Monday, July 28, 2014

Red's Vet Visit and Pasture Photos

While I was waiting around at the barn for the vet to arrive to check Red out, I had the chance to take some pasture photos.

Here's Dawn leaving the barn after our early morning ride - we started to ride again a few days ago and we'll be riding until her second visit from the dental surgeon:

Getting down to the important business of eating grass:

Pie and Red were also out with their herd - that's Pie on the left and Red on the right:

This picture really captures how red Red is - for a horse who hasn't been in work he's looking pretty good:

And Pie, not as red but just as fine:

And a final photo of Red, Mr. Curious:

The vet finally called to say that she was on the way, so I brought Red in, groomed him and then we hand grazed until they got there.

I told her that he had fallen down behind in the barn aisle on June 15, and had scraped the front of both fetlock joints and pasterns, but wasn't unsound after - although he'd had two small wind puffs show up on the right hind in front of the suspensory ligaments, which indicated his pastern joint was complaining.  Then, on June 24, he'd come in from turnout with a ding on the front of his right hind cannon bone, with some swelling along the extensor tendon.  At that point he was not completely sound at the walk and very off at the trot, although always weight-bearing. I had treated with ice and bute, and within a few days the swelling was mostly gone.  His soundness slowly improved, but the wind puffs were still there.  Then, two days ago, the wind puff on the outside of his ankle was replaced by a more diffuse swelling - still no tenderness to palpation.  He was fairly sound at the trot and canter in the pasture until he slowed down in trot to transition to walk - then he would take some short strides.

The vet said that the swelling around and above his fetlock probably indicated that the joint was slightly unstable due to a strain of internal soft tissues supporting the ankle joint.  Although he had no sensitivity to palpation, there was a bit of heat in the joint.  If he'd had a bone chip or bruise to a weight-bearing structure, he would have likely been much more lame after the injury.  The suspensory ligament did not seem to be enlarged, although one collateral ligament was slightly larger than the other - but this was the same on his other hind leg, and was likely normal for him due to the way he moves behind - he "tight-rope walks" - bringing his hind legs toward the center line, and this can result in enlargement due to remodeling from uneven loading.

On the lunge, there was a very slight shortness of stride at the walk - in the last part of the stride he would lift the right hind slightly early.  At the trot he was much sounder than he was even a few days ago - we joked that he didn't want to go back to the vet clinic - and the short stride didn't show up until the last couple of steps as he was coming back to walk.  The vet flexed both hind pasterns - the left had no response, and he was only slightly off on the right hind after flexion, not bad at all considering that the ankle was having some issues.

We could have done x-rays at this point, but since he'd never been severely lame and was improving, we didn't do that.  Also, we could have done ultrasound to determine exactly what soft tissue structures were affected, but since it wasn't going to change her recommendation, we didn't do that either.

Our instructions are 30 days more rest - he'll stay in full turnout, since he's not tolerant of stall or paddock rest and will likely protect the leg more if he's happy and relaxed.  I'll ice the leg - he'll tolerate the ice boot for short periods.  And we'll use Traumeel ointment once a day on the ankle - my vet frequently uses natural/herbal remedies.  Then we'll recheck.  Sounds like a plan.  I turned Red back out and he moseyed off before breaking into a nice canter followed by some pretty sound trot.


  1. Love all the pictures of your herd. Lovely pastures.

    Hope Red heals quickly and is back to his healthy self soon.

  2. I'm curious what Red's breeding is? He reminds me so much of Killian it kind of blows my mind.

    1. Here you go:

      Three Bars (once through Doc Bar), Driftwood Ike twice, Peppy San and a number of other classic horses

    2. The common ancestor they share is Doc's Jack Frost, Interesting.

  3. I love all the pictures of the horses and their shiny coats. Especially those chestnut coats; gorgeous! Good news on the Red front.

  4. Although there can be many reasons for it isn't tightrope walking often considered to be a sign of chronically sore hocks? I know you are not a fan of joint injections but I think they are a very useful tool when done at appropriate times. It doesn't sound like hocks are the cause of this particular issue anyway but I thought I would throw it out there (since you haven't had enough vet bills lately!!).

  5. Melissa - you're right about the hock issue showing up with that. But his hocks aren't bothering him much right now so we're holding off on doing anything more about that - it may be that his lower joints are just in the process of slowly fusing and that will take its own course. He also tends to bring his fronts toward the center line as well and part of all that is his natural movement - he has a lot of "swing" - I call it his swagger - and free movement in his barrel and back.


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