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Dan C., DVM
Dan C., DVM, Horse Veterinarian
Category: Horse Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1174
Experience:  Solo Equine Practitioner/Mobile Practice Owner for 16 years.
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What is your recommended treatment for locked stifle.We ...

Customer Question

What is your recommended treatment for locked stifle.We have been giving bute in small doses for about two weeks. There is know improvement but he is know worse.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Horse Veterinary
Expert:  Dan C., DVM replied 8 years ago.

Hi, Dumplin:

Can you please tell me what signs you are seeing with your horse? Is he unable to bend his leg, unable to walk forward? How much bute have you been administering?

How long has the condition been present?

Has ne been evaluated by a Veterinarian?

Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX'm looking forward to hearing from you!

-Dan C., DVM

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Draging left hind leg. When he does bend it it jerks. This has been about two weeks. I have had a vet look at him . The bute is 1 gram twice a day. I just want a second appention. Thank You
Expert:  Dan C., DVM replied 8 years ago.

Hi Dumplin, and thanks for getting back to me.

Based on your description, it sounds as if it is either a patellar or nerve/neurological problem.

As you have been administering the bute for two weeks and there has been no change or improvement, it is unlikely that the treatment is going to be of any benefit. I would recommend discussing with your vet the possibility of taking an x-ray and/or ultrasound exam of the stifle. It needs to be determined where the exact problem lies. I would want to rule out the possibility of any type of fracture, and if all is well there, to be sure that this is indeed a displaced patella.

One of the treatments for displaced patella is the act of walking backwards. however as it sounds as if your horse is unable to do this, it may be a more severe than normal condition. An ultrasound exam will be able to determine the position of the ligaments that hold the patella in place, and it is not an uncommon procedure to cut what is called the medial patellar ligament in order to remedy the situation. This procedure can be done standing using mild sedation and local anesthesia.

I had mentioned also the possibility of a nerve problem. Can your horse feel sensation on the lower parts of his leg? Blindfold your horse on the side of the affected leg, and apply pressure with a semi-sharp object such as a key in various places on the inside and outside of the leg. If he is unable to feel the sensation, it will need to be determined by your vet which nerve(s) is affected. Depending on the problem sometimes a stronger dose of anti-inflammatories (steroids) can help.

If your vet does not have the equipment/capability to perform the needed testing, consider transporting your horse to a Veterinary Teaching Hospital or larger equine facility. Hopefully there is one located within a reasonable distance for you.

I hope this has helped, and please let me know if you have any further questions.

Thanks,and best of luck!

-Dan C., DVM

Feedback is greatly appreciated!!!

Dan C., DVM and other Horse Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thank you so much for your answer. It sure has been explained better than my own vet took time to tell. It sounds like your answer is in the right direction. My vet wants us to use the bute two more weeks in a smaller dose once a day and then bring him in if he isn't any better. Do i have to worry about him going lame? I just don't like the idea he might be suffering and by the way what is wobbles?
Expert:  Dan C., DVM replied 8 years ago.

Hi, Dumplin:

As long as your horse is not worsening, chances are he will not go lame (although it sounds as if he is substantially lame already!). If you feel that the problem is becoming more pronounced, or seems to be painful, I would give your vet a call sooner than in two weeks.

Wobblers is a hind-limb neurological condition caused by a narrowing of the spinal cord in the cervical (neck) vertebra. An affected horse loses it's ability to determine where it's feet are, progressing to an inability to walk, and eventually an inability to stand. I would not put this on the list of possibilities with your horse, however!

Best of luck, and keep me posted if you have the time.

-Dan

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I DONE AS YOU ASKED AND TRIED BACKING HIM UP. HE DID BACK UP WITH SOME RESISTENCE. I DON'T THINK HE IS IN AS MUCH PAIN AS HE IS UNCOMFORTABLE. HE SEEMS TO BE DRAGING THAT FOOT MORE TODAY BUT BACKED UP AS I SAID WITH HESITATION. I'M GOING TO DO AS MY VET RECOMMENDED UNTIL I SEE HE ISN'T IMPROVING AT ALL. THIS STARTED WHEN WE LET A MARE IN WITH HIM AND SOME GELDINGS AND THE RACE WAS ON AND A ALL NIGHT FIGHT. HE TOOK A PRETTY GOOD BEATING. WE WERE TRYING TO TEACH HIM TO STAY BACK BUT IT WAS A HARD LESSON TO LEARN FOR ALL OF US. I DON'T KNOW IF THIS RESULTED FROM THAT OR NOT. HE IS A TWO YEAR OLD STALLION THAT I PLAN ON GELDING AS SOON AS WE GET HIS LEG STRAIGHTEN OUT. IF YOU HAVE ANY OTHER FEED BACK IT WOULD BE APPRECIATED. THANK YOU AGAIN FOR ALL OF YOUR HELP.
Expert:  Dan C., DVM replied 8 years ago.

Hi Dumplin:

From your recent description of the history, there is a very good possibility that the major problem is nerve damage, and I wouldn't totally rule out the remote possibility of a fracture. Continue your treatment as you have planned, and see what your vet has to say during the recheck.

Keep me posted!

-Dan

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