Lameness shows up in aged

I have an aged retired mare (22+) with a history of founder and arthritis. Up until recently, she has been sound and has been living out her life in a pasture. Recently I moved to another state and have found a great barn to board at. Unlike before, at this boarding ...I have an aged retired mare (22+) with a history of founder and arthritis. Up until recently, she has been sound and has been living out her life in a pasture. Recently I moved to another state and have found a great barn to board at. Unlike before, at this boarding ...

Story originally posted by: Dr. Michael Lowder, DVM, MSUniv. of GA School of Veterinary Medicine

Dr. Lowder,

I have an aged retired mare (22+) with a history of founder and arthritis. Up until recently, she has been sound and has been living out her life in a pasture. Recently I moved to another state and have found a great barn to board at. Unlike before, at this boarding facility, the mare is brought in every night and turned out every morning. The first week at our new location, the mare (along with her pasture mate) were turned out alone in a separate 2-acre pasture which is basically flat. After that week both were introduced to the rest of the herd (5 horses) in which the horses are very quiet and non-aggressive. This introduction was made in a big 10-acre pasture which is extremely hilly with many slopes. The introduction went extremely well and after a 5-10 minute "romp" around the pasture showing off to each other, all horses settle in. Last week I noticed the mare was extremely lame– every time her right front hit the ground, there was a definitive "bob" in her head. Upon examination, it was evident that she was very "touchy" along her tendon, however, there was no heat or swelling. At that time, my thoughts were perhaps she hurt herself while running and showing off with the herd on the slopes. I hosed the area down with cool water for about 10 minutes, rubbed the leg down with liniment and moved the mare and her pasture mate back to the small, flat pasture. I also administered bute for the next 5 days. Over this time, I continued to faithfully rubbed her leg down with liniment twice a day. I have since then taken her off the bute and she appears to be getting better, but is still lame. The "head bob" is not so prominent.

My question is– Should I continue the daily liniment regime? Should I wrap her tendon with a support wrap or poultice wrap? At this time, I really don’t think her past history of founder or arthritis has anything to do with her being lame. She is a little stiff in the morning after being in all night, but after a little while walking around the pasture, the stiffness goes away. If she has a slight bow tendon, I know stall rest is usually the treatment, however, with her arthritis, being confined to a stall may not be the answer.

Lisa

Lisa,

You sound as if you’ve done an excellent job managing your mare’s lameness. Two things come to mind. First, that she has bruised the sole of her hoof. Secondly, that she, as you suspected, strained her tendon. You did not mention the dose and duration of the bute you’ve been giving her but this might be affecting her recovery. If the bute dose is too high you might be masking the severity of her lameness. Get your local vet to use a pair of hoof testers to determine if there is a problem in her foot. If not, they can use nerve blocks to determine where the problem is. Continuing to rub her leg can be helpful even if it just helps her to relax some. As whether to wrap her leg or not you’ve first got to determine that it is her leg (tendons) which your vet will do.
Thanks,
Dr. Lowder

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