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RE: [RC] Lame Lark - Mary Krauss

My first-horse-as-an-adult was a rescued 3 year old Arabian with an injured pastern joint. He was never going to be sound but was the Gandhi of equines and deserved as long a life as could be given him. We sent him off to WSU's School for Veterinarian Medicine where they wanted to try a new method of fusing joints by using ?? bone powder?? or something. I can't remember what exactly they were trying to do. This all took place about 15 years ago. Anyway, they thought they'd accomplished their goals but he came down wrong on the leg while loading for the trip home and the whole job fell apart. They rushed him into surgery, pinned the joint in a more traditional manner, and sent him home to us, all for the low, low price of five thousand dollars. :-( The joint fused fine apparently, but we had to put him down three years later when he developed severe arthritis in the opposing leg/shoulder.

What did I learn? 1) Most horses don't do well if all the legs under the table aren't pretty balanced (though Betty Edgar's horse is a bit of an exception). A horse with a destroyed pastern is not likely to fare well whether or not the joint fuses by itself or with surgery because the opposing leg starts giving out. 2) there is a Bottom Line--even sappy me learned that there's a limit to "helping" horses. Sienna probably should have been euthanized after the original injury. I say that simply because all the heart ache and money (which was in particularly short supply during that moment in our lives) and Sienna's own physical difficulties added up to a bad outcome. I wish some caring person had talked me out of expensive and ill-fated heroics. Unfortunately, the only practical voice came from someone who often seemed pretty heartless so I couldn't hear the wisdom of his words....

Good luck with your research and your decision. Remember, if the leg's already bad, it may fuse on its own and give Lark a few more years of hanging out in the pasture without a bunch of intervention.

Mary K.


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