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Discussion on Lame on pre-purchase exam

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Janice C Chadola
Member
Username: Jchadola

Post Number: 33
Registered: 7-2003
Posted on Monday, Jan 2, 2006 - 5:19 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I fell in love with an ex-racehorse - 8 years old. Underweight but very sweet. I rode him briefly 3 times and my trainer rode him once - he was extremely well-behaved and there did not appear to be any lameness issues. Someone else had also ridden him a couple of times. I had a pre-purchase exam done today. When my vet lightly used the hooftesters, he reacted in 3 of his feet. When she tried to lift his 4th foot - his right hind - to test it, he kicked out perhaps because he did not want to put weight on his left hind? She expected he would have the same reaction in the foot she could not use the hooftesters on as he did with the others. She said he had soft thin soles. But he had shoes on all 4 feet (his feet had been done about 3 weeks ago) which you would think would protect his feet. Then he was led in a halter on soft ground at the walk and was lame. He had difficulty turning. He was lame at the trot being led. When he was lunged, he was lame; it then got so bad that the vet suggested (and I agreed) stopping the pre-purchase examination. He was in so much discomfort she did not want to do flexion tests. She thought he was probably lame in both front legs, one moreso than the other. Plus there was the sore feet problem. What I knew of his history was that he had had front suspensory strains in both legs at the racetrack. After being used as a hunter/jumper for about a year, he was returned to the organization he was adopted from very sore and his hocks were injected. He did not have lameness issues after that. The adopting organization gave me the phone number of the vet who injected his hocks today and I have left a message for her to try to find out more about his history. The adopting organization has been wonderful throughout this whole process - helpful - telling me what they knew and whom I should contact to get more info. They thought he was sound and so did I until today. I was devastated as I had become very attached to this little horse with a wonderful disposition. My vet suggested that the organization adopting him get their vet out to see him and figure out what is wrong with him and if he becomes sound and I want to consider adopting him again, to contact her.

Any idea of what could be going on with this horse? Or are there just too many possibilities to even guess at the cause of the problem? Should I give up on this horse? I really don't want to give up on him - he has an amazing disposition.
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Wendy L. Murray
Member
Username: Vablonde

Post Number: 13
Registered: 6-2005
Posted on Monday, Jan 2, 2006 - 7:37 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Janice,

Having re-habbed a few horses myself, my first reaction is don't give up! If you like his disposition, I would opt for some x-rays of his front feet to rule out any navicular changes, coffin bone problems etc.

My latest project has extremely thin soles and it's like walking around a jagged rock bed in ballerina shoes, so he could very well be sore and/or bruised on those hooves. You could also look into some padding in addition to the shoes, but the ultimate goal would be to get his soles up off the ground, which in some cases needs a little more aggressive farrier work or different kinds of shoes.

Doctors know best, but that's a little information based on my experience. Try to rule out the obvious lameness problems with x-rays and consult with a farrier on how best to deal with his feet.

If the mind is there, with some patience and good care you might have a wonderful horse! It's definitely worth the effort and it sounds like the adoption place is willing to work with you.

Good luck!

wendy
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Janice C Chadola
Member
Username: Jchadola

Post Number: 34
Registered: 7-2003
Posted on Monday, Jan 2, 2006 - 10:25 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks Wendy. The lady who handles the adoptions at the adoption place is going to go out with their vet to have a look at him and probably take him to her place to be rehabbed (she has a rehabilitation facility in addition to her involvement with the adoption place). She said the last time she saw him before his last placement (where he was unhappy because there was only one horse and he got upset when they took that horse away), he was fat, happy and had no lameness issues. She has done a lot of re-habbing of racehorses in the past and also says not to give up - a lot of small problems can look like one huge problem and the horse can look awful. So I will wait to see what the outcome is. My vet had a concern that since the horse is malnourished his personality might change when he puts the weight on and he might not be so easy to handle. The lady who handles the adoptions says his personality was the same when he was fat. This horse is so sweet, I would hate to give up on possibly getting a wonderful horse. So I will wait to see what happens.
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CherylA
Member
Username: Canderso

Post Number: 267
Registered: 3-2000
Posted on Tuesday, Jan 3, 2006 - 7:16 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Janice,
You asked if you should give up on this horse. What is your intended use for him? Is this a first horse? Where will you be keeping your horse? What does your trainer say about this?

