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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Horse Veterinarian
Category: Horse Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1204
Experience:  Board Certified Equine Surgeon, Lameness and Sports Medicine Specialist DVM, BSc
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I came out to see my horse today and noticed he was lame on

Customer Question

I came out to see my horse today and noticed he was lame on his left front. He has swelling on the knee and some slight swelling down the leg. There's no heat and no cuts/abrasions. The barn manager said he was fine yesterday and only noticed something off with him today when he wasn't moving around much. He's kept inside and hasn't been out for the past 10 days due to weather. He has full range of motion with the swollen leg and displays no obvious signs of pain besides the limping. I walked him around a bit and cold hosed for 10 minutes. Some of the swelling did go down around his ankle/lower leg but the knee is still swollen and he is still limping just at the walk. However he does bear weight on the leg when he's standing still and isn't standing oddly or anything. Any input or advice is appreciated.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Horse Veterinary
Expert:  Dr Linda replied 1 year ago.

Hello, this is Dr. Linda. I hope I can help with your question today.

I am very sorry your paint is having some problems with his front leg. Even though he has not been out for the past 10 days, it is amazing what a horse can do to himself in a stall. He could have banged the knee on the stall door/wall, or spun around in the stall just out of boredom & wrenched it a bit. Hopefully, it is just a strain or mild sprain.

But any soft tissue injury in the horse needs to be taken seriously because of the consequences. Early treatment of primary problems minimizes the extent of possible secondary joint damage.

Many therapeutic options are designed to treat active soft tissue inflammation & prevent progression of articular cartilage damage. Rest is the simplest, but often the most difficult recommendation to enforce. Physical therapy & controlled exercise by hand walking & supervised turnout is advised. I would also include a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agent ( such as phenylbutazone of flunixin/banamine ) daily & even the use of a topical anti-inflammatory product such as Surpass Cream for equines.

Cold hosing is also always a good idea. Just make sure the leg is completely dry afterwards, & you might even massage a linament in well ( but not If you use the Surpass ).

I hope this makes sense & you find the information helpful. Please let me know if you have ay further questions or concerns.

Thank you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply. I was able to get my farrier out and he believes my horse has a hoof abscess based on the way the horse is limping and placing weight on his foot. We have an appointment for tomorrow morning to try to "dig it out", so to speak. He said the swelling he has isn't uncommon for an abscess and all of the wet weather we are having is probably the cause (the stalls have been wet for over a week). Does this sound plausible to you?
Expert:  Dr Linda replied 1 year ago.

That is plausible, although usually I will see some swelling just above the hoof & not all the way up to the knee. But, if it is an abscess, it is possible that in protecting a painful foot, he could have still managed to slip & maybe twist the knee. In either event, he certainly would benefit from an anti-inflammatory like bute. It will make him feel a whole lot better.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. I was thinking the same thing. He will be buted tonight which will hopefully give him some relief until tomorrow morning. Thanks again.
Expert:  Dr Linda replied 1 year ago.

Great. Let me know tomorrow how things go with the farrier.

Have a good evening.