talk to a woman for about 5-10 minutes and when we started working again she was definitely off for about 5-6 strides and then seemed to work out of it. I've noticed this before but it disappears so quickly I dismiss it. Later when grooming her I noticed she was weighting her right leg as much. Instead of pointing though, she rested it out to the side. When I cleaned her left front, she nearly buckled.

She does seem more guarded about turning tightly on the right front and she does wear the foot unevenly, wearing the inside more. The last farrier I had come out asked if she had trouble picking up the right lead because of the way she was wearing her hoof. She also seems sore in the chest, muscle sore and possibly sore in her shoulder joint (deep massaging tends to bother her). Her walk also seems tight, like all the muscles in her chest and shoulders are tense.

So I'm not sure where to start, whether to have a (different) vet come out or take her in to a clinic or to the university (we have KState about 3 hrs away or University of Missouri about 1.5). This mare will be four at the end of the month and has gotten incredibly stocky in the last winter. She has moved this way since I got her as a two year old, I just barely noticed it at first and dismissed it because it's so subtle. So where do I start looking?
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Carla McKenzie
Member
Username: Jivete

Post Number: 21
Registered: 6-2005
Posted on Friday, Mar 17, 2006 - 10:45 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

While re-reading the "localizing lameness" article, I noticed the stiffness is sometimes caused by neck pain. I don't know that this is relevant or not, but she has a hard knot on the right side of her crest about midway between her poll and withers. I had asked the vet about it and at first he thought it might be a fat pocket, but it's only on the right and not the left. She's also had it as long as I can remember. When palpated, it seems moderately uncomfortable, but she doesn't seem to have any problems stretching so I've dismissed it as well. Again, I don't know that it's relevant, but I thought I'd mention it.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 15092
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Saturday, Mar 18, 2006 - 7:35 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

The problem seems to be Carla, that you remain uncertain if this is pain or just a way of going for this horse. Considering the mildness of symptoms you have to wonder if all this trouble you are having on the ground, sensitive areas and rearing, is just bad manners... You need to have someone look at this horse whose opinion you can trust. If you cannot find anyone local perhaps the university would do.
DrO
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Carla McKenzie
Member
Username: Jivete

Post Number: 22
Registered: 6-2005
Posted on Friday, Apr 7, 2006 - 1:35 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I had the vet out early this week. She is lame, in her left hind leg and her shortened right stride is compensation for the sore hind. He said what I'm feeling is her coming down hard with the right front to take weight off the left hind. This makes some sense to me considering she is sound tracking right but her right front seems sore when tracking left.

I have never noticed a hip hike on this filly (who is now 4) but I have to admit I've been focusing on her front end and trying to wrap my brain around her peculiar gait.

So far we haven't localized the lameness, except to the left hind. The vet felt very strongly that it was her stifle and went ahead and x-rayed it. I'm pretty sure he was looking for OCD lesions. They came back clean so I'm going to take her out to the clinic next weekend so he can inject the joint (with an anesthetic I believe) to see if it is the stifle. At any rate, we will hopefully localize the lameness to a specific joint at that point. I'm not sure why he's ruled out the hocks since she was positive on her flexion and I know the flexion test doesn't differentiate between hock and stifle. I'm sure he was going on instincts and possibly the manner of her movement.

I'm a little upset thinking she's been lame for two years and I haven't done anything about it. I suppose the most reassuring thing is even when I've worked her (usually 2-3 times a week) she never seems to get any worse, but with a chronic problem like this, I'm a little weary of the outcome. Does the length of her lameness (as subtle as it is) restrict the prognosis for improvement?

I'm not opposed to changing my goals with this girl, originally I was thinking dressage, three-day and some fox-hunting, but I'd be happy with light trails (with some hills but less than an hour) and western pleasure type work, 2 maybe 3 days per week if I can get her comfortable.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 15291
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Saturday, Apr 8, 2006 - 9:17 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Yes the prognosis worsens with increasing time but now that you have a specific diagnosis, perhaps some targeted therapy will make a difference. See our arthritis section for ideas if it does turn out to be a joint.
DrO
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Carla McKenzie
Member
Username: Jivete

Post Number: 27
Registered: 6-2005
Posted on Monday, May 1, 2006 - 9:57 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Well I had a different vet out on Saturday to look at Lily. After a very thorough vet exam, he found that she is out of alignment, C3-C4, L2-L4 and her pelvis. She also has a mild tendon pull in her knee (confirmed by x-ray) which the vet has recommended steroid injection and rest (which she's on anyway except she's in the pasture). I also have an appointment with the chiropractor next week.

The vet thought the prognosis was very good although it will probably take several sessions for her to stay in alignment since she's been out so long. My theory is when she injured her eye, she was probably playing and ran into the tree and possibly fell. I don't know for sure of course, but that makes the most sense.

I'm very excited at the potential of having a horse that is 100%. She's never been quite right and I'm anxious to see her pain-free. Now I have to research completely different articles. Let's see tendons and knees and back/neck/pelvis problems...
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