My spider-senses are telling me you should be listening VERY carefully to your vet.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 14417
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Tuesday, Jan 3, 2006 - 7:53 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Yes the findings are sufficiently vague that there are many possibilities so we cannot really say whether to give up or not. This depends as much on your intentions and goals as it does finding out what is wrong with this horse.
DrO
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Shelley
Member
Username: Sswiley

Post Number: 116
Registered: 1-2005
Posted on Tuesday, Jan 3, 2006 - 9:38 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Since his lamness issues are so vague and broad, I would try to find a vet who is particulary experienced with performance horses or rehab. Sometimes you can get lost chasing these elusive recurring pains. He sounds pretty high maintenance with the potential for a tough road ahead. Not to say it cant be done, but, you really need to find a good "leg vet" to get you through it.
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Ann
Member
Username: Dres

Post Number: 670
Registered: 10-2000
Posted on Tuesday, Jan 3, 2006 - 10:43 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Besides high maintenance, but possibly a long road of rehabbing and vet costs.... There are tons of horses out there with great attitudes.... BE-CAREFUL...

as we have said before... there is no such thing as a free horse or a cheap horse... :-(
On the first day God created horses, on the second day he painted them with SPOTS..
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Ella
Member
Username: Miamoo

Post Number: 136
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Tuesday, Jan 3, 2006 - 11:09 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

My free cat cost $500.00 after I got done with shots, top spot, fixing her etc... The price of the horse is the smallest part of caring for him/her, regardless of how much the purchase price was.

If you do choose to adopt him and decide that the issue is thin soles, here is something that has worked for me on a paper thin soled mare. Use both a rim pad and then a hard full pad. Put the rim pad on first, then the full pad. The rim pad creates space between the hoof and the full pad. If the full pad is hard plastic, there will be little bending and so the hoof will be even more protected. Have silicone inserted in the area between the hoof and the full pad.

Ella :-)
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Ann
Member
Username: Dres

Post Number: 671
Registered: 10-2000
Posted on Tuesday, Jan 3, 2006 - 12:02 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Ella, and how much do those special shoeing visits cost and how often..? That is my point...I know in years past when I was looking for another horse (( now I have horses for sale, go figure)) that if the horse had special shoes/ pads... I would avoid it... that stuff just adds up way to fast ....

again.. good luck Janice with your search...
On the first day God created horses, on the second day he painted them with SPOTS..
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Ella
Member
Username: Miamoo

Post Number: 137
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Tuesday, Jan 3, 2006 - 2:25 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Ann,

I shoe all of mine up front anyway, so the extra cost is just the cost of pads and silicone. About $20 extra every 6-8 weeks. As far as horses go I've had worse bills - regularly!

Take Care,

Ella :-)
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Ann
Member
Username: Dres

Post Number: 672
Registered: 10-2000
Posted on Tuesday, Jan 3, 2006 - 2:40 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Ella , not sure what you pay for shoes regularly... but when I was padding up my gelding his shoes cost me $135-145 every 5 weeks.... the others for reg. shoes is $95.... I think the farrier takes in account the cutting and fitting of the pads as well....
horses are just plain money pits.... but I do love 'em...

On the first day God created horses, on the second day he painted them with SPOTS..
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Janice C Chadola
Member
Username: Jchadola

Post Number: 35
Registered: 7-2003
Posted on Wednesday, Jan 4, 2006 - 3:44 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

The vet for the adopting organization is going out with a couple of people from the organization to assess him on Friday. I have told the organization to hold on to my $1,000 to see if they can rehabilitate the horse.

I wasn't looking for a $1,000 horse. In fact, I was going to wait until I was better off financially to get a second horse but this guy came along and I became very attached to him. I have a 23-year-old ex-racehorse thoroughbred gelding I have had since he was 9 years old - he was my first horse. He still can be a handful at times. As I was having hip resurfacing done in a few months, I thought this sweet horse would be ideal for when I started riding again after my surgery. He was better-behaved than my old guy. In 2003 I purchased a 3-year-old appendix quarter horse who I thought would very calm - he ended up being very spooky and last March I had a bad fall resulting in a serious fracture of my arm by my shoulder. Therefore, when this thoroughbred came along, I was very impressed with his calm disposition and affectionate nature. I would like to do dressage with him and if I get brave enough, do some jumping again. My vet was quite concerned about the fact I have a vague veterinary history about this horse. I know he had suspensory strains at the track and afterwards at some point, he had injections in his hocks. I do not know why. I think the vet for the adopting organization gave him the injections in his hocks and may have a lot of knowledge about his history.

