Tag Archives: Hospital

I have a limp!

Resources on how to diagnose, treat, prevent, and handle lameness in horses

Your Horse Has a Swollen Leg – Why and What To Do | EquiMed – Horse Health Matters

All About the Fetlock

Fetlock Lameness – It’s importance… | The Horse Magazine – Australia’s Leading Equestrian Magazine

Causes of Equine Lameness | EquiMed – Horse Health Matters


Common Causes of Lameness in the Fetlock

fetlock lame


Yet Another Obstacle

Chance has been doing great since his Stem Cell treatment.  He has not had a single flare up of Lymphangitis since he arrived in Sperryville.  He no longer stocks up when he stays inside due to weather. He is gaining weight.  AND he has not been on daily pain medication! He is finally happy, healthy, and pain free!

Until one day I noticed that he began twisting his back right leg inward at the walk.  I figured that it was due to the long term injury to the DDFT and lack of muscle on that side.  I asked Vet4 and he agreed.  I called the farrier, who had previously worked on Chance when we arrived in Lynchburg many years prior, and he did a more supportive back shoe.  The shoes seemed to help a bit- Chance’s twist was less extreme.

A few weeks later, I realized that I needed to find a local vet due to Vet4 being 2 hours away.  I called and Vet5 came out.  She watched Chance walk down a small hill and immediately said, “He is a wobbler!  We need to test him for EPM.”  I tried to justify Chance’s ataxia by suggesting that he was walking down a hill, after a long standing injury, and it was a bit muddy.  And, to be perfectly honest, I was a bit peeved!  My horse did NOT have EPM!  Not after all he had already been through!  He was healthy!  He just needed some rehab to rebuild the muscle.  I was thinking to myself, that EPM was the first condition that I had addressed with Vet1.  The very same diagnosis he had shot down.  There was no way….

Well, we tested him anyway.  I convinced myself that the test would come back negative.

I began to do what I do best- hours of research. The journals and articles I read said, that while 50% of horses have come in contact with contaminated feed, only 1% actually develop symptoms!  1 PERCENT!  The Protazia attack the CNS, eventually moving from the spinal cord to the brain.  Symptoms can, and will, differ from horse to horse, but usually a horse with the parasite on the spinal cord shows lameness and ataxia on one side of the body (usually hind end).  Where as horses whose brain has become infected, show anything from paralysis of the face, to personality changes, choking, difficulty chewing, etc.

A week or so later, I received a call that Chance did have EPM!  I was heartbroken! And, honestly, I was angry!  Angry at Vet1 for dismissing my initial thoughts about Chance having EPM!  I was reassured that he was not in any pain, but in order to ensure his safety, we needed to get him on medication ASAP!

Again, hours of research…looking at the different medications (Protazil, Marquis, etc) and the outcomes and side effects.

I called the vet I trusted with my horse’s life, Vet4, and he walked me through what should be done.

Spoke to Vet4 ie EPM results:
He state there were two choices- Marque and Protazil & typically he sees an improvement with 85% of horses.

Day 1: DMSO and Banamine
Day 2: Same
Day 3: Same
Day 4: Begin Protazil with DMSO and Banamine

After reading about my opinions, I was inundated with talk about what is referred to as, “the treatment crisis”.  Some horses will begin the medication and, due to the kill off of the parasite, their body reacts with severe inflammation.  Some horses will collapse and not be able to get back up, and others will have an increase in their initial EPM related symptoms.  This scared me.  I did not want Chance to fall and be laying there all alone for hours; I wanted him to be under 24/7 watch.

Vet4 said that If I wanted to trailer him to the hospital, I was looking at around $1500.00 for one month.
~$800.00 (1 month)
~$700 (1 month) board

Typically, the outcome of the medication, when EPM is caught early, is a decrease in 2 grades of Ataxia.  Chance was deemed a 3 on the Ataxia Scale.

HandleFileHandleFile (2)

Stem Cell Injections

We decided to go ahead with the Stem Cell injections through the company Vet-Stem.  Though expensive, they carry virtually zero risk, aside from a site infection, in comparison to the surgery.

Vet4 will gather the cells from his rear and stitch up the incisions made.  From there, if there are enough cells, the culture will be sent to the lab, and in about two days, they are able to be injected into the leg!


There were enough Stem Cells to inject!  Chance is doing extremely well and is able to come home in a few days!!!

I asked if Vet4 could get Chance supportive back shoes before he left and he said he would.

Time to set up a trailer and get his stall ready in Sperryville!!!!


DDFT Lesions

Text from Vet4 after ultra sound #3:

“I can see that he has a deep digital flexor tendon lesion and the medial side of the tendon sheath has improve but lateral side is about the same. The DDFT may the cause of all this in the first place and everything else is secondary. We will re ultrasound in 10 days or so just to confirm my findings. If they are correct, it would help to treat that area.”

Conversation with Vet4 :
So far, Chance has received; shock wave therapy, compression therapy and laser therapy.

Chance has a hole in his tendon. Vet4 believes that this is due to an infection/bowed tendon and severe lameness. The ultrasound, done yesterday, shows no change in size of the tendon hole after the previous two rounds of injections.

“Lymphangitis is a symptom rather than a cause and the cause was never treated.” Vet1 continued to treat it like a disorder rather than a symptom!

The swelling and infection have dissipated, as has the severity of the lameness. Though still lame, he is running around in the pasture.
Pain meds were started again due to increased discomfort and soreness.

Vet4 suggests doing one of the following:

1. Stem cell- which can take about two days if sample drawn has enough stem cells. If not, it could take about 4-6 wks to culture. Once injected he can move home. He is to be hand walked for a few days and then can go out as normal. Vet4 will come out in about a month to do another ultrasound and, depending on the size of the hole, may need to do further injections.

2. Surgery to clean out but NOT repair the tendon. This was not discussed in detail.
Payment plans may be an option. I emailed the office for payment options.

Time to make another decision!

Going, Going…..


Chance’s fever is still at bay, the swelling is almost gone, he is sound, eating, and the light has come back into his eyes!!!

I quickly tried to set up a trailer to haul Chance to the hospital where he would begin further diagnostics and treatments.  I would have taken him soon if I felt that he was stable enough to withstand the haul.  But he was too unsteady until now!

It took a few days, there was a trailer and someone to haul him (thanks to Vet3) and we had him on his way to the hospital!  I was there waiting for him to arrive.


Coming Home to Love & Peace

Chance was able to come home a week later.  Sam & John went to pick him up at the hospital. However, upon arriving, they soon found out that Chance did not want to get on the trailer.  Sam later told me that one of my sweatshirts was in the truck, so she brought it out and let him smell it- he finally loaded.

I got his stall ready- tons of fresh shavings, hay, a new water bucket…

The moment he got off of the trailer he was shaking!  I gave him a warm bath and let him out in a small, flat paddock so he could be in the sunshine.

This is what happened when I let him out!  He did something he had not been capable of doing for months and months, if not longer.