My horse is slightly lame on left hind- flexion test (upper) made him more lame- he is standing ridged over top of hind quarters and when cantered , is draging/ behind the movement of the left hind leg- do you think it is his gluteus muscel?If so what treatment should I provide- I have put him in a restricted grazing padock , ceased riding him ( normally competes county working hunter- elem dressage)?I have booked a physio to see him next week.
Type of Animal: competition horse
Name of Horse: lewus
Rest and flexion test to confirm lameness.
Not on pain killers or antiflamitory drugs
Hi,I am sorry your horse is lame.Flexion tests are helpful in localising pain but are not a definitive method of localising the source of pain. Upper limb flexion of a hindlimb would implicate the stifle and hip joints.It would be very difficult to identify the gluteal muscles straight away as there are lots of other bone and soft tissue structures that cold produce a positive flexion test.Dragging the hoof whilst cantering indicates a limitation in lifting the limb/pulling the limb forward at that faster pace, unfortunately this could be due to bone pain or soft tissue pain.A mild soft tissue injury should be self limiting and settle quickly with rest. Anti-inflammatories such as phenylbutazone are helpful and would possibly speed up the return to soundness.A physio would be good and may help localise a soft tissue strain whether gluteal or not. However, if the lameness persists I would advise a veterinary exam as at that stage a more accurate identification of the location of the pain is necessary and more sensitive tests would be needed rather than relying on the flexion test which is notoriously ambiguous.So I would recommend box rest with periods of in hand exercise to promote flexibility and avoid limb swelling. If lameness persists next week or is worse then get a vet out to perform a lameness exam, this will provide a clearer idea of the injury being bone or soft tissue in origin.I hope this answer is helpful and that the lameness improves quicklyGood luckDan Makin
Equine Veterinary Surgeon
I have already had an experienced horse vet to examine- they performed flexion test- they wanted to continue with nerve blocking to try and confirm the upper leg theory.
I decided not to do this but rest the horse and get a physio to look at muscel problem -
what ests would you recommend to confirm if bone or soft tissue?
Hi,Well nerve blocks would be the next progression and these will localise the region of the limb affected. They are performed at different levels which have corresponding soft tissue and joints associated. Usually blocks start from the bottom and work up.They can then be used in specific joints then if a soft tissue injury is ruled out.The good thing with having such a noticeable lameness is that the response to nerve blocks should be very obvious. If a bony problem is suspected then radiographs may be taken to examine the bone. Soft tissue injuries if in certain locations can then be ultrasound scanned for direct visualisation of the injury.I hope it is all straight forwardDan