For now, I will wait to see what the adopting organization's vet has to say about the horse's lameness problems and see if he can be rehabilitated. If so, I would want as much info as is available about his medical history.
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Wendy L. Murray
Member
Username: Vablonde

Post Number: 15
Registered: 6-2005
Posted on Wednesday, Jan 4, 2006 - 7:23 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Janice,

It sounds like you have the right attitude towards this horse and your vet is very thorough. I've found that there is no such thing as a "perfect horse" so even if you pay $20k for one, they can injure themselves just as easily as a $1k horse. I'm partial to rehab horses as I have found two wonderful horses that were literally left to starve because they weren't going to take someone to Grand Prix.

Have they been a little more high maintenance? Heck yes, but those big boys got in my back pocket and stayed there. The reward you will reap with a rescue horse is a love that is irreplaceable and the time to you take in rehab that's not in the saddle will make all the difference in the world.

Take a look at the last one I am bringing back: http://www.horseadvice.com/horse/messages/4/49839.html#POST75188

Best of luck and keep us posted!
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Ella
Member
Username: Miamoo

Post Number: 138
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Wednesday, Jan 4, 2006 - 7:47 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Ann,

Front shoes and back trim $65. Add pads up front $75. Double pads $85.

I guess I am lucky.

Ella :-)
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Janice C Chadola
Member
Username: Jchadola

Post Number: 36
Registered: 7-2003
Posted on Thursday, Jan 5, 2006 - 12:16 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Wendy - I went to the link to see the horse you are bringing back. He is a big beautiful boy. He has the glow of health. You must love him very much. He is clearly getting excellent care. He's a lucky horse.

My other guy was a 9-year-old underweight green ex-racehorse when I got him as my first horse in 1991 - with behavioral problems when he put on a lot of weight quickly from a lot of grain (I relied on the people where I boarded to handle feeding him as I knew nothing about caring for a horse). After that his grain was reduced - he lost weight and it was hard to keep him from looking ribby. Finally, I found a feed that kept weight on him and didn't cause him to get hot (well, he still had his moments and still does but that is just his personality not related to what he is fed). He has looked good for a number of years now and currently looks great at the age of 23 (he'll be 24 in April/06).

I found out why the little guy from the adoption place whom I love had injections. He was placed with someone who jumped and rode him too hard. He was returned to the adoption place very sore in his back end so their vet injected his hock and stifle on one side and told the person looking after him to contact her if he still had problems. The vet never heard back. He then went to stay with the lady I have been dealing with mostly and was fat, happy and sound. After that he was placed with someone who had one other horse and he was unhappy if that horse was taken away - he is a very social guy - seems to love lots of activity around him. So the person returned him - I suspect in his current condition as far as weight and his general condition is concerned - not sure what else happened to him to affect his soundness.

So I am anxiously awaiting his assessment by the adoption place's vet on Friday. I am cautiously optimistic.
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Dawn Winans
Member
Username: Dwinans

Post Number: 37
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Saturday, Jan 7, 2006 - 7:51 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Janice,

I have had some experience with thin, soft soles and my advice would be don't underestimate the potential problems that can happen with them.

I have had 2 thoroughbreds with that problem.

The one I currently have I have been able to manage it with pads (by the way $160 every 6 weeks). I have had challenges with his shoeing and if it's not done perfectly he will go off. He doesn't really show that he is off because both feet hurt so he's not head-bobbing lame. I had an issue once where dirt gathered between the pad and his foot and caused pressure which hurt. Then we took the pad off and the wet dirt packed into his foot which caused pressure and made his feet hurt. We are now back to a stiff, hard pad which does not let the dirt in. We can't put silicone between his foot and the pad because his foot is so flat that there is no room for it.

When he misbehaves I never know if it's him having a bad attitude or if his feet hurt. He keeps me continually on my toes.

My previous thoroughbred went lame and we never were able to figure out what was wrong other than it was in his foot. Radiographs showed completely clean except for his paper-thin soles.

I'm not saying write this horse off because of the feet but realize that it is something that you will always be worried and concerned about.

Remember it's much easier to live with the disappointment of not buying a horse rather than realizing afterwards that not only are you in love with him but you are also stuck with him.

Good luck!
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