Sudden Sticky Stifles

Discussion in 'Horse Health' started by Canchaser18, Aug 8, 2018.

  1. Canchaser18

    Canchaser18 Registered

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    I’m currently driving myself insane worrying about my gelding. So while I wait for our lameness evaluation on Tuesday, I figured I’d come here to see if I can get any ideas as to what could be causing this. I’ll dive right in with as much detail as I can give. Warning, it’ll probably be lengthy.
    I have a 6 year old AQHA gelding. He’s my barrel horse who’s just being seasoned. I bought him last July as an out of shape 5 year old with no issues. Rode him through the rest of the summer and fall, no problems. Boarded him over the winter and early spring with no sticking. He got to be a total crab about being saddled so I had my lameness vet/chiropractor out. He was all out of whack and super sore through his lower back and neck. Had him adjusted every four weeks from April until July with no improvement with how tight and sore he was in those areas. Vet suggested spinal X-rays once we had a few weeks that weren’t busy, but to continue with the chiro until then. I decided to switch his feed from Sentinel LT to Renew Gold. Vet came out first Thursday of August and said he was shocked with how good he felt. Tightness in the lower back had pretty much disappeared and the neck showed a lot of improvement. Except his stifles have started sticking, quite badly, in the past month or so. I’ll list the things I’ve noticed.
    Stumbling/losing hind end during a ride
    Upward transitions went horribly downhill
    Downward transitions stayed good
    Lateral work went from good to nearly impossible
    Powerful turns got weaker and more strung out
    Started picking up wrong leads. Prefers the left lead over the right.
    Went from soft in the bridle to pulling and hanging.
    Showed noticeable improvement in the amount of catching and severity when given Previcox
    Stepped up underneath himself more after icing
    Pita to keep weight on. Seems he keeps losing his butt even though the renew gold has helped his overall appearance
    Has sores from interfering on his hinds that refuse to heal
    Has been mildly refusing the gate at races which he’s never done before

    Now a list of things that have changed:
    Switched feed to renew gold
    Put on 5lbs of alfalfa cubes a day
    New saddle (end of May)
    Set back at the trailer a few times
    Set back and wrenched a hind shoe off and was a pita to shoe for the next two cycles
    Had a couple slips at barrels

    Spoke with vet at August appointment and he said trot poles, hills, and as many straight lines as I could to help him strengthen his muscles. But didn’t recommend I stop running him. I decided to run a previcox trial with him to see if it helped (Bute is too much for his tummy) which it did. Called vet with info and asked for a lameness evaluation. He said he’d run flexions and possible X-rays if I wanted. Appointment is Tuesday morning. So I guess the question is, does this sound like a muscle weakness issue, even though this is the best shape he’s been in? Possible injury? PSSM? Epm? Something else? Sorry this is so long, I’m just stressed and the worst when it comes to worrying.
     
  2. manesntails

    manesntails Senior Member

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    What do you mean “sticky stifles“? .Did the Vet say those exact words? Because patelas stick, stifles get sore, they don't stick. It's a muscle so it has no way of sticking. Patela is a bone that has a joint and joints stick.
     
  3. Canchaser18

    Canchaser18 Registered

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    He doesn’t fully lock, He just trips or has that stepped in a hole feeling. Drags his hind toes and hasn’t been reaching up underneath himself. Vets exact words were “a delay in release caused by muscle weakness” No flexions we’re done, nor did he watch the horse move which is why I’ve scheduled another appointment. He was out to Chiro him and didn’t have time for much more than a conversation about it.
     
  4. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    That means a follow up appointment is needed.

    And that is one problem with having a vet do chiro on a horse.

    If the problem is that the horse has 'loose stifles', then exercise can help.

    And if the problem is loose stifles it's usually possible to feel that by putting your hand on the stifle and having the horse walk forward (requires two people in most cases).

    Loose stifles are generally found in horses that are not mature, and are growing rapidly. It's not unusual in a 3 or 4 year old. I think you said the horse is 5 and was a pasture potato? When he came into work, loose stifles could have been a problem.

    But if he's gone through a decent conditioning program he should have tightened up, loose stifles are not a likely problem, and tightening it up by exercise is less likely to be a solution.

    However if the problem is more than loose stifles or if something different is developing alongside that(if the stifles are really loose damage can be done to the joint), the horse may not benefit at all from exercise at the moment. A different treatment plan would probably be needed.

    There's the possibility that he simply got injured during the work you were doing with him, or got cast in a stall or got into a problem when he was out in the pasture.

    There is also the possibility that he was a couch potato when you got him because of a stifle injury, and you just got a horse that was bound to eventually show discomfort if put back to work.

    At this point, almost anything is possible. The key is to narrow that down a bit.

     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2018
  5. Canchaser18

    Canchaser18 Registered

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    I’ll be trailering him over on Tuesday morning. He’s actually located out of state and only comes over once a month so his days are more than full.
     
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  6. RusticR

    RusticR Full Member

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    With the change in his tense muscles after you switched his diet I would look into PSSM!
     
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  7. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    That's the problem.
     
  8. Canchaser18

    Canchaser18 Registered

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    So I bought him as a 5 year old who wasn’t in running shape but probably ridden about 3 times a week. After I initially went to check him out they started him in an everyday program and it was about three weeks before I decided to get him. He was bred and raised by the people I bought him from, who have continuously offered to buy him back, so I’m thinking previous injury is unlikely. He did great after I bought him, was ridden 6 or 7 days a week. Over the winter he was ridden about 3 or 4 days a week until early spring where we did about 5 or 6 days a week. This problem has developed in the past month or so and feels like it’s worse after work. The initial thought of loose stifles didn’t sound right to me after I saw improvement with the previcox...
     
  9. manesntails

    manesntails Senior Member

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    If he lands toe first, that is sore stifles, if he drags his feet and stumbles a lot, that is not. Could be just weakness in his whole hind end, PSSM, as has bern suggested, or another neurological disease.

    If it were me, I would sell him back to his original owners and look for another horse that is sound.
     
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  10. Squirt!!

    Squirt!! Full Member

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    This screams PSSM, which also is quite prevalent in barrel horses.
     
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