Category Archives: Cervical spine

Spotting Lameness: The Game Plan

Spotting Lameness: The Game Plan
— Read on horsenetwork.com/2018/10/spotting-lameness-game-plan/

Wobbler Syndrome: Proof At Last!

CT Scans Allows Quantitative Wobbler Syndrome Evaluation | TheHorse.com

Fall Fever

Today Chance had swelling of his back right fetlock.  He had a fever around 104 and didn’t eat his feed.  His eyes were dull and he was lethargic.  He wasn’t limping but was walking slower than normal (he usually runs to the paddock or back to the barn).  I decided, due to the Lymphingitis flare up on his back right leg, I would give him a shot of 5 mls (or 5 cc) of Banamine and wrap his leg.  Once the medication set in, I would bring him in to give him a bath (it was 80 degrees today).  So, that is what I did.  By the time he was back at the barn he was covered in sweat.  I cold hosed him and drenched the wrap in cool water and let him roam around the barn.

Thankfully, the vet was able to meet me at her veterinary practice so that I could pick up Baytril and more Banamine.  Since Chance just had Lyme Disease (and had finished his medication less than a week ago), we are not 100% if this is a Lyme reaction or something else.  The plan is to administer 25 cc of Baytril either orally, in his feed, or via IV for 6 days and Banamine 10 mls (or a 1000 lbs) twice a day for 3 days. The vet suggested that I do 5 cc of Banamine if his fever remains between 101-103 degrees and 10 cc if his fever is 103 degrees or above.   During this time I will begin Prevacox- one 1/4 of a tablet once a day.  After 3 days, I will discontinue the Banamine and continue the Prevacox.  If his fevers are not down in two days, I will continue the Baytril but start the doxycycline as it maybe a Lyme disease symptom.

While researching Lyme Disease, I found that many people do two+ months of doxycycline instead of 30 days to ensure the disease has been erraticated completely.  However, since Chance had shown such improvement after 30 days, I decided to not do another month.  Maybe I should have…

However, Chance had similar symptoms when we found a small laceration in the DDFT tendon of his back left hind- swelling, Lymphingitis, fever, lethargy, no appetite, etc.  If he does have an issue with his tendon I will most likely do another round of Stem Cell treatments which proved to be helpful last time.  Thankfully I stored his stem cells in a Stem Cell Bank (via Vet-Stem) and can easily have them shipped.

 

Eyes Wide Shut

I had the opportunity to work with a “horse communicator” today.  She was recommended to me by an equine vet who, after reading my blog, felt that I would be open to the idea, and introduced me to her via email.  According to the vet, she often works with this particular equine communicator due to her ability to point out exactly where the horse’s issues are, allowing the vet to adjust/manipulate/treat the main issue.

I chatted with her at length a few days ago as she explained the process and we scheduled an appointment.

Today I gave her a call, as she explained, connecting remotely allows for the horse to be in his natural setting without the influence of an unknown person.  That way the horse could be relaxed and the owner can observe, ask questions, and engage.  So, that is what I did.  She went onto explain that sometimes the horse needs energy work in order to open up to the process and that the horse must trust the process, her, and obviously, the owner.

I was asked to have questions ready to ask my horse, along with something I would like to tell him at the end of the session.  (If you have been following this blog then you will know I had some difficulty narrowing down a couple of questions- I have a lot! 😉 ) She began connecting with Chance.

I will not be able to convey all the details of what was said, Chance’s reactions, or even mine…It is almost a blur… I wish I could.

I was asked to feel around Chance’s right forehead/eye area for a lump or bump.  I did as I was asked and didn’t feel anything abnormal…but remembered he had a gash that was healing right above his right eye.  She informed me that he had a “headache”.  She continued to move over him and explained that his “energy” was “blocked” on his right side.  This makes sense…Chance has a “swagger” at the walk- he pokes his butt to the side and has a twist on the back right leg (Chance’s swagger has gone up and down- it was worse when he had the tendon issues, resolved after stem cell injections, came back when he got EPM, went away ish, and came back with his Lyme).  While she was working on his energy, I massaged Chance’s back, neck, hip, and shoulders.  She went on to explain that Chance had some right shoulder pain. Thankfully, Chance allowed her to work on his jaw (he pretty much has TMJ), his head, his back, etc.  The energy was “pouring out” even on the hind end which, if I recall correctly, is commonly seen on horses with head injuries.

