12 Yr old spotted saddle horse. We've had unexplained, off and on lameness issues this past year. To make a very long story short, this summer the horse was not lame, but simply acting "lazy", grunting and groaning on hills but moving on. He is a very forward horse, nothing lazy about him. Took all kinds of lameness exams, blood tests, etc. Found nothing. Vet put him on thyroid meds, he seemed to have 'pepped up' a bit. Maybe. This fall, he progressively got worse until finally a few weeks ago, he stopped working altogether. Started refusing hillls, especially down hills... grunts and groans up hills. On the flat trails, will come to a sudden stop when asked for anything more than a walk.
This is a very kind, willing, forward, honest, awesome horse. He shows no obvious signs of lameness other than described above.
Ultrasounded his suspensory ligaments, nothing.
Vet pulled more blood and the calcium and potassium levels are SLIGHTLY elevated.... Vet is absolutely stumped, but mentioned these levels, and he was going to do more research on the subject. Said it could mean nothing, but may also mean something, relating to this poor horse's obvious pain and discomfort.
Not a saddle fitting issue. His saddle is custom made to fit him... and just to confirm, I rode him over the past few days in 5 different saddles, a treeless and rode him several times bareback, all with the same results.
Chiro & accupuncture done too. Feet are fine.
He is always kinda "chunky" even though he is worked 5 days a week. He gets fed:
Free choice timothy/orchard grass
1/2 cup Fat n Fiber pellets
1/2 cup "Horse Sense" multivitamin
Fresh Ground Flax Seed
1 Majesty MSM cookie per day
I don't know about the bloodwork, but I had one with similar physical symptoms. She was eventually diagnosed with OCD lesions in both stifles. She appeared sound but began refusing to go forwards, particularly down hills.
Hock issues.... he had a lameness exam and trotted off perfectly after stressing hind legs...
trotting a gaited horse for a lameness test ??
look in the hocks, as the gaited have longer cannons naturally and if he has been made to do things other than gait (the downside of the "they can do anything" tag line ) you can and will wear out their hocks and stifles and pound ring bone into the front..esp cantering about and doing fast stops and starts...
Wouldn't hock lesions and ringbone show obvious lamenss in the leg with the issue?
when my horse was diagnosed with high articular ringbone he was took afew shorter steps on the ashfault, he was sound both directions on the lounge and negative to forced flexions. He was intermittently uneven undersaddle and less forward. When my vet looked at his radiographs he said he was in chronic pain, said the IRAP would "lessen his pain".