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Horse has swollen fetlock and vet is out until Wednesday...
Last Post 21 Dec 2011 10:48 AM by Solaris. 20 Replies.
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lovmyhorsesUser is Offline
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19 Dec 2011 12:19 PM

    I have a 20 year old TB that my mom takes care of while I'm at school.  I came back late on Saturday and she had already done the horses for the night so I didn't see him until Sunday.  Yesterday he was fine, though he was walking gingerly.  I figured it was just because the ground was frozen solid and he has always been sensitive to hard ground.  Usually we have snow by now and his shoes were pulled in preparation for that.  I started avoiding the harder ground and put him across the street in one of our hayfields which still had softer ground than our pasture.  While I was checking on him I noticed that he had a scab that was coming off on his left rear leg, it wasn't there when I left after Thanksgiving break, and when I asked my mom she had no idea.

     Anyway today I went out and his left rear fetlock was all swollen and puffy. It's not hot and he's not lame though he is still walking gingerly (could be due to the hard frozen ground). I called the vet but she's out until Wednesday and the receptionist said she would have one of the other large animal vets call me, however I still haven't heard from them and to be honest I'm a little nervous as the last time we had one of the other large animal vets it was a new person, and she mistook a tumor on my other horse as a cyst and then began to avoid us wouldn't return calls, or anything, I don't believe that vet is there anymore, but it still worries me.

    I have a few ideas as to what could have caused it but I'm not sure, the main ones are the cut that he had on is leg, or because we're trying a new joint supplement on him (I'm trying Finish Line Fluid Action with HA liquid and he used to be on Rapid Flex (we're trying to find another supplement as the supplier of Rapid Flex is talking about not stocking it anymore (I also have a sample of Retrisport 100 that I was thinking of trying, but if it's the joint supplement that could have caused this then I'm going to go back to the Rapid Flex and toss the samples I have).

    Is there anything I should be doing while I'm waiting on a vet? I don't think I should be cold hosing as it's not hot and it's also only 10F outside.

    Pictures:

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    19 Dec 2011 02:09 PM
    Get on the phone again, first to your regular vet's office, and tell them nobody has called yet and you need to hear from someone ASAP. Tell them that the cut looks serious, and it DOES need to be examined and bandaged. Describe the cut to them. Tell them that if they don't think another vet can call soon you will try another vet clinic. And do it, call someone else: your horse needs something done for that wound. My Havannah put her LR through the bars of her stall door and had a lower leg that looked like hamburger. Her wounds were similar to your horse's, but much, much more numerous. She required bandaging from above her hock to below her coronet band, changed every day for a week then changed every other day until it healed. In addition she needed daily cleansing and triple-antibiotic cream like Neosporin.

    So, you can see that your horse needs some medical help, and the longer you wait the worse the situation will get. The wound looks too big for stitches, but he DOES need what my mare got. Not as much bandaging, but the wound requires the same kind of bandaging and care.

    Get on the phone.
    lovmyhorsesUser is Offline
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    19 Dec 2011 02:22 PM

    The vet's office got back to me and I emailed them the pictures while I was on the phone with them.  They said that the wound had already healed, and that they wanted to see if he just bumped himself as he has a habit of bumping himself.  They told me to cold hose it when it wasn't freezing and to wrap it in polo wraps.  They also said to give him 1g of bute a day and to call them again if it doesn't improve.

    I think I am going to switch back to his regular joint supplement and see if that has any affect at all as well.  I'm hoping that he doesn't disrupt his polo wraps tonight as he does love to roll, but I have vet wrap incase he does, and if worst comes to worst I can always call them and ask if I can use my SMB elites if he manages to get the vet wrap off as well.

    journeygirlUser is Offline
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    19 Dec 2011 02:27 PM
    That is an old wound.  The scab is peeling off and there is nice pink flesh underneith.  I would take the horses temp and if he is running a fever then call your vet back and let them know.  Other wise, as long as he is flexing fine I would not be concerned.  

    *NOTE*  I am not a vet nor do I play one on tv.  But by the pics provided it does not look bad at all to me.  The swelling could be from something totally unrelated.  If there is no heat in the leg and no oozing wounds AND no temp then I wouldn't worry.
    lovmyhorsesUser is Offline
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    19 Dec 2011 03:48 PM

    He's not running a temp, or heat and the wound occured sometime between Thanksgiving and Sunday morning when I got back from school.