This is where my one question came in…I wanted to know what happened to Chance when he came to my college.  I didn’t give many details…I didn’t know many details but I always wondered what may have happened on Chance’s trip down to my college.

I had gone off to college in January and decided to have someone trailer Chance down (about 3 and a 1/2 hours) once I got settled and found a barn, etc.  Two months later Chance was arrived at her new barn.  Despite the cool March weather, he was covered in sweat and was visibly scared.  I didn’t inquire too much since he was in one piece and I chalked up the sweating and fear to exactly that- fear and anxiety.  However, as the months progressed, Chance began bucking and rearing while under saddle….this was really strange..When he had left home we were doing dressage and jumping and he was sound and calm.  Once again, I chalked it up to being in a new place- a barn that hosted Friday night Bullbucking no less.  I decided to switch to a different farm, one preferably without bulls, even though the show was awesome to go and see, and work with a trainer.  Still the behaviors persisted and the episodes of lameness increased.  The vet finally diagnosed Chance with arthritic changes in his back and suggested I no longer jump him.  I decided that summer instead of bringing Chance home and have him endure another long trailer ride, to board him at my new vet’s farm. Chance had the summer to recuperate while under the care of an equine vet.

Anyways, after that summer, I decided to retire Chance for good.  I would occasionally get home him to walk around, I still can and do today.  But, that was the beginning of a chronic condition that was never given a diagnosis.  Instead, Chance’s symptoms were treated as they came.  

Back to my session with my very own horse whisperer..

Chance “showed” her what happened on his trip to college- a trailer wheel falling off the side of the road.  His head hitting one side of the trailer and slamming the other side.  The pain.  The concussion.  His neck and back becoming misaligned.  His jaw coming out of position. His body compensating. He showed the decline of his once functioning body- starting with the hit on his head, to his jaw, and his neck.  Down his neck and through his back towards his hips and down his legs.  The wear and tear of his body.  Chance stated that he is still angry with the person driving the trailer; he wasn’t ready to forgive.  I have forgiven them.  I have no doubt it was a mistake and that there was no ill intent.  But, I am not the one feeling the pain that he is.  I am not the one who went from a racehorse to a jumper to practicing dressage to retirement long before I should have. And like the “horse whisperer” said, she will “hold the forgiveness for him until he is ready.”  I will do the same.  

She spoke of his time on the racetrack.  Chance was happy to hear that he was being remembered for who he once was, and will always be to me- a strong, beautiful and crazy talented 17.1 hand red-headed thoroughbred and not a “weak old man” as he put it.  When asked what his name was during his time on the track, he said, “Hot Stuff”, which could be a nickname and not his actual race name.

At one point during Chance’s session he fell asleep; standing in an odd way- hind legs spread out.  Suddenly, his body gave out and he caught himself from falling.  This entire time his eyes were still closed!  They remained closed for another minute after this.  His body reacting to something, perhaps a shift in his energies, and all the while he was a a state of peace; trusting that nothing bad would happen to him. 

The session lasted an hour and a half.  Honestly, we could have continued because of all the “blockages” but decided to stop for the day and pick up again another day.  I was told that the effects of the energy work or Reiki, would continued throughout the week and that he would be emotionally vulnerable.  As the session wrapped up Chance apparently said that he was the lucky one because I found him all those years ago.  


