I am posting this under an alter but be warned it is going to be long. . .
6 weeks ago my 6 yr old came up 4/5 lame on right hind overnight in his stall, no noticeable heat or swelling could be appreciated and he did not respond to any hoof testers. The only reaction we could find was he was uncomfortable having his right stifle palpated, crepitation could also be felt and heard through the right hindquarters but location was unknown.
We took him to the vet where they performed stifle x-ray/ultrasound, nerve blocks, and pelvic exam all of which were unremarkable.
I was told to take him home with stall rest for 3 weeks and re-evaluate. He improved slightly over this period but was definitely still VERY lame (3/5 at walk and the vet didn't want him to trot for the exam). Bone scan was then performed, head and neck of femur were both positive as well as LEFT SI joint (likely due to compensating). Horse is still far to lame to lay-down and get x-rays of hip and femur so we performed an ultrasound. The ultrasound shows major roughening of the neck of the femur (although vet says he does not have much experience doing hips); the vets are now saying that they would like to stall rest him for 3 more months and THEN lay him down and attempt to get usable x-rays to provide a diagnosis FIVE months after the initial injury and much $$$$$ later. I would hate to put him through the general anesthesia only to find out that our fears of a femur fracture, are true and we will have to euthanize 5 months after the initial injury...
My wallet is quickly being sucked dry and it kills me to see my horse still so lame. A second opinion may be necessary very soon however it will be difficult to find a vet that has experience with bone scans in my area.
Any advice/experiences would be greatly appreciated!
Last edited by RETLA2012; Oct. 10, 2012 at 10:57 PM.
Thanks Simkie, I have sent an email to Martinelli asking for his assistance.
My gut feeling is that we are dealing with a fracture due to the sudden onset severe lameness, but it is very frustrating to be told to wait so long before getting a definite diagnosis. All google searches turn up empty for similar cases in grown horses... it does not improve the poor outlook
I need to correct my post after looking at my mare's records from the hospital. My recollection was incorrect about getting conclusive radiographs while standing.
She was scanned first, then xrays were attempted to focus on the area that revealed "focal intense increase in the IRU" in the RH femur.
The xrays were done standing but, as expected they were inconclusive because they were done standing. They made the judgement that it was too risky to lay her down for better films -- or risk possible catastrophic, spontaneous fracture.
So we relied on the bone scans, clinical symptoms and treated accordingly. 4 months of stall rest and repeated scans until we determined the fracture had resolved. NO pain relief, so she would protect that leg while she healed. It was about 9 months before she had full, free turnout into the big pasture again.