    I cold hosed him as the vet's office suggested, but of course my hose froze in the process (it was right around 33 when I went out) so I moved to a bucket and a towel for about 10 minutes (I stopped when I couldn't feel my fingers) and then towel dried it.  Once it was dry I wrapped it in a fleece polo and then gave him his dinner with 1g of bute, though I'm going to have to find a new method of giving him bute as he caught on and refused the last 1/4 of his grain which my pony and his companion then stole while my back was turned (I had his pm grain (sentinel senior by blue seal) mixed with his old joint supplement Rapid Flex, and then put some apple pieces, a tablespoon of molassess and then some warm water in and mixed it hoping he'd think it was a treat).

    I'll get some pictures tomorrow to compare to see if the swelling has gone down.  He was also not lame or sore walking around/fighting me while I was cold hosing/using the bucket and towel, though he did kick out a number of times.  (I'm by myself and have no cross ties/manner of tieing him while I was working with him today as I usually use my horse trailer to tie to but my dad had to use it for other things today.)

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    19 Dec 2011 05:22 PM
    You shouldn't have to tie your horse to work on him or medicate him. Actually, tying them makes it harder to get them to be calm since they feel trapped when tied. Something that can teach you how to ask your horse to be tolerant with meds/deworming is a DVD I just rented from GiddyUpFlix, a company like NetFlix just for horse DVDs. The DVD was called TRAINING IN EQUUS: MEDICATING AND DE-WORMING THE DIFFICULT HORSE. I already knew how to make medicating a horse easy from the NH trainer I use, but I wanted to see if there were any other ways to do it. As it turned out, the woman in the DVD did the exact same thing my friend taught me. See if you can find the DVD for reference, but until you get it, try this:

    Put your horse in a stall or paddock, with a halter on. Start by getting him used to your hand around his muzzle, stick your finger in his mouth, run your finger around his gums, anything. If he tries to get away from you, follow him while holding on the lead. Don't pull, just loosely grip the lead and go WITH him. Once he is comfortable with your hand in his mouth, get an empty de-worming syringe and hold it against his cheek, right behind the corner of his mouth. If he fights it, do the same thing you did when he fought the hand in his mouth: follow him and try to keep the syringe in place. Eventually he will quiet down. The next step is to place the empty syringe in his mouth. When he is pulling away from the syringe try to keep it in is mouth, but as soon as he relaxes and starts to mouth the syringe take it away. Reward him for being calm by releasing him from the syringe. Get him thoroughly comfortable with the syringe in his mouth.

    Now do it with the syringe full of the med or de-wormer. Same process: place the syringe near his cheek at the corner of his mouth, and when he relaxes slip the syringe in his mouth and give him the meds. Hold his head up so he has to swallow the liquid, and when you're sure he has swallowed give him a treat as a chaser. He'll take meds easily if you follow this process.

    Juno had to take meds after the surgery on her infected coffin bone, and this was the only way I could get her to take them. As far as your horse not standing as you work on his leg, try hanging a hay net in front of him to keep him happy as you're busy. That worked for Havannah when we bandaged her LR leg, and again she was not tied. Having your horse stand quietly as you work on him takes much more time, and requires polishing his ground manners. For that you'll need some instruction from a competent trainer. Good luck, and I hope his wound gets better soon.
    lovmyhorsesUser is Offline
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    19 Dec 2011 07:04 PM
    I don't tie him when I worm or give him medications, I'm talking about soaking his rear leg, if I hold a lead rope he thinks I want him to turn, yet since he doesn't like what I'm trying to do if I'm not holding him or have him tied he takes off.
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    19 Dec 2011 07:55 PM
    Yup. That's where polishing his ground manners comes in. And the hay net full of hay. He doesn't need to be that way, all it takes is some ground work so that he sees you as his leader and protector. He needs to know that you would never ask him to do anything he couldn't do, or anything that would hurt him. A natural horsemanship trainer would be the kind of person most likely to understand how to improve the human/horse partnership so that you have a horse who is good about doing everything with you without protesting..
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    20 Dec 2011 05:12 AM

    Are you sure he's not just stocked up?  In the pictures it looks to me like both hinds have some edema.  Does the swelling (edema) improve with turnout?  For something like this banamine might work better (IF it's a soft tissue injury).  I have a TB gelding and he will stock up slightly if he's in over night or for any length of time.  Your gelding is getting older and his lymphatic system could be starting to slow down causing him to stock up.  A daily dose of good quality MSM or aspirin also helps with stocking up.

    If there's no heat and he's not lame I wouldn't get too upset about it.  If you're really worried about the edema, you can sweat the leg and that should take care of it over night.  Sweating the leg is very easy, but you need to know how to properly wrap a leg.  

    Here's some info on sweating a leg:

    http://www.aaep.org/health_articles...s_view.php

    Please note the article is very specific on how to wrap the leg.  If done incorrectly can severely hurt your horse, so please do not attempt if you don't know how to do it correctly.

