It is kind of a long video with cheesy music, but you get the drift. At first I was terrified that it was something neurological. He wouldn’t walk straight and seemed a bit drunk. It wasn’t until I got him in his stall and ran my hands all over him that I found this:
Super, duper, giant fat stifle.
I texted the video to my vet and my trainer and both agreed (independently) that Sterling had most likely gotten kicked HARD in his stifle. Trainer recommended DMSO on it and vet recommended DMSO plus hydrotherapy twice a day as well as stall rest. Blargh. I was relieved to at least find an injury rather than something disease related.
Thankfully we have a well, otherwise this would be one expensive water bill!
Well, after a couple weeks of DMSO, hydrotherapy and stall rest the swelling just wasn’t going down so the vet came by this week to look at it and devise a plan. After looking it over he offered two options. Option 1 we could either put him back in work (he isn’t visibly lame anymore) and see if it goes down, but the risk there is that the swelling actually gets worse and results in permanent fluid build up on his stifle. Not very desirable. Option 2 was to lance the swelling and drain it. Gross, but probably better to get rid of the fluid. We went with Option 2. Sadly I don’t have any media from the lancing and draining, but suffice it to say it was gross. A mix of pale yellow liquid and blood. I hope you aren’t eating when you read this! Sterling was sedated and the area was numbed for the procedure so it went easily. Of course this is when Vet advised that I’m going to have to continue hydrotherapy AND try to squeeze fluid out of the newly cut hole for as long as the hole remains open. Sweet, and I don’t get the advantage of sedative and numbing.
More hydrotherapy after the stifle was lanced and drained. I bet half a gallon of liquid came out. Ew.
Vet advised that we may need to lance and drain it again after a few days. We are on Day 3 of hydrotherapy followed by squeezing the area to get fluid out. I enlist Boot City to help when he’s around since he has much stronger hands and Sterling can be a handful for stuff like this. I can’t imagine it feels good to have someone trying to squeeze a bunch of fluid out of a hole in your leg that is trying to heal. There seems to be a new spot with a smaller buildup up fluid, but overall the swelling has gone down. Sterling is mostly just angry that he’s on stall rest again and cries for his friends when they get turned out. Hopefully this works and we will be back to riding by early July.
The vet came by yesterday to stab vaccinate my herd of horses plus I wanted him to do an evaluation of Sterling since he has been off on his right front for about 2 weeks. Rewind a little bit here. Sterling had a small quarter crack on both of his front hooves at the beginning of the year. 2 trims ago my farrier didn’t think it was much to worry about. Sterling historically has pretty good feet, especially for a thoroughbred. The quarter crack on his right front was getting decidedly worse so I had the farrier come out a bit sooner than usual and he chopped of Sterling’s toe to mitigate the growth of the quarter crack on his right front hoof. When I got home the day he got trimmed I was a little taken aback at just how much hoof was cut off! As a result I really expected Sterling to be sore the next day, but he was still normal and sound even 2 days later.
Fast forward to day 4 and he was CLEARLY off on his right front.
I sent this video to my vet. He advised bute (a horsey NSAID) for a few days and see how he is. At day 3 he was not as noticeably lame, but definitely still slightly off. I made an appointment for the vet to come over to look at him and do annual vaccinations. It worked out to be exactly 2 weeks after he exhibited lameness. I haven’t been riding him at all in the meantime.
We lunged Sterling in both directions and the vet confirmed that he is still off on his right front. The vet blocked his right front foot, which means he gave him a shot in his foot to make it completely “dead” for a short period of time. This allows the vet to see if the pain goes away with the numbness and confirm that is where the pain is located. We do this since horses can’t tell us where they hurt. We again lunged Sterling in both directions and the vet saw definite improvement, but noticed that he is still ever so slightly off and that it happens with both front feet depending on which direction he is going. In all likelihood this just means that Sterling is starting to show age in his front coffins, which I’m advised by my vet isn’t a big deal. It just means we may need to start injecting his coffins to provide comfort as he ages and gets some aches and pains. The injection provides him pain relief and only needs to be administered about once per year. It is more or less the same as giving him a horse version of aspirin or ibuprofen every day.
Before we got that route we will adjust his hoof care and will have the farrier put on these crazy named shoes.
The Kerckhaert Aluminum Horse Shoe
If this solves his problem then we will put off the injections for at least a little while. In the meantime, Coco is getting ALL the rides and is thus showing tremendous improvement in her education. Have any of my horsey friends used Kerckhaert shoes? Thoughts, opinions, feedback with similar issues?