A Vet Visit and A Plan

"Oh geez. I'm at the vet." -- Bast, probably
As I mentioned last week, Bast came up irregular during his rides about 2 weeks ago. The issue was really difficult to pinpoint, but became apparent as a lameness issue (as opposed to a tension issue) after his ulcer flare was treated.

I really struggled to figure out what kind of issue we were dealing with from day one. Initially (like many of you indicated in last week's post!), I thought the issue was in the right hind. Bast seemed to be moving stiffly behind, and swinging his right hind through in a very weird fashion. The leg was stepping under his body in both directions, not leaving a lot of room for his left hind. In addition it was swinging wide in the lifting portion of his gaits. Here's a video of that ride again to see if you can identify what I was seeing/feeling.

Initially, I thought I might be causing the issue. I tend to sit very hard to the right, and put more weight in my right leg/foot. This can cause a horse to step under more with that hind leg, and support more weight with that hip. However, my friend hopped on and I saw the same issue with her. Other than some fussiness in the contact and a reluctance to leg yield to the right, Bast didn't really exhibit any other discomfort.

Bast's history of bashing his left hip into a fence post at top speed has left me with a lingering fear of something going wrong with his hind end. So, the minute this 'weirdness' popped up, I was ready to drop everything and take him to the clinic for all the scans. I immediately began imagining his left hip was deformed and causing his right hind to have to take more pressure. Or that his right hock was broken. Or that he'd done a soft tissue blow out in both hocks.

With that in mind, you can imagine my mindset when I hopped back on several days later to try to get better video of the issue and Bast was more lame. I basically panicked. I figured I was going to get him to the vet appointment and find out he was going to need to be put down or have some really expensive ongoing lameness issue. Guys. I was in rough shape. So rough I missed the obvious development of his lameness in a different leg. Watch this video and see if you can tell what I missed.

Yep. That's the right front causing problems there. Ugh.

Needless to say, I got him to the vet and our exam immediately started focusing on the right front. After a nerve block indicated the issue was mostly focused on the foot, the vet suggested an x-ray of the whole apparatus to see what we were dealing with. He wasn't convinced what we were seeing wasn't resulting from issues within the fetlock.
"Mom. I'm really worried. Am I broken forever?"
Well. Fun fact. This little horse of mine has the cleanest x-rays on the block. In fact, we ended up shooting his hind hocks too, just to clear my mind. And they were just as beautiful as the shot of his front right. The vet was basically giggling as we reviewed the x-ray, saying he could believe how clean the joints were on this OTTB. (I made sure to show him Pig's train wreck fetlock x-rays just so he could have fun looking at something totally screwed up.)

The final diagnosis is basically 'foot soreness'. I'm figuring he started stomping at flies on the hard ground with his slightly long toe, and flared up some soreness. The vet suggested trying shoes, which we are looking into. In the meantime, I shortened up his toes and slapped a set of fly boots on him. That seems to have brought him back to comfort in a relatively short time.
Playing the "supportive friend" role for his older (27 year old!) buddy who was taking care of some hock support.
Bast's hind end didn't get off without a look, however. The vet was concerned by what he saw in the above videos, but wasn't sure if what we were seeing with a horse trying to relieve discomfort on his sore front or another issue. Then in the exam, Bast caught his right stifle a few times. We had an answer. In reviewing some other footage of the horse (seriously, having a ton of videos of this horse have paid off so much recently), the vet felt confident a sticky stifle issue is causing Bast to be pretty conservative behind. This makes a ton of sense given his breeding (thoroughbreds are very prone to stifle sticking issues) and the long layup he had last year. The sticking seems to have been happening since then.
He was so excited to get going.
We agreed the little boy is a bit of wuss, reacting rather dramatically to avoid any twinge of pain. As such, his reactions are less indicative of a serious issue (as they would be with Pig), but are instead simply evidence of him trying to avoid slight discomfort.

The treatment for the stifles is a few weeks of estrone derivative injections and diligent conditioning of the joints. It was also suggested the horse could maybe be less of a fat ass. Thankfully operation "less of a fat ass" is already in motion with Bast's grain having been dropped to a nearly insignificant portion. The extra conditioning should help him continue to slim back down to his best svelte self.
Happy boy back with his monstrous friends.
Fingers crossed we're both fitter and happier in just a few weeks!


  1. hahah oh my god, the first day I brought runkle home he locked his stifle and (having never experienced that before) I very nearly shit myself.

    Apparently stifle stickiness is pretty easily (and best) resolved with work and diet changes and not $$$$$ of other crap.

  2. So glad it's not the news you were imagining! I knew I saw a stifle hitch...I got really good at recognizing it, after all of Promise's stifle issues in the last 3 or 4 years of her life!

  3. Thank goodness for relatively simple solutions that don't involve copious follow-up vet visits, drugs, and therapies! So sorry you had to go through so much stress in the process though. Ugh. Horses put us through the most intense ups and downs.

  4. I am so glad that you found out what was up and that none of it is catastrophic!

  5. Those locking stifles are something else. We have a young TB in the barn that will look like his entire hip is shattered when his get going, and then he instantly looks perfect once it gets worked out. I dealt with them in Bobby when I first got him, and fortunately all it took to make him better was lots of strength work, but it was one of his many problems I always had to be on top of because if I slacked off and he got weak you could definitely tell. Hopefully Bast's little footies feel better soon, the poor princess!

  6. all good news! glad it was nothing serious.

  7. My ottb had some stifle issues crop up this spring/summer. Very much the same in him being just barely off. Injections and a week off seemed to fix him.

    I've also added poles and the tiniest hill into his life.

  8. Fingers crossed - at least with stifles strengthening them resolves the issue!


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