Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Block party: Harv has a vet visit Part I

I took the photo left today. Harv is in the middle, thoughtfully licking the side of his stall. His neighbor, a normally jovial Irish sport horse,  is baring his teeth. Skippy is on the left, looking distracted. It's a restless photo.

But then, I'm feeling restless...
The vet came today (Monday) and did a lameness evaluation. Harvey was/is Really Lame.  They did a nerve block which told part of the story.

Years ago, a Monty Python movie had a skit where the grim reaper visited a dinner party and told the guests "It was the Salmon Mousse."  I think of this line today -- except "It was the Left Front." Here is what was found...
  •  Thickening of the LF pastern joint compared to RF.
  • Lame on LF, 2/3 out of 5.
  • No reaction to hoof testers.
  • He resisted flexions on the  LF, leaning away and pulling back when the vet tried to curl his leg under him. 
  • After a digital palmar nerve block (anesthetizes the rear 1/3 to 1/2 of the hoof), he's lame.
  • After an abaxial sesamoid nerve block (anesthetizes  back portion of leg below the fetlock, he's sound.
Cut to the chase...
We can rule out an abscess, navicular, laminitis, and anything from the fetlock up. What's left? Soft tissue injury (he tweaked something) and  ringbone are the vet's two best guesses. He will be back on Wed. or Thurs. to do x-rays which will hopefully give a more complete picture.

Retirement party?
My preference is for Harv to have a tweak!  The prospect of ringbone is scary, not so much because it might curtail his riding career, but because it's a chronic pain. Cross your fingers for us. Think tweak!


  1. Ringbone usually fuses after a variable period and there is no more pain, but the horse may appear unlevel or lame due to the resulting limited flexion and difference in the way of using each of the pair of legs. Ringbone isn't the end of the world.

  2. Thinking "tweaking" thoughts for you and your boy!!! Hang in there...I know dealing with this stuff is such a roller coaster ride. It will all resolve though eventually.

  3. Poor Harv! Hope he gets well soon!


  4. Thinking good thoughts for Harvey's good diagnosis, comfortable rehabilitation and many happy years ahead of riding, ambling or whatever!

  5. Praying for a mild tweak!!!! C'mon Harv!!!

  6. Anon, given a choice between having arthritis and having a sprained ankle, which would you choose? Sorry, but if it's not the end of the world it is another stage of life that is more limited. I'd like to skip it.

  7. Sorry to hear this Stacey. I promise to keep my hooves crossed for you and the old man! Good thoughts!

  8. Praying for a tweak! yeah... *sigh* I have a navicular horse - not always fun, but we are managing.

  9. Kathleen, they all have something don't they? Hope the navicular can be managed -- they say that it is one of the most manageable problems now -- lots of advances medically and in farriery. Tell me it's true!

  10. Tweaks to you Harv! It is a bitch getting old...

  11. Hopefully it isn't ringbone, but if it is, I had a gelding who developed ringbone at age 10. I thought it was over... But a great vet said "No problem!" He used shock wave therapy and voila! No more ringbone! Horse is still sound to this day as far as I know... 8 years later.

  12. Here's hoping it's a rapidly healing tweak! But anon's point was good in that, even if it's the "worst case" - it's at least something bearable where it won't hurt him forever or anything. Still, hopefully it's that twisted ankle and not arthritis. :)

    As for navicular - even 20 years ago it was pretty easy to handle if not a huge amount of changes w/in the bone. Nowadays... well, my vet pretty much shrugged off the possibility of navicular as a reason to not buy a horse - he said there are so many options it's rarely a true problem once you know about it. There are, of course, exceptions, but apparently for the most part it's apparently almost 100% controllable. (Sorry Kathleen, who sounds like she's in one of those less controlled situations. :( )

  13. I've done some reading and am actually starting to think it could be soft tissue, after all this snow he could have pulled something.

    Net, you say "it's at least something bearable where it won't hurt him forever or anything."

    I'm not sure that statement is accurate, at least for all horses. From what I've read, the pain can be debilitating, and horses have been euthanized to end the suffering. I'm sure it varies with the horse, but arthritis, and it degenerates over time. Low ringbone tends to be more serious than high ringbone.

    With Harv my main concern is the degree of lameness at this point -- if he is a 3 on a scale of 5 now, and it won't get better, well, I'm not likin' that. I'm not trying to hold a pity party here. It's a condition that you'd expect in a 23 year old horse that has worked his whole life (a sign of old age). It's just that in my experience ringbone ain't for sissies.

  14. Wishing Harv well. Not much more to say since there isn't anything to do about it all until you are sure of the prognosis.

  15. Fingers (and paws) crossed that it's just a tweak!

  16. WOW. Note to self: must look up shock wave therapy...

  17. Tweak tweak tweak. TWEAK. Teeny Tiny Itty Bitty tweak.

    I love the photo of him cleaning the wall. No Merry Maids for Harv!

  18. Your boys and mine keep having similar foot-related ouchyness!

    I went through almost this exact same dance with my 18 year old QH gelding last spring. His tests showed very similar results, and his xrays came back clean (scary clean for his age).

    What was the diagnosis? Bone or hoof capsule bruise. That happened in July, he was riding sound again as of late January.

    Praying its just a tweak!


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