Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Suspensory Suspect

Tomorrow I'm supposed to be able to ride Kaswyn. However, just walking on the lunge line today he looked off. When his right front foot hit the ground, the fetlock flexed the correct amount and looked like it absorbed the shock and weight of his body during the stride. When the left front foot hit the ground there were two problems. The one that was immediately apparent was that the fetlock hardly flexed at all to absorb his weight. He kept it rather straight most of the time, even sometimes not flexing it at all when he walked on it. Also he was putting his left front foot on the ground with his knee slightly bent during about half of the strides.

Both of these things are making me think he has a suspensory ligament injury. The suspensory runs from the back of the knee down the leg and under the fetlock, and it's job is to absorb the shock from the horse's weight. By not bending the fetlock Kaswyn would be putting less stress on the ligament. Keeping his leg a little bent when it hits the ground would also make the ligament less taut as he's putting weight on it. Also I read this website and the first two types of injuries sound an awful lot like Kaswyn's issues.


I mentioned a suspensory injury to Dr. B when he was out last week, and he said that Dr. G ultrasounded the ligament and it was fine. However, he did that ultrasound a long time ago. I can't even remember when it was, and it might have been before I started this blog which would be almost two years. So it's possible that Kaswyn has injured the suspensory since the ultrasound. Dr. B admitted that the nerve block that made Kaswyn sound would also make him sound if he had a suspensory ligament injury, and that sometimes a swollen suspensory can sometimes look like a problem with the splint bone because the ligament presses on the bone. But he didn't think that was the problem because if Kaswyn had a suspensory lesion or tear that he'd be much more lame. He also said based on the x-rays he didn't think my horse should be as off as he is because it's just not that bad of an injury.

So now that I've thought about this I think maybe it's his suspensory. Not flexing his fetlock and bending the knee slightly as he puts his foot down are two pieces to the puzzle, but then when I consider what a trooper my horse is I think that maybe he does have a suspensory injury and he's not that lame because he's working through the pain.

My solution? Dr. B might be coming to the barn Tuesday or Wednesday to ultrasound another horse with a suspensory injury. I'm going to get Kaswyn on the list to be ultrasounded just to rule out the suspensory injury because if I keep riding him on a suspensory ligament lesion or tear then I risk laming him permanently. Or at least making it less likely that he'll be able to return to training.

I'll either lunge or ride him Thursday. My suspicion is that if I call Dr. B and tell him that Kaswyn is off Dr. B will tell me to give it more time. Regardless, I really want that suspensory ruled out, and I think I can talk him into doing the ultrasound.


Beth said...

I have been reading here a bit on and off. I am sorry that Kaswyn is lame again. I agree with you that it sounds like a suspensory injury.

Do you have another vet near by, maybe one that is a lameness specialist that could come out and look at him?

Personally, you shouldnt have to convince your vet to do the ultrasound, he should do it because you ask. Does your vet not do emergency calls?

Good luck, I hope he heals soundly!

dressagemom said...

Dr. B is the vet that makes barn calls that the lameness specialist, Dr. G, recommended. They work for the same clinic and both think the same way. As of today Kaswyn is on the list for an ultrasound next Wednesday, and I'm about to write a post on how that came about.

Rising Rainbow said...

You're getting to be quite an expert on lameness. It's good that you can see so clearly how the horse is stepping, his weight bearing etc.

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