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Dr. Tanis
Dr. Tanis, Horse Veterinarian
Category: Horse Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 311
Experience:  10 years equine ambulatory veterinarian, actively showing AQHA horses
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My mare is not putting any weight on her right rear leg. When

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My mare is not putting any weight on her right rear leg. When she walks the leg toes in and twists. Her feet are clean. She does have a new cut on her left front knee which I treated and bandaged. She was fine yesterday. Any ideas?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Horse Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Tanis replied 7 years ago.

Will she not put the leg down AT ALL (holding it up in the air) or will she put some weight on the leg when she walks?

Is there any swelling on the leg anywhere?




Dr. Tanis!

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

You know how a person walks when they've twisted their ankle? That's what she looks like. I didn't feel any heat anywhere and nothing seems swollen. She's been in her stall all night.

Expert:  Dr. Tanis replied 7 years ago.

So she *is* putting the leg down on the ground and putting a little weight on it, but then hopping off it pretty quickly?




Dr. Tanis!



Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Yes. Sorry, I thought I typed that.
Expert:  Dr. Tanis replied 7 years ago.

That's OK I just want to be sure.


The most common cause for the sudden onset of a severe hind limb lameness, but still bearing a bit of weight on it, is a hoof abscess (in the sole) or gravel (in the white line).


This is caused by either a sole bruise or a small piece of dirt working its way up the white line between the wall and the coffin bone. It causes a picket of pus that starts to get larger, which puts a lot of pressure insude the hoof and makes the horse VERY lame.


The reason I was persistent in asking if she was NOT putting any weight on it at all is because that could be more of a sign of a broXXXXX XXXXXmb. I have seen hoof abscess horses that hold the leg up and don't put any weight on it, but it is not common.


If you examine the coronet band all the way around the hoof even over the heels, you might see a place where the coronet band looks red or purple, or swollen. If it is a gravel, then this is where it is the pus is going to break through.


The good news is that these look horrible but are not usually life threatening. Once diagnosed, I usually prescribe bute, soaking the lower leg in warm water and Epson salts, a tetanus booster and stall rest. The affected leg may swell some until the abscess bursts though. If it is in the sole, you vet may or may not pare some sole out to find the draining tract.


Once the abscess or gravel ruptures, which usually only takes a few day but can take up to a couple weeks - the horse gets much relief and is sound again within a few days. Sometimes I add antibiotics AFTER the abscess ruptures, but this is not common unless the rupture hole is huge.


Good luck!


Dr. Tanis!

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Thanks. One of our other mares had a hoof abcess earlier this summer.


This just seemed odd because of that weird toeing in thing.


I appreciate your advice, and I hope that's all it is. She's such a sweet old thing.


I'll take a closer look at her coronet and hoof when I check on her later this afternoon.


Should I get back to you and let you know how she turns out?


Expert:  Dr. Tanis replied 7 years ago.

The toeing in makes me think the pain could be on the inside of the hoof (so she is trying to put more pressure on the outsde wall by turning the toe inwards so the outside wall lands first).


I would still have your vet check her just to be sure this is all it is, but an abscess is the most common cause of a quick onset of severe lameness in a horse.


You certainly can post back here and let me know how it all turns out if you want!


Dr. Tanis!

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

I will be happy to post back as soon as possible.


It's really nice to have an expert just a click away. I was really, really worried about her.


My vet will be out here later today if he can work me's Monday, and he's swamped.


In the meantime, I'll take your advice and keep an eye on her.


Thanks, again.

Expert:  Dr. Tanis replied 7 years ago.

You are more than welcome! :-)

Good luck!


Dr. Tanis!

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