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I need advice. I went for a ride with Trish Marie this morning/afternoon,
and Mr. Elliot managed to hurt hisself. I think it happened while I was
leading him and a scary (very scary, even to me) truck with banging trailer
went by. Elliot spooked, but backed off when I told him to. I got on
shortly after that (we'd been leading along a busy road, and I hadn't
noticed anything strange) and I could feel his walk being off right away.
We led most of the way home. At first, Elliot was very lame, though still
putting weight on the right rear, he was very obviously not well, and his
stride was quite short on that side. Then, he was pretty sound at the
walk, and a bit better at the trot, but still very obviously lame. We
rode for maybe a mile at a walk. Elliot would forget he was gimpy and do
his "okay, time to trot" transition, and I would have to pull him back. He
didn't seem to be in agony, just obviously hurting somewhere. We got off
and walked a ways. It was about six miles from injury to the trailer,
and by the end, Elliot had worsened a lot, and if we stopped, he immediately
rested that leg. When we got back to the trailer, I tied him and checked
all his feet, cleaning them out in search of stones, and banging on shoes
looking for looseness (none), and also using Trish's hoofpick to whack the
sole and walls of Elliot's hooves in search of stone bruises or abscesses.
Nothing there. I flexed and extended both of Elliot's hind legs. He was
a little funny about the right hock (on the gimpy leg) initially, but nothing
major and he was perfectly normal the second time. I noticed that he had
somehow during the ride scratched off the top layer of the left (good leg)
hoof, from the front of the first nail to about the center of his hoof,
from the bottom to two thirds up the wall. Also, his coronet band was
scuffed a bit, but none of this was sore. Elliot seemed to be willing to
bear weight on the leg no problem, although he started to protest thirty
seconds into my holding up his left (non-injured) leg. Most significantly,
there was swelling just above the fetlock joint on that leg, and it was
somewhat puffy on the flattish front part of the joint, but it was especially
puffy between the tendons. He wasn't real reactive to squeezing the area.
It clearly was painful, but he never snatched his leg away, pinned his ears,
etc. He offered to pick that leg up much more readily than the other,
particularly when I squeezed in the tendon area in back. Flexing the joint
caused no pain at all, and I was unable to extend it totally while holding
it in the air. However, while he didn't mind bearing normal (read: I am
*not* holding up the opposite leg) weight on it, he was very gentle with
himself when he straightened the joint to set it down. That side strided
much shorter at the trot, and he clearly would only set his right (gimpy)
leg down directly under his stifle, not in front as he normally does.
So he's real ouchy about extension, flexion is normal, and he's willing
to bear weight. Now the questions: this happened at 3 pm today (the
examination, at least) and I have hosed him once for fifteen or twenty
minutes. Should I call a vet? What can I do to make him more comfortable
tonight? Should he be buted? Is two grams a good dosage if so? Should
he be confined to a stall? Should I wrap his legs?
My current plan is to hose his leg tonight, put Cool Pack Green Jelly
(a non-burning wrappable linament) on, wrap his hind legs with quilts and
polo wraps, give him access to his stall (a communal stall that is
twenty by twenty feet) and the forty by hundred foot paddock outside, but
no pasture (because it has uneven ground) overnight like normal, and
I plan to give him at least two weeks off, even if he looks sound tomorrow.
He had a mysterious lameness similar to this one a few weeks ago, and I
don't want a chronic problem or a reinjury. I'm willing to lay him off
for the rest of the season if it means he's significantly less likely
to get injured this way again. Taking him to Michigan State for a complete
work-up is possible, and I was planning to do so if he injures himself
a third time. So, please, send lots and lots of good advice!
Sarah & Elliot, who backed out of the trailer *very*
slowly when he got home My poor boy!!
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