My twelve year old gelding had a swollen hind ankle around christmas time, when I got to the barn it was slightly

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Customer: My twelve year old gelding had a swollen hind ankle around christmas time, when I got to the barn it was slightly swollen and he was ouchy on it. I walked him and he improved, swelling went down and much less noticable limp. Since then he is fine on the trail, and in the arena unless I ask for the right lead, then he throws his head up and is very rough and very unhappy. I am assuming he has pain in that ankle still, especially when asked for the lead associated with that rear leg. Any suggestions? I also noticed that around christmas time he would stand in the crossties with that ankle cocked quite a bit, does not seem to do that as much or at all, a friend watched me ride yesterday and said that at the trot he seemed a little hesitate on that rear leg, and as I said very unhappy at the canter, for a while in January he would not even pick up the canter on that lead, but know when I ask he habitually takes the wrong lead and when I put him in a tight circle and ask he picks up correct lead but head very high and he is very rough and unhappy. Gosh I hope this all makes sense, I hope I am explaining ok?
Answered by Prof 4 U, MS in 3 hours 12 years ago
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Prof 4 U, MS
Pet Specialist
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330 satisfied customers

Specialities include: Horse Veterinary, Large Animal Veterinary, Small Animal Veterinary

I think with this sort of injury you need to find the source. Two possibilities a soft tissue problem such as a suspensory problem or a joint problem. Suspensory problems can wax and wain and only show when you strain the area. I think it is important to have an exam with radiograghs and an ultrasound in this case. This will give a diagnosis and a plan for the best recovery and prevent further damage.

I hope this is helpful!

Dr Rik

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Customer
Relist: Incomplete answer.
I think answer is vague.

Hi choclet, thanks for using justanswer!

I support what Dr Rik Daniels said about the hind suspensory, however I have also seen horses with similar issues that subsequently show compensatory problems with their lower backs in the pelvic and sacro iliac area. This frequently manifests as symptoms you describe, being unable to have both hind feet planted on the ground, unhappiness at the canter, head high, etc. I recommend checking his lower back for soreness in the lumbar area and around the sacro iliac joint, and use enough palpation pressure to really check the soft tissue- a horse that is not sore will not flinch, whereas a sore horse will! Stand on a raised platform and have a handler at his head to steady him. Please be cautious when checking his back, make sure the area is free of alarming distractions. If his back is sore, you may treat it with hot moist towels and sore no more liniment from equilite, inc. (please do not use any other liniment such as bigeloil or absorbine, vetrolin, etc. they may burn his back). If his back is not sore, you may be unable to locate the soreness (a false negative) or the suspensory ligament or tendon issue is still painful for him. In that case, have a qualified bodyworker/cert chiropractor come out for him and check again. Also be aware that he may have residual soreness in the soft tissue above the hind fetlock and a concurrent issue in his low back, both avenues should be explored for his sake (and yours!). Good luck with your horse, and let me know if I may be of further assistance!

Customer
do you think I should go first with a chiropractor of my vet? I will check him today for the soreness you describe, thank you for your in-depth answer. Appreciate your time.

Hi choclet,

sorry I was away for the afternoon. I think it is important to realize that one problem will not preclude the other, or in other words, your horse could have primary and compensatory problems simultaneously. The order of professionals is up to you, if you use your horse cautiously (this is not a behavior problem it is physical, so light use only, no longing or crazy turnouts) you could go with either one first. Since your horse has had the issue for over a month now, you would be wise to listen to professional advice when you get practitioners out for your horse. Good luck and I hope your horse is better soon! Let me know if there is anything else I can do for you!

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Prof 4 U, MS
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330 satisfied customers
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Prof 4 U, MS
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330 satisfied customers

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