Energy Work and Reiki Resources


 The Benefits of Equine Reiki

Reiki for Horses: Workshops, Training, Courses, and Resources

Reiki Related Research and Resources for Two and Four Legged Friends

Equine Reiki Academy

Amorosa Equestrian Center in Ohio

The History of Reiki

Reiki Forum on Horse and Hound

Reiki Handout: Full history, explanation, and how to pictures


Equine Communication


How Horses Communicate

How to Speak Horse

Horse Forum: Horse Communicators


Head Trauma and Headaches in Horses


Symptoms of Equine Concussions

Trauma, Concussions or Other Brain injuries in Horses

How to Handle Horse Head Injuries

Helping Horses with Traumatic Brain Injuries

Merck Vet Manual: Equine Trauma and First Aid

Do Horses Get Headaches?

Chronic Lyme in Horses: Headaches

Equine Podiatry

Medical History


  1. DDFT Lesion on right hind
  2. Cervical Spine Arthritis
  3. Hip discomfort due to past fall

Past Treatments Tried


  1. Stem Cell Injections: Healed the DDFT lesion in right hind until recently the lesion began to reappear
  2. Ozone Therapy: Assists in the healing of tissues
  3. Shock Wave Therapy: Assists in the healing of tissue
  4. Chriopractic adjustments
  5. Acupuncture
  6. Supplements

Initial Consultation


Chance showed decreased movement in his right hip and a audible cracking noise at the suspensory joint.  He has edema of both hind fetlocks, Pastern, and Pastern Dermatitis.  Chance was unshawed on both hinds due to his inability to stand for long periods of time and his decreased mobility.  However, his front adorned clips.

Due to the length of Chance’s front toes and the height of his heels he was unable to evenly distribute his weight (60/40) to his front and hind ends.  This would most likely cause increased tension on the DDFT tendons and corresponding ligaments resulting in an increased likelihood of tendon and ligament related injuries.  The uneven distribution of weight could also inhibit the horse’s range of motion through his hips resulting in his body compensating for this injury and causing ataxia (balance issues), pain, arthritic changes, and cervical spine misalignment.

By shortening the toe of both front feet, the heel will rise allowing a more even distribution of his weight.


Front


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IMG_3196


Final Product: Front


Trimmed feet to corrected to the following specifications:

Foot   Beginning Angle & Toe       Corrected Angles & Toe   Total P.C.

L/F    47 Degrees at  3 7/8 inches   53 Degrees at 3 inches         6 Degrees

R/F    45 Degrees at 3 3/4 inches    54 Degrees at 3 inches         9 Degrees


Hind


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Final Product: Hind


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 Return visit to trim and shoe Chance’s hind feet with #2 OBRHB Wedge shoes.Trimmed hind feet and corrected to the following specifications:

Foot   Beginning Angle & Toe       Corrected Angles & Toe   Total P.C.

L/H   48 Degrees at 3 7/8 inches    54 Degrees at 3 1/4 inches    6 Degrees

R/H  46 Degrees at 4 1/4 inches     55 Degrees at 3 1/4 inches     9 Degrees

Note: Chance needed to be sedated by veterinarian to complete the trim and shoe his hind feet due to preexisting hip and DDFT issues.

Pain in the Neck

My old guy has always had issues with his cervical spine/neck.  Throughout the years he has developed arthritis which has caused symptoms which mirror EPM such as; ataxia, difficulty bending, hind end weakness, difficulty going up hills, lethargy, difficulty balancing when foot is lifted, muscle atrophy, sore back…you get the picture.

When his symptoms first came on I had the vet test for EPM.  The test was positive.  I did my research and found out that about 50% of horses will test positive for EPM but only 1% show actual impairment from the virus.  I went ahead and completed two rounds of EPM medication therapy and still his symptoms continued.  So, I sought out another vet who practiced eastern and western medicine.

After some chiropractic adjustments and acupuncture she felt that his issues were actually due to the cervical spine and not EPM. The vet also showed me how, when looking at Chance straight on, one of his eyes was lower then the other- a classic sign of cervical and jaw issues. We continued with the chiropractic and acupuncture therapy and have continued for over a year and the change has been remarkable.  Along with these therapies, we upped his feed, added supplements, began stretches and different exercises, and had him walking and running up and down hills whenever he was outside.  The dentist has also been of great help by floating Chance’s teeth every few months instead of once a year.  This helps with the alignment of his teeth because he tends to ware one side of his teeth down more then the other; ultimately straining his jaw and neck.

