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RE: [RC] horse lamness question - Susan E. Garlinghouse, DVM

The general rule of thumb is that soft tissue injuries get worse in soft footing, while dense (bony) tissue injuries get worse on hard footing.  It sounds to me like the forearm injury was incidental and not a current issue.


I’d also lean towards a lateral collateral ligament injury, though there are a whole slew of them down low that could be contributing to the issue.  It ‘fits’ that she would look worse with the bad leg to the outside, especially if the structure involved is also on the ‘outside’.  However, your vet should have been able to block the injury at least to the region, if not to a specific ligament.  Ultrasound may or may not give you anything meaningful at this point, as collaterals can be tricky to visualize well, and might well look perfectly normal if the injury is 90% resolved.  You could always take her to a referral center that does nuclear scintigraphy, which would probably not run more than another round of lameness exams, block, xrays and ultrasound.  Scintigraphy is the IV injection of a radioisotope that has greater uptake in inflamed tissue than it does in normal tissue, so after a few hours, they take a ‘picture’ of the suspect area with a camera that gives you an image of lots of pinpoint dots.  The inflamed area shows up brighter, and it can be pretty specific and informative.  Still might not be SO specific as to identify exactly the structure involved, but it’ll be pretty darn close.  Very illuminating technique, no pun intended.  They keep the horse overnight to flush out the isotopes, and now, they don’t glow in the dark and no adverse side effects.


Adequan injections would be helpful, and continuing what you’re doing---lots of walking, be careful in deep footing and don’t trot downhills.  It’s really important to keep her feet very well balanced, especially side to side, and keep her in good supportive shoes, I wouldn’t try barefoot (I will undoubtedly be flamed for suggesting putting a horse in shoes, oh, the horror), so definitely work with a good shoer/farrier/equine podiatry supervisor <g>, as that will do you as much or more good than anything at this point.


Good luck!


Susan Garlinghouse, DVM


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