Well, my suspicions were confirmed. Ladde has a torn ligament in his left front leg. The injury was probably caused by overstretching his leg by slipping in the mud Sunday morning. He has swelling and inflamation in the knee (carpus) and extending down the inside of his canon bone about halfway to the fetlock joint. The ultrasound images show disruption in the fiber pattern on the inside (medial) deep digital flexor tendon and at the branch of the inferior check ligament with some pulling away from the splint bone. Whew, I hope I got that right! All those big doctor terms which I can so easily get confused. Basically, it isn't a severe tear - although there is enough disruption (stretching) of the fibers to cause substantial inflammation and fluid within the layers of these two structures.
Amazingly enough, when walking around he is showing no signs of lameness. Initially he did, which is what I had noticed; and with further examination noticed the swelling and heat. I immediately put a frozen bag of peas on the damaged site and wrapped the leg, then confined him to his stall. I also gave him some bute to help with the inflammation. Bute or phenylbutazone is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug commonly used for pain. It is about like you or me taking a couple of Advil for a sore back from overuse like stacking a couple cords of wood when we're out of shape. You know, something like that. I did not give him enough of the medication to cover up his discomfort, but I did want to control the amount of inflammation at the site of the damage. Confinement is crucial in injuries of this type to prevent overuse when the bute kicks in and lessens the pain. Pain can be very beneficial to lessen movement, but controlling the amount of inflammation is vital as well. So remember if you give Bute, always confine them initially if you're treating an injury.
(pardon the funky picture here - I had it on the wrong setting - he's not that long really)
Anyhoo...what this all means is I won't be riding my horse for at least a couple of months. I will keep him on stall confinement. He gets out twice a day for about an hour in a small run-sized area for mental health and some stretching of his muscles - as long as he's quiet anyway. No woo-hooing or it's back to jail. I gave him his last dose of bute this morning and then I'm cutting that off. He shouldn't need it any longer than that. I am keeping both his front legs in standing leg wraps or pressure bandages for the first 2 weeks or so. Next Monday, which will be 1 week after his initial injury he will begin his shockwave treatments. My vet/boss has an HMT VersaTron focused-type extracorporeal shockwave therapy machine which I highly recommend (if you've never heard of this therapy/treatment, google it and check it out). He will get a total of 3 treatments, 2 weeks between each treatment. After his second treatment, which will be the week of December 8th, he can get out of stall confinement. He will have turnout in the roundpen and access to the barn alleyway for shelter to him and his "buddy". Since he would go bonkers if he were totally alone, each of our horses will take turns daily at "buddy duty". They won't like it, but hey - life is perfect for no one. It won't kill them. And then, after his 3 treatments are finished, he will be on lay-off for 2-3 months. If all goes well, he should be ready for light riding and conditioning in late winter or early spring. Without the shockwave treatments, he would probably be recuperating at least 6 months, possibly even up to a year. I feel very fortunate to be working for an equine veterinarian who specializes in lameness. Very blessed indeed. Without these advanced diagnostics and treatment options, most people would just turn their horse out to pasture and hope they return to soundness within a year.
I am fortunate and have a lot to be thankful for. The injury could have been a lot worse than it is and, remember that pesky right rear pastern that I'd been eyeballing for the past couple of weeks? While the doc had the old U/S up and running, we took a look at that area as well. Nothing - nada - zip. Yippy skippy!! That is something to be happy about. I think what I was seeing was maybe just a little stocking up in that joint or who knows??? I would notice a hair out of place on this horse for pete's sakes - so I could be just a little bit paranoid. Anyway, that's the scoop on the old Laddmonster for the time being. And true to his nature, he is taking it all in stride...if his feathers are a bit ruffled at this unexpected confinement - nobody could even tell. He's a happy boy. He's resigned and seems content. Just another day in the lap of luxury. It could be a whole lot worse...and the pears aren't half bad either.Life is good - especially for this guy.
That's my boy. Blessings from Cingspots.
p.s. (see that taped on green thingy on the post up there?? That's an old camper cushion to protect Harley's eye during all of the inevitable face wars that go on between those two)