He has rebuilt the muscle on his hind end, put on around 100 lbs, and is able to do stretches while someone is holding his foot up.  He runs when he is outside and is no longer on pain medications (except on the rare occasion).

Here is some useful information on a horse’s back and cervical spine.

Diagnosing A Horse’s Neck Problems

Main Causes of Ataxia in Horses

Arthritis of the Spine in Horses

Back Stretches

Exercises for Spinal Issues in Horses

Pump, Pump, Pump It Up!

The vet came out to give Chance and Lucky their fall shots and do some follow up acupuncture on Chance.  The vet said that Chance has increased flexibility especially in his cervical spine and has gained weight and muscle mass!!!!!!

His feeding regiment is as follows:

AM:

  1. 6 quarts of Nutrina Safe Choice Senior Feed
  2. 3 quarts hay stretcher
  3. Alfalfa hay mix (as much as he wants through out the day)

PM:

  1. 6 quarts of Nutrina Safe Choice Senior Feed
  2. 3 quarts hay stretcher
  3. Alfalfa hay mix (as much as he wants through out the day)
  4. 1 Scoops of DuraLactin (Natural anti-inflammatory and pain supplement)
  5. 1 SmartPak (Senior Flex, Immune Boost)

He is out all day when it is cool and all night when it is hot during the day. So he has tons of green grass to eat.  He walks constantly- up and down the hills- and runs around with Lucky.  We also walk ground poles and do stretches and massage every time I come out to the barn.

IMG_9796

We still need to continue upping his weight and muscle mass preferably before winter.  Fingers crossed.

Save

When It Rains, It Pours

The other day I noticed that Chance’s back fetlock a were slightly swollen and he was visably stiffer then normal. I also noticed a golf ball sized lump in the middle of the his chest. It wasn’t super sensitive and looked like a tick bite reaction, except there was no tick and a tiny barely noticeable scratch. 

I put a Poltace wrap on his back right leg (which was the leg he had previously injured and received stem cell injections in) and gave him some pain medication. I also started him on Baytril and Ulcerguard as a precaution as previously advised by the vet.

I made an appointment with our vet to come ultrasound his hind right leg and she was to come out in the next two days. I was incredibly anxious to say the least.  

The vet arrived and explained that the lump on Chance’s chest was a hematoma from another horse biting him or from him hitting something. Nothing to worry about, it was just the pooling of fluids to lowest point. 

I then trotted Chance back and forth as the vet watched. After an exam and the ultrasound, the vet explained that she felt that the swelling was due to Chance’s hip pain and the Pastern dermatitis that we have been treating and we’re finally coming off. 

The ultrasound showed a tiny DDFT lesion (vet referred to as a defect that shouldn’t be causing any symptoms). The ultrasound also showed scar tissue that we need to get “stretched out” so that he can gain increased flexibility and work as a protection for Chance’s tendons and legiments. The ultrasound also showed some fluid build up as well. Chance’s Fetlock looks good as do his legiments.

The vet wants Chance to stay on Baytril and Ulcerguard until complete. She also has added a 5 day course of Benadryl and steroids to help with edema of back hind legs. 

She also provided me with a shampoo that is milder to clean off scratches and apply swat after cleaning. The vet explained that she didn’t understand why people picked the scabs from the scratches because they’re super deep and pulling the scabs off does more harm than good.  

The Vet commented on Chance’s weight gain and how great his skin looks gooded. She wants me to continue working on the scratches and continue doing physical therapy on hills to build up his hind end then get farrier out for back feet. 

All and all I feel good about how Chance is doing and feeling. He is still full of energy, eats like he hasn’t eaten in a week, and his eyes and coat are bright. He is not on daily pain medication and is only given it when he is not feeling great. Aside from a few hiccups, Chance is loving life and being spoiled!

