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Horses/horse with leg problems


Shelley,          I have a 3yr old that I was told has growth plate problems. He stumbles and limps on that right leg. I had corrective shoeing done on both front legs. His left is doing good but the right is still the same.I was wanting your opinion on what else I could do to help him and is it ok to ride him? I don't know what to do please help.          Tammy

Dear Tammy,
Well, any horse that is lame or is stumbling should not be ridden. There could be dire consequences for either one of you. What you have not said is what you mean by "growth plate problems" and how such a diagnosis was determined. Is there heat or swelling? Is he lame consistently or intermittently?
It is not uncommon for large breed horses especially  (or breeds that are known to be late matures) to not have, what in layman's terms, is described as having "knees closed." As such- this is not a problem so much a it simply requires time to grow with no forced exercise (especially lunging). It is not uncommon in Europe for example, with some of the big warmbloods- to bring them in at three, back them for a week or so and them turn them out for another year if they are too "growthy."
It sounds as though you most definitely need some good digital x-rays if you have not already had this done. If you HAVE had this done- then you need to consult further with the vet who took them to determine your horse's prognosis and your direction in treatment.Ongoing lameness coupled with stumbling cannot be accurately diagnoses by external manipulation and observation. There are a myriad of issues that could be going on and continues movement (even non-load bearing) could be causing further damage until you have a very specific idea of exactly what is going on and where the lameness is occurring.
If the exact source of the lameness is unclear, this can be partially determined by flex tests but the most accurate method (along with x-ray) is by blocking (temporary numbing) the joints of leg starting at the coffin joint and determining exactly where the lameness is.
I would definitely begin with a call to a veterinarian who specializes in osteo issues. Those x-rays they may seem costly could save you a huge amount of money in the long run.
Best wishes,
Shelley E.


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Shelley Evans


I would be happy to respond to enquiries in the following disciplines: dressage, working western, hunter, halter (open and IAHA), hack and pleasure. I can also offer assistance with schooling and equitation issues.


Twenty years Class A show circuit including multiple championships.


Inside International

BA, MEd, Teaching Certificate (PDP), CEF Western Level I Coach, provincialy approved Hack, Equitation and Western Judge.

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