Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Prair's Left Front (as opposed to "My Left Foot")

Great movie... anyone? No? okay... moving on.

Met the vet Tuesday morning to reinspect Prair's sore tootsie.  Since it's been taking a while for the lameness to present, I tacked the mare up, handed her to an exercise rider (literally, from the track), and stood back to watch.

Maybe not the best person to be in the irons, as she had Prair really running and let her stay heavy in the bridle, but we were getting the job done.  Just about 10 minutes into trotting/running around, Prair started to look a bit guarded on the left front, and even though a head bob wasn't showing, when she changed from the right rein to the left rein there was a marked difference in her way of going.

(for the record, never before have I given the instructions "Ride her till she's lame."  Typically I aim for not that

Anyway, I grabbed the vet, who popped in and started watching what we were working with.  Big circles, small circles, changing direction, trot, canter... all that good stuff.  The good news is that the lameness stayed way less pronounced than it was at the show, which the vet thinks helps rule out any major soft tissue damage - the theory being that a serious strain or sprain wouldn't heal significantly in five days off....

That makes sense to me, but I'm also totally willing to accept anything that helps rule out major soft tissue damage... She could be saying "well, there was a Blood Moon (whatever that was) last night, so that really helps rule out major soft tissue damage" and I'd be nodding my head all "totally, yeah, makes sense..."

(so I can't really be trusted in that department).

Anyway, feeling slightly less nauseous about Prair's leg rotting off, we talked about next steps.  Her "most likely" diagnosis is that Prair tweaked her coffin joint (likely landing funny or slipping around, or something similar), and the lameness was presenting as a result of inflammation around that joint, which would explain the increase in lameness with work, why it blocked out in the hoof and also why we weren't seeing any heat or soreness farther up the leg.  Additionally, Prair showing more discomfort when the leg is on the inside suggests an "impact" soreness as opposed to a "push off" soreness which would typically show stronger when the leg was on the outside...

Vet suggested that we x-ray the hoof to rule out any major bone/joint issues and then (assuming nothing weird) inject the coffin joint and give her one more week off.

So we x-rayed.  And everything was really, really pretty.

Part of me always gets nervous taking pictures of what's inside a horse, because if you look hard enough you will always find something... and that makes me a tad queasy.
 a surprisingly cooperative mare...
But, never fear, the x-rays looked great.  No arthritis, no remodeling, the navicular bone looks beautiful, the joints all look balanced and clean.  Her outside wall looked just a tad tall, but not to the point of impacting her lower limb alignment... worth showing to her farrier (I think x-rays always are) but not much of a correction to be made.

The only thing we did see on the x-ray, was a confirmation of what the Vet mentioned when we were poking and prodding - which was a slight swelling right above the cornet band, in the middle of the hoof.  She said that fluid there indicates inflammation in the hoof capsule, often without any heat associated with it.  It was impossible to see, but a few pokes of the finger could tell that the left front was just barely squishier than the right front in the same spot.

The x-ray showed this "squishiness" as a slight bulge right about the cornet.  the pic isn't the best since I took a phone picture, of the x-ray... on a laptop.  (a picture of an image of a picture... how esoteric).

I don't even want to talk about how long it took me to get an arrow on this picture.
We didn't ultrasound since Vet confirmed what my internet readings had said - which is that it can be rather tricky to ultra sound that low on the limb with any certainty, and that an MRI would do a more reliable job of identifying any issues....  Since we don't currently think we have a *major* soft tissue injury, she suggested that we wait and see if more diagnostics become necessary before going down the MRI road...

To sum up:

We don't *think* it's major soft tissue.  (but we can't say with 100% certainty)

We *know* it's not in the bones (the x-ray helped that, though that doesn't rule out some sort of bruising...)

And we are proceeding under the assumption that we are dealing with a tweak (or minor soft tissue) that should resolve itself in short order.  The injection should help get rid of the inflammation immediately, she'll stay on some anti-inflams for the week to help finish that job, and will be getting 30 minutes of Eurosizer or hand walking until we attempt to resume full work next Tuesday.

All in all, a pretty good update, not too scary and hopefully we are back to normal in no time!


  1. Hey that's a pretty good report for miss P lady!

  2. Having dealt with Nav in Carlos recently.. anytime a horse is even moderately lame my mind jumps straight to that shit and my stomach churns. I am glad her navs were beautiful.

  3. Taking pictures of their feet/legs always makes me fearful. Even with a fairly thorough PPE I didn't do any xrays on Riley (I didn't have a reason to) but then when I needed to last summer I felt terrified of what we might find (nothing). Is is possible that she's getting ready to blow an abscess from her coronet band? It's that wonderful time of year!

  4. Diagnostics are no fun. I had to deal with the worry and waiting to see what really wrong. Or she could be like Libby and it will go away and no one will ever know.

  5. Sounds like a good report, all things considered. Fingers crossed that she's right as rain next Tuesday!

  6. Oh thank goodness!! I'm glad it's not too serious and also hooray on a clean x-ray hehe. That's always a good thing. :) I hope she's back to 100% by Tuesday. :D


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