Hi, I have a mare who's suspensory ligaments seemed to collapse when she was about eight months pregnant. This followed me finding her very sore in the hind quarters one morning and I suspected she had taken a tumble in her paddock, perhaps injuring her pelvis. For the last few months of the pregnancy, she spent around twenty hours per day laying down (I tried to make her as comfortable as possible), and didn't eat much at all. Her fetlocks swelled and are still swollen to about double their usual size, she is down on her bumpers, and displayed very significant muscle wastage to her hind quarters. She had a very skinny foal, who needed three plasma transfusions but is now doing well. The mare has been seen by five different vets, had acupuncture, acupressure, and a truckload of bute but no real diagnosis was made. She is more mobile now though her fetlocks are still horribly swollen, and she will walk but not trot or canter after the foal. So I guess my question is... Have you seen anything like this before, and if so, has there been a positive outcome. I have just started her on devil's claw in the hope that it may relieve some discomfort and inflammation. I've had good results with devil's claw in the past with other horses.Cheers,Stephen.
Type of Animal: Horse
Name of Horse: Lexy.
What breed is Lexi?
Sorry, she is 3/4 thoroughbred - 1/4 Australian stock horse.
Have the suspensory ligaments been ultrasounded?
If so, how much of the ligaments are involved, and in what area(s)?
23 years in private equine practice.
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I've changed to the non-live chat format, as the time difference doesn't seem to be conducive for live chat.I've seen a few similar cases, and prognosis varies from case to case.I'll keep checking back to see the results of the ultrasound.
I should have mentioned I'm in another country - time difference - apologies.She was imaged about a month before the foal was due but not since it's birth as the vets suggested a wait and see approach. The mare, a good do-er whist somewhat off her food was still reasonably healthy. The main area of concern was the "thick" area of the ligament, which had slackened just above the orthopaedic wedge on both hind legs, causing her hooves to project almost at right angles to her legs yet remain parallel with the ground (if that makes sense). i.e. she is walking almost on that orthopaedic wedge at the back of the fetlock.
Unfortunately, those lower ligament problems are rarely manageable. The cases I've seen have usually continued to degenerate. In the few that stopped "dropping", the fetlock joint ultimately became very painful due to rapid development of arthritis because of the abnormally acute angle.While some breeds (Paso Finos) have more problems, I've seen it in saddlebreds, Morgans, TB's, and QH's that I recall.Post mortem evaluation and histopathology showed non-specific degeneration in all the cases we checked.Sorry to paint such a bleak picture, but I've not seen a positive outcome once the pastern is parallel to the ground.DrMike
Thanks Dr Mike,I had a feeling you'd say that.Stephen.
Best of luck to you and Lexy.