My vet/chiropractor commented yesterday that although in some respects digital x-rays are a real blessing, in other respects, because of the detail shown, and thus the sensitivity to the exact angle and how they are done, they can cause problems - on old x-rays, if you saw a problem it was a problem, but sometimes things were missed; with the new digital x-rays, sometimes you can see a problem that isn't actually there or that isn't causing the lameness you're investigating. Today I got a voicemail from my regular vet saying that she and all of her colleagues had conferred, and although they at first thought there might be a splint bone fracture, after looking at things closely they decided there probably wasn't. I appreciate the time they took to consider this question carefully, and will tell them so.
So that's very good news - it's likely there's no fracture. This is consistent with Red's continued improvement, and makes our course of action clearer for his recovery. Today when I brought him in for his morning meds, the swelling in the hock seemed to be reduced from yesterday, and he trotted off very soundly from the gate. I think the Sore No More is already making a difference. The massage work on the sore hindquarters muscles may also have made a difference - as my vet/chiro pointed out, one of the muscles that was sore was one that connects directly to the tendon that we think was irritated by the kick.
It seems quite possible that the original muscular injury occurred when he twisted the hind leg catching himself when he almost fell at the canter, and that this was aggravated by the kick injury to the hock and resulting cellulitis and inflammation of the tendon sheath that crosses the hock area of impact. The book I mentioned in my post yesterday has very specific massage and rehab suggestions for the muscles that are affected. It may be possible that the work we're doing now on the semimembranosus muscle (see yesterday's post for what this is) may actually help his long-standing tendency to place the left hind farther toward the center line of his body, which must put extra stress on that hock. When I did a little bit of work on that muscle yesterday, he indicated that he was happy with it and even moved his tail out of the way for me.
I'm encouraged, and hoping to have a completely sound Red in not too long.