Thursday, 1 October 2009

Another Vet later and...

And we still are nowhere near locating the source of pain and cause of Kingsley's lameness. He has now been on box rest with short walk outs for the last two weeks.
He's been seen by three different vets including laminitis/feet lameness specialist today. Nobody seems to have a clue or an idea where is the primary source of pain or where is the lameness coming from.
The vet who saw him today concluded that he exhibits a very difficult type of lameness/unlevelness to diagnose, that he isn't lame enough to nerve block (????), that the lameness is in front and the back end is fine.

After almost an hour of walking, trotting, prodding, lungeing on soft, hard surface etc I was told 'I'm sorry but I can't really say what the real problem is here'...!!!!
He said he can see the unlevelness in front which gets worse on hard ground and when circles get tighter. Kingsley preferred to pop himself into canter than stay in trot on the lunge. At times, it looked like coordination issue when he would trot with hindlegs and yet started cantering/hoping himself into canter with front legs.
Canter generally looked level BUT varied from three beat to four beat at times.

Vet said that as he sees it right now, there are 2 options:

OPTION 1 Start bringing Kingsley back to work, first by turning him out for a week or so, then starting to walk him under the saddle for 10-15 minutes a day if safe to do so, strengthen his muscles and check whether the problem resolves itself. Get the physiotherapist to investigate the muscle imbalances, analyse gaits etc (vet found a very sore muscle in Kingsley's neck which apparently means he is holding himself to avoid loading the front legs with excessive weight).
This will either make him become sounder or he will get lamer. If the former than it might be that for some reason he stressed his front legs and due to his conformation (wide moving in front) he is finding it difficult to re-educate his gaits and move correctly.
If he gets lamer, the theory is we can then see what really is sore and proceed with nerve blocks and/or X-rays and MRI.

OPTION 2 Second option is to bone scan straight away. This is a cost of around £800...

For now we will try to find the best physio in the area and see what they can tell (good physio should be able to do do gait analysis and pin point muscle imbalances and tightness etc). We will get the vets to talk to the physio and see what we can do from there. He will also go out into the field as he is generally quiet there and doesn't really run around.
Having said that, he was rather creative on the lunge today launching himself into orbit and looking rather jolly!

His legs are swelling/filling free entirely at the moment. He seems generally happy within himself, interested in everything and doesn't seem to be in any discomfort.

Puzzling or what? Any ideas?



Leah said...

That's too bad. I hope your boy feels better soon.

800 pounds is a good deal on the bone scan - where I live a bone scan will cost me double that and is an 8 hour away haul. Plus even then a bone scan is a better deal than x-raying every joint in every leg (and then still guessing about the spine and pelvis)

So work him and worst case scenario it'll get worse and easier to diagnose or bone scan to figure out if it's skeletal related. All depends if you have the money and/or the patience/stomach to go the the other route.

You grow up and get married, and you think broken hearts are behind you but yet your heart still gets stomped on by your 4-legged friends... can't live with them, can't live without them.

Anonymous said...

Is a physio same as chiropractor here? Could he have something wrong with his back/neck - or something like a pinched nerve somewhere - the very sore muscle in the neck could indicate something perhaps. If he were over here, I would call my excellent chiropractor to look at him - she's also a vet.

My old gelding Noble was extremely sore/lame and I discovered he had some cramps in his shoulders. Just massaging the tight spots helped a lot.
Sorry I can't help except by making random suggestions!

English Rider said...

No ideas, but turning him out for a week sounds like the best plan. Fingers crossed for a good result.

HorseOfCourse said...

How frustrating.
I am sorry for you - and Kingsley.
I believe that your strategy is a good one. Good luck to you, hope he gets better. (Would probably had tried the same myself!)
A good chiro, as Kate says, is also an idea worth contemplating.
Might it be that the problem is not related to the legs, but situated further up?

Anonymous said...

hey there...rotten luck! Remember when K. first came up sore and I SAID MY LEASE PONY ALSO WAS? I went the let nature ( and a few days bute) take her course and Velvet is now solidly sound, but syill on turn-out two hours a day only. I know it flies in the face of all we are taught and read and are told, but 8 years a go I tore the muscles off my shoulder and elbow. After tons of meds and doctors and procedures I threw in the towel and said enough already! After one year of pain and a few more of slow going I am as good as new. I truely believe that had I not seem any med pros I would have been healed much faster. There...that said - you know your situation best and will do the right yourself and your gut, you are a good horseman! Best wishes from Canada

Unknown said...

Leah - that's a hell of a lot of money for bone scan in your neck of woods! Seems that if physio doesn't help we will start with nerve blocks to narrow the area we should thinking of. I am really hoping we won't have to stick needles in him though, poor little chap.

Kate - Physiotherapist would be slightly different to Chiropractor.
Chiropractors here would be defined as those who "use manipulation of the spine to deal with the neurological dysfunction of the spinal cord and spinal nerve roots caused by subluxations of the vertebral column."

Physio - "Equine physiotherapy involves the assessment and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions in horses. It combines movement analysis with knowledge of the anatomy of the musculo-skeletal system in order to identify potential problems."

Think this site defines differences well:

Watching K. move I would think there is definitely some muscular discomfort but whether it's a secondary problem due to lameness in the legs or whether it's a primary problem is anyone's guess right now.

You know, he's got this odd white spot which we were told was a bite but which looks very much like a classic saddle sore so who knows if it isn't shoulder related.

English Rider - Thank you :)

HorseOfCourse - that's the route for now. Physio and/or Chiro is the next step up. I contacted a Physio who did Olympic teams at Sydney and Atlanta, if she has time we will try her.

Unknown said...

Canada - glad to hear Velvet is recovering. Quite a story with your elbow!
I am very interested in what we can find out via the physio session and hope we will get some answers.

Suzie said...

If he's having issues with the front legs in trot, it would suggest something in the withers/shoulder area... but wouldn't explain the fat hindlegs he had when he first went lame. Definitely try a good physio - my friend uses a really good one who I think is in your area - let me know if you want his name and I'll get it and facebook it to you.

I don't understand why he isn't lame enough to nerve block - other than the physio route, I would have thought that would be the obvious path... vets are strnge creatures. Is he insured? Could you get him referred to Newmarket - to Rossdales or somewhere? When we have lameness issues, we don't bother with the local vet - just get them to refer the horses to Newmarket as they have all the facilities. Just a thought. Keeping fingers crossed for you!

Unknown said...

Hey Suzie,
We think that these two problems (swollen legs and front end lameness) might be unconnected. The blood test suggested some inflammation that could have been stress induced and considering the poor chap was moved around in between several yards in the short space of time it's of no surprise that changes in diet and environment caused some digestion problems.
The swelling looked a bit like 'stood in' swellings which apparently are typical when horse is fed too much protein and/or the diet lacks balance.
His legs are dry clean now, no swelling whatsoever.

Thank you for the physio suggestion. We have an appointment set up with but if for any reason they can't help us then I will get back to you via Facebook.

Fingers crossed we have some answers from Physio on Wed.

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