Further to the previous question, I still cannot believe that an osteochondroma can cause virtual immobility in my horse overnight, the osteochondroma you suggested has been confirmed by my French vet.. One day he is grazing ok in the meadow, the next he can hardly walk. 10 weeks now since it happened. No leg swelling, no outward sign of injury - just the osteochondroma. He has now lost quite a lot of muscle on his off fore shoulder, still limping just as badly. I've had him on bute, now on Vetrofen (devil's claw) recommended by the French vet who diagnosed the osteochondroma. He's no better - 6 sachets/day, it's expensive! I've had an equine physio out to work on his shoulder/back - ligaments, muscles, tendons. Also Equine Touch. But still he is no better without the devil's claw. What can you suggest as to the cause of the lameness, other than the osteochondroma, which none of us can believe caused such a drastic change in his mobility overnight.
Type of Animal: 16hh h/w horse - gelding
Age: 19 yrs
Name of Horse: Roscoe
Equipalazone, Vetrofen (Devil's Claw), equine physio, Equine Touch, cold hosing, horse linament - I've owned Roscoe since he was a 3yr old, so know all his history from then. He's not a horse prone to injury, till this problem.
How was the osteochondroma diagnosed?
The osteochondroma was diagnosed by x-rays and ecograph by a specialist equine vet, I have copies of the x-rays on disc. Something like this would have developed over a period, surely, rather than something which appeared overnight. What I and my equine friends can't understand that virtual complete immobility occured overnight, with no sign of injury, heat, swelling, no abcess...none of the signs one would expect to find as an indication of why lameness occurred. We've all had horses most of our lives and none of us has seen anything like this.
While it's true that the lesion took quite some time to develop, the majority of osteochondroma cases I've seen have had a relatively abrupt onset. Most commonly they apparently go from sound to quite lame in a period of only a day or so. My theory is that they compensate for the discomfort for months, until the pain gets to the level they can no longer "ignore". There is never any heat or swelling in my experience. Fortunately, surgical removal is almost always curative.
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Confirmation on the source of the lameness could be pursued as if you didn't have the diagnosis in hand.Diagnostic anesthesia (nerve and/or joint blocks) would be performed starting at the ground (VERY low palmar digital nerve blocks) and working proximally.I've had variable success blocking the carpal sheath with osteochondromas, so I wouldn't start there and work distally.Again, most osteochondroma cases I've seen had a very abrupt onset, so the history you give isn't out of line. The muscle loss is from disuse (the "use it or lose it" syndrome).Another reason to pursue a thorough diagnosis, is that there could be more than one issue going on, particularly as there has been so much time since the initial diagnosis. Chronic lamenesses (and particularly those that go untreated as in this case) can have lasting secondary effects.DrMike
Thank you for the above information. I kept trying to open up the conversation again, without success, until now. My horse is going into the vet hospital on Thursday next, for the specialist surgeon to see him. There is a secondary lump to the outside of the knee in line with the first one, plus the tendon is now very swollen, which I haven't been able to reduce atall. Do you think the two are linked? Also, would surgery - if the vet thinks it worth doing - be keyhole or leg cut open? If an op is carried out, what period of time would I be looking at for recovery - a year? what are the odds of another osteochondroma growing? although I speak good French, neither the French vets nor I can discourse the problem to this extent so I am grateful for your comments. The time scale since diagnosis to clinical examination is what concerns me now; I have been waiting all this time for the appointment and estimate of the initial operation.
The second lump could be related, but it's hard for me to be certain.The approach will be at the discretion of the surgeon, but return to function will be rapid with either route.All the cases I've referred for surgery were immediately more comfortable, and perfectly sound within days of removal. The longest case I can recall was back in full training in 4 months.I have not read reports of an osteochondroma re-forming.DrMike
23 years in private equine practice.