    SolarisUser is Offline
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    20 Dec 2011 07:40 AM

    I'd agree with Boyle, sounds like some stocking up more than anything.  Motion and warmth can help with that.

    It's also perfectly fine to tie your horse -- in fact, all horses should stand quietly when tied, I consider that part of basic training.  If someone put cold water on my legs in wintertime, I would wander off too!  My horses are always cross tied while I am caring for them, they don't seem too traumatized as they doze.

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    20 Dec 2011 10:28 AM

    [quote user="Solaris"]

    all horses should stand quietly when tied 

    [/quote]
    That is true, but they should also stand quietly when NOT tied, just held loosely. Not tying a horse makes her responsible for her own behavior, and she doesn't stand b/c she has no choice but b/c you ask her to do so. Trusting the horse to be well-mannered makes for a better partnership between your and the horse. And in the case of the OP, she had nothing to tie to nor anyone to hold the lead, so if her horse had impeccable ground manners he would have stood, regardless. A horse that trusts you allows you to do anything to him b/c he knows that you will never ask him to do anything he can't do or that would hurt him.

    Try not tying Solo, I bet he'd stand quietly. Not tying him tells him that you trust him, too. That's just part of a good relationship. It's the reason why I have no cross-ties in my barns.
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    20 Dec 2011 10:54 AM

    Boy will stand perfectly still for a bath untied IF I use warm water.  It's onl naturaly for them to wiggle and move around being sprayed with cold water....  I know I wouldn't like it.  There's nothing wrong with tying him up for it (if he ties safely).  In fact...if OP's horse is an exracer, while on the track, he spent hours in cross ties or tied in his stall and learned to stand patiently while doing it.

    I think this horse is stocked up...some cold hosing, massage and turnout should be a big help... and ditch the bute.

     

    eta:  and this is JMHO...  I don't care for the SMB boots... they hold in the heat and if left on too long can actually burn your horses skin.  Please don't turn him out with them on or leave them on for a long time.   I would be especially careful since he's a chestnut because they can be more skin sensitive.  If you want something to leave on him get something like the fleece lined DSB boots, but the still need to be checked frequently.  They won't really do anything for the stocking up but are more for protecting him from getting banged up.  They always say it's better not to wrap then wrap incorrectly! 

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    20 Dec 2011 12:05 PM

    The swelling has gone down, but it seems strange that he woul have stocked up as his overnight area is the size of a typical turnout paddock and then every day he has 25 acres of fenced pasture, though perhaps the hard ground has caused him to spend mor time standing than usual.

    He does tie perfectly and does ground tie when I'm working with him by himself, but I do need to work with him on patience, he used to be perfect, but he has developed some bad habits that my mom allows him to get away with while I'm away at school, and it usually takes about 2 weeks for him to readjust and behave.  He's never been a huge fan of people doing things to his feet, if your speedy he's fine, but our farrier loves to talk and it usually takes her 2 hours to trim and shoe my TB and then trim my pony, and since my mom has been caring for him she's the one "holding" him for the farrier, and he takes full advantage of her because even though she thinks she's dominant my horse has learned that he can easily take her for a walk with no serious consequences (something I've been trying to remedy for quite some time).

    I didn't cold hose him today as it was only 20F, but the entire time I was working with him he stood still and behaved even though he wasn't even haltered.  I am going to have to figure out something else rather than polos, I use polos frequently and know how to wrap, but this morning I walked out and caught him laying down (not unusual), but he was in the middle of taking the polo wrap off when I opened the door.  Had the velcro undone and everything.

    These are pictures from this morning...

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    20 Dec 2011 12:29 PM
    [quote user="48northfarm"]
    Juno had to take meds after the surgery on her infected coffin bone, and this was the only way I could get her to take them. As far as your horse not standing as you work on his leg, try hanging a hay net in front of him to keep him happy as you're busy. That worked for Havannah when we bandaged her LR leg, and again she was not tied. Having your horse stand quietly as you work on him takes much more time, and requires polishing his ground manners. For that you'll need some instruction from a competent trainer. Good luck, and I hope his wound gets better soon.
    [/quote]

    [quote user="48northfarm"]

    [quote user="Solaris"]

    all horses should stand quietly when tied 

    [/quote]
    That is true, but they should also stand quietly when NOT tied, just held loosely. Not tying a horse makes her responsible for her own behavior, and she doesn't stand b/c she has no choice but b/c you ask her to do so. Trusting the horse to be well-mannered makes for a better partnership between your and the horse. And in the case of the OP, she had nothing to tie to nor anyone to hold the lead, so if her horse had impeccable ground manners he would have stood, regardless. A horse that trusts you allows you to do anything to him b/c he knows that you will never ask him to do anything he can't do or that would hurt him.