IMG_4332

Check-Ups

Chance had a chiropractic adjustment, acupuncture, and electro stimulation on his cervical spine. He actually fell asleep resting his head on someone’s shoulder while receiving the stim for 20 minutes. 

I also spoke to the vet about Chance’s unrelenting scratches on his hind legs. She suggested mixing Vaseline and Betadine and applying it to the affected area, wrapping seren wrap around it, and then wrapping it with a standing wrap. After 12 hours, remove the wraps and clean area. – scratches not improving.  Once scabs have all fallen off then he can begin an Antibiotic like Baytril. 

Chance is still stiff on both sides of neck, although he can bend with better balance (when vet holds one of Chance’s front legs up while he bends to the opposite side).  He also shows Improved lateral flexibility on right side. Right base dorsal secrum and d-v flexion improved. 

  

Chance’s skin is having a “typical chestnut reaction” and the vet advices to discontinue transfer factor due to his immune system working too hard, and then use 1/2 of current dose. Start Tellurium 1 teaspoon a day for 5 days and then 1x a week to help with his skin. 

 Edit    

Chance in heaven while receiving stim

Trust Your Instincts

Chance being lunged after many years of not being lunged due to a DDFT injury and possible EPM treatments.  He is still stiff and needs to build up the muscle in his hind end thus why he is being lunged.  In addition to his chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture, stretches and massages, and all natural pain medication (MicroLactin), he is also doing physical therapy- walking over poles, walking serpentines, and walking up and down hills.

New Concerns Have Sprung

image

Chance greeting me as I drive up

The days are finally feeling like spring!  The grass is green, the blankets put away, the sun is shining, and the horses are shedding.

Chance is continuing to gain weight, although as I said in the previous post, he still needs to put on a good 50-75 lbs.  As the days continue to get warmer, Chance’s arthritis seems to become more manageable for him; his stride is longer and he runs around (mostly after Lucky) more frequently.

Unfortunately, when the farrier came out about two weeks ago Chance was too stiff to get his back right shoe on. The farrier decided to come back out to try and re-shoe him and, during that time in between, Chance must have tweaked it…AGAIN! 

 While Chance did not have a shoe on his back right I kept it wrapped to provide some protection and also even out all of his hooves.  However, when I arrived I noticed that Chance was significantly twisting his back right leg inward at the walk & it had some swelling.  The swelling was not horrible but it was noticeable. I cold hosed his leg for about 45 minutes while I groomed him & gave him a dose of Equinox (pain medication) and Ulcer Guard.  I put on his back leg wrap to help with reducing the swelling and provide some extra support.  Chance did his neck stretches effortlessly and was baring weight on his back hind. 

But as I was grooming him I noticed, on the left side his chest, he had patches of hair loss and dandruff.  The area did not look red or inflamed, nor did it seem itchy or painful.  So I continued grooming him and decided to put a call into the vet to come and check his leg and the hair loss.

Of course, I turned to Google to try and find out what exactly could be the cause of the patches of hair loss.

image

According to a handful of sources, there are a few possibilities for hair loss- mites or Lice, a vitamin deficiency, rain rot or crud, or even just his natural shedding tendency. A skin scrape would help to confirm what may be the cause. 

 As for the swelling of Chance’s back right leg, I decided to call our previous vet who collected and injected Chance’s DDFT with stem cells to heal the hole in his tendon. We have some stem cells left over and I wanted to see if injecting his leg again would be of any benefit.  I also would like to get an ultrasound recheck to ensure that there is not another injury to his DDFT tendon sheath again.

The twisting of his back hind leg is worrisome as well.  

Everything I have read about EPM states that horses can have a relapse in symptoms after treatment is complete. My concern is that the twisting are due to the neurological symptoms coming back since Chance’s EPM treatment has been finished for a little over two weeks…. 

 Our current vet believes that Chance’s ataxia and twisting is not due to EPM but his cervical spine instead.  Could the twisting be worse due to the swelling of his hind leg?  Or is the swelling and the twisting two separate issues all together?