Good day from Fiji,We have a rescued 3 year old female horse, Copper was very badly injured 1 year ago when we found her on the side of the road left to die tied to a tree, she had a dinner size plate open and gushing wound on her back right leg. We took her in and cleaned and wrapped the leg twice daily for 8 months, it was a long go and with zero horse experience it was an amazing journey to get to know her. She is healthy and well now with a giant scar that has been closed now for 4 months.2 weeks ago her other rear leg started bothering her, she holds it up and then limbs around slowly - then gets better and seems fine for days then it bothers her again. Her friend Tama, a 2 year old female shares a small shelter with Copper at night and we thought maybe that she was getting kicked so we split the shelter in 2 and kept them separated, again a few days where the leg seemed strong and then this morning very sore again - so strange.I have lifted up her leg and cleaned the hoof and looked closely for external injury or swelling and do not see anything.We are a small island, there are no vets, that is why we found Copper the way we did originally. We have limited resources and are not sure how to help her get better this time - if we can not figure out what is wrong. We love her and will do our best but any suggestions would be appreciated.
Pet's Gender: Female
Pet's Age: 3
Hi,What an amazing story and Copper is clearly very lucky to have you take such good care of her.Limb lameness can be caused by many things and these can vary from short lived problems such as strains or sprains to more chronic issues such as arthritis, laminitis and navicular disease.Given the lack of veterinary care, it is going to be difficult to achieve a diagnosis, so treatment will have to symptomatic and cater for as many causes as possible.A good abscess is always possible and we do see them that wax and wane as they struggle to erupt out of the foot/hoof. This could be speeded up by soaking the hood in luke warm water once or twice a day. If nothing occurs after 5 days then it may not. If there is anyone on the island that is experienced in shoeing horses then they could have a careful scrape of the hoof to see if there is a build up of pus.Strains and sprains, ligament and tendon pulls will take time and rest to sort, this can be speeded up by using anti-inflammatory medicines but I suspect you will have not access to them and I cannot recommend you use then as I haven't seen the horse.Deep bedding the stable can also be beneficial to act as a cushion to the foot. This is particularly useful in cases of laminitis.So I would box rest Copper for about 2 weeks. Cold hose the entire limb twice a day if you can this will have an anti inflammatory and numbing effect, the whole leg is done as we don't know where the problem is. You could add in hoof soaking and seeing if someone can have a prod and poke of the hoof to check for abscesses. I wish you lots of luck and I really hope Copper gets better quickly.Do message back if anything is unclear.RegardsDr Dan Makin
Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX process of taking down some warm water to soak her foot and have a better look. We have had a very wet rainy season and it is muddy around, there is some slipping and slidding by both horses, but Tama seems fine with it. We keep Copper on level soft ground at all times and they are always in their dry home at night. I am so confused as to the on off symptoms... will follow your suggestions to the t and see if we can get somewhere. Is there any possiblity that she has an injury on that side from compensating for the other leg which was so sore for so long?Very hard to not have access to the help we need, appreciate your support. I want her to be happy and live a long and healthy life - the first 3 years have been so hard for her.
Hi,Well certainly wet muddy weather can cause abscesses to develop or just general slipping and twisting of legs. It is possible for a leg that is taking extra strain to suffer later on. I would be surprised to be honest though unless Copper was unable to bear any weight at all in that leg and 8 months of that will take its toll. The intermittent nature may just be a sign that Copper needs a prolonged period of rest to allow any inflammation to settle.Good luck and I will keep everything crossed for a speedy recovery.RegardsDan
Equine Veterinary Surgeon