    Try not tying Solo, I bet he'd stand quietly. Not tying him tells him that you trust him, too. That's just part of a good relationship. It's the reason why I have no cross-ties in my barns.
    [/quote]

    So if you have to hang a hay bag in front of your horse to keep it quiet while you work, IMO, that horse isn't fully trained on ground manners.  A horse should stand quietly no matter what when being handled.  However, if the lower leg is all ready sore spraying it with cold water can be quite painful.  I would move away too.  
    My sons mare got injured this spring. I could do everything needed to treat the injury completely at liberty, EXCEPT cold hose the leg.   You can look up my thread on the Off the Wall board to see the extent of her injury.  It wasn't a simple scrape.  It was painful to her to have it worked on yet she stood right there other then for the cold hosing.  

    Just because the horse danced around for it doesn't mean they and the handler don't have a good relationship.  Or that the horse has bad ground manners.  It most likely means that it didn't feel good to the horse and that was how he was letting the handler know. 
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    20 Dec 2011 01:33 PM

     Handle the horse however is safe and comfortable for you and your horse.  Back to the issue the OP posted about -- I do not see any significant fill in your pictures, but not having hands and eyes on the horse in person, we cannot give a truly informed opinion.  I don't see anything there that would concern me, but I can't see if your horse still has an altered gait.

    lovmyhorsesUser is Offline
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    20 Dec 2011 02:25 PM

    Solaris it is still swollen, from his coronary band to his fetlock, but not nearly as bad as the day before, where it looked like he had a horse version of cankles.  It's also hard to tell if his gate is altered because of the swelling or if it's the ground, but I'll try to get a video tomorrow (the sun has already gone down).

    He doesn't have a temp or any heat which eliminates an infection in my opinion.  My regular vet also stopped by to say hi since she was on her way by and seeing that Solo (my horse) was wrapped she looked him over, and having know him for close to 10 years (she was also his vet prior to me owning him) she thinks he was probably goofing off and whacked it on something or tried to take a tight turn a little to fast and tweaked it.  She also suggested I continue with wrapping and cold hosing when it's above freezing, and then the bute was up to me.

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    20 Dec 2011 06:20 PM

     Hey, it's Solo the 2nd, hee hee!  But at any rate -- does he have a history of cellulitis by any chance?  A gelding at our farm will get it on and off with no provocation and gets similar swelling to what you are describing.  He is hosed and sometimes wrapped and that is generally enough to clear it.  If it spreads up his leg, he gets antibiotics.  But it can linger and make the joint stiff.  

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    20 Dec 2011 07:49 PM
    It sounds like Solo the 2nd's wound is much less serious than Havannah's. Hers were painful to work on--that's why I suggested to you the hay net, I thought Solo's was painful and that's why he wouldn't stand for you--but it appears it never was too painful and he usually stands for you without tying (after some re-education when you get home). Havannah's LR fetlock is still swollen, like Solo's, but hers has been like that for several months. My vet said that the LR leg must still be healing--last time I talked to her--but it's been an awfully long time, so I just emailed her for some advice. Like Solo, Havannah is not lame and her gaits are fine. She also has 2.5 acres to wander around. I'll be interested to see to what Solo's swelling is attributed.
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    20 Dec 2011 08:49 PM

    The only medical issue I have ever known my horse to have is that he hyperextends his rear fetlocks which is believed to have been caused by stress from the track as a claimer.

    I'm starting to think more and more that he either hit himself doing something, or that it was the change in joint supplement.  Our current supplier is talking about not selling Rapid Flex anymore, so we decided we'd try Finish Line's brand which was Fluid Action HA, I've taken him off of it and put him back on his old joint supplement, and I'm thinking of ways to convince our supplier to continue to stock it.

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    21 Dec 2011 08:12 AM

    I got some more pictures from this morning, the swelling is pretty much gone, so I didn't cold hose (didn't cold hose yesterday either).  I'm continuing to wrap mostly since he seems to enjoy having his rear legs wrapped and he doesn't seem as stiff in the mornings as he usually is when it's this cold out.

    This morning I took him out to the pasture through our roadside barways rather than his usual gate to avoid the rough ground, he was actually standing at the gate this morning, and when I opened it his pony buddy took off and he just stood there getting agitated.  He actually threw out a buck while we were walking to the pasture, which although I'm happy to see him feeling good, he did get yelled at since he knows better than to buck when he's being led, and he walk the rest of the way perfectly and waited for me to unhook the fences and then rehook them before he was set free.  Now I just have to teach our barn kitten that it's NOT ok to start attacking his tail while I'm wrapping his legs, especially since he doesn't like cats as it is, but he did behave.  Personally I think he's enjoying all the extra attention he's been getting lately.

    Picture from this am:

     

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