Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Bad News

We had our appointment with the physio yesterday. Man did she have news for me!

I already suspected tendon/ligament damage. She confirmed this. Damage to the deep digital flexor tendon and possible the suspensory ligament as well. He has severe pelvic tilt and damage to his hip/femur joint. The current theory is that he slipped over and crashed onto his hip. On a positive note his sacral iliac is nice and stable, she was very surprised.

More than this though is the news that my farrier has been fucking Fox's feet up in a way I couldn't even imagine. His feet are all out of balance with too steep lateral walls causing misalignment of his legs. This is not just one leg but all four. When she pointed it out to me, it was so obvious I can't believe I didn't notice it before. This has also contributed to the likely hood that he has degenerative joint disease as well. The hind leg he has damaged has the worst trim which the physio believes contributed to the tendon damage. He has thickening of the tendons in both front legs too.

He has chronic wasting in his hamstring and gaskins. Where there should be muscle, there is none. His neck is out, he has clicking in his right femoral joint from his weight pushing through on impact. He has also got scarred muscle across the top of his jump where he's had a major impact probably trying to rush out of a float and making contact with the bum bars. My poor poor horsie. I will try and scan the chart she gave me. I don't think any part of his body is unaffected. We're looking at 4 months plus for rehab.

Our plan of attack

1. New farrier - he will sort out Fox's feet make them level and probably put a remedial shoe with a pad on that back foot with the severely steep lateral wall that is causing the crushing to the outside. He is also apparently excellent at diagnosing tendon damage.

2. Cold hosing - 20 mins twice a day.

3. Confinement - Fox now only has a small corner of his paddock by his pony friend to stop him running around

4. Pain relief - Devil's claw, no bute!

5. Back On Track boots that I am ordering tomorrow (pay day)

6. Supplements, supplements supplements - my list includes chelated magnesium, MSM and glocosamine on top of his toxin binder and mineral mix.

7. Homeopathic remedies - have a high success rate of helping treat inflammation and helping tendons recover.

8. Tennis ball exercises - these are exercises given to me by the physio that I do for 20 minutes every day.

9. Physio - She will see him once a week for the next few weeks then every three weeks.

10. Ultrasound - this will happen when his leg is a bit more stable as the closest one is a 40 minute float ride away.

11. Hand walking - when the farrier has sorted out Fox's feet we can start handwalking. 5 minutes the first week, 10 the next etc.

It's going to be a long road to recovery but the physio's prognosis is optimistic. She doesn't think there is anything we can't fix with the right treatment. Except of course the DJD that I have my fingers crossed we are only treating as a precautionary measure. Unlikely, but one can dream!


  1. Hope Fox gets better soon. But just wondering is your physio a vet to be able to give such diagnostic?

  2. No she is not a vet however she is highly qualified in her field. And realistically all the local vet would have been able to to was to tell me what I already knew, load Fox up on bute which I didn't want to do and recommend an ultrasound which we will get once we're comfortable with Fox travelling. I'm totally confident in her abilities and the abilities of the new farrier who specialises in rehabbing horses.

  3. Agree with you about a competent farrier. I have finally found one, and it makes a HUGE difference!
    I am just surprised that a vet will not carry the ultra-sound with him. Our vet does everything on site, X-rays, ultra-sound, castration etc ... We take the horses to the vet clinic only for colic surgery or anything else "heavy".

    Why your dislike of BUTE, if it is only a short treatment.
    I agree that for anything chronic, I use more "natural" medecine , they are still medecines, but for acute treatment, I do not mind using the gig guns .

  4. Wow- fingers crossed for a smooth rehab for Fox. Being owned by a chronic rehab case myself, I feel your pain!

    Will be hoping for the best for you both. I'd love to hear the list of homeopathic's that you use and have used!

  5. Hoping for the best of success with Fox. Sounds like you've got some knowlegeable help and a good plan.Best of luck!

  6. Muriel - Unfortunately our local vet is mainly small animal despite the number of horses in the area. Closest horse vet 40 minute float away. They don't come this far over and I don't know if they even have a portable machine. I think NZ is quite different from the States in that regard. Everything is sooo spread out.

    Bute causes stomach ulcers among other things and not only with long term use.

    Mrs Mom - They are arriving today so will get you a list.

    Thanks everyone for your good wishes. Kicking myself that I didn't get anyone out sooner. For the last few months I've been 'must get someone to check Fox over'. Hindsight is 20/20 though isn't it.

  7. Ow, poor Fox. Farriers make a huge difference. I don't know howit is where you're at, but finding one in my neck of the woods is very difficult. Yeah, lots of guys advertise, but most of them never had any formal schooling or apprenticeship. I just switched (two trimmings ago) farriers, and I'm quite happy with the change. I hope you've found someone you can trust and good luck with the rehab.

  8. Good luck with the rehab! If you can, see if anyone practices Equine Touch in your area. I'm using it down here in Invercargill and am constantly amazed at how well it works and how much the horses love it. It is a very gentle form of massage, but can help with swelling, pain relief and prevent all the nasty compensation problems you wind up with when a horse can't use its body properly. If you get the chance, I'm sure Fox would appreciate it!

    Good luck (and get well soon Fox!)

  9. Raven - I live in Europe! Our yard has 65 horses, our vet visits us every two weeks.

    Good point about BUTE. We also use Danilon, which is less strong.

    Healing wishes to Fox!

  10. I agree that it is hard to find a good farrier... basically, if you don't have any knowledge on the matter, you might as well blindfold a complete stranger and ask them to trim and shoe your horse (I know... not THAT bad...). I've decided to learn to do it myself, I am now a barefoot performance trimmer after 2 years of intense study. I trim my own horses, can assess their problems and fix them as soon as I spot them (I don't have to wait for the farrier). There isn't many farriers where I live, closest is 30 mins away... I only trim my horses because I have back problems that prevent me from trimming many horses, especially difficult ones.

    I am against bute also, unless it is ABSOLUTELY necessary and I would find an alternative before considering it. Solves the pain problem but causes other problems that might be worst than the pain in the first place...

    Good luck with Fox... poor boy, I'm sure that getting his feet balanced will help A LOT... remember, no foot no horse!

  11. Woops sorry Muriel!

    One Dandy Horse - Fox has been barefoot for over a year now and I've been very keen to learn to trim myself. I was already going to change farriers when this happened. We'll probably have to put remedial shoes on but will be back barefoot ASAP!

    Tansey - I'll check out the Equine Touch, haven't heard of anyone doing it locally but worth a try.

    Thanks again for the good wishes. It's quite amazing, Fox has been an absolute angel about everything!

  12. Hi there,
    is there any chance you could post pictures of the difference between his feet now and after the farrier has been round? I am trying to learn about proper trim etc and am learning best from pictures. My mare is not shod and still on baby-break just now, so she's not being worked but I still want to make sure her feet get trimmed properly

  13. Yip I'll see what I can do. Won't be for a little while now, farrier has hurt himself so will be out for a week :(