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fionasteel, Veterinarian
Category: Horse Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 703
Experience:  BVMS MRCVS
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My horse came in from field with a swollen hind fetlock 5 days

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My horse came in from field with a swollen hind fetlock 5 days ago.Since then she has been restricted to a very small area so that she cannot race around - i have been putting a cold boot on twice per day, have bandaged overnight which takes the swelling down, however it has been coming up again during the day without the bandage - someone has suggested it could be the Annular ligament which is damaged, the vet has only diagnosed a sprained fetlock after his initial inspection with further investigations if no better after a week. Whilst she is certainly better than she was I am still worried about it filling up without the bandage, what do you think?



Is Boots lame? and if so where on a scale of 1 to 10 would you put her?


Was there a wound on the fetlock?


Is the swelling all around the joint or just in one particular place?



Customer: replied 7 years ago.

She is not lame in walk or trot now ( she was ) there have not been any wounds and the swelling is around where there would be windgalls - it is warm and puffy even after bandages although it has improved, the swelling went further up the back of her leg yesterday without bandages almost in like a bow shape but has gone again overnight!

Sorry it sounds a bit hit and miss but thats how it seems



If the swelling was slightly above the joint and extending up the back, especially in a bow shape my concern would be that there had been some tendon damage.


It is a good sign that she is no longer lame, but if there has been damage to tendons then you will have to be careful bringing her back into work.


My gut feeling is that if there is still heat and swelling there after the week then I would get your vet back to have another look. Sometimes it can be difficult at the initial point of injury, as there is so much generalised swelling, to isolate which structures are involved. Now that it has settled down a bit, it could be easier to see exactly what is going on and the best course of action to proceed with.


If there is tendon involvement Boots will probably need an ultrasound scan to see exactly what she has done and to give you an idea of recovery time. If your vet suspects that there is something going on in the joint then they would need to take an x-ray.


You are right to keep her restricted and keep up with the cold and bute as advised. Becareful when bandaging that you don't go too tight, as this will also cause problems. And as i said before if there is still heat and swelling over the next couple of days get your vet back for another look.


Best of luck, Fiona

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Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thank you thats confirmed my feelings do you think I should insist on an ultrasound then on Thursday if there is still heat or swelling?

I think it's always best to ask nicely, saying that you need the information to put your mind at rest. It may be that you would need to take your horse to their inpatient facilities, it depends how your vet is set up. Ask what would be best when you ring for an appointment, mentioning then that you think an ultrasound may be appropriate.


Regards Fiona

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thank